LGBTQ ISSUES - QUESTIONS and ANSWERS Hindu-Phobia and Hindu-Hatred

2 points | Post submitted by suyash95 157 days ago | 5 comments | viewed 249 times

Explaining LGBTQ from Hindu Perspective


  • suyash95 157 days ago | +0 points

    Why does Wikipedia say that Hinduism doesn't consider homosexuality as a sin?

    Hinduism is completely different to the Abrahamic religions in that we have the great good fortune to have been given the freedom and ability to use our rational faculties.

    God reserved all his pronouncements and commandments on the subject of SIN to the nomads of the Middle East. Commanding everything from the type of underpants the priests should wear when sacrificing sheep and doves to him, to which nations should be conquered and massacred and have their land taken by his chosen people. (One wonders why the massacring of innocents and taking their land is not a sin! But refusal to follow God’s commandments would be.)

    In Hindu sacred texts (mahābhārata), the general guideline is given by the sage Vyāsa - not by God! —

    Sin (pāpa) is defined as any act which intentionally causes suffering to others. And virtue (puṇya) is any act which benefits others (paropakāra puṇyāya pāpāya para-pīḍanam).

    Given this definition of virtue, morality and sin we can now figure out for ourselves what kinds of acts fit into which category.

    How do we use this yardstick to judge an act, which causes mutual pleasure, engaged in by two consenting adults, in which there is no victim?

    According to Vyāsa’s definition it would be an act of virtue - PUṆYA.

    Any act by word, deed or thought which causes them hurt and suffering would be the actual PĀPA in this case scenario.


    As a gay person, is there any religion that would accept me for who I am, such as Hinduism? I haven't heard about homophobia in that faith.

    The fundamental Hindu scriptures, the Vedas (which include the highly philosophical Upanishad texts) do not have a single negative comment on homosexuality. Admittedly, they do not endorse homosexuality either, but they do not dwell upon sexuality much at all. They are primarily texts for spiritual knowledge and guidance to achieving enlightenment. They talk about transcending physical specifics such as gender, age and ethnicity into the universal commonality (“Atman”) underlying everything.

    The Vedas are written in highly symbolic language using very intricate metaphors, which impart several levels of meaning. However, there are simple metaphors which make it clear that the Vedic sages were not prudes when it came to sexuality. For example, if we take things at face value, there are male gods to whom male sages address hymns in most endearing and intimate manner. They frequently use the expression “जायेव पत्य उषतीः सुवासाः jAyeva patya uShatIh suvAsAh” which means “just like a beautifully adorned wife reveals herself only to her husband” to imply that the relationship between the deity and the sage is the most intimate possible, and so the god should reveal himself to (i.e. enlighten) the sage. Obviously there is no sexual connotation here, but the transference of the metaphor to express intimacy gives us hints that views on sexuality might not have been very rigid.

    There is zero obsession about condemning variations of sexual expression from preconceived ideas of what should be the norm. Of course, reproduction is only possible with a male and a female, and the scriptures are emphatic about continuing the family line (e.g. Taittiriya Upanishad: “प्रजातन्तुं मा व्यवच्छेत्सीः prajAtantum mA vyavacchetsIh” - “Do not cut off the thread of successive progeny”). Again, this does not mean that the scriptures are denying the possibility or naturalness of romantic love or sexual attraction between same-gender people. In any case, there is absolutely nothing like the harsh pronouncements in the Bible or Quran such as “A man shall not lie with another man in the manner of a woman, it is an abomination and a sin” incurring death in this world and hell in the hereafter.

    Coming to some secondary scriptures called “smritis” - these are approximately law books which, among other things, codify orthodox rules and regulations for leading a righteous and honorable life (at least according to the authors). There are at least a dozen of these law books because different luminaries of different periods had different opinions on what constituted a “righteous and honorable life”. Hence, these books are considered a secondary authority and take a subservient role to the Vedas. A prominent one of these is the “manu smriti” or “Law Book of Manu”. It has a pronouncement to this effect: “An older woman who “defiles” a virgin girl should be punished by blackening her face and parading her seated backwards on a donkey” (I cannot find the exact reference right now, so I’m paraphrasing from memory). Similarly, the text also has a minor fine for Brahmins who engage in homosexual activity. This is the extent of the “punishment” in all of Hindu literature. Two things can be inferred from these punishments:

    1. Protecting the virginity of a young girl is more important than the homosexual act itself. Note that there is no punishment for sex between 2 adult women who are not virgins. This is also the case with heterosexual rape of a virgin which incurs harsher punishments than homosexual acts between adults
    2. Male homosexuality must have been quite prevalent if it is mentioned in such a matter-of-fact way. And if this was forbidden only for Brahmins but not for the vast majority of men, it shows the liberal attitude of even the orthodox lawmakers.

