From Bhakti Purushottama Maharaja (JPS, GBC) on the WhatsApp ICC Informal Discussions Group on 27 August 2020.:
“Received this strange and appalling forward from a devotee asking for the credentials about this as it’s been widely circulated. This may be a propaganda to defame ISKCON.”
[The above “forward” Maharaja refers to is a hyperlink to the article “ISKCON performs the first Hare Krishna gay marriage ceremony in Brazil” on this website.]
Basu Ghosh Das (ACBSP) replies:
No propaganda to defame ISKCON at all, Maharaj. This is a true story. What you and probably quite a few devotees in India are probably “blissfully unaware of” is that this is the result of the errant ideology being spread by Hridayananda Maharaj. You may or may not remember that back during 2005, Maharaj published an essay entitled, “Vaishnava moral theology”, and in that essay he wrote that homosexuals should be encouraged to have only one partner, instead of many partners.
For those who are reading this who may not be aware, the virus “HIV” that causes the disease “AIDS” is spread mainly by homosexual relations, and due to the fact that homosexuals have – generally – many partners, it became the cause of disease and death for many hundreds – maybe thousands of homosexuals. Some who died of AIDS were godbrothers whom I personally knew. Some of them I knew to be homosexuals, and others I was unaware. I will not go into more details here: it is besides the point. The point is this. Srila Prabhupada condemned homosexuality in a number of places, such as the purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 3.20.26, and in his letter to Lalitananda Das, where he told him “straight out” to “give up this homosex”.
However, “gay rights”, “gender equality”, and feminism are topics that are extremely popular with “Western liberals”. Most urbanites in the USA, Europe, Australia, Canada, Brazil, etc., This outlook is also popular among a number – but certainly not all – devotees in the West. The “push” for female diksha gurus in ISKCON is born from the influence of feminism, and the gender equality movement. Even the politics in India – and even the BJP have made women Chief Ministers, and finance minister is a woman. Similarly the liberal concept of “gay rights”, and the now open legality of homosexual marriage is law in the USA, Europe, and a number of other societies, but not in Russia, or China.
The Supreme Court in India ruled a year or so back that the law (which was on the books in India) against homosexuality is unconstitutional.
What we have is a battle between the traditions of vedic culture and religion that Prabhupada was a messenger of, and that he was a strict adherent of, and teacher of, and those amongst us who are more influenced by these heterodox concepts, but are not only initiated devotees, but even gurus and GBC men.
Prabhupada wrote in his purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 8.20.1: “Anyone who is supposed to be a guru but who goes against the principle of visnu-bhakti cannot be accepted as guru”. The GBC has allowed Hridayananda Maharaj to contradict the teachings of Prabhupada and shastras for many years, hoping that they could somehow rectify his errant preaching. However, doing so has not worked, and yet, they still have not taken action, nor has he been censured.
Since Brazil is far away from India, we are not aware of the influence of Hridayananda Maharaj’s teachings there. Half, or even more of the ISKCON devotees there are his disciples, and a number of them have accepted his heterodox views, and that has been reflected in this news – it is from last year, as I recall – of the homosexual marriage there at Brazil.
Earlier – years ago – Hridayananda Maharaj had “blessed a homosexual commitment ceremony”, where a homosexual couple pledged to be faithful to one another (and not have other homosexual partners). There is a godbrother who has made the “so-called” “Galva”, i.e. “Gay and Lesbian Vaishnav Association”. Such an association is condemnable according to what Prabhupada taught, and yet, this godbrother has so many rationalizations for that. He is not supported by the GBC, it seems…