Vanity thought #874. Abortion and gay rights

There was one item in the news recently that touched on the topic I haven’t addressed before. It’s about “our” Tulsi Gabbard, first devotee in US Congress. She was elected a while ago and this latest article is about her visit to India on the occasion of Gita Jayanti.

It sounds all very innocent but it also prompted HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami to call on GBC to disavow this article and to “police” the “aberrant” new.iskcon.org. What’s the problem?

It’s Tulsi’s stance on gay rights and abortion/contraception issues.

A bit of history first – she is a daughter of Srila Prabhupada’s disciple Siddha Swarupa right hand man, Krishna Katha Prabhu, Mike Gabbard, who has eventually converted to Catholicism. Her mother Devahuti, however, remained a devotee, afaik. Siddha Swarupa had eagerly embraced vaisnavism and was very successful in preaching in Hawaii but later fell out with ISKCON and GBC. According to Hari Sauri’s Transcendental Diaries at one point Srila Prabhupada even commented that despite being a devotee he has never surrendered. So, Tulsi is not exactly an ISKCON devotee even though she also belongs to Srila Prabhupada’s family.

She doesn’t chant a regular number of rounds or anything like that but her spiritual home is Vrindavana, where she visits very often, and, as far as politicians go, you can’t ask for anything more.

Siddha Swarupa once run in elections in Hawaii but it was Mike Gabbard who became successful politician as Hawaii Senator, and now Tulsi got elected, too. Good for them.

Now, the issues.

Mike Habbard has always been a conservative and he made a name for himself as anti-gay, anti-abortion campaigner, a position expected from devotees who grew up on Srila Prabhupada’s books. Naturally, Tulsi followed his steps but now she is part of a Democrat party and her stance on gay rights has changed, which is not surprising, and this is what provoked Bhakti Vikasa Swami’s protest.

Her position on abortion is murkier, she doesn’t publicly commit herself one way or another but she supports women’s right to contraception. If push comes to shove she might vote for pro-abortion bills but I’m sure she’ll disguise it in such a way as not to offend her conservative supporters.

Tulsi being a politician, I thought it would be easy to find her position on these issues but actually it’s not. There are organizations dedicated to tracking down voting history etc and they churn up a lot of data but one thing is still elusive there – a definitive answer. They just elect this wall of garbage that passes off as information and I bet it’s designed to give a wiggle room for future policy reversals. Never mind, it’s not important.

I’m sure Tulsi does not support abortion as a rule, I don’t think she has changed direction of her moral compass on this, but there exceptions to each rule, too. Duryodhana wasn’t particularly welcome to this world, for example, so in Vedic times killing unwanted demoniac progeny wasn’t completely out of the question.

I don’t know what to do with rape victims either. I can’t imagine they’d ever love the child conceived that way. The specter of rape will always hang over them and it’s not something I have a clear opinion on. Did Srila Prabhupada ever forced raped women to carry their children? If not, I’d rather leave room for doubt on this one.

Gay rights are easier and it’s a good reason to doubt Tulsi’s dedication to sanatana dharma, as she puts the name of her religion herself. Having said that, I don’t actually have a problem with gay marriage. The more I think about it the clearer it becomes – gays should better stay in monogamous relationships. They are not going to live with women, that’s just not happening anymore, so being “married” is the next best thing, from varnashrama perspective.

If by marriage they mean having the same tax breaks as actually married couples I can’t care less what they legally call it. Should they be allowed to adopt children? As long as we have orphans who need to be looked after it’s not easy to argue why not. Would these orphans be better off as orphans or as children who grew up with gay parents?

The only downside is the effect on these children’s understanding of what sex is and what it is for but people get wrong ideas about it without being raised by gays, so that might not have a big effect after all. Who will have a better chance of becoming a devotee – an orphan or a gay parents’ adopted kid? I don’t know, there are too many variables, and so altogether I don’t see many reasons to object to gay adoptions.

Gays in ISKCON, however, is a completely different story. Out there they can live whatever perverted life they create for themselves but to be a devotee one must give up sex as means of enjoyment, which is impossible for gays. They should either become celibate and forget about their sexual orientation altogether or they should marry a woman (or a man, for lesbians) and raise Krishna conscious children.