    This answer is strictly about the authoritative views found in the scriptures. These views also corresponded with ground reality for the vast majority of Hindu Indian history. However, with the Muslim invasions and later British occupation, foreign - mostly hostile - views on homosexuality gradually took hold of the collective Hindu psyche, and still affect the opinions of vast numbers of everyday Hindus.

    So to summarily answer your question, Hinduism has no problem with homosexuality, but significant numbers of modern everyday Hindus seem to have negative views on it. In any case, Hinduism is mostly a private personal experiential religion, and in Western countries you will probably find a more enlightened and supportive community while there is growing self-discovery in India as well.


    What is Hinduism's view on the LGBT community?

    Thanks for the question. As usual Hinduism is extremely complex and there are seldom simple answers. So books can be written on this topic - so I shall try a brief introduction.

    As in most societies, heterosexuality is regarded in Hinduism as the general norm and desirable orientation because Hindu society is overwhelming “progeny-centred” and a fruitful marriage is seen as the ultimate goal and paradigmatic state of happiness. But it must be emphasised that the ultimate tension in Hindu society is not between heterosexuality and homosexuality, it is between sexuality and celibacy; typified by the householder state verses the monastic theme.

    The major concern of the Hindu family legislators is procreation of numerous offspring sponsored by a well-structured extended family system. Any form of non-procreative sex, heterosexual or homosexual was seen as a deviance from this theme and discouraged.

    The Hindu teachers and social legislators also recognised the fact that people are born with different proclivities, tendencies and tastes due to their Karma — the resultant conditioning of actions done in previous lives. One’s sexual orientation, it was recognised, is not a matter of free personal choice but of such previous life conditioning.

    The Self which is enveloped by ignorance, is sometimes embodied as a man, sometimes as a woman, sometimes as a homosexual (ubhaya). According to its deeds and the nature one acquires thereby, one may be born as a god, a human or a beast. (Srimad Bhagavatam 4.29.29.)

    Whatever the sexual orientation of the child whether it be male, female or homosexual (napumsaka) it is born in the ninth or the tenth month. (Garuda Purana. 2.32.29)

    Thus although deviation from or even rejection of the normative heterosexual marriage and procreation was not generally approved of, it was nevertheless tolerated as a social phenomena because it is part of Nature (Prakrti).

    Hindus do not have a theory of “Natural Law” — such as that invoked by right wing Christians to condemn homosexuality. If a certain behaviour pattern exists then it is “natural” — that is, part of the way things are in the Hindu universe. The Hindu universe is in general a tripartite structure — heaven, earth and the mid-regions; past, present and future; action, inertia and equilibrium; and sexuality is seen as being a triangle of (normative) male & female and (non-normative) neuter or the “third sex” being the 3rd corner of the triangle. This view is advocated particularly by the texts of Ayurveda — the ancient Hindu system of health care, in its sections dealing with embryonic development and sex.

    There are many examples of trans and inter-sexuality in mythology and religion. Shiva and Parvati are eternally copulating - but only for pleasure as they produce no offspring together. Ganesha was born from Parvati, and Skanda from Shiva ejaculating into the mouth of Agni!

    Vishnu from time to time changes sex, and one time has sex with Shiva and they produce a child - Ayyapan whom they abandon (not a good reflection on same sex parenting!!!).

    In the Chenna Keshava temple in Karnataka the Icon of Krishna is only ever dressed in female clothing (Mohini seva). During the annual Veda recitation festival in Srirangam (Adhyayanotsava) Nammalvar, one of the greatest Tamil devotees of Lord Krishna who composed all his poems in the female voice is dressed in a sari and make-up and taken out in procession.

    The ultimate Perfection is ardha-narishvara — God as half male and half female. And so LGBT tropes have been completely integrated into the religious life of the Hindus.


    With homophobia and anti-LGBT sentiments prevalent in India, should Indian LGBT people migrate to countries like Denmark, Finland, Norway or Sweden to live a peaceful life?

    What I’m about to write may go against the current of majoritarian thinking and opinions. But it is my personal view.

    No problem has ever been solved by running away from it.

    Do you think the LGBT people in these western countries had it nice and cushy from the beginning? No! They had to fight for their rights and equality against the strongly Christian society at that time (mid 20th century).

    Hinduism, which is the foundation of Indian culture, does not treat homosexuality as an “abomination” or sin, like Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) do. The LGBT people of India should take inspiration from the ancient Indian society which was free and open and accepting of all diversity in nature. Read the Kamasutra, and visit the temples to see evidence of open acceptance of all natural human conditions.

    The Abrahamic religions see sexuality itself as unnatural and evil. In contrast, Hinduism sees sexuality as another expression of the divine in nature.

    The laws making homosexuality a crime in India are only from the colonial British era.

    Yes, the first generation of LGBT activists may suffer for their struggle, but they are helping future generations. And they are helping usher India into its (ancient) modern age.

