Homosexuality and gender expression weren’t always considered taboo. Modern disregard for discovering sexuality outside the metaphysical norms is not common with the ancient times.

The eternal soul is neither male nor female.

The eternal soul illustration
SOURCE: www.google.com

Since ancient times, Indian perspective has been open to all entities known to man-kind. In ancient India, all forms were accepted including Rakshasas and Apsaras.


In Valmiki Ramayana, Hanuman claimed to have seen Rakshasa women embracing one another, an act of homosexuality.

According to ancient scriptures of architecture, a temple’s walls must illustrate Kama, Dharma, Artha and Moksha. Erotic sculptures which represent Kama are a part of ancient Hindu temples.

Kama, Dharma, Artha and Moksha
SOURCE: www.google.com

In Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh), temples have numerous sculptures of women pleasing women and a few with men showing their genitals to each other. These images are depicted as acts of homosexuality, according to scholars.

Display of homosexuality in temple sculptures
SOURCE: www.fineartamerica.com

In Kendarya Mahadeva temple, there are sculptures of two women engaged in intercourse. In Laxman temple, men pleasing one another orally.

Other than this, sculptures of men engaged in oral sex are found in Brahmadev temple (Chhattisgarh) and Kalleshwar temple (Karnataka), as well.

Temples with stone carvings were constructed during the sixth century, Common Era (C.E.). The images in stone walls included a wide variety of Gods, Goddesses, nymphs, beasts, lovers, warriors, priests, plants and animals. Remember what I said about Indian frame of mind welcoming all beings imaginable?

Erotic sculptures range from a romantic gaze to orgies including men, women and even animals. From homosexuality to bestiality, all types of images can be seen. Some of these images may seem bizarre, obscene and unacceptable to society, today.

Erotic Ancient Sculptures displaying homosexuality
SOURCE: www.ourglobaltrek.com

People also conclude that these images had no relation with reality, and were rather related to Tantrik practices. Or that these were to test the minds of visitors against the worldly pleasures . It takes your own point of view to decipher the reason behind it.

Gender Reversal

Gender reversal has played a key role in the Hindu Mythology.

1. A tale from 7th Skanda of Srimad Bhagavad Purana

In this story, Narada Muni felt thirsty while travelling alongside Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu advised him to bathe in the water before he could quench his thirst. But, Narada forgot and drank the water first, instead. He turned into a woman upon drinking the water. Later, he married a sage and gave birth to 60 children.

Unfortunately, the sage and the children died in an incident. Out of grief, Narada tried to drown in a pond but emerged out of the pond as his male-self.

2. Great churning of the Milky Ocean, Matsya Purana

Lord Vishnu transformed into a beautiful woman called Mohini. She enchanted the Asuras while the Devas drank the Amrita. Lord Shiva fell in love with Mohini and started chasing her. Lord Vishnu transformed into himself again. But, Shiva along with Parvati went to Vishnu and asked him to take the form of Mohini, again. Their union gave birth to a son, Aiyanar. Later, Vishnu refused to show Shiva his female form again.

SOURCE: www.mygodpictures.com

Reincarnation is also a huge part of Hindu mythology. Mohini was born as the Apsara Mohini, later.

3. A similar story from Mahabharata

King Drupada’s daughter, Shikhandini, born female but raised as a prince. Drupada even got her married to another woman. The woman learned the truth and chose to rebel against it. The same day, the Gods blessed Shikhandini with a phallus. Henceforth, Shikhandini lived as a transgender warrior.

SOURCE: www.medium.com

These stories were told proudly in the old times, there was no shame in addressing men with desires of a woman or women with interests of a man. Gender expression was not a taboo.

Even today, we believe that Hijras (men who choose to dress as women) bring good fortune with their blessings. We must break these modern metaphysical norms and welcome all forms of being with open arms and open hearts.

In Bhagvad Gita, Lord Krishna advised Arjuna to not be arrogant for there is much more to the universe than the human mind can comprehend.

As I said in the beginning, the eternal soul has no gender. Your body, your sexuality, your personality is a result of your karmic fate. They are natural. There is no eternal damnation for those who choose to be queer or homosexual. There is nothing unnatural in a way a person chooses to live their life. Every way of being is a reflection of the divine.

Homosexuality LGBTQ Pride Colors Heart
SOURCE: https://www.dreamstime.com/

Be yourself, out loud!

50 thoughts on “Homosexuality And Gender Reversal In Ancient India

  1. I am in love with the writer. A topic which our world never wants to talk about is explained with such beautiful illustrations. Perfect enlightenment for the people who find homosexuality an absurd crime.

  2. Beautifully written and very well explained.. one of the rarest topic, hard to find out such topics.. summed up in very good manner

    Congratulations Dr Bandhan Chauhan for this article 👍

  3. That is an amazing article, written very nicely! Its awesome that you chose a taboo topic and explained it in relation to the gods and goddesses which might make the indian society accept it more willingly! ❣️ Great job sister 😘

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