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Thread: Scriptural proof for ISKCON's views on sex

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    Scriptural proof for ISKCON's views on sex

    As far as I've seen, there is no scriptural proof for ISKCON's views on sex. For those who aren't familiar with ISKCON or their "four regulative principles, I'll explain. ISKCON devotees must restrict sex to marriage, and within marriage they are only permitted to have sex for the sole purpose of having children. When the couple decide to make love, the intention must be for having children. Sex for pleasure or drawing the couple closer together is forbidden, even if the couple remain open to life by not using contraception.

    Known through the past for its strict views on sex, the Catholic Church teaches that sex between two married partners is not a sin as long as they are open to the possibility of having children by not using contraception. ISKCON takes this a step further in stating that the acutal intent of the partners must be procreation. ISKCON also requires devotees to chant 50 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra before lovemaking.

    Is there any scriptural proof for all of this? Are there any scriptures that state that husband and wife cannot have sex for pleasure? Or are ISKCON taking things to the extreme as usual?

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    Re: Scriptural proof for ISKCON's views on sex

    Pranam Scot

    While we can have utmost regards to celibacy in all Hindu spiritual practice, sex withins marriage is never regarded as sin, only that over indulgence may become sapping of ones vital energy.

    here have a look at this site, may help.

    http://www.hinduwebsite.com/hinduism/h_celibacy.asp

    also Krishna says in Gita

    I am the strength, that is devoid of lust and attachment, of the strong. I am the lust (or Kaama) in human beings that is in accord with Dharma O Arjuna. (7.11)

    Jai Shree Krishna
    Rig Veda list only 33 devas, they are all propitiated, worthy off our worship, all other names of gods are derivative from this 33 originals,
    Bhagvat Gita; Shree Krishna says Chapter 3.11 devan bhavayatanena te deva bhavayantu vah parasparam bhavayantah sreyah param avapsyatha Chapter 17.4 yajante sattvika devan yaksa-raksamsi rajasah pretan bhuta-ganams canye yajante tamasa janah
    The world disappears in him. He is the peaceful, the good, the one without a second.

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    Re: Scriptural proof for ISKCON's views on sex

    Namaste:

    My POV is that confusion results when there isn't a clear distinction made between the two paths : householder and sannyasin.

    When a householder hears teachings meant for the sannyasin, he gets confused, and vice versa ... so we have householders pretending to be sannyasins, and sannyasins losing vitality/celibacy because they try to live in the world of the householder. It hasn't been just ISKCON that has had such trials.

    Vivekanandas's "Song of the Sannyasin" makes it pretty clear how rare and difficult that path is to walk.

    OTOH, I see no real validity in bashing another's path or POV. What purpose does it serve other than releasing one's own anger/frustration?

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Scriptural proof for ISKCON's views on sex

    also Krishna says in Gita

    I am the strength, that is devoid of lust and attachment, of the strong. I am the lust (or Kaama) in human beings that is in accord with Dharma O Arjuna. (7.11)
    My translation is as follows:

    "I am the strength of the strong devoid of desire and passion. In beings I am desire, not contrary to dharma, O chief of the Bharatas."

    Prabhupada's translation reads slightly differently, because he has built his interpretation into the translation.

    "I am the strength of the strong, devoid of passion and desire. I am sex life that is not contrary to religious principles, O lord of the Bharatas [Arjuna]."

    I looked up several translations of the Gita on http://www.gitasupersite.iitk.ac.in/, and I also checked Eknath Easwaran's translation, and they all translated kamah as "desire". www.bhagavad-gita.org's translation, which I suspect is a Vaishnava-biased one, translates it as "energy of procreation".

    However, the whole issue hinges on the interpretation of this verse. To an ISKCON devotee, desire or sex life not contrary to religious principles is sex with one's spouse for the sole purpose of procreation after chanting 50 rounds of Hare Krishna (I'm not sure if the usual 16 rounds are part of this or if 50 rounds are required on top of the daily 16). To a normal Hindu it means sex with one's spouse, for either pleasure or procreation. It's the choice of the couple.

    ISKCON need to bring forth other verses from the Vedas or Upanishads to support their interpretation of this verse. I don't think even the Bhagavata Purana, when translated properly, says that sex is meant only for procreation.

    Note for ISKCON devotees: I do not accept Caitanya Caritamrita as "Vedic literature". It was written by a man in the 16th century, well after the Vedic period.