    I’m not against immigration to other countries, but we need to collectively have a sense of responsibility towards our motherland, civilization and heritage. Already, the best brains of India are going abroad to be slaves of western MNC’s. And if diversity groups like LGBT also leave, then India will only be filled with intolerant “peaceful” groups who will continue to grow in population.


    Why are Hindus in modern India against homosexuality?

    Originally Answered: Why is homophobia common in India even though ancient temples, scriptures, etc. of Hinduism depict homosexuality as natural?

    Homophobia among Indians is common among the chattering classes of the Christian College educated elite - the vast majority of the working class don’t really care and in fact bisexuality is rife in India.

    A gay friend of mine once said India was the easiest place in the world to get laid!

    It has never been an issue in Hinduism until the British criminalized it - as stated by Sandeep.


    Do you agree it is time for gay marriages to be accepted in the Hindu culture?

    Firstly we always need to clarify terms before entering into a debate.

    So here we have three concepts:–

    1. Gay
    2. Marriage
    3. Hindu Culture aka Sanātana Dharma.

    Gays are defined for the sake of this discussion as people who have an innate attraction to members of their own sex. “Innate” meaning that they are born same-sex attracted and are not attracted to members of the opposite sex. This psychic conditioning is due to previous saṁskāras with which people are born and this is fully recognised as the tritīya prakṛti in Dharma Śāstras.

    Here are some proof texts to confirm that there are three genders:-

    kvacit pumān kvacicca strī kvacinnobhaya mandhadhīḥ | devo manuṣyas-tiryag vā yathā karma guṇaṁ bhavaḥ ||

    The Self which is enveloped by ignorance, is sometimes embodied as a man, sometimes as a woman, sometimes as a homosexual (ubhaya). According to its deeds and the nature one acquires thereby, one may be born as a god, a human or a beast. (Bhagavatam 4.29.29.)

    cikitsā jāyate tasya garbhavāsa parikṣaye | nāri vātha naro vātha napuṁsatvaṁ vābhijāyate || 29 ||

    Whatever the sexual orientation of the child whether it be male, female or homosexual (napumsaka) it is born in the ninth or the tenth month. (Garuda Purana. 2.32.29)

    na strī pumānvā ṣaṇḍo vā jīvaḥ sarvagato’vyayaḥ | eka evādvitīyo’yam ākāśavad lepakaḥ | nityo jñānamayaḥ śuddhaḥ sa katham śokam arhati ||

    (Adhyātma Rāmāyana Kishkindha Kanda) 3:16

    Rama says: “The jiva is all-pervading and limitless. It is neither masculine, feminine or neuter (shanda). It is one without a second, unaffected by anything, like the sky. It is eternal, pure and of the nature of consciousness. how can it be the object of grief?"

    So hereby we have established that those who are born non-binary are perfectly natural and normal and are very much included in the Dharma.

    MARRIAGE – there are two aspects to marriage.

    1. A legal contract between two individuals for the purpose of regulating their joint matters – property, finance, children, inheritance, power of attorney, taxes etc. All citizens of a country should be given the same rights and privileges, and access to the same government services without any exception of race, class/caste, gender, sexual preference, religion or any other personal qualifier. ALL are equal before the law. So any contract between two consenting adults should have the same binding nature and the same duties, responsibilities and outcomes and sanctions.

    2. Marriage as a sacrament (saṁskāra) is a little more problematic from a Hindu standpoint.

    And here unfortunately we need to raise the issue of caste (sorry for any offence). According to the Dharma Shastras and Sutras, all the three trai-varnikas (brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas are compelled to undergo a minimum of 10 vaidika saṁskāras or sacraments in order to maintain their twice-born (dvijatva) status. Failure to undergo them demotes one to Sudra status.

    For Brahmins there are 40 samskāras.

    For Sudras there are only two major Samskāras (Marriage and cremation) and the other 8 are optional. Failure to observe them incurs no liability and produces only merit.

    Marriage is common to all as a sacrament, the purpose of which is the fulfilment of one’s duties and repayment of debts through the Pancha-mahā-yajñas. i.e.:–

    1. Pitru-yajña – care and respect for one’s parents, including the performance of their funeral rites and post-mortem Shraddhas (annual memorial rites.) Part of the Pitru-yajña is begetting offspring to continue the line. It was important 500 years ago but nowadays is irellevant because most Hindus no longer perform Shraddhas and have already neglected their ancestors.
    2. Deva-yajña – making offerings to the devas and performing periodical rituals and ceremonies.
    3. Brahma-yajña – the study of sacred learning and passing on the same to others – a cultural transmission obligation – also nowadays severely absent and neglected.
    4. Manuṣya-yajña – taking care of other less fortunate members of society and the supreme obligation of householder life – hospitality.
    5. Bhūta-yajña – debt to the environment – caring for and conserving the same – also much neglected by Hindus.

