The letter below, written by Rama Putra Das, has been first published by the Gay And Lesbian Vaishnava Association (GALVA-108) , on its Facebook page.

For more information, please read our previous post on this subject.


 

Dear vaishnavas and vaishnavis my sincere obeisances
All glories to Srila Prabhupada! Hare Krsna!

An electronic publication was recently posted on an ISKCON International website referring to a blessing ceremony that I did with a few friends and family members of Veronica and Tatiana to sacrament their homosexual union.

Many positive and negative messages are circulating and I am writing to you to help clarify the facts.
I contacted my spiritual master Hridayananda Dasa Goswami prior to the event and he warned me that ISKCON does not yet have an official policy for same-sex marriage. He appreciated my willingness and the decision to bless the couple was entirely mine based on the experience of performing Agni Hotras at ISKCON for over 20 years.

It is also noteworthy that currently I do not occupy administrative functions at ISKCON, but I reside in New Gokula community, since 1984. And collect for the Dhama maintenance over years. I have a wife and children and that union I mentioned above came from a personal and private conviction.

The ceremony took place at the Bhakti Yoga House in Taubaté-SP, a private space used at ISKCON’s service with kirtans and by weekly lectures. The beneficiaries are friends and collaborators of ISKCON. The space organizers Narada Muni das, Krishna Kripa dd and Prashanta das have always welcomed them. I confess that some years ago I had reservations with homosexual couples for not knowing good examples or references.

However, nowadays I know good examples of sincere and active people in Krishna’s devotional service as established by the Founder-Acarya, Srila Prabhupada. And in this case, the girls are also very dear to being chaste and discreet in their relationship, thus demonstrating an understanding of sattva guna. Before the blessings, I talked to them for a probationary period of three months. So I was able to get to know their real intentions of commitment and loyalty and that motivated me.

During the event, they pledged vows of fidelity and chastity.

Another motivation was that in 2016, I participated in a CGB-Brazil committee [1], with a view to discussing the issue. After months of discussion we did not reach a consensus and there was a division between liberals, conservatives and moderates. After the opinions, we still managed to present a text from which I take the following clipping:

In the Bhagavad-gita (4:35), Lord Krishna says that “Having received true knowledge of a self-fulfilling soul, you will never again fall into this illusion, for with this knowledge you will see that all living beings are nothing more than parts of the Supreme, or, in other words, that they are Mine. ”Based on these words, we understand that any sincere and exemplary person who wishes to approach Lord Krishna through membership in ISKCON can be seen and accepted regardless of his direction sexual, for example. Srila Prabhupada excelled in applying the triad “place, time, circumstance.” And thanks to his followers, ISKCON continues to advance through the course of history.

Finally, I clarify that I did not find any mention of homoaffective ceremony given by Srila Prabhupada or in the manual of our Gaudya tradition. The Vivaha ritual is polarized with specific spaces and procedures for the female and male. However, in view of the fundamental objective of including two sincere souls, we have held this solemn event of blessings, in which we light the “mangala” fire in the presence of friends and family, thus demonstrating the benefit of this spiritual, social and human act.

Your servant Rama Putra das.

 


[1] Note: “CGB-Brazil” stands for ISKCON’s Brazilian Governing Body Comission. An excerpt from the decisions of the committee referred in the letter follows below:

“On the prolonged weekend of Tiradentes, April 21, 22 and 23, the members that compose the Brazilian Governing Body ( CGB ) of ISKCON Brazil have assembled in Nova Gokula to their Ordinary General Assembly of 2017. Under the conduction of Sarvabhauma Prabhu (PS) and His Holiness Dhanvantari Swami, the meeting discussed important themes for the future of the institution in the country and elected a new board for the CGB, that will be headed by Labanga Devi Dasi, who substitutes Daruka Das as president, Kalacandji Devi Dasi, tha takes the post left by Sarvabhauma Das as secretary, and Gadadhara Pandir Das, who remained as treasurer. It’s the first time that CGB has a female devotee as its president. Labanga Devi is temple president in Manaus and a teacher, and manages several projects in her city.

(…)

Last year, the CGB received a request for a discussion on the theme “homoaffective religious union ceremonies”. According to Savabhauma Prabhu, that participated in the discussions of the committee that was formed in 2016, more time is needed to discuss about the subject and present it in the next meeting of the CGB, in 2018. Therefore, the creation and formation of a new commission to analyse and research deeply into this matter was approved, taking the Vedas as its basis, the academic knowledge about the subject and research with other religious groups.”

The full content can be read in Brazilian Portuguese on the official page of ISKCON’s Brazilian Governing Body.

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