Why discriminate between different sex desire


It was with some interest that I noted a rather long and protracted exchange between devotees on the inclusion or exclusion of Gays within ISKCON and over all approach when preaching to those who are inclined towards homosexual acts.

For some reason it brings in much emotions with the usual divisions reflected in the wider society; one question posed was that of preaching and what we say and the karmic reactions of engaging in Gay Sex.

Two things appeared to be of issue the way we preach and if as ISKCON we recognize and embrace individuals with such feelings and how best to deal with both.

Myself I don’t get it but I point out when questioned on this subject that the biggest hinderance to any devotional life is that of sex life in all it’s guises, and that as devotees it can be the biggest struggle.

We see this in many of the morning walks recorded with Srila Prabhupada that the conversations covered such matters regarding sex life and sexual desire; time and time again he stresses that the material body throws up such feelings but that we need to learn to tolerate which for all but a few is a hard task and will be a lifetimes struggle.

As devotees we promote celibacy in all walks of life the only exception is when there is a need or desire for children, and then only if we are sure that we can bring them us in a Krishna Conscious manor and not as is the case a fashion accessory or a mistake that happened. I am told that within marriage this can be difficult due to the natural desire to be intimate.

What I have noticed in my many conversations is that those who are addicted to sex life and gay sex life is that there is an awareness of there spiritual side; but due to there lifestyle choice they feel rejected or excluded from any spiritual community which can cause anxiety and then animosity towards those who are connected to such groups.

Made especially harder when the accusation of you are going to hell, or returning in the next life as stool or hog which I feel although is a statement of fact will do little to attract anyone to devotional life or the glories of chanting the holy name of Krishna which should be our overall aim in all dealings with all fallen conditioned souls.

After all we are conditioned to fulfill our own senses and desires first always and that we should be free to explore and express ourselves in any way we wish.

Do we deny our feelings are acknowledge them, acknowledgement does not mean we act on them but that we learn to tolerate and train the mind giving a more positive reward than gross sense gratification.

But we also need to adjust our preaching, I recall being told about the first ever initiation’s that Srila Prabhupada did he initially didn’t even mention the four regulative principles and I often wonder how the first devotees felt once they found out what they were especially as this was 60’s America with free love and experimentation with drugs.

For some though it remained difficult and again I recall a class and the devotee was explaining how they had received a letter for Srila Prabhupada and it was at a time when he dealt with all letters personally; in it there was an explanation of there situation that although they were happily married they found refraining from sex life very hard and engaged in wife swapping, bondage and other things.

There was a worry about how Srila Prabhupada would react and so the devotees didn’t want Prabhupada to see it but as always he was aware of what was going on and asked to see the letter; they waited with abated breath but to there surprise Srila Prabhupada said “this is glorious glorious” the devotees were confused.

But then the explanation it was not the act that was glorious in fact from a vedic cultural point of view it was a disaster, but that they realized there situation and the problems it causes in spiritual life and instead of hiding it asked for help and advice. They recognized the need to break away from the conditioning as enjoyers of sex life to that of enjoyers of spiritual life.

If we immediately condemn then there is no gain, and we can cause a stumbling block and as devotees this should never be our intentions either knowing or unknowing, instead we promote the need for celibacy and by giving an alternative lifestyle presented in a way that any one can become free from the bondage of sex life.

We do not discriminate or state one form of illicit sex is worse than another, or condemn anyone but try as far as possible to help then progress in a Krishna Conscious and health manor.

Ow and for anyone of my age will remember the artist Boy George who is gay and has had many personal problems but has helped spread the holy name of Krishna; we could look at the faults and lifestyle choices but then do we see the good.

Best start with the basics the joy of chanting the holy name of Krishna and over time help develop the other essentials to devotional life, and for some there will be a continual fall down and struggle and most notably it will generally be in the area of sex life.

Ow and for anyone interested heres a video of one of his many TV appearances made by Boy George singing Bow down mister Hare Rama Hare Krishna


  1. Yaduvendu says:

    Haribol Caitanyadev prabhu, good points. Must say though, that I don’t completely agree with the idea of celibacy being essential to spiritual life. I think it is an essential part of bramacari and sanyass life. I think it is conducive to health and intelligence and gives us a standard to aim for, so I’m not disregarding it entirely, but the idea of celibacy within a relationship is utterly absurd.

    Some couples may be more restrained than others, that’s personal choice, but I don’t think it should be preached as the standard for being a devotee. It’s too off-putting. The majority of people on this planet would dismiss Krsna Consciousness the instant they heard that was expected of them.

    It’s also an unrealistic expectation for most people. How many times have we seen big devotees disgraced, desiring to control their desires and failing? I read a study on sexual behaviour once, which said that 98% of all males masturbated regularly, even married men having sex regularly with their wives. The 2% that didn’t, obstained only because they had some sort of personal problem.

    The problem with having such an unobtainable standard is it causes people to become dishonest. I’ve heard of gurus confiding in godbrothers that they’re masturbating and I strongly suspect that is the position of many if not most. Indeed, we’ve had many sanyassi’s and even guru’s who’ve been involved in childabuse.

    Sex for procreation is an ugly concept and for devotees to portray this as the Krsna Conscious standard is bad preaching, which can only keep people away.

    Once Narada Muni asked his father Lord Brahma what is the means of deliverance in the Age of Kali? Lord Bramha replied chanting the Holy Names of the Lord. Narada inquired what rules and regulations accompany the chanting. Lord Brahma replied none. The stipulation is only to chant.