    All of these 5 debts can be payed off, and the yajñas observed by everyone – gender plays no part. Even the necessity of reproducing is unrequired because over-population of planet earth is a major survival of the species issue. Many couples are infertile and many choose not to have children but they are still given access to sacramental marriage.

    Even sacramental marriage in Hinduism is not one-size-fits-all. There are dozens of different variations depending on caste and region in India. For example- an orthodox Brahmin wedding will take 5 days, a Nair wedding will take 10 minutes and is characterise by exchange of garlands, a sari and tying of mangal-sutra without the intervention of Brahmin priests. In fact there are many Sudra communities in South India who do not employ Brahmin priests, do not recite Vedic vivaha mantras and have their marriages conducted by the elders only.

    So why should same-sex couples also not have their own form of marriage?

    Another point to note is that the basis of a Vedic marriage is “friendship” – “you are my friend in life through these seven steps” is what is recited during sapta-padi a the defining and culminating moment of a Vedic marriage ceremony.

    Same-sex marriage can be based upon the contact of friendship that was made between Rama and Sugriva officiated by Hanuman.

    tato hanūmān sañtyajya bhikṣu rūpam arindamaḥ || 4-5-13 kāṣṭhayoḥ svena rūpeṇa janayāmāsa pāvakam | dīpyamānam tato vahnim puṣpaiḥ abhyarcya satkr̥tam || 4-5-14 tayor madhye tu suprīto nidadhau susamāhitaḥ |

    Then the vanquisher of enemies Hanuman, discarding the guise of ascetic assumed his original monkey form, and proceded to produce the sacred fire by attrition, he then kindled the fire, decorated and worshipped it with flowers, then joyfully and devoutly placed that fire in between Rama and Sugrīva. [4-5-13b,14,15a]

    tato agnim dīpyamānam tau cakratuḥ ca pradakṣiṇam || 4-5-15 sugrīvo rāghavaḥ ca eva vayasyatvam upāgatau |

    Then Rama and Sugreeva performed circumambulations of that blazing ritual fire, and thus, entered into a pact of friendship. [4-5-15, 16a]

    tataḥ suprīta manasau tau ubhau hari rāghavau || 4-5-16 anyonyam abhivīkṣantau na tr̥ptim abhijagmatuḥ |

    And then gladdened at heart are those two, that monkey and Raghava, they gazed long at each other eye-to-eye, but were not satiated. [4-5-16b, 17a]

    tvam vayasyo’si hr̥dyaḥ me hi ekam duḥkham sukham ca nau || 4-5-17 sugrīvo rāghavam vākyam iti uvāca prahr̥ṣṭavat | 17b, 18a.

    Sugrīva said to Raghava with great joy, "you are my beloved friend, henceforth our joy and sorrows are the same for us." [4-5-17b, 18a]

    The gentle reader will note the the pact of friendship was made in front of the sacred fire, holding hands and performing pheras, does this sound familiar?

    DHARMA.

    Dharma can be summed up in two verses.

    Paropakāra puṇyāya papaya parapīḍanam –

    virtue is those acts which benefit others and sin is those acts which intentionally cause suffering to others.

    Śrūyetāṁ dharma sarvasvaṁ śrutvā cauvāvādhārayatāṁ | Ātmanaḥ pratikūlāṇi pareṣāṁ na samācaret ||

    Pay attention to and practice Dharma the essence of which is; do not do unto others that which you would not wish for yourself.

    As spiritual aspirants we can ask two questions which demand an answer;–

    1. How does the mutual love and friendship between two adults entering into a committed relationship harm the notion of VIRTUE?
    2. Would we like others to judge us, our relations and our commitment arrangements? And if not, who are we to pass judgement, criticise or condemn others who are doing no harm to anyone?

    To say something “against Dharma” is like saying that something is just wrong. In order to reach this conclusion one needs to use rational thinking and base it on sound logic rather than on feelings.

    Same-sex marriage is a social contract between two people and so the only Dharma which operates here is the Dharma of contracts – being honest, faithful and fulfilling the conditions of the contract.

    Whether you consider homosexuality itself to be wrong is a matter for another rational debate.

    FUN FACT - orthodox Hindus perform marriages between girls and banana trees! If a girl’s horoscope indicates she’ll have two marriages, the upāya (remedy) is conducting her first marriage with a banana tree. The wedding is conducted with Vedic mantras and the tying of the mangala-sūtra. After the wedding has concluded the banana tree is most viciously murdered and thus the first marriage comes to a grizzly end. The girl is now free to get married a second time and final time. If a number of marriages is predicted then a number of unfortunate banana trees are heartlessly sacrificed :-(

    So a question for the orthodox objectors - why is the marriage with a banana tree sanctified and celebrated but not the marriage between two humans who love each other and wish to live together in peace and harmony?


    What is the Hindu perspective of the LGBTQ community? Do Hindus have anything against them or feel disgusted by them? If so why or why not?

