GBC Questions HDG's Gay-Inclusive Preaching
Posted April 16, 2009
At this years ISKCON Governing Body Commission (GBC) Meeting in Mayapura, the following statement was issued: "The GBC has carefully reviewed the recent action (giving blessings) and the public statements of Hridayananda Maharaja concerning homosexuality. These remain controversial and divisive in ISKCON, and the GBC does not endorse or support them. Teaching obligations have kept Hridayananda Maharaja from attending the GBC meetings this year, so the GBC has not been able to discuss this issue with him. A GBC delegation will soon meet personally with him to discuss this issue and attempt to reach a common understanding."
(GBC Resolution 317)
It will be interesting to see what comes out of this meeting and hopefully some common understanding will be reached. To date, ISKCON has made little or no attempt to include or extend outreach to the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) community. Leaders who have, such as H.H. Bhakti Tirtha Swami and H.H. Hridayananda Goswami, are consequently given much trouble for their effort. GALVA (the Gay And Lesbian Vaishnava Association), an organization established to support GLBT Vaishnavas and assist them in overcoming discrimination, is all but ignored by ISKCON. ISKCON itself has no official policies concerning the fair treatment, accommodation, or protection of GLBT members in our movement, and this is true whether they are full-time devotees strictly following the principles or part-time congregational members with possible shortcomings. ISKCON temples and leaders are free to accept or reject such people at whim, without guidelines, and often in direct contradiction to Srila Prabhupada's own example of friendly dealings with homosexual and transgender people.
Hridayananda Goswami has summarized his position on gay-inclusiveness as follows:
"We should encourage all people from all backgrounds to come to Krishna consciousness, and it is natural to form various associations to support the diverse Vaishnava communities in their spiritual practices. Surely Lord Krishna appreciates and blesses all sincere efforts to help others advance in Krishna consciousness.
"Vaishnavas should endeavor to bring Lord Caitanya's mercy to all living beings, and we must treat all devotees, and indeed all creatures with appropriate dignity and respect. Srila Prabhupada's books inspire us to such behavior by revealing that all living beings are equally part and parcel of Lord Krishna. This eternal fact should serve as justification and inspiration to arouse the mercy and respect of true Vaishnavas."
(Chakra Editorial, January 30, 2002)
I'm sorry the GBC has thus far chosen not to "endorse or support" any of Hridayananda Goswami's public statements regarding outreach to GLBT people, such as the ones cited above. Hopefully this will change after the meeting and with further discussion.
To read more positive perspectives from various Vaishnava leaders, go to: www.galva108.org/gv_leaders
Please Note: We are always looking for additional positive perspectives regarding gay-inclusiveness in Krishna consciousness. If you are an ISKCON or Gaudiya Vaishnava leader (guru, sannyasi, temple president, etc.) and wish to submit a paragraph or two for public use, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. A few positive words will go a long way and encourage many GLBT people in their Krsna consciousness.