Would that be against their gay nature? I bet it would, but devotees should live for the pleasure of Krishna, not for themselves. There’s a reason why human life on this planet is so special – it gives one the opportunity to develop his Krishna consciousness. If being gay is not suitable for devotional service – tough luck, dogs and cats have it even worse.

We can’t save everyone, Sivananda Sena once saved a dog that followed his party to Jagannatha Puri and Lord Chaitanya saved lots of wild animals in Jarikhanda forest but our abilities are limited. If we can’t save gays then we can’t do it, period.

Gay people can chant, they can read books, they can preach, they can do tons of service, they can beget children, but engaging in gay sex isn’t one of the options. They should accept this limitation just as western devotees accept not being allowed to enter temple of Lord Jagannatha.

Should they be given initiation? Why not, as long as they follow the fourth regulative principle just as straight devotees do – sex only for procreation. If they can’t commit themselves to that – tough luck. Having formal initiation and being accepted by Krishna as a servant of His servants are not one and the same thing anyway. Not having diksa is a big loss but it’s not fatal.

So, as long as Tulsi doesn’t promote homosexuality among devotees I don’t have a problem with her gay rights stance, I think Bhakti Vikasa Swami has overreacted somewhat her, though his objection was against new.iskcon.org, not against Tulsi herself, and that is a whole other topic.

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12 comments on “Vanity thought #874. Abortion and gay rights

  1. Hi just curious if as a devotee you take any issue with the teachings of Chris Butler Siddhaswarupananda and the level of hardcore mind control that exists within that particular Krishna group. I was born and raised like Tulsi to serve Butler. In my personal experience, EVERYTHING on Flashlight On Roaches blog is absolutely accurate. Tulsi is a devotee of Chris Butler and his hideous representation of Krishna Consciousness. You support Tulsi because she chants, but you are really supporting Chris Butler’s version, which by my calculations has him as the worst of the worst. If Krishna is real, he would never for a second support the abominations done in his name within the Butler cult.

    Research the group, do not support them I say devotees should learn the history and the truth of Chris Butler and how he mind controls his disciples to the highest degree for 40 years now. He has my baby brother, his personal servant in one of his multiple Kailua mansions, Laksmana Ranson. Butler ordered my family and friends disown me 10 years ago. They did and have done. I was not allowed access to my Fathers funeral because Butler said so. He is a filthy rich cult leader who had his disciples running drugs on billion dollar scales through the 80’s and 90’s, finally it comes out, not a single mind controlled follower can interact with the news, no accountability whatsoever. I was 3 and denied medical attention for years with severe asthma as per his orders in the early 80’s, my mum won’t even get on the phone to discuss it, they do not feel bad for the abuse I suffered and Chris Butler never said I’m sorry, that was wrong, you were mistreated. He tells them he is “Srila Prabhupada ” and the only man in direct contact with Krishna.

    I think it’s disgusting that other devotees turn a blind eye to him, fair enough, but to condone him and Tulsi as real Krishna devotees makes you all complicit in agreeing all these abominable actions are condoned by Krishna and legitimate within Gaudiya Vaishnavaism

    • I didn’t know Siddha Swarupa’s group was still going on. Tulsi, however, is rather proof that they are not all brainwashed zombi maniacs you make them out to be. Since SS is not in ISKCON it’s not our job to correct his allegedly erroneous ways.

      • Do you know the history of Tulsi’s father Mike Gabbard and senator Rick Reed, like Tulsi all have been totally devoted to Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa.
        YouTube Tulsi Gabbard Yaladuta Yatra and also Tulsi Gabbard Srila Prabhupada. It is very recent and she spoke about Srila Prabhupada (ACBVS) coming to USA but also specifically stated “My GuruDeva Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa “. She admits he is her Guru in this video and there is a wealth of evidence demonstrating every member of her staff are life long or day 1 devotees of Siddhaswarupananda. And yes the group goes till this day, but completely secretive, Siddha has not preached publicly since the 80’s, only speaks to his followers and initiated by mail now.
        I’m not trying to sway you one way or the other, just wondering if other Krishna people take any issue with abusive gurus who surely misrepresent Krishna and the movement. Fair enough if you are not concerned with Tulsi’s affiliation to Siddhaswarupananda, judge her on her merits. As someone who comes from the group I understand the level of dominance in that group of Siddha over the minds of my family, I also know Tulsi Gabbard is his project 100% she was groomed for this by him and her parents, his most senior and important disciples.