    From a Hindu philosophical perspective everything can be judged by its ability to advance our progress to Moksha (Liberation from suffering and rebirth) and slow us down and further our rebirth in Samsara.

    From this perspective ALL attachment to sense-gratification slows our progress, and all renunciation of sense-gratification speeds up our spiritual evolution. So sex is just sex, it doesn’t matter who you are having sex with male, female or vegetable!

    Heterosexuality is praised by the householders for the sake of children and they too are considered as one of the biggest obstacles to Liberation!

    Obviously the same Dharmic criteria apply to ALL sexual relationships - they should be mutually agreed acts by consenting adults. All exploitation, coercion, manipulation and oppression is reprehensible and generates bad Karma.

    [reply]

  • suyash95 138 days ago | +0 points

    What is Hinduism's view on homosexuality?

    I have answered this question before in various other formulations but seeing that several people have asked me to address it more detail I shall do so - sorry guys and gals this is going to be a long technical discussion.

    Indian society - as most oriental societies do, recognises three genders.

    1. heteronormative - cisgender male
    2. heteronormative - cisgender female
    3. What is technically called “tritīya prakṛti” or the Third Nature which covers all other forms of gender and sexual identity that do not fit into the first 2 categories. In today’s intersectional terminology the LGBTQ community.

    Since Hindu society was by and large patriarchal, gender issues are spoken of in the male context and female sexuality was generally ignored, although it is also addressed in the Kāma Sūtra in practical terms of what women can do to pleasure each other. So generally what is applied to males can also be applied to females with some modifications.

    The Third Gender is considered a natural and real gender and constitutes one of the cycles through which a jīva is reborn in accordance with Karma. It is referred to as “neuter” or any of the other terms I shall presently address.

    So we have the following texts:–

    (address to Siva) Thou art male, thou art female thou art neuter (Santi Parva 1 apadharma anusasana parva 285).

    kvacit pumān kvacicca strī kvacinnobhaya mandhadhīḥ | devo manuṣyas-tiryag vā yathā karma guṇaṁ bhavaḥ ||

    The Self which is enveloped by ignorance, is sometimes embodied as a man, sometimes as a woman, sometimes as a homosexual (ubhaya). According to its deeds and the nature one acquires thereby, one may be born as a god, a human or a beast. (Bhagavatam 4.29.29.)

    cikitsā jāyate tasya garbhavāsa parikṣaye | nāri vātha naro vātha napuṁsatvaṁ vābhijāyate ||

    Whatever the gender/sexual orientation of the child whether it be male, female or homosexual (napumsaka) it is born in the ninth or the tenth month. (Garuda Purana. 2.32.29)

    na strī pumānvā ṣaṇḍo vā jīvaḥ sarvagato’vyayaḥ | eka evādvitīyo’yam ākāśavad lepakaḥ | nityo jñānamayaḥ śuddhaḥ sa katham śokam arhati ||

    Rama says : “The jiva is all-pervading and endless. It is neither masculine, feminine or neuter (shanda). It is one without a second, unaffected by anything, like the sky. It is eternal, pure and of the nature of consciousness. (Adhyātma Rāmāyana Kishkindha Kanda 3:16)

    The following list is from the Sabda-kalpa-druma Sanskrit dictionary and describes the twenty types of men known in Sanskrit as ṣaṇḍha.

    The key criterion of a ṣaṇḍha is that he is sexually impotent with women, whether in terms of desire, performance, or fertility. As evident from this list, a ṣaṇḍha can refer to many different types of men. Some are impotent with women by nature (tritiya-prakriti) such as the intersexed, homosexuals, and transgenders, while others are ordinary males who have lost their potency due to various physical or psychological afflictions. The term ṣaṇḍha is therefore much more inclusive than widely believed, and any context involving its usage should be carefully considered whenever an interpretation is rendered. Simplistic translations such as “eunuch,” “neuter,” or “sexless” may not always be accurate and in some cases totally incorrect.

    Under the entry ṣaṇḍha, the Sabda-kalpa-druma dictionary quotes the Narada-smriti, which lists fourteen different types of men who are impotent with women. Then it quotes the Kāmatantra, which lists twenty different kinds. Then it quotes Vacaspati’s (fourteenth century) Smriti-ratnavali, in which the twenty types of ṣaṇḍha are listed and defined as follows:

    1. Nisarga – one born without specific genitals (intersexed).

    2. Baddha – one without testicles.

    3. Paksa – one who is periodically impotent with women (every other fortnight, month, etc.).

    4. Kilaka – due to impotence, enjoys the woman after first watching her fucking with another man.

    5. Sapadi – one who is unable to enjoy sex due to the power of a curse.

    6. Stabdha – cannot get an erection, or has no sperm.

    7. Irsyaka – aroused only by the jealous feelings of seeing others in the act of sexual union.

    8. Sevyaka – one who is potency is lost because of too much sex with women.

    9. Aksipta – one who’s semen does not discharge properly.

    10. Moghabija –becomes impotent when he attempts to unite with the woman.

    11. Salina – too shy or inhibited to even approach women.

    12. Anyapati – copulates with things or beings other than women.

    13. Mukhebhaga – performs oral sex on men.

    14. Vataretas – has no discharge of semen.

    15. Kumbhika – takes the passive role in anal sex.

    16. Paṇda – does not become aroused by (the woman’s) touch.

    17. Naṣṭa – no sperm due to disease.

    18. Asekya – aroused only by swallowing a man’s semen.

    19. Saugandhika – aroused only by sniffing the (male or female) genitals.

    20. ṣaṇḍha – has the qualities of a woman. Behaving and talking as they do, he may castrate himself.

