All the Trappings of a Gay Marriage


Apr 15, INDIA (SUN) —

Dear Hridayananda Maharaja, Please accept my obeisances. Jaya Srila Prabhupada. Thank you for your reply.

> > 1 Earlier this year, it became public that you had "blessed" a "gay
> > union." 2 The "gay union" you "blessed" had all the trappings of a
> > religious marriage: a ceremony conducted by a religious minister at a
> > religious venue (in this case, a preaching center overseen by yourself)
> > in which two persons (in your words) "commit themselves to each other."
> > Relatives and friends were invited. The blessings of God were invoked on
> > the couple. The event was reported in a magazine (in this case, Chakra)
> > that covers the affairs of the concerned religious institution.
> A few minor corrections: The event did not take place at an ISKCON
> facility.

However that the event was presented and seen as an ISKCON event is clear from the following:

"One hundred family members, friends and ISKCON devotees celebrated... Santa Barbara ISKCON temple president Sarvatma das officiated. Govinda's of Los Angeles served prasad. H.H. Hridayananda das Goswami conferred this blessing"

Does the fact that the event did not take place at an ISKCON facility make a significant difference to what transpired?

> It did not have 'all the trappings,'

As mentioned above, it certainly had "many" of the trappings of a religious marriage. According to the description on Chakra, those in attendance, unless specifically informed otherwise, presumably would have understood that the event was to solemnize what was tantamount to what has come to be known as a "gay marriage."

> especially not a marriage vow

The report stated that they "committed to a loving relationship at a Blessing Ceremony." In other words, the crux of the ceremony was your blessing -- in which you specified that "they commit themselves to each other." What is the nature of that commitment that makes it radically different from a "marriage vow" between gays -- that you profess to disfavor?

> the event was not reported in an ISKCON publication

True; Chakra is not an official ISKCON publication. It is a pro-gay site that reports almost exclusively on ISKCON and clearly intends to influence attitudes and policies in ISKCON, and which has for years prominently voiced your opinions, which are in tandem with its propaganda.

By pointing out that the event did not take place at an ISKCON facility and was not reported in an ISKCON publication, you have stressed that this was not an official ISKCON event. Why have you stressed the unofficial nature of this event, and what significant difference do you feel that this makes to what transpired and your leading role in it?

You are of course fully aware that as an ISKCON sannyasi, guru, and GBC member, all your actions, especially formal public actions, are liable to be considered representative of and endorsed by ISKCON, and fully in line with Srila Prabhupada and the parampara.

> It was not my idea to publish the report, and I had no knowledge a picture
> would be posted.

If you would have known that a report with a picture was going to be posted, would you have acted differently, and if so why?

> > Of course, the outstanding difference between this and a traditional
> religious
> > marriage was that the "union" was between two males: Joshua Norman
> > Einhorn and Stanley Earl Harris.
> A further 'outstanding difference' is that they chose not to marry, and
> did not make a marriage vow.

Their becoming "committed to a loving relationship" was meant to be solemnized by the "Blessing Ceremony." If not, then what was the purpose of the ceremony and what was it that "one hundred family members, friends and ISKCON devotees celebrated"? And what is the crucial difference between a a marriage vow and a religiously sanctified "committ[ment] to a loving relationship"?

> For the last few years, I have not 'so strongly endorsed and defended' gay
> unions.

Please explain how your "blessing" of a gay couple's becoming "committed to a loving relationship" is not "serious, formal and public recognition and appreciation" of and not a strong endorsement of "gay unions."

> By your logic, Prabhupada 'strongly endorsed and defended' meat
> eating since he many times urged people that could not or would not give
> up meat to eat a less important animal and not the cow.
> I spoke of a gay mongamous commitment precisely in the way that
> Prabhupada spoke of eating the flesh of less important animals.

A crucial difference is that Srila Prabhupada never advocated or practiced that Vaisnavas should bless meat-eating, nor hold a formal religious ceremony in celebration of it. Your blessing a "gay union," and its celebration by persons reported to be Vaisnavas, gives an aura of religious sanctity to homosexuality, the tendency toward which our founder-acarya describes as "demoniac" and the act of which Manu describes as sinful.

To encourage grossly sinful people to eat chicken rather than beef, or to stick to one homosexual partner rather than flitting around, should be accompanied by making it clear that such activities, although an improvement, are still inherently sinful and punishable by the laws of nature, and have to be given up if one is serious to attain the ultimate goal of life, pure love of Krsna.

But you have extolled Stanley Harris and Joshua Einhorn's "true love for each other," "such true spiritual love," as "in the spirit of God's love for them" and "blessed" them that "their relationship lead them ... back to our real home in the spiritual world." However that "love," that relationship, is homosexual, which our sacred authorities describe as demoniac and sinful; nowhere in sastra is it stated that homosexuality can lead to the spiritual world.

This topic remains "controversial and divisive": you clearly feel your actions to be in the best interests of ISKCON, whereas others feel that your actions are seriously flawed. As this issue deserves to be intelligently scrutinized and understood by the broader body of devotees, who it certainly affects, I am forwarding these texts beyond this conference, thus also affording you further opportunities to clarify your perspective. Clear, unambiguous responses to my points (given above) would be appreciated.

Hoping this meets you well,

your servant,

Bhakti Vikasa Swami


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