Q.I have subscribed to your magazine because I seek more devotion toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. I am a homosexual, and I do not follow the beliefs of the ISKCON movement but the traditional Hindu practices. Throughout my readings in the Vedas, the Gita, and other literary sources, I haven’t found any information regarding homosexuality. I would like to know ISKCON’s teachings on homosexuality and what you offer young people like me?
A. ISKCON encourages everyone to perfect his life by following the practices of Krishna consciousness. In replying to your question, we feel it’s important for you to first understand what ISKCON is all about. The basic points of our philosophy, as taught by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita, are that we are all spirit souls, eternally related with Krishna, the Supreme Lord. The purpose of human life is to awaken our original loving relationship with Krishna. Krishna consciousness is not a question of believing or not believing something; Krishna consciousness is part of our true nature. Somehow or other we have to reawaken that consciousness and become purified of material desires, rooted in the false idea that we are these bodies.
The practices of ISKCON are all meant to purify our consciousness and free us from bodily identification. Spiritual life must be more than choosing which religion agrees with me. The question should be, “How will I become purified?”
In this age, the scriptures recommend the chanting of God’s names as the only means to awaken our original consciousness. To chant effectively, we must give up sinful acts. The scriptures stress that we must give up gambling, meat-eating, intoxication, and illicit sex, defined as any sex not performed for procreation. Since homosexual acts cannot produce a child, they must ultimately be given up to get the benefits of chanting the Lord’s holy names.
Still, one unable to give up sex at once should chant, go to the temple, read Srila Prabhupada’s books, and so on. Everyone can do these things. They will help, but progress will be slow unless one gives up sinful activities.
Our bodies and our particular conditioning result from our individual karma. Krishna loves you and is happy that you are seeking guidance in your spiritual life. He knows your personal struggles and limitations. What He rewards, ultimately, is your sincerity and your effort to come closer to Him.