‘Scholar’s’ Sexual Confusion


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 60, Vol 4, 2018

In previous BTP issues we have analysed the authority of the Srimad-Bhagavatam (Cantos 11 and 12 and parts of Canto 10) produced by HH Hridayananda Dasa Goswami. By accepting his Bhagavatam as being bona fide, one will have granted Hridayananda Goswami the status of being a scholar on the level of the acaryas, who is qualified to produce transcendental literature. However, we will see that, despite being supposedly ‘scholarly', Hridayananda Goswami is still unable to grasp even the most basic teachings of Srila Prabhupada. Quotes in the shaded boxes are from statements Hridayananda Goswami made in a conversation which took place on 29/9/18. All emphases added.

Sexual Confusion - 1

In 2008, Hridayananda Goswami blessed a gay wedding, stating that such a union represented "true spiritual love". However, as by definition any sexual activity within such a union cannot be for the purposes of procreation, Hridayananda Goswami subsequently apologised to the GBC for the above blessing:

"I am writing to reaffirm that I uphold the Krishna conscious principle that sexual union is for procreation within marriage, and that no spiritual leader should encourage or endorse any other form of sexual relation. I regret that I acted and spoke in such a way as to give many an impression to the contrary. I am sorry."
(Hridayananda Goswami, 11/4/09, ISKCON Philadelphia)

Thus, having originally given the impression that sexual union not for procreation was bona fide, he corrected this confusion by stating Srila Prabhupada's standard that the sexual act must only be for procreation.

Sexual Confusion - 2

However, he is now promoting a non-procreation sex philosophy. He stated recently:

"illicit sex, Prabhupada gave two definitions, high and low. The high definition of illicit sex is sex not for procreation. The low definition, which Prabhupada also gave, is, illicit sex is sex outside of marriage. And so therefore if we take this full range of definitions that Prabhupada gave, then it turns out that if someone is married, and let's say, does not have sex outside of marriage, not the highest standard obviously, but you can still be a devotee."

He is thus claiming:

a) That sex, even if not for procreation, is bona fide, as long as it is within marriage.
b) That this is because Srila Prabhupada gave two different definitions for what constitutes illicit sex, and under one of these definitions non-procreation sex is authorised.

Thus, having earlier told us that "sexual union is for procreation within marriage", and that "no spiritual leader should endorse any other form of sexual relation", he has now proceeded to do just that!

Another apology required

In trying to justify his sexual confusion, Hridayananda Goswami has "borrowed" the same rationalisation given earlier by GBC-elected guru HG Mahatma Dasa. Mahatma Dasa also claimed that Srila Prabhupada gave the same "low definition" of illicit sex that Hridayananda Goswami gives. However, we rebutted Mahatma Dasa's sex confusion at the time in BTP 54 ("Changing the Regulative Principles - 1"). As we pointed out then, the facts are:

1) Srila Prabhupada always defines illicit sex as being outside of marriage.

2) Many times he will then also elaborate that this means that sex within marriage can only be for the purpose of procreation, e.g.:

Srila Prabhupada: "Only the sex allowed only for begetting nice children. [...] And beyond that, sex, that is illicit sex."
Reverend Powell: "And that is out."
Srila Prabhupada: "That is not good."
(Room Conversation, 28/6/74)

He is therefore giving one definition, as 2) is already included within 1). The fact that 1) is sometimes stated without the detail of 2), does not mean that 2) is not applicable – otherwise Srila Prabhupada would be contradicting himself by contradicting 2). And following our exposi of Mahatma Dasa's sex confusion, Mahatma Dasa had a subsequent climbdown, and agreed with what we had stated (see "Sex Guru's 180° Flip Following BTP Exposé", BTP 59).

Thus, in now endorsing non-procreative sex, Hridayananda Goswami is contradicting not only Srila Prabhupada but also himself. Evidently, another apology is in order!

Misusing Bhagavad-gita

Lord Krishna states in the Bhagavad-gita:

"He who is temperate in his habits of eating, sleeping, working and recreation can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system."
(Bg., 6.17)

The reference to "recreation" is claimed by Hridayananda Goswami to mean that one can engage in mundane material activity, as long as it is "moderate":

"devotees who watch TV, or watch movies [...] Personally, what Krishna teaches in the Bhagavad-gita, that we should be moderate. We should be moderate. Some people want to have a very monastic life, where they never see anything which is not related to Krishna directly. [...] They're probably not gonna be really good at relating to non-devotees".

However, in the very purport of this verse, Srila Prabhupada clearly explains that "recreation" here specifically does not mean any type of material leisure, thus contradicting Hridayananda Goswami:

"Since there is no question of sense gratification, there is no material leisure for a person in Krsna consciousness."
(Bg., 6.17, purport)

Hridayananda Goswami likes to engage in material leisure such as playing mundane tunes on the piano, ping-pong, croquet, etc., (see pictorial evidence here), and thus his misuse of the Bhagavad-gita supports his personal activities.


If we are honest, we may have to accept that we are not able to follow everything strictly to the required standard. However, the answer is not to rationalise such behaviour by misusing Srila Prabhupada and Lord Krishna's words and changing the standards, as Hridayananda Goswami has done. Instead, we can just be honest by owning our struggles and work to improve ourselves to the correct standard. Thus, we should change ourselves to accommodate the philosophy – not change the philosophy to accommodate ourselves. Hridayananda Goswami thus contradicts his own advice:

"You know, whether you're a guru, whether you're a sannyasi, whether you're just a couple, whether you're a bhakta or a bhaktin, I mean whoever you are, just be honest. [...] Don't play word games and pretend that something is something else."

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