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LGBT has greater existence in Hindu mythology

BJP MP Subramanian Swamy believes that the homosexuals are anti-Hindu concept and it’s against Hindu religion. As the Supreme Court is all set to hear a number of pleas challenging Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises consensual gay sex between two adults, if homosexuality was against Hindutva then, Swamy should know Hinduism has 19 LGBT Gods. For him it’s not a normal thing, so celebrating it, is against Hindutva. Lord Ayyappa is known as Hari-Hara sut(an), i.e. the son of Vishnu and Shiva. Lord Shiva had a union with Vishnu in his Mohini avatar (after all the Amritmanthan episode and Bhasmasurs mardanam (Killing of Bhasmasur), resulted in a baby, which was then abandoned, to be found by a King, who took care of him.

The relationship between transgender people and religion varies widely around the world. Religions range from accusing any gender variance to honouring transgender people as religious leaders. Hindu philosophy has the concept of a third sex or third gender (tritiya-prakriti – literally, “third nature”). The people in this category of sex/gender are called Hijras in Hinduism.

This category includes a wide range of people with mixed male and female natures such as homosexuals, transsexuals, bisexuals, the intersexes, and so on. Such folks were not cogitated fully male or female in traditional Hinduism, being a combination of both. They are mentioned as third sex by nature (birth) and were not expected to behave like ordinary men and women. Hijras identify themselves as incomplete men that they do not have the desires (for women) that other men do. Their participation in religious ceremonies, especially as cross-dressing dancers and devotees of certain temple gods/goddesses, is considered auspicious in the traditional Hinduism. Some Hindus believe that third-sex people have special powers allowing them to bless or curse others. In Hinduism, the universal creation is honoured as unlimitedly diverse and the recognition of a third sex is simply one more aspect of this understanding.

A protagonist in the Mahabharata, Arjuna spent a year in exile, cursed by a rejected Urvashi to live as a eunuch. But on the request of King Indra, that sentence was reduced and Arjuna lived just a year as a woman, taking the name Brihannala and teaching princesses to dance. Another origin story for the hijras comes from the Ramayana, which tells the tale of Rama gathering his subjects in the forest before his 14-year adventure. He tells the men and women to return to their appropriate places in Ayodhya, but upon his return from his epic journey, Rama finds some have not left the place of that speech and instead merged together in an intersex fashion. He grants hijras the ability to confer certain blessings, the beginning of the badhai tradition.

This warrior in the Kurukshetra war in most telling’s of the Mahabharata was female at birth but changed gender later in life. Born Shikhandini, the girl in one version of the story was raised as a male by King Drupada, the girl’s father. The king even had her married to the princess of Dasharna. Upon complaints from the new bride, Shikhandini fled into the forest and met a Yaksha and exchanged genders. Now taking the name Shikhandi, he remained a man until his death at the battle of Mahabharata. The god of fire, creativity, and wealth is depicted in the Hindu faith as married both to the goddess and Svaha and with the male moon God Soma. Connor and Sparks relate that Agni importantly received Soma’s semen orally. Agni and Shiva’s union resulted in the birth of Skanda, the god of war.

People have worshipped unusual gods and deities for epochs. Mortals throughout history looked to the gods for guidance, love, and acceptance regardless of sexuality. In this dive through history, we can see many immortals that enjoyed same-sex relationships. The notion of gender as a spectrum may feel to some a modern revelation, but Hindu literature and mythology for centuries has taught of the figures that defied the binary. And while the reproductive connection between man and woman has always been revered in the faith, Hinduism, unlike most Western faiths, historically treats homosexuality as a natural behaviour, one documented in folktale and religious text alike. Behold, this incomplete list of Hindu deities and divine descendants who defied gender and sexual norms back in the day.

The supreme God of Shaivism, Shiva has often been held as the ultimate embodiment of masculinity, but as far back as the Kushan era, there have also been depictions of Shiva in the Ardhanarishvara form, an androgynous composite of Shiva and his wife, Parvati. The form originated when Parvati, desiring to share Shiva’s experiences, asked for their forms to literally be joined.

A major deity of the religion regarded as a protector of the world, Vishnu is clearly depicted in the faith as gender-fluid. This major Hindu deity frequently took on the female avatar of Mohini. The avatar Mohini frequently gets described as an enchantress who maddens lovers. An incarnation of Vishnu, the popular deity Krishna also took the form of Mohini in order to marry Aravan to satisfy one of the hero’s last requests, according to the Mahabharata. After Aravan’s passing, Krishna stayed in the form as the hero’s widow for a significant period of mourning. There are many such examples in every religious epic. We Hindu’s always had a place for such genders.

Subramanian Swamy’s argument makes no sense. No one is inviting Dr Swamy into his or her bedrooms. If we live with homophobia, then we need to live with homosexuality too. Secondly, Section 377 is very much a colonial construct, leftover from Victorian morals. Swamy schemes into the tricky territory by dragging Hinduism into it. A recent book, I Am Divine, So Are You – How Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Hinduism Affirm the Dignity of Queer Identities and Sexualities is part of the materials submitted to the Supreme Court. The section on Hinduism points out that, “Hinduism has no paradigm of ‘sin’ under which it locates homosexuality. Nothing has prevented Hindu texts from being abounding with stories of gender crossing and queerness. Who the hell is Subramanian Swamy to drag Hindu religion in all baseless subjects? These motor mouth BJP leaders are not only a threat to religion but also their own political party.

 

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Dr Vaidehi Tamanhttp://www.vaidehisachin.com
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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