Weekend with Dr. Jagadish

      Sanatana Dharma under siege: My opinion on twin judgements of Homosexuality and Sabarimala

A particular set of people with different sexual preferences waited with bated breath and prayed for an archaic law from British era to be taken down to decriminalise homosexuality. In today’s world, most countries have moved on and decriminalised homosexuality except for those who claim to be run on Bible ex: Zambia or on Koran ex: Saudi Arabia. It was expected that judiciary will uphold the traditional liberal view of Dharma regarding Homosexuality.

I have always maintained kinnaras (a term used for trans-genders, transvestites, mangalamukhis, homosexuals, androgynous etc.,) were part of Indian history, puranas and mythology. You are welcome to check my twitter posts on this subject.

In one version of Mahabharata, Chandravamsha starts with Ila who is born a male “Sudhyumma” but becomes a female due to the sacrilegious travail of him entering the sacred grove Sharavana belonging to Ma Gauri (Parvati). It is supposed to be Ma Gauri’s resting space, it is said that anyone entering this sacred grove will become a woman except Bhagvan Shivji.

In Veerashaiva siddantas it is assumed that Bhagvan Shivji himself gives wrong directions to the hunting expedition of Sudhyumma as Dwapara yuga, with Chandravamsha dynasty at its helm, had to begin. Sudhyumma then becomes Ila and is courted by Budh (mercury lord) who falls in love with Ila and marries her; giving rise to Chandravamsha by the birth of their son Pururavas; Sudhyumma’s hunting entourage who come in search of him are converted to Kinnaras or kimpurushas by Budha.

In Mahabharata; we also have the diegesis; where madhyama pandava Arjuna cursed by Urvashi becomes a transgender for a year; we have Aravaan, son of Arjuna & snake princess Ulupi; who is considered as god of kinnaras/mangalamukhis in South India. Apart from above puranic references; we have numerous references in Temple art where we see sculptures of male to male & female to female union. So I can safely conclude that Homosexuality

was not new to India nor was it considered a crime. I can also say it was not promoted either, in quotidian lives of Hindus.

The above judgement of Supreme Court is considered a bad influence only by those who hold on to Victorian Anglican morality or Christian morality or Islamic morality. Even today most Hindus think that’s seeing a Mangalamukhi first while you step out for a job as a good prognosticator. Mangalamukhis have become part & parcel of our festivals, functions and Hindu way of life. As a society our moral compass was in the right place from the days of puranas. Regarding homosexuality, most of us, the rooted ones, welcomed the Supreme Court verdict on decriminalisation of homosexuality and scrapping of sec 377 without much ado.

Did the Judges go by the moral compass held by Sanatana Dharma? My answer to that is a resounding “NO”. Today with the poor quality of legal education and the questionable selection process of judges, I can safely opine that the moral compass of Sanatana Dharma is missing from the limb as important as judiciary in our democracy.

To be fair to the judges;l, they do have a moral compass, but it is nobbled by the unfair influence of Anglican parti pris and the arms of the moral compass are synonymous with liberalism and feminism.

The question we need to ask is: How is this above moral compass of the English educated elite judges’ considered superior to override the moral compass of Sanatana Dharma?

This question brings us to the Sabarimala Verdict which I consider as a significant setback to Hindus in our recent post independent history.

Let me start from the beginning: to date I have never understood why a legal NGO Indian Young lawyers association, headed by a moslem Naushad Ahmed Khan filed this case against the Sabarimala devaswom board. His intentions are very questionable as Mr Naushad Ahmed Khan has not filed cases asking for entry of moslem women into mosques or darghas where gender discrimination is a rampant everyday practice. The author is willing to listen to those who can clarify the above schismatic stance of the protagonist Mr Naushad Ahmed khan.

That apart; it was a pleasure to listen to legal luminary K Parasaran submit before court with his deep understanding of Dharmic scriptures, traditions and pray to the judges “not to reform (Hindu) religion out of its identity”.