      • If Tulsi is Siddhaswarupa’s project then he must be doing something right.

        I am not an authority to tell Siddhaswarupa what to do, he does not recognize GBC either, and if he stopped public preaching there’s even less reason to get involved. It’s a non-issue, at most there’d be a public statement about how ISKCON bears no responsibility for a group that split forty years ago.

  2. I understand the tone of my first comment was harsh, I’m sure you can understand why. Not here to sway your opinion on Tulsi, just hope that some others look into the context, just to be mindful of that. But please support Tulsi, hope you can understand where I’m coming from. I realize what I know and experienced within Siddhaswarupananda’s group is far from common knowledge amongst devotees, it is all done in secrecy.

    Please just keep it in mind if you keep following the story, brush up on a little info about Siddhaswarupananda and his ongoing and extremely financially fluent sub sect. They love money and businesses, just flowing so much money to Siddha, thinking it is service to Krishna as the guy lives in mansions using his students and disciples for his personal domestic servants.
    They give 25% personal income to a guy who puts it all into his wife Wai Lana’s yoga show. That money is to serve Krishna yet he does not preach, all he does is upload YouTube videos of his 30 year old television lectures. He lives lavishly in Hawaii an ultra reclusive cult leader. He attempts to indirectly get Krishna stuff out but it is all so veiled and subliminal either soft chants in the background on Wai Lana Yoga or veiled indirect messages in Ninjai a cartoon they made or Karma Kula a live action martial arts series.

    Just seems a poor excuse for “money spent in Krishna’s service”

    Thanks for hearing me out, just have a poke around about Siddha or keep it in mind but I don’t mean to actually sway your opinion of Tulsi. She is a very accomplished woman.

    A video my friend made, about Tulsi from a fellow Siddhaswarupananda kid one of the very few who have spoken against Siddhaswarupananda’s group (because of the heavy control and across the board families will disown and cut off any kids who speak out.)

    • I just realized you are commenting on a post from two years ago. I haven’t thought of or even remembered of Tulsi’s existence since until you brought it up.

      I take note of whatever you say about Siddhaswarupa, one day it might come useful, but I’m not going to poke around without a purpose and atm I have even less interest in Siddhaswarupa than I do in Tulsi.

      I think you are just trying to make yourself heard and draw attention to what you think is a big problem. This is natural, but natural according to our conditioned, selfish nature – everyone naturally wants to talk about himself as if he is the center of the world.

      All your suffering is just your karma, however, it will come and go, and one must learn to tolerate it without being disturbed. Kṛṣṇa will never force His devotees to suffer more than they can bear and I’m not going to get in the middle of your and Kṛṣṇa’s relationships and dare to correct Him and tell Him how to treat you properly. His mercy comes without a fail but only to those who give up their attachments, which is always painful to the ego, join the club.

      One day you will realize that this bitching about Siddhaswarupa adds nothing of value to your life, that it keeps you enslaved in your own misery. You’ll realize that you’d be better off without it and you’ll finally let it go. Most people will just get on with their lives and find a new subject of infatuation, which will lead to new frustrations and the cycle will continue. Maybe you will have enough intelligence to replace anarthas, things without value, with bhakti. That would be a really smart thing to do so try not to burn your bridges with Kṛṣṇa, He might still come useful.

      Do not listen to your mind so much, it is not your friend, it’s just a trap to ensnare you in either misery or happiness.

      • Thanks, I appreciate your time, thanks for hearing me out. I hear you loud and clear braddah.

        I would have moved on with my life had they not fully disowned me. Just my immediate family, specifically on SS’s orders.

        That one hurts more, had they stayed in touch from the start, 10 years ago I’d say I’d have little to be hung up on in my early life.

        Again I thank you for your responses I truly appreciate it, Hare Krishna my friend.