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    Re: Scriptural proof for ISKCON's views on sex

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottMalaysia View Post
    I looked up several translations of the Gita on http://www.gitasupersite.iitk.ac.in/, and I also checked Eknath Easwaran's translation, and they all translated kamah as "desire". www.bhagavad-gita.org's translation, which I suspect is a Vaishnava-biased one, translates it as "energy of procreation".
    Have you even understood this verse in Geeta? Do you know sanskrit? Do you know the meaning of word "prajanas"?

    Prajanas means "procreation", NOT SELF ENJOYMENT.

    Krsna says clearly that for "Prajanas" or "procreation" - I am kandarp.

    [ http://vedabase.net/bg/10/28/ ]

    [ http://vedabase.net/bg/7/11/en ]

    ALSO, if you read BG written by My Guru Maharaj - Srmad B.V. Narayana Maharaj, it is clearly stated -

    "The word käma generally refers to the desire for one.s maintenance, and räga refers to anger. In this context,

    however, these meanings do not apply.
    Dharmäviruddhaù means that which is not opposed to dharma, that is, passion

    which is used only to produce children from one.s own wife."

    It's this "LUST" you are fighting for? Do you know what does Lord speak about Lust?:-

    [ http://vedabase.net/bg/3/37/en ]

    Also, My Guru Maharaj, explains in his BG purport for this verse:

    Çrémad-Bhägavatam 9.19.14 :
    By adding ghee to a fire, the fire becomes intensified. Similarly, by the fulfillment of käma, one.s desires are intensified. They do not disappear.





    Çrémad-Bhägavatam 9.19.13 :


    All the grains, gold, animals, and women on earth cannot satisfy the käma of a lusty man.
    ============================

    REMEMBER ONE THING IN YOUR LIFE : Letters are not pramana, they contain advise only for a specific person, depending on the mode in which that person is. It is not necessarily for all the people in general. So don't say that what my Guru Maharaj has written for you in a letter is advised for all.

    Following is an except from the lecture given by My Guru Maharaj on February 16, 2002 in Australia, Murvillumbah:

    "When I give a baby medicine like quinine, I tell him, "Baby, baby, it is very sweet." I'm telling him something that is not true so that I can give him the medicine. A letter cannot always be proof. What Srila Swami Maharaja has written in Caitanya-caritamrta and in his Gita and Bhagavata explanation is authentic. These are proofs. He can write something else for a little baby, but it is not proof. "

    ===

    There are so many God Brothers of mine, whome I know very well, who are successfully restricting there senses even when they are in married life. Even I am following this regulation in my Grihastha ashrama.

    The one who keeps on fulfilling the desire of his senses in married life is called a Grihamedhi, not a Grihastha. Do you even know the difference between two?

    [ http://vedabase.net/sb/3/32/1/en1 ]

    If you cannot follow this principle in your life, then atleast STOP diluding other innocent people.

    ====================

    Note for ISKCON devotees: I do not accept Caitanya Caritamrita as "Vedic literature". It was written by a man in the 16th century, well after the Vedic period.................................
    I AM NOT AT ALL SURPRISED.

    By the way, forget about this issue. One of the regulations is to eat only the food offered to the dieties (prasadam). ARE you even following this regulation? Above statement gives the answer.

    Which mode you are in?



  6. #6

    Re: Scriptural proof for ISKCON's views on sex

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottMalaysia View Post
    My translation is as follows:

    "I am the strength of the strong devoid of desire and passion. In beings I am desire, not contrary to dharma, O chief of the Bharatas."

    Prabhupada's translation reads slightly differently, because he has built his interpretation into the translation.

    "I am the strength of the strong, devoid of passion and desire. I am sex life that is not contrary to religious principles, O lord of the Bharatas [Arjuna]."

    I looked up several translations of the Gita on http://www.gitasupersite.iitk.ac.in/, and I also checked Eknath Easwaran's translation, and they all translated kamah as "desire". www.bhagavad-gita.org's translation, which I suspect is a Vaishnava-biased one, translates it as "energy of procreation".

    However, the whole issue hinges on the interpretation of this verse. To an ISKCON devotee, desire or sex life not contrary to religious principles is sex with one's spouse for the sole purpose of procreation after chanting 50 rounds of Hare Krishna (I'm not sure if the usual 16 rounds are part of this or if 50 rounds are required on top of the daily 16). To a normal Hindu it means sex with one's spouse, for either pleasure or procreation. It's the choice of the couple.

    ISKCON need to bring forth other verses from the Vedas or Upanishads to support their interpretation of this verse. I don't think even the Bhagavata Purana, when translated properly, says that sex is meant only for procreation.

    Note for ISKCON devotees: I do not accept Caitanya Caritamrita as "Vedic literature". It was written by a man in the 16th century, well after the Vedic period.