    This is why Srila Bhaktisiddhanta admonished his disciples in the 1930’s for preaching Krsna Consciousness as a rule based system. He wrote to Bon Maharaj’give them meat and wine if you have to.’

    Religion has always gone hand in hand with fear and superstition and this causes people to become fanatical. There are no hells and punishments. Such things are included in the Vedas only to keep the ignorant masses in check. We should not take everything so literally.

  2. Radhapriya devi dasi says:

    Yaduvendu– I’m not sure exactly what you are suggesting we do. Should we lower our standards to please all the materialists, just so we can get more members? I’m sure if we allow unlimited sex within marriage and perhaps drinking a few times a week, as well as a little BBQ every once and a while as long as it not cow flesh b/c you know the other animals aren’t so sinful to eat, we will increase our numbers many fold…just see how the Christians are doing. Yet doing this is the greatest sort of cheating as one can not go back to the spiritual world if they are still attracted to material sense gratification of any variety.

    Srila Prabhupada explicitly explainst that “no illicit sex” means no sex other for procreational purposes within marriage. No illicit sex includes masturbation. Prabhupada touches upon this subject in NOI:

    As far as the urges of the genitals are concerned, there are two — proper and improper, or legal and illicit sex. When a man is properly mature, he can marry according to the rules and regulations of the sastras and use his genitals for begetting nice children. That is legal and religious. Otherwise, he may adopt many artificial means to satisfy the demands of the genitals, and he may not use any restraint. When one indulges in illicit sex life, as defined by the sastras, either by thinking, planning, talking about or actually having sexual intercourse, or by satisfying the genitals by artificial means, he is caught in the clutches of maya. These instructions apply not only to householders but also to tyagis, or those who are in the renounced order of life.

    >>> Ref. VedaBase => NoI: verse 1

    Of course, as long as we have material bodies, sex desire will be there. It is very difficult for most of us to overcome. Yet if we desire to be pure devotees we must give it our level best to control it. Again Nectar of INstruction is very instructive in this regard:

    ” A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind’s demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world.

    >>> Ref. VedaBase => Nectar of Instruction, Upadesamrta

    Of course we don’t hit people over the head with these things first thing. We simply encourage them to chant Hare Krsna and gradually by the potency of the Holy names they will naturally be inclined to give up the lower taste of illicit sex, meat eating, intoxication and gambling. This was Srila Prabhupada’s program….Chant Hare Krsna, take prasadam, dance in ecstacy and go back to Godhead.

  3. David says:

    Within all preaching at first basics, chant Hare Krishna and eat Prasadam encourage them to read the books.

    As we advance then hopefully we will desire a higher taste, for many it will remain a struggle, again the immediate condemning just isolates the individual the same as if we are preaching to Gay/Lesdians we condemn the act rather than giving them a higher goal a higher taste.

    I am reminded of a class and they were again talking about how practical Srila Prabhupada was and also how merciful and understanding he was when it came to individuals struggling against the conditioning forced on us by material life.

    Srila Prabhupada asked an indian bodied devotee why he went to a prostitute a direct question, the man explained I have a good wife and as it is said that there should not be any intimate connection unless for children I cannot have sex as much as my body desires.

    Prbhupada simply explained that it is hard for a wife to accept that he will have any form of relationship with any women other than herself and of the damage such act brings. This used to be the system of having many wife’s but this in itself brings many problems.

    So what was his advice?

    It is best to have sexual relations with your wife only, better in regulation but if you cannot manage this then you do not force your wife to have sex but if you both desire then this is the better solution; no prostitutes.

    But time and time again he promoted and talked about regulation and yes we will fall down and continue to struggle but if we have tasted the higher taste then we will willingly enter into the battle ground (and a battle it is)

    But for preaching we never water down, even in the 60’s counter culture Srila Prabhupada presented KC as it is, with only a few fine detail adjustments. We too make fine adjustments but should never water it down

  4. Sanjay Goel says:

    Whatever happened to the dictum of following Guru, Sadhu & Sastra? Are directly insinuating here that certain parts of the scripture are not correct ? If that is so then where does that leave us ? Others can (& do) question the whole scripture.

    Where does this stop – the tendency to ignore sastra or take it according to our own whims & fancies ?

    Hare Krsna

  5. David says:

    Hare Krishna
    Dear Sanjay Goel Das,
    Thanks for your comment, we never ever ignore any scripture in any way shape or form, but we should use wisdom and understanding. Making adjustments to our preaching style or over time allowing the person to adjust, after all Srila Prabhupada attracted so many by just preaching KC as it is but also used wisdom and adjusted according to time place and circumstance and also to what is best needed to help the person progress best in devotional life.
    If we demand perfection from day one, an adherance and understanding of all scriptures from day one then we risk everything.
    Simple, gentle and over time, then we make a devotee for life.

  6. Sanjay Goel says:

    Hare Krsna David Prabhu

    Apologies for causing confusion by not being clear in my comment above. Actually my comment was directed to Yaduvendu Prabhu’s comments which are conveniently ignoring the scripture.

    Specifically this comment disturbed be greatly – “There are no hells and punishments. Such things are included in the Vedas only to keep the ignorant masses in check. We should not take everything so literally.”

    Hare Krsna
    Your servant

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