    DHARMA SHASTRA

    Most of the Dharma Shastras do not mention sexuality at all and when they do it is usually in the context of Brahmins and mostly with regard to “purity” - so for example we have:–

    1. If a Brahmin swallows feces, urine or semen he should perform a Krcchra Penance and be reinitiated. (Vasistha 20:20) (How on earth a Brahmin would be in position to swallow these is in itself a mystery!!)
    2. For intercourse with a man, unconventional sex with a woman, for masturbation, or sex in water, by day or in a cart drawn by bullocks; one (a Brahmin) must bathe dressed in one’s clothes. (Vishnu Smrti 53:4)
    3. A twice-born man who has sexual intercourse with a man, or has intercourse with a female in a cart drawn by oxen, in water, or in the day time, shall bathe dressed in his clothes. (Manu 11:175)
    4. Causing an injury to a priest, smelling wine or things that are not to be smelled, crookedness and sexual union with a man are traditionally said to cause loss of caste. (Manu 11.67, Vishnu 38;5)

    LEGAL MATTERS

    Some of the Dharma Shastras deal with non-heteronormative folks in connection with the laws of inheritance, which in an agrarian society referred primarily to the land. The property must be bequeathed to reproductive members of the family to ensure that it remain within the family. The LGBTQ folks are not entitled to inherit but they are entitled support.

    1. A homosexual (i.e. any non-reproductive person), mentally challenged and the outcaste do not inherit. (Apastamba 2:6:14:1)
    2. The mentally challenged and the homosexual (i.e. any non-reproductive person) must be supported (laws of inheritance). (Gautama CCVIII:43)
    3. Non-heteronormative and disabled are entitled to clothing and food so long as they live, but they are not entitled to inherit property. (Mahanirvana Tantra 12:104)

    MORAL/ SPIRITUAL POSITION

    Morality in Hinduism is always discussed against the backdrop of spiritual practice, progress and ultimately Liberation.

    So the question is - Does gender-identity affect the course of spiritual evolution in any way? And the answer is NO of course not!

    ekacittastato bhūtvā bhūme cendriya-nigrahāt | mama yogeṣṭa saṁnyāsaṁ yadīcchet paramāṁ gatiṁ ||

    evaṁ kurvanti ye nityaṁ striyaḥ puṁso napuṁsakāḥ | jñāne satyapyayogānāṁ mama karmasu karmiṇām ||

    If one desires the highest goal which is communion with me; one should develop a focused mind, subdue the senses and strive to perfect non-attachment.

    However, if this regime is practiced without devotion to Me despite having knowledge, by either, men, women or LGBTQ it will not yield rewards. (Varaha Purana 142.49, 50)

    From the Tulsi Rāmāyaṇa

    puruṣa napuṃsaka nāri vā jīva carācara koi, sarba bhāva bhaja kapaṭa taji mohi parama priya soi. Uttara Kāṇḍa 87(A).

    Rāma said — “Be it man, woman or a LGBTQ, or, for the matter of that, any living being whatsoever of the animate or inanimate world – he who adores Me with all his being, giving up all guile, is supremely dear to Me.

    One of the most interesting and enigmatic and completely non-judgemental passages is from the Veda - Kauśītakī Brāhmaṇa Upaṇiṣad 2:4.

    Athāto daivaḥ smaro yasya priyo bubhūṣed yasyai vā yeṣām vaiteṣāṁ evaikasmin parvany etayaivāvr̥taita ājyahutīr juhoti —

    “Now then, the intense longing of love stimulated by the gods. When one desires to be loved by a man or a woman or by men and women, he shall offer to the afore mentioned gods oblations in the sacred fire”.

    Nowhere in the Gītā does Krishna condemn or discriminate against people on the basis of gender or sexual orientation.

    Now it must always be understood that “Hinduism” is a umbrella term for dozens of different religions and hundreds of different sects and cults so there is not ONE discourse or conclusive opinion on any topic whatsoever. There are a variety of views from alt-left to alt-right. The duty of the discerning spiritual aspirant (sādhaka) is to seize the liberal, neutral, non-judgemental middle ground (madhyama-mārga).

    Homosexuality is openly and non-judgementally depicted in Temple Art.

