Does Hinduism Accept Same-Sex Behavior?


General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Michael Illovsky, PhD, Acting Director of Western Illinois University's Counseling Center, wrote the following information in his 2002 book Mental Health Professionals, Minorities and the Poor:

"Prior to colonization by England, it seems that there was a wide range of practices at different times and places [in India]. Regarding what the ancient scriptures say about homosexuality, it seems to be a moot topic. There do not seem to be clear, definitive statements as to its morality or immorality... There are people who state that the ancient scriptures (e.g., the Vedas) are silent on the subject. Others write that the ancient literature condemned it. And others write that it is condoned. Some state that propagation is the foundation of Hinduism; therefore, homosexuality is an antithesis to this value. Some of those who believe that ancient India condoned homosexuality base their case on the fact that there are many ancient visual depictions of homosexual acts (e.g., temple carvings), as well as literary descriptions (e.g., the Karma Sutra) of homosexuality. What is clear is that in present-day India, homosexuality is not condoned and is often condemned."

2002 - Michael Illovsky, PhD 



PRO (yes)

Anil Bhanot, General Secretary of the Hindu Council UK, wrote in a July 2, 2009 article titled "Hinduism Does Not Condemn Gay People," published on the Guardian website:

"The ancient Hindu scriptures describe the homosexual condition to be a biological one, and although the scripture gives guidance to parents on how to avoid procreating a homosexual child, it does not condemn the child as unnatural...

According to the scripture the sex of a child is determined by whether the fire element is dominant or the water element is dominant. Thus during those even nights the fire element dominates giving a male conception and during those odd nights the water element gives a female conception. However, if the fire element equals the water element then a homosexual conception takes place.

The point here is that the homosexual nature is part of the natural law of God; it should be accepted for what it is, no more and no less...

Homosexuals are full human beings, who in Hinduism even worship their own deity, the Mother Goddess Bahuchara, for their spiritual link to the Absolute Brahm."

July 2, 2009 - Anil Bhanot 



Ruth Vanita, PhD, Professor of Women's Studies Program at University of Montana, wrote in a 2005 article "Hinduism and Sexuality" for the Human Rights Campaign web site:

"Several modern Hindu teachers emphasize that all desire, homosexual or heterosexual, is the same, and that aspirants must work through and transcend desire. For example:

Hindu philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti said that homosexuality, like heterosexuality, has been a fact for thousands of years, and that it becomes a problem only because humans focus too much on sex.

When asked about homosexuality, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the international Art of Living movement, said, 'Every individual has both male and female in them. Sometimes one dominates, sometimes other; it is all fluid.'

Mathematician Shakuntala Devi, in her 1977 book The World of Homosexuals, interviewed Srinivasa Raghavachariar, head priest of the Srirangam temple. Raghavachariar said that same-sex partners must have been cross-sex partners in a former life. The sex may change, he said, but the soul retains its attachments; hence love impels them toward one another."

Sep. 7, 2006 - Ruth Vanita, PhD 



The Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association (GALVA), posted on its website in an article titled "The Case For Gay Tolerance: Third-Gender Relationships in Gaudiya Vaishnavism" (accessed Sep. 7, 2006):

"The Kama Shastra and other sociological and moral texts of Vedic India demonstrate the acceptance of three genders in their society, viz., pums-prakriti (men), striya-prakriti (women), and tritiya-prakriti (third gender), comprising napumsaka (gay males) and svairini (lesbians)...

Neuters, asexuals, and bisexuals were similarly a part of society and were mentioned in many secular and religious documents."

Sep. 7, 2006 - Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association (GALVA) 



CON (no)

Devdutt Pattanaik, MBBS, mythology expert and author, stated in his 2001 book The Man Who Was a Woman and Other Queer Tales of Hindu Lore:

"For society, bad karma is that which threatens social stability. In a heterosexual and patriarchal construct, sex change, cross-dress, same-sex intercourse, and other 'queer' activities are bound to be considered undesirable, as they threaten the dominant discourse. Unlike marriage that brings about an acceptable compromise between the twin goals of procreation (for dharma) and renunciation (for moksha), homosexual union brings together two ritually polluting factors: sterility and lust."

2001 - Devdutt Pattanaik, MBBS 



A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder of the Hare Krishna movement, in his 1977 commentary upon the spiritual Hindu classic Srimad-Bhagavatam wrote:

"It appears here [in Srimad-Bhagavatam] that the homosexual appetite of males for each other is created in this episode of the creation of the demons by Brahma. In other words, the homosexual appetite of a man for another man is demoniac and is not for any sane male in the ordinary course of life."

1977 - A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada 



Vishnu Hari Dalmiya, former President of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad political party, in a May 14, 2004 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, stated:

"Making homosexuality legal will be an attack on Indian society. For Hindus, this kind of behavior is not just against nature, it is against our culture."

May 14, 2004 - Vishnu Hari Dalmiya 



K.C. Abraham, PhD, Vice-President of the Church of South India, and Ajit K. Abraham, ThD, a minister with the Church of South India, in an article titled "Homosexuality: Some Reflections From India - Homosexuality: Some Elements for an Ecumenical Discussion" published in the Jan. 1998 issue of The Ecumenical Review, wrote:

"Although these [homosexual] practices are referred to in the traditional Hindu literature and religious mythology, the general attitude towards homosexuality has tended to be disapproval. As editor of the journal Young India, Mahatma Gandhi wrote in 1929 about the 'unnatural vice' in boys' school."

Jan. 1998 - Ajit K. Abraham, ThM 
K.C. Abraham, PhD