In the News:
Navya Shastra Urges Californians to Reject Proposition 8

by Amara das

Posted November 3, 2008

Navya Shastra, an international Hindu reform organization based in Troy, Michigan, urges California voters to reject Proposition 8, which would eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry under state law.

The organization notes that Hinduism has never classified homosexuality as a sin against God. While some ancient law codes have spoken out against homosexual acts, the tradition has never called for the persecution of gays. In fact, there is ample evidence that alternative lifestyles have been accepted throughout Hindu history. Several modern Hindu leaders have also spoken positively of gay rights; however, a significant percentage of American Hindus remain uncomfortable with homosexuality.

"According to the Hindu contemplative tradition, we are all manifestations of the one universal spirit, straight or gay, and worthy of the same respect and rights," said Jaishree Gopal, the chair of Navya Shastra. "We urge American Hindus in California to remember this central insight of their faith when they vote on November 4," she added.

Founded by Dr. Jaishree Gopal, Vikram Masson, Dr. Bala N. Aiyer and Rahul Saxena, the Navya Shastra organization is known for its opposition to the continuing social oppression of so-called untouchables (Dalits), which has resulted from the unscriptural theory of caste by birth. Navya Shastra supports the full equality of women and calls for an end to the practice of abortion of female children, widespread in India and China, following prenatal determination of the foetus's sex. Another thrust of the group is an effort to open all Hindu temples to all worshippers and to permit everyone, including women and those born to Dalit parents, to accept the sacred thread and to study shastras.