, as with any other hot-button
issue, there are Hindus on both sides of the marriage equality question. When
Hinduism Today interviewed various swamis about their opinion of same-sex
marriage, they gave a wide range of opinions both positive and negative.
Because Hinduism has no central authority, it is possible for teachers to
debate and discuss without needing to claim that his way is The Hindu Way.
Two Views of
in favor; some very interesting points:
A liberal view is presented by
Mathematician Shakuntala Devi, in her 1977 book, The World of Homosexuals, in
which she interviewed Srinivasa Raghavachariar, head priest of the Srirangam
temple. He said that same-sex lovers must have been cross-sex lovers in a
former life. The sex may change but the soul retains its attachments, hence the
love impels these souls towards one another.
In 2002, Ruth Vanita (writer/reporter for
GALVA – The Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association, Inc.) interviewed a Shaiva
priest who performed the marriage of two women; having studied Hindu
scriptures, he had concluded, “Marriage is a union of spirits, and the spirit
is not male or female” (p. 147).
What is the purpose of marriage according to
Hinduism? It joins two people for four purposes:
dharma —> duty, harmony, balance
artha—> worldly possessions/wealth
kama—> passion, lust, desire
moksha—> spiritual liberation,
Two Views of
& In Favor
some very interesting points:
HAF wrote an article in the Fall 2009 issue of
Trikone, a South Asian LGBT magazine, providing a Hindu perspective on
homosexuality and focusing on the situation in India.
soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this divinity within by
controlling nature, external and internal. Do this either by work, or worship
or psychic control or philosophy – by one or more or all of these and be
free.” – Swami Vivekananda
If we have
fewer children, there is no problem within Hinduism because those souls will
have other births and eventually make their way to human embodiments but not all thought has caught up with this
fact of modern life.
identity within Hinduism can be quite fluid. Gods have female aspects, Arjuna
the great warrior was turned into a woman for a year. The stories abound of
people switching genders in mythology.
also long acknowledged a “third gender”:
To expand further, in Hinduism there is a
belief of the third gender. This is a category outside male and female, it is
one which includes a wide range of people with mixed male and female natures
such as transgender, homosexuals, transsexuals, bisexuals and so on. Such
persons are not considered fully male or female in Hindu tradition but being
combinations of both. They are mentioned as third sex by nature and are not
expected to behave like ordinary men and women. They often keep their own
societies or quarters, perform specific occupations (such as masseurs,
hairdressers, flower-seller, domestic servants, etc.) and are generally
attributed with a semi-divine status.
Transgendered men are often seen are called
“Hijras” at Hindu festivals and events. It is considered auspicious by some to
have them there. Hijras do struggle, from what I understand, being at or near
the very bottom of the social totem pole of Indian life.
just bodies, it is the soul that matters most and that soul should be
experiencing love and giving love and embodying love. Practicing hating
yourself will never lead you to find God within your soul. Hating yourself for
being gay would be hating God. Whatever your nature is, it is an aspect of God.
Hating others will never lead you to happiness or peace either. Hate has no
place in my faith. Source: Pankaj Goyal