      • Families are tough, they practically own us and finding freedom from their influence is not easy. I don’t know what to do about my mom, for example, but compared to you it’s “first world’s problem” meme stuff.

        Just as an aside, the other day I was talking to some Russian about Stalin. Turns out they can’t live without this guy, for all the terrible things he did to that country they can’t just disown him as he meant for them (or rather their grandparents) so much for so long, he defined their national character probably more than any other figure from the 20th century.

        I mean that when Kṛṣṇa reaches to us through someone, our guru, this message is the most precious but the guru also might come with a ton of sh*t of his own. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but there will always be something in our gurus that we might find reprehensible. Sob stories in and around ISKCON are endless but we should not let them define what Kṛṣṇa means for us.

      • With full respect I think your attitude is very bad but common as you will silence abuse, you will discourage people from voicing concerns on the negative impacts of the ideology they were raised to believe in without a choice.

        You are telling me not to “bitch about siddha” so I assume you are okay with systematically cutting off the family members. There is an enormous amount of systematic abuse placed on the children, medical neglect being one we all suffered. I am the first out of hundreds of kids to speak out in 40 years. Many have spoken but all are anonymous, all fear the repercussions of losing their families and also retaliation from SS devotees.

        I explained this and many other abuses and all you have done is suggest it is incorrect, that Siddha has done good stuff and above all you suggest I move on and not bring these things to light.

        I assume you hold a position of leadership within ISKCON but either way your attitude is one that fosters abuse.
        Do not BITCH about the abuse, and be very careful not to offend Krishna is all you say.

        I assume Krishna and yourself see nothing to object to, also inferring that to offend Siddha is to offend Krishna.

        You say this out of ignorance and I say Krishna would be more offended with a bogus guru abusing devotees and completely misrepresenting himself as the only pure devotee in the world.
        The guy is a criminal, Krishna is a front and it’s all drug running, money laundering and big money. That’s what SS wants. It is beyond well founded he was running this drug smuggling for profit for decades.

        You tell me to stop bitching about this guy and that I’d better be careful not to offend Krishna.

        attitudes like yours. it just makes me sick no wonder ISKCON was always a hotbed of hideous abuse.

        You be sure you’re not burning bridges with Krishna.

  3. All you can say about Siddhswarupa is “He must be doing something right”

    Kinda feels a bit dismissive of my experience.

    I get it, you can’t comment on it since you can’t be sure either way, but come on, gimme just a touch of sympathy! You guys are so numb to this stuff at this point, I’m sure! Ha ha the amount of abuse you’ve had to smooth over, no time for Siddha’s crap.

    By the way, he may not be ISKCON but he is legitimized by ACBVS, to his followers he is the next perfect expression of the unbroken disciplic succession after Srila Prabhupada (which we all call Siddha!)
    And he may not preach publicly but they recruit through indirect “yoga” studios and chant and bring people in slow, then reveal him to approved newbies.
    Most of his group is all “born in” now, I am generation 2, generation 3 will be having gen 4 soon.
    Inside the group he distributes lectures and orders his influence is in truth extremely strong, it’s all hidden.

  4. Rape is a crime and murdering a baby in the womb is a crime. So one crime does not warrant another crime. Bad karma to be raped but this does not mean it is accepted to kill a baby. That is sin upon sin. A vaisnava would have to rise above this and train others to rise above. A baby cannot be killed because his birth was due to rape. We have to accept our karma and not implicate ourselves further by committing more sin. Kerp or give away baby but killing is not an option for one who wants to do right in moral behavior

    • My latest post in this blog touches on Tulsi Gabbard and abortion again. Anyway, what pauses me with regards to children conceived through rape is the case of Duryodhana who they tried to kill because of his sinful nature. This is somewhere in Mahabharata and I won’t make up my mind until I see all the details, the context for their decision, the reasons they gave for it and whether they were any arguments against it. Varṇa-saṅkara is not to be taken lightly, at least one has to think about it before making a decision. Personally, I’m strictly against abortion because that’s what I learned in our society but who knows what I’d think if I were a pregnant raped woman. My position as a male is easy and it costs me nothing to tell women what to do.

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