What were Swami Vivekananda's views on homosexuality? What did he preach on this topic?

If he did not discuss this topic, what is the current view of his disciple-acharyas at the Ramakrishna Math?

What is the official position of Ramakrishna Math on this? Does it consider it a sin?

My question is similar to What is Paramahamsa Vishwananda's stance on homosexuality? which unfortunately as of now remains closed as "primarily opinion-based."

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    That question you linked was not primarily opinion based. It has got 4 votes and failed to get that last vote to reopen. Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 17:47
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    Yes, it needs to be reopened. Some users are simply voting to close questions they don't like (blatant misuse of voting power). Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 17:53
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    @sv, do you want to know each famous personality's stance on this topic ? maybe you can combine all those questions into one. btw, eunuchs have always been there in the world. there is no need to hate them and say they shouldn't exist, nor to take pride in their actions and justify them either.
    – ram
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 19:54
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    @ram 'do you want to know each famous personality's stance on this topic?' - yes, especially if some sects see it as a sin and others not, also makes easy for tagging/searching. Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 20:11
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    Lust and greed are what bind people to the world. Lust takes a different form for every person as does greed - every person's heart is different. To become spiritual one must give up lust and greed as it appears to them. Even householders are given to give these up. One form of lust is no better than another form. Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 5:15

1 Answer 1


The following is an excerpt from the monthly journal Prabuddha Bharata published by the Ramakrishna Order. This indicates they don't view the homosexual person in bad light. And it's much more important for a spiritual aspirant to have an asexual orientation.


Beyond Bodies

...   ...

The restraint of the senses becomes important in our spiritual lives in that it helps us to take our mind away from our body and fix it on our destination, the Atman. Almost all bodily pursuits are playgrounds for the senses. And the most active and titillating to the senses is the playground of bodily contact, the playground of sex. No true spiritual tradition or spiritual teacher would say that sexual activity or sexuality in the past disqualifies a person from becoming a spiritual aspirant. All the same, no true spiritual tradition or spiritual teacher would say that sexual activity or sexuality is the spiritual path. That is the most convenient stand one can take. Just because I cannot control the senses, just because I cannot control the sexual urge does not mean that I be controlled by the senses and that I be urged by sexuality. Sexuality is not spirituality. One's sexual orientation or sexual preferences have nothing to do with spirituality. If that were true, then cats, dogs, and rabbits would have been the most spiritual. And rabbits would have been spiritual seers! The Atman and the senses, God and the senses, cannot be worshipped together. You are either spiritual or sexual. You cannot be both. The world has seen thousands of centuries of spiritual and religious life but is yet to see a person who could control one's internal and external environments through the power of spirituality and yet thrived in expressing one's sexuality. You would have to put off one to get the other.

Spirituality is the search for our true nature. It is a path open and inevitable to all of us. Sexuality is the expression of one's carnal desires. This is a trait primitive and instinctual in all of us but it is not inevitable. Spiritual life is for everyone. Even for people who had a sexual expression or a distinct sexual orientation. But, if one has to become spiritual one has to leave one's sexuality or sexual orientation. Just like the satisfaction one gets from eating one's favourite food after a long time is not spiritual illumination, understanding or finding one's natural sexual orientation is not spiritual realisation. If it were so, all the spiritual traditions would become big lies and all one would need to become spiritual was a session with one's therapist! Spirituality or self-realisation is not just 'coming out of the closet'. It is going beyond all orientations, not finding another one.

To set upon the journey of spirituality, the journey to realise one's true nature, is an informed choice. It is a state when you want to go beyond the body, beyond all orientations. We should remember that just like there are heterosexual and homosexual orientations, there is an asexual orientation, the orientation of the spiritual aspirant, who does not want to be bogged down by the pulls of the flesh but wants to transcend them and realise one's transcendent nature, the Atman.

Prabuddha Bharata or Awakened India
A monthly journal of the Ramakrishna Order started by Swami Vivekananda in 1896
September 2015, Vol. 120, No. 9

From the same journal (January, 2011):

The Practice of Modern Yoga: Sri Ramakrishna's Four Contributions

Dr Christopher Key Chapple

Deconstruction of Gender Identity


On several occasions I have assigned Christopher Isherwood's My Guru and His Disciple to my university classes. This narrative includes the author's own struggle to overcome homoerotic urges. Reflecting a general acceptance of gender ambiguity, his guru Swami Prabhavananda quietly advised him to see the face of God in the object(s) of his affection. This advice, given at a time when homosexuals were arrested, imprisoned, and subjected to harsh treatments, including electric shock therapy, came as great solace to Isherwood. His friend and neighbour UCLA psychologist Dr Evelyn Hooker, inspired in part by Isherwood's honesty and fine human qualities, undertook a path-breaking study proving that homosexuals were often mentally well-adjusted and productive members of society. Her research eventually resulted in the declassification of homosexuality as an illness by the American Psychiatric Association in 1974 and the decriminalization of homosexual acts in most states in the US—and most recently in the Indian capital territory as well.

Classical India has long accepted the notion of a 'third sex', napumsaka, and has tolerated the existence of non-standard gender identity communities, the hijra. A small but not insignificant community of Vedanta and yoga practitioners in the US have taken inspiration from Christopher Isherwood. More than one student has confided in me the relief they have felt when they discovered a model for spirituality that did not condemn their sexual orientation. As a professor, however, it is my duty to remind them that true spirituality lies beyond all identities.

  • "it's much more important for a spiritual aspirant to have an asexual orientation." True Indeed.
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 11:43

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