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Hindus/Gays and Homosexuality as per Hinduism


Homosexuality in Hinduism is generally considered blasphemous.

In Manusmriti chapter 11 verse 175
A twice-born man who commits an unnatural offence with a male, 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.

This signifies that Homosexuality is an act which requires purification, thus indicating that it should be aavoided.

However, KamaSutra doesnt say anything negative about homosexuality as long as it is enjoyed and as an art.

Marriage means 3 duties, Prajaa, Dharma and Rati. Premarital sex, and extramarital sex are also wrong in Hinduism.

However, Bhairavs and Bhairavis are known to be devout shiva worshippers who drink liquor and have illicit sex.

In Srimad Bhagvatam, Chapter 20 Bramha created a group of demons who were so obsessed with sex that they wanted to have sex with bramha himself.

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 3.20.23
Lord Brahmā then gave birth to the demons from his buttocks, and they were very fond of sex. Because they were too lustful, they approached him for copulation.
The worshipful Brahmā first laughed at their stupidity, but finding the shameless asuras close upon him, he grew indignant and ran in great haste out of fear.

Since such form of homosexuality is looked upon as demonic culture full of greed and lust, does this mean that homosexuality should be avoided as a demonic act?

Personal views and references are very welcome.

Dear Joy,

Thank you for your question.

The Manusmriti contains many archaic rules and ideas, including the notion that eating garlic or onions will result in rebirth in sub-human form. Few, I think, believe that today. The Hindu smritis were written for a different yuga, not our Kali Yuga, in which the Tantras are to be considered Veda.

There is no support for condemnation of homosexuality in the core scriptures of Vedanta, e.g., the Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita. On the contrary, the consistent message is samadarshana, seeing all beings as equal. The Tantras developed this idea to its logical conclusion in prescribing transgressive practices that challenge the sadhaka to see the divine in everything, including that which violates ordinary notions of purity and piety. Piety itself becomes an obstacle when spiritual pride raises its head.

Historically, homosexuality has been quite common and also mostly accepted in practice in South Asia even when homosexual acts have been disparaged in some smritis. There are references to same-sex love that date back to the Vedas. You can get information about these from the book SAME-SEX LOVE IN INDIA by Ruth Vanita and Saleem Kidwai.

Aversion to homosexuality in modern India, I believe, has its origins in Christian and Islamic indoctrination. The Abrahamic religions especially seemed to condemn homosexual acts between men, although such acts between women seem unworthy of mention. Hindus educated in Christian missionary schools may imbibe foreign values. In any case our Sanatana Dharma teaches universal Oneness, and there is no basis except ignorant bigotry for condemning gay-identified persons. Anyone can pick through smriti literature to find a basis to condemn almost anyone, if so inclined. Doing so is neither helpful to the condemned nor to those wasting their time in condemnation of others.

Modern science indicates that homosexuality is not merely a lifestyle choice but a sexual-affectional orientation that is not chosen but likely genetic. What is demonic, in my opinion, is to preach a religion that condemns people for the way they were born or that demands they forego the fulfillment and spiritual growth that comes through intimate relationships with loved ones simply because of the gender of the loved ones.

Furthermore, I can testify from my own experience that a well-integrated gay identity can be a positive help in spiritual life. Recognizing that each of us contains a blend of traits conventionally considered "male" and "female" is an important step to transcending the dualistic identification with any one gender identity. God/dess is male, female, and what is both and neither. The more we become God-like ourselves, the closer we come to God-realization.

Best wishes,

Brother William  


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William Schindler, a.k.a. Brother William


I can answer questions about Vedanta philosophy, Patanjali Yoga philosophy and practice, Tantra, Bhagavad-Gita, Upanishads, Vivekachudamani (Shankara`s Crest-jewel of Spritual Discrimination), Advaita (non-dualism), the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda tradition, Goddess worship, meditation practice, Hindu monasticism (sannyasa), and Sanskrit.


I've been studying and practicing Vedanta and Tantra since 1969.

I'm the founder and spiritual director of Ashram West, a gay spiritual community based on traditional Hindu Tantra. I have been a member of the Vedanta Society of Southern California since 1969.


I hold a B.A. in Sanskrit (UC Berkeley 1975) and an M.A. in clinical psychology (Antioch University 1986).

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