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Confused Sexual Identities
Marianne: What does Vedanta make of transgendered persons?
Sundari: Vedanta is not interested in the “supermarket of identities” (as James so accurately calls the futile attempt to find a hook to hang your ego onto) inherent in mithya. The only identity that matters is awareness, as none other is real. “Transgender” is an identity assumed by someone who thinks they are their body, identified with their sexual identity. Who cares what your sexual preference or orientation is? What does it have to with moksa? As Vedantins truly seeking moksa, we would not consider changing our sex, because we accept whatever Isvara gives us as prasad and we know that we are not the body. To be free means negating all binding vasanas – and sex is a big one for many people.
The body you get is a result of prarabdha karma, the momentum of past actions taken by the previous owner of “your” vasana bundle. Who are you to challenge Isvara? There are no mistakes. Everything that we are assigned as jivas is what we are meant to get – and to be free we need to understand “our” jiva conditioning, accept it as it is and dissolve it in the knowledge. Once self-knowledge has obtained in the mind it does not chase gratuitous desires to find fulfilment in mithya and is no longer run by emotional thinking. The whole point of moksa is to discriminate satya (awareness, what is real) from mithya (the jiva/all objects, what is only apparently real).
“Transgender” is a myth perpetrated by a neurotic culture defined by need and desire fulfilment. Gender identity is a social construct that people who are confused about their gender buy into. People who insist on having a sex change believe that they will change their karma stream by changing their gender, but that is a sad illusion. Nothing will change our karma, because it comes from Isvara, and we have to face and deal with the hand we have been dealt. When we try to run away from our karma we simply create more karma – and it is without fail much harder than our original karma. Many transgendered people regret the change-over and have to live with awful consequences, both physically and emotionally, of their decision.
What is most concerning is that there are many young people, even school children, who “feel” that they are transgendered, and there is no one to guide them and help them make logical and knowledge-based decisions. We heard of parents of a 10-year-old boy who allowed him to have a sex change operation. It is a great pity that such ignorance is not out-lawed.
I suppose it is possible that you could feel more “at home” as a jiva in a body other than the one you were given and still see it as not-self. We have not met any transgender Vedantins, but maybe they do exist, but I highly doubt it, if discrimination and dispassion are fully functional and the jiva has been negated by self-knowledge. There would be no point and no gain, so why go through so much suffering to obtain something that is not real in the first place? It would only strengthen entrenched and binding vasanas, and not lead to freedom or peace of mind.
~ Love, Sundari