The myth of Hinduism being pro-homosexuality

Jan 2019
159
Valencia
#1
Many Western scholars, new-age converts and urban Indians have been pushing this idea of Hinduism being tolerant or even supportive of homosexuality. In almost all cases they rely on a few obscure and scattered temple carvings of unknown origins as their justification. A read through of Hindu literature however contradicts this.

In the Vishnu Purana, it is mandated that after one leaves the student phase of their life (which is characterised by celibacy), they are to take a WIFE:

"When the scriptural studies appropriate to the student have been completed, and he has received blessings of his Guru, let him enter into the order of the Grihastha (householder). Let him pursue and obtain, by ethical ways, home, wife, and wealth, discharge to the best of his ability the duties of his life's stage. He should satisfy the soul of his ancestors with funeral cakes; the gods with oblations; guests with hospitality; the sages with holy study; the progenitors of mankind with progeny; the spirits with reverence; and all the world with words of truth." — Vishnu Purana, 3.IX.1

Further to this, the Manusmirti, an Ancient Hindu legal text, proscribes various punishments for homosexual acts such as whipping and ritual bathing to deal wit the impurity. One line to demonstrate this:

"...a woman who pollutes a damsel (unmarried girl) shall instantly have (her head) shaved or two fingers cut off, and be made to ride (through the town) on a donkey" - (MS 3.49)
While not severe punishments, they are reflective of the general view at the time by Hindus on homosexuality.

Lust i.e. sex for reasons other than pro-creation (that between a man and a woman) is prohibited in the Gita:

Arjuna said: O descendant of Vrsni, by what is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force? Then Krishna said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world. As fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror is covered by dust, or as the embryo is covered by the womb, the living entity is similarly covered by different degrees of this lust. Thus the wise living entity's pure consciousness becomes covered by his eternal enemy in the form of lust, which is never satisfied and which burns like fire. The senses, the mind and the intelligence are the sitting places of this lust. Through them lust covers the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders him. Therefore, O Arjuna, best of the Bharatas, in the very beginning curb this great symbol of sin—(lust) by regulating the senses, and slay this destroyer of knowledge and self-realization. The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence. Thus knowing oneself to be transcendental to the material senses, mind and intelligence, O mighty-armed Arjuna, one should steady the mind by deliberate spiritual intelligence and thus—by spiritual strength—conquer this insatiable enemy known as lust. - (Bhagavad-Gita, 3.36–43)

The founder of the Hare Krishna movement who is considered a saint by a large chunk of Hindus has also described homosexuality as a symptom of the Kali Yuga:

Screenshot 2019-06-19 at 17.16.54.png

So while Hinduism tolerates homosexuality, it does not condone it and it most definitely does no consider it on equal grounds to sex for the purposes of pro-creation.
 
Last edited:

kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,669
USA
#2
Hinduism can not be defined just by what is in its texts. It is far too complex. It is not a 'religion of the book' like Islam or Judaism. In many cases there is a correlation between the texts and the practice in Hinduism, but in many cases there is not or even mutually conflicting.
 
Last edited:
Likes: songtsen
Jan 2019
159
Valencia
#3
Hinduism can not be defined just by what is in its texts. It is far too complex. It is not a 'religion of the book' like Islam or Judaism. In many cases there is a correlation between the texts and the practice in Hinduism, but in many cases there is not or even mutually conflicting.
Of course. Perhaps I didn't make it clear but I wasn't trying to show that there was a hard prohibition was on homosexuality but rather that Hinduism has historically not condoned homosexuality but merely tolerated it.
 

Similar History Discussions