Chakra Discussions

Process of Krishna consciousness is practical and gradual

by Hrdayananda das Goswami

Posted January 3, 2005

Recently, I posted a text recommending a particular strategy for helping devotees whose bodies are homosexual. I realize that my remarks were brief and perhaps thus lend themselves to misinterepration. I apologize for that.

I am now writing a much more elaborate explanation of my views that will, I hope, correct this problem. In the meantime, I would request devotees to read carefully. It is simply not possible for me to respond to every letter on this and other forums, but I will address one letter, simply to demonstrate the need for careful reading.

A letter has appeared on Dipika stating: "It's not really a solution to give all people who say they are gay some formal recognized status."

I did not propose "to give all people who say they are gay some formal recognized status." Rather I am concerned with sincere devotees who a) are trying their best to give up sense gratification and advance in Krishna consciousness, b) are homosexual, and c) are unable at this point to completely renounce.

The core of the issue is this: the fallen soul has to give up all sin and sense gratification and return to Krishna. This can only be done in the association of devotees. Therefore Prabhupada formed ISKCON. We do not justify or condone sin, but we try to encourage sincere devotees to come and take good association and advance so that they can gradually give up sin. I suggested a practical means to help certain sincere devotees who are trying to free themselves from sin and sense gratification.

Far from justifying homosexual behavior, I suggest a means by which such devotees can gradually give up that behavior. What I am accepting is the fact that a spirit soul can simultaneously be a) a sincere devotee trying to be Krishna conscious, b) incapable at the moment of total renunciation, and c) homosexual. I further assume that we should do what we can to help those people advance in Krishna consciousness, the only means to transcend sin.

"If you are really serious about giving gays a solution in spiritual life, then why not take a look at the factors that lead to homosexuality? There are numerous studies being conducted into just that very matter."

According to this logic, we can easily stop all heterosexual activity within ISKCON not aimed at procreation if we simply "take a look at the factors that lead to" such sex. Prabhupada stated that Krishna consciousness is a gradual process and that is true for everyone. Are we to now believe that for sincere devotees with homosexual bodies, Krishna consciousness is not a gradual process? Are homosexuals actually more advanced than heterosexuals, in that heterosexuals give up lust only gradually but homosexuals can do it instantly?

The fact that an activity is sinful does not necessarily make it easier to give up. I have proposed a practical strategy to renounce homosexuality, and a degree of compassion that will encourage devotees struggling with this issue to associate with other devotees and get the strength they need gradually to give up their sinful activities. If we simply condemn and despise such devotees, they will not at all be encouraged to associate with ISKCON, and thus it will actually be much more difficult for them to renounce sin.

In conclusion, I will soon publish here and elsewhere a much more elaborate statement on this issue, quoting Krishna Himself and other great authorities in favor of doing what is practical to help individuals to improve themselves, even if such strategies are not explicitly given as shastric rules. Again, it is Krishna Himself who says this, along with other great authorities. Stay tuned. And read carefully.