    Dandvats Scott

    From my understanding, in many scriptures like yoga sutra etc, its described that one should try to minimise attachment to material pleasures which sow the seed for distress.

    The 50 rounds and 4 regulative principles including enouragement of garbhadhan Manu-samhita 2.26; 3.45-50 is the ideal to create good progeny, just like complete surrender to the Lord is the final outcome. However most people can not do this so their are concessions just like Lord Krishna in 12 th chapter gives gradations of Bhakti, in ISKCON also marriage is meant for different purposes according to the persons current level.

    1)At a base level marriage can be used to stop negative social issues, so better to have sex with one person than multiple partners this is dharamic,

    2)Above that its better to have sex according to dharma like avoiding certain days, and certain times and perfoming certain pujas etc so sex becomes a pre planned activity with a purpose rather than pure base instincts. Pre planning helps to regulate base desires. Which is one reason why garbhdhana is required by the higher classes.

    3)Above this one see's each other as pure souls in relation to the Lord and has conquered completely their identification with the gross body mind and its instincts.

    In ISKCON those married who have taken a vow of initiation have agreed to comply to number 2.

    "For a normal Hindu" it may be the case that they have sex for either procreation or pleasure but the purpose of marriage is a gradual elevation according to varnashrama. E.g the bramhachri life is for studying sastra, the grhasta life has licence for enjoyment and responsibilities, at the end of grhsta life the person starts to develop detachment and retire and dedicate himself more to self realisation and takes up retired live - varnaprasta, and then to complete detachment if one is ready to sanyasa.

    I think more the principle is to be understood with honesty of where we are at rather than the nitty gritties of what each sampradya recommends. Generally with most things in most of the sampradayas I have researched there is an ideal and then there is the practical spectrum. The ideals are the ones that are preached, but on an indivual basis one must understand the spectrum and work towards the goal.



    The gradations and references from Bhagvatam are explained on this site if you are interested (from the ISKCON perspective).
    http://namahatta.org/en/node/1314

    Hope that helps
    Hare Krishna

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    Re: Scriptural proof for ISKCON's views on sex

    Pranam

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottMalaysia View Post
    My translation is as follows:

    However, the whole issue hinges on the interpretation of this verse.

    .
    translation i used was from Gita society, i had also removed the actual translation read in the bracket, here i produce it in full

    I am the strength, that is devoid of lust and attachment, of the strong. I am the lust (or Kaama) in human beings that is in accord with Dharma (for procreation), O Arjuna. (7.11)


    To me it does not matter how you translate Kamha, main thing is it should be within the realm of Dharma

    balam balavatam caham
    kama-raga-vivarjitam
    dharmaviruddho bhutesu
    kamo 'smi bharatarsabha

    it is self explanatory, no need for any translation


    Jai Shree Krishna
    Rig Veda list only 33 devas, they are all propitiated, worthy off our worship, all other names of gods are derivative from this 33 originals,
    Bhagvat Gita; Shree Krishna says Chapter 3.11 devan bhavayatanena te deva bhavayantu vah parasparam bhavayantah sreyah param avapsyatha Chapter 17.4 yajante sattvika devan yaksa-raksamsi rajasah pretan bhuta-ganams canye yajante tamasa janah
    The world disappears in him. He is the peaceful, the good, the one without a second.

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    Re: Scriptural proof for ISKCON's views on sex

    Quote Originally Posted by Krsna Das View Post
    Have you even understood this verse in Geeta? Do you know sanskrit? Do you know the meaning of word "prajanas"?

    Prajanas means "procreation", NOT SELF ENJOYMENT.

    Krsna says clearly that for "Prajanas" or "procreation" - I am kandarp.

    [ http://vedabase.net/bg/10/28/ ]

    [ http://vedabase.net/bg/7/11/en ]
    The word prajanah does not even appear in the verse I quoted. It appears in 10:28:

    āyudhānām ahaḿ vajram
    dhenūnām asmi kāmadhuk
    prajanaś cāsmi kandarpaḥ
    sarpāṇām asmi vāsukiḥ

    Of weapons I am the thunderbolt; among cows I am the surabhi. Of causes for procreation I am Kandarpa, the god of love, and of serpents I am Vāsuki. (Prabhupada translation)


    However, my translation (Swami Chidbhavananda) has a different view:


    Of weapons I am the thunderbolt; of cows, I am Kamadhuk. I am Kandarpa of the progenitors; of serpents I am Vasuki.


    Here the word "progenitor" is used to translate prajanah. The same goes for translations by Swami Gambhirananda, Sankaranarayan and Swami Sivananda. Sri Adidevananda traslates it as "the cause of progeny" and Eknath Easwaran translates it as "the power of sex".