    P.S. I am certain that the Al-right Hindu chauvinists will now add “promotion of homosexuality and encouragement of moral corruption” to the list of fake charges against me and demand impeachment proceedings!!

    [reply]

  • suyash95 119 days ago | +0 points

    Is sex repressed in modern day Hinduism? What are Rami Sivan's thoughts on it?


    No. ”Hinduism” which includes many different schools and sects is not a sexually repressive system.

    Many Hindus are indeed sexually repressed because of a number of reasons.

    1. The general Indian sensitivity to openly discussing sex even though it is luridly portrayed on temple facades.(Very schizoid!)
    2. Sexual mores are learned in Christian missionary schools and folks cannot separate “Hindu” from “Christian” mores and values.
    3. Post-colonial residue programming of Victorian values of “shame” and “guilt”.
    4. Lack of proper healthy sexual education in childhood.
    5. The current leaderships tendency to shuffle over to the Abrahamic “right” and the to match and align “Hindu” values with theirs.

    Hinduism gave the world

    1. the first manuals exhaustively dealing with Sexual Pleasure - Kāma-sūtra.
    2. A whole system of Erotic Spirituality - blending sex, religion and spirituality in a comprehensive, structured and aesthetic way in Tantra.

    The sexual revolution in the West in the 60’s was inspired in part by the healthy and positive attitude to sexuality found in Hinduism.

    Hinduism is the only religion which posits sexual pleasure and aesthetics as one of the three essential components of a health and fulfilled life and as legitimate spiritual practice and a positive short term goal.

    [reply]

  • suyash95 119 days ago | +0 points

    What does Hinduism say about lesbian marriage?


    The Sacred Texts which deal with marriage are the Grihya Sūtras – these texts contain directions for the performance of domestic rituals and sacraments and all of them differ from one another. Even two Grihya Sūtras from the same school will have slight variations in the sequence, format and specific mantras used.

    It must be emphasized that the traditional Vedic marriage ceremony (vivāha samskāra) is specifically heterosexual and cannot be used in a homosexual context because most of the mantras are gender specific and come from the Vedas - so they cannot be changed to suit the context.

    The Grihya Sūtras were specifically meant for members of the 3 twice-born (dvija) castes:– i.e. Brāhmaṇas, Kṣatriyas and Vaiśyas. Members of these social groups had to undergo 16 principle saṁskāras or sacraments from birth to death.

    The working class (śūdras) were exempt from these onerous, expensive and tiresome Vedic sacramental obligations and had only two major sacraments — marriage and funerals.

    So the Vedic wedding ceremony was originally only performed for the initiated orders (dvijas), the non-dvijas devised their own rituals based on their customs and usages (maṅgalācaraṇa). For the general public the Paurāṇika or Tantric tradition filled the gap and produced sacraments similar to those of the Grihya Sūtras using Paurānika and Tantric mantras and ślokas and offered them to everyone regardless of varṇa and jāti.

    In South India on the other hand, the Vedic Sacrament retained it's usage among the Brahmins, and the non-Brahmins had their own ceremonies. Some were closer in format to the Vedic ritual and some were very simple — i.e. among the Nairs of Kerala the wedding ceremony simply consists of exchanging garlands and tying the token of marriage (tāli) around the neck of the bride and exchanging gifts of clothes. No brahmin purohit is involved and the ceremony is conducted by the elders of the community.

    Some South Indian jātis like the chettiyars, vellalas and komatis employ brahmin purohits who perform the weddings along Vedic lines with some community-based variations and differences. Other jātis eschew the purohits and perform their own wedding ceremonies. Among some castes the mere presentation of clothes to the bride constitutes a marriage.

    So in summary there is no standard Hindu wedding ceremony, and each and every community can improvise and devise its own ceremonies. So the Hindu gay community is fully authorized to have a wedding ceremony designed which is specific to them.

    There are some very interesting vignettes in the Sacred Texts, for example this one from Kauśitaki Brahmaṇa Upaṇiṣad (2:4):—

    athāto daivaḥ smaro yasya priyo bubhūṣed yasyai vā yeṣām vaiteṣāṁ evaikasmin parvany etayaivāvr̥taita ājyahutīr juhoti —

    “Now then the intense longing of love stimulated by the gods. When one desires to be loved by a man or a woman or by men and women, he shall offer to the above mentioned gods oblations in the sacred fire”.

    The episode I really like is from the Vālmiki Rāmāyaṇa which gives a precedent for the performance of commitment ceremonies between same sex couples:–

    Sugriva said to Rama:—

    "If you desire my friendship here I extend my hand, take my hand into yours, thus let us confirm the bond.” . [4-5-11]

    Rama was elated to hear all those words said by Sugrīva, and then grasping Sugrīva's hand in his, took a vow of friendship and they joyfully embraced each other very firmly. [4-5-12, 13a]

    Then the vanquisher of enemies Hanuman, discarding the guise of ascetic assumed his original monkey form, and proceeded to produce the sacred fire by attrition, he then kindled the fire, decorated and worshiped it with flowers, then joyfully and devoutly placed that fire in between Rama and Sugrīva. [4-5-13b,14,15a]

    Then Rama and Sugrīva performed circumambulation of that blazing ritual fire, and thus, entered into a pact of friendship. [4-5-15, 16a]

    Here we have a couple of elements that are found in wedding ceremonies - holding hands and reciting vows and walking around a sacred fire.

