One of the most common answers to problems for both straight and gay devotees, and for all devotees in general, is that we just need to chant the mantra and everything will be okay. Hard to argue with that but this statement has caveats as well.
It’s enough to chant the Holy Name to achieve all kinds of material and spiritual success, true, but the result might not be what one expected. It is also possible to remain steadily in illusion despite the chanting. Not forever but for the foreseeable future and probably many lifetimes ahead.
The Name fulfills all desires, it’s fair and unbiased in that, so for practical purposes, when we make predictions, instead of blindly relying on the Holy Name we should evaluate our own desires first. In the long run the Holy Name will naturally correct everything, we are Kṛṣṇa’s eternal servants, sooner or later our spiritual nature will shine through, but none of us is probably prepared to wait that long, we just haven’t got the patience.
When we talk about success in chanting we mean now or at least “soon”. Our daily practical concerns do not extend beyond this lifetime anyway. If we talk about arrangements for gay devotees we talk about present time, not next birth. So, while technically all glory will eventually come to Śrī Kṛṣṇa saṅkīrtana it might come too late to solve our current problems.
That’s one of the reasons why we have our regulative principles and tons of other prescriptions – we need to make progress now, not thousands lifetimes in the future. If one decides to abandon regulative principles and just chant he might waste the rest of his life without making any progress even if in the end he will inevitably succeed.
Or think of it another way – chanting does not work like magic. Spiritual progress is not something that is there but impossible to see. One of the verses I quoted yesterday illustrates this point (SB 1.2.20):
Thus established in the mode of unalloyed goodness, the man whose mind has been enlivened by contact with devotional service to the Lord gains positive scientific knowledge of the Personality of Godhead in the stage of liberation from all material association.
Sanskrit words are bhagavat-tattva-vijñānaṁ – realization of the knowledge about the Lord – vijñāna. It’s not something intangible, an invisible bank balance like accumulated karma. The Lord is real and what Śrīla Prabhupāda called “positive scientific knowledge” is also real.
This knowledge is not a product of one’s imagination either. One can imagine having a wife or a husband, a couple of kids, one can even buy clothes and toys for his imaginary children and one can feel fairly close emotional experiences but that would be just imagination. It’s not real.
Knowledge about Kṛṣṇa is not like that at all. Those who have obtained it say that the world we see around us appears unreal compared to Kṛṣṇa. Those who have received His mercy experience Him directly, His presence in undeniable, even if it might not always be in His personal form but through His energies. Right now we understand Kṛṣṇa and His energies only theoretically but for real devotees they are real.
That’s what we want to achieve for ourselves, too – direct positive scientific knowledge about God. Right now what we hear are just words and we are asked to have faith in them and this leaves a lot of room for speculations.
We don’t know anything about spiritual world for sure and so we are free to propose this or that, find some supporting arguments either in our books or in the words of our ācāryas, and declare it as “truth”. Sometimes it might be, sometimes it might be just a hoax, we don’t have facilities to check. At best we can refer to “authorities” but anyone who followed such debates knows that one can find an “authority” for almost any statement and most of the time these things are open to interpretations.
If we see what happens with defense of the gay devotees in this light it becomes clear that most of the arguments here are just mental speculation based on irrelevant “feelings”. Usually proponents of gay relationships for devotees refer to sexual practices of the straights and say theirs are not much different. Basically, what they say is that it “feels” about the same, and I mean the same degree of righteousness, not sensual experiences.
What they fail to account for is that they use examples of non-compliant straights who treat the fourth reg as only “no sex outside of marriage”. These straights have found some sort of a balance in their lives, they chant, perform devotional service, and keep spiritual authorities outside their bedrooms. Everything looks okay, feels okay, and so it must be correct.
Not true. It’s just a certain level of material happiness and comfort. Either by one’s karma or by Kṛṣṇa’s grace it might last for a while and look stable but it will always remain an illusion. Just because Kṛṣṇa allows one to enjoy sex life with fellow devotees doesn’t mean it’s legitimate – He just fulfills our desires, we are not serving Him there.
We are not making any significant progress this way, we are just like karmis from Vedic times, or poor man’s demigods. Being complacent in such a situation does not lead to devotion, bhakt will simply not blossom in the heart attached to material pleasures.
Symptoms of spiritual progress are rather easy and complete and irreversible loss of interest in sex is one of them. One can’t remain a sexual being and be a devotee at the same time, it’s not possible.
We can’t invent another way even if it’s Kali Yuga or even if we rely on the mercy of Lord Caitanya. His mercy is not in allowing us to enjoy sex life while making spiritual progress. His mercy is in extinguishing our sexual desires.
His gift of the Holy Name is not a concession to stay attached to sex while chanting but to give up sex altogether. Just because it’s Kali Yuga it doesn’t mean that requirements for entering spiritual world have been lowered. Not at all, it’s just that it’s easier to meet them via chanting only.
It’s not that we don’t need to become paramahaṃsas anymore. No, we still must become pure devotees to attain Kṛṣṇa, it’s just we can do that simply by chanting unlike previous ages that required lots of tapasyās. The fact that we can’t do those tapasyās doesn’t mean we can remain materially attached, nope, we just have to lose our attachments through chanting.
So, what I am saying is that if our gay devotees are really sincere they should realize that they have to give up sex life altogether – gay, straight, married, casual, whatever.
What’s the point in making arrangements for something that must be abandoned? Just because our straights are fooling themselves into a false sense of progress doesn’t mean gays have to follow these clearly wrong footsteps. Two wrongs will not make a right here, too.
Lord Caitanya’s program is very simple – chant, forget about sex, become a devotee. Making arrangements for one’s sex life is not a part of it and is actually offensive towards the Holy Name.