    ALSO, if you read BG written by My Guru Maharaj - Srmad B.V. Narayana Maharaj, it is clearly stated -

    "The word käma generally refers to the desire for one.s maintenance, and räga refers to anger. In this context,

    however, these meanings do not apply.
    Dharmäviruddhaù means that which is not opposed to dharma, that is, passion

    which is used only to produce children from one.s own wife."
    It is good that you are a follower of Narayana Maharaj. He is less fanatical than ISKCON and from what I have been told, focuses more on the devotee's sincerity than how may rounds he is chanting.

    It's this "LUST" you are fighting for? Do you know what does Lord speak about Lust?:-

    [ http://vedabase.net/bg/3/37/en ]
    Most other translations use "desire" instead of lust. Easwaran translates it as "selfish desire".




    Çrémad-Bhägavatam 9.19.13 :


    All the grains, gold, animals, and women on earth cannot satisfy the käma of a lusty man.
    ============================
    Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa repeatedly drove the same point into his followers.

    I AM NOT AT ALL SURPRISED.
    So you're saying that it IS Vedic?

    By the way, forget about this issue. One of the regulations is to eat only the food offered to the dieties (prasadam). ARE you even following this regulation? Above statement gives the answer.
    For a start, the only Deity my wife and I have is one of Ganesha that her mother gave us before we left Malaysia. It's sitting on the top of a filing cabinet along with some Hindu books. When we move into our apartment it's going to go on our altar.

    Secondly, we are not Gaudiya Vaishnavas. We eat eggs, onions, garlic an mushrooms? Is it worth offering food with these items in it?

    Which mode you are in?


    I don't know.

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    Re: Scriptural proof for ISKCON's views on sex

    Secondly, we are not Gaudiya Vaishnavas. We eat eggs, onions, garlic an mushrooms? Is it worth offering food with these items in it?
    When Lord speaks Geeta, he is speaking for Gauidiya Vaisnavas only? or for entire humanity?

    When Lord says that the one who eats without offering to me eats sin, then is this applicable only to Gaudiya Vaisnavas, or entire humanity?

    Give up onions, garlic, mushrooms, tea coffee, coke and prepare food not for your enjoyment, but for enjoyment of the Supreme Lord.

    Offer to him, with humility and request and prayers.
    Offer the prasadam to everybody in your family and then honour it yourself. If you practice this, then surely, your spiritual life will be successful.

    Avoid grains on Ekadashi.

    You said you have Lord Ganesha in your apartment. OK that's Good, but I suggest you also keep a picture of Radha-Krsna, or Lord Sita-Ram, or Nrisimhadev in your altar, so that you can offer food to them.

    Now summer are coming, purchase some garments for your Lord Ship which can be worn confortably in summers, like cotton.

    Fan your Lord ships, when it is hot. Offer some cold stufs like ice-cream (home-made).

    Befor going to bed, request Radha-Krsna in this way : "Bhagwan, the whole day have passed, and now you must be tired of grazing the cows. You also had your dinner. So if you please, you can kindly go to bed."

    Prepare a small pillow and bed for them.

    To a person who is situated at a even lower level (kanishtha-adhikari), this all may seem to be nothing more than a sentiment, or a doll-play of kids.

    But if you practise bhakti like this, gradually the dormant love of God will be awakened in your heart. And when this happens, your birth as a human will be successsful.

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    Re: Scriptural proof for ISKCON's views on sex

    Quote Originally Posted by Krsna Das View Post
    When Lord speaks Geeta, he is speaking for Gauidiya Vaisnavas only? or for entire humanity?

    When Lord says that the one who eats without offering to me eats sin, then is this applicable only to Gaudiya Vaisnavas, or entire humanity?
    It's for everyone, but onions, garlic, mushrooms etc aren't mentioned. This is a Gaudiya interpretation of the verse.
    Offer to him, with humility and request and prayers.
    Offer the prasadam to everybody in your family and then honour it yourself. If you practice this, then surely, your spiritual life will be successful.
    How do you do this? What prayers do you say? Do you place the food on an altar?

    Avoid grains on Ekadashi.
    I do my own fasting every Tuesday. No food from sunrise to sunset. This is a South Indian practice in devotion to the Goddess Mariamman.

    You said you have Lord Ganesha in your apartment. OK that's Good, but I suggest you also keep a picture of Radha-Krsna, or Lord Sita-Ram, or Nrisimhadev in your altar, so that you can offer food to them.
    I want to put pictures of Radha-Krishna and Sita-Ram on my altar.

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