    Walking seven steps together is the culmination and confirmation of a Hindu wedding ceremony.

    But the taking of seven steps to conclude friendship is not gender specific as is made clear by the Anuśāsana Parva of the Mahābhārata.

    darśanaṁ kathanaṁ caiva saha asmabhiḥ kṛtaṁ mune | satāṁ sāpta-padaṁ mitrāṁ prasādaṁ naḥ kuru prabho || 51.35||

    "O ascetic, you have seen us and have also spoken with us for a long time. It has been said that friendship with those that are good, depends upon only seven steps. O lord, show us your grace!"

    Sakhā sapta pada bhava — "Seven steps constitutes a friendship" is a time honored axiom in Vedic culture. When bidding farewell to guests, one walks seven steps with them to contract a permanent friendship.

    So we now have 4 elements which are non-gender specific and which can be incorporated into a same-sex wedding ceremony:—

    1. Exchanging garlands.
    2. Holding hands and exchanging vows in front of a sacred fire
    3. Circumambulating the sacred fire.
    4. Taking seven steps together
    [reply]

  • suyash95 28 days ago | +0 points

    Does the Hindu scriptures talk about non-binary people? I mean the third gender.



    Yes there are many references here are a sample of some of them.

    Svetasvatara Upanishad 5:10

    naiva strī na pumān eṣa na caivāyaṁ napuṁsakaḥ |

    yadyac-charīram ādatte tene tene sa yujyate ||

    It (the jīva) is not female, it is not male, nor is it neuter, whatever body it takes, with that it becomes united (identified).

    From Puranas

    ekacittastato bhūtvā bhūme cendriya-nigrahāt |

    mama yogeṣṭa saṁnyāsaṁ yadīcchet paramāṁ gatiṁ || 49.

    evaṁ kurvanti ye nityaṁ striyaḥ puṁso napuṁsakāḥ |

    jñāne satyapyayogānāṁ mama karmasu karmiṇām || 50

    If one desires the highest goal which is communion with me; one should develop a focused mind, subdue the senses and strive to perfect non-attachment.

    However, if this regime is practiced without devotion to Me (Vishnu) despite having knowledge, by either, men, women or non-binaries it will not yield rewards. (Varaha Purana 142.49, 50)

    kvacit pumān kvacicca strī kvacinnobhaya mandhadhīḥ |

    devo manuṣyas-tiryag vā yathā karma guṇaṁ bhavaḥ ||

    The Self which is enveloped by ignorance, is sometimes embodied as a man, sometimes as a woman, sometimes as a non-binary l (ubhaya). According to its deeds and the nature one acquires thereby, one may be born as a god, a human or a beast. (Bhagavatam 4.29.29.)

    cikitsā jāyate tasya garbhavāsa parikṣaye |

    nāri vātha naro vātha napuṁsatvaṁ vābhijāyate || 29 ||

    Whatever the sexual orientation of the child whether it be male, female or non-binary (napumsaka) it is born in the ninth or the tenth month. (Garuda Purana. 2.32.29)

    From Tulsi Ramayana. Uttara Kāṇḍā

    Puruṣa napuṁsaka nāri vā jīva carācara koi | Sabba bhāva kapaṭa taji mohi prama priya soi | Satya kahau khaga tohi suci sevaka mama prāṇā-priya | Asa bicāri bhaju mohi parihara āsa bharosa saba ||

    “Be it man, woman or a non-binary, or, for the matter of that, any living being whatsoever of the animate or inanimate world – he who adores Me with all his being, giving up all guile, is supremely dear to Me. O bird, I tell you in all sincerity that a guileless servant is dear to Me as life. Realizing this worship Me, abandoning all other hope and reliance. (87 A-B)

    Adhyatma Ramayana (Kishkindha Kanda 3:16)

    na strī pumānvā ṣaṇḍo vā jīvaḥ sarvagato’vyayaḥ | eka evādvitīyo’yam ākāśavad lepakaḥ | nityo jñānamayaḥ śuddhaḥ sa katham śokam arhati ||

    Rama says : “The jiva is all-pervading and endless. It is neither masculine, feminine or non-binary (shanda). It is one without a second, unaffected by anything, like the sky. It is eternal, pure and of the nature of consciousness.

    (address to Siva) Thou art male, thou art female thou art non-binary (Santi Parva 1 apadharma anusasana parva 285).

    [reply]

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