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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Be yourself, out loud!