Parasaran submitted that 96 per cent of women in Kerala were educated and it is a matrilineal society. Therefore the assumption that, practice of Sabarimala Temple is based on patriarchy is fundamentally incorrect.

Parasaran argued that the basis of this practice is celibate nature of Deity, not misogyny. Devotees who visit the temple too are expected to observe celibacy in letter and spirit.

In short: Parasaran lodged that democracies must protect religion and tradition. He said that Hindu religion respects merit and wisdom wherever it comes from. He was of the view that while the court must listen to activist voices, it must equally listen to voices which seek to protect tradition.

Following Parasaran was another advocate J Sai Deepak; who is making a name for himself rapidly among legal circles for his knowledge and presentation of facts. His arguments were like a lesson in Sanatan Dharma and its traditions. His submissions were multifaceted and forceful and almost had me believe that we Dharmics won.

Representing “People for Dharma” a pro Hindu NGO; Sai Deepak submitted that rights of any worshipper under Article 25(1) are subject to rights of religious institutions under Article 26 and, therefore, the former cannot claim to have better rights than the latter.

Referring to judgments of the Privy Council and Supreme Court of India, he established that a deity has juristic character. Therefore Ayyapa swamy was thus a legal person and can enjoy rights under various Articles.

He submitted that Ayyappa Swamy has rights to practise and preserve his Dharma, including the vow of Naishtika Brahmacharya. He further submitted that; the vow of the deity is implemented as tradition in Sabarimala Temple.

Arguing further, he proposed that the petitioner cannot claim that his/her rights must prevail over the rights of Ayyapa Swamy and the rights of devotees, men and women, who follow the tradition. A worshipper cannot claim to have a greater right to worship than the rights of the deity whom he or she claims to worship.

To counter such master class was a group of lawyers favouring entry of women inside Ayyappa swamy temple whose main argument was on the basis of modern understanding of liberalism, feminism and equality without an iota of knowledge on scriptures of Sanatana Dharma or its understanding of traditions. (Here I want to expose the bias and bigotry of lawyers to petioiners who wanted the courts to go through Koran and traditions in the case of triple talak ban)

Their arguments and presentations were more in the lines of: ‘I am more important that the god I worship; I do not care about his “Naishtika Brahmacharya” or other traditions, all I want is temple entry, I care two hoots about his practices’.

That the latter argument won over the more mature, noble and sublime former shows that: (In today’s judiciary)there might probably be an inherent bias and prejudice towards a western created moral compass of liberalism and feminism over the moral compass of Sanatana Dharma or Hindu Dharma.

On a more personal note: I can go on arguing that there are temples in Kerala and Tamil Nadu where men are not allowed. In a recent survey out of 25 lakh temples, we found 6 temples were closed for men and 5 temples were closed for women.

The practice of Sanatana Dharma varies from place to place and the shastras followed in each temple can be different from other although many a times, the worshipped god is the same. For example: We have Achankovil Sree Dharmasastha Temple near Travancore, where Ayyappa Swamy is worshipped as a married man with two wives Poorna and Pushkala, as well as a son Satyaka. This very powerful temple was established by Parashurama the 5th avatara of MahaVishnu does not restrict entry of women. There are numerous Ayyappa Swamy temples in Kerala, TN and now in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh where women can enter and worship him.

Nobody stopped the petitioners who fought the Sabarimala case from entering these temples but they were after that which was forbidden; My question is “what was their motive?”. I am unwilling to subscribe to the arguments of feminism and liberalism or even equality; this for me looks more like an attack on Hindu Dharma and its roots of practice.

This verdict in my opinion is nothing but legalised trespassing against the wishes of our gods and obsecrations of pious Hindus fell on deaf ears.


Dr Jagadish J Hiremut is a superspecialist medical doctor based out of Bangalore, a medical author, blogger, medical technology expert and is a proponent of Value Based Ethical Medical practice. 

Follow him on twitter @Kaalateetham or mail to [email protected]




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