I was born in a Catholic family. My parents were very strict about following all church rules but they respected other religions. When I was young, we used to visit Nova Gokula Farm (Brazil), the biggest ISKCON Temple in South America. It’s a beautiful place with waterfalls, animals, and nature and they liked it a lot. When I came out, my parents was told me that it wasn’t right, that it wasn’t what God wanted for me. As a result of my family and society’s condemnation, I walked away from everything that had God’s name.
The All Attractive
In 2014, when I was a college student, I bought a book by Srila Prabhupadha on the street. A devotee was doing sankirtana and offered me one. I bought it out of curiosity. The book was called Beyond Birth and Death and it was about Krishna's opening instruction in the Bhagavad Gita: “the self is never born and never dies.” As Krishna is the all attractive, I became attracted to that instruction and started to learn more about the Hare Krishna movement.
I started going to Nova Gokula Farm more often. I was too shy to talk to anyone, so I used to go to the waterfall or walk around the farm. I often sat in the temple watching the altar during the arati, not knowing what it meant, who those deities were, etc. In 2017, I lived in Guarulhos City with my girlfriend at the time. I was away from my parents and away from my friends. Something came over me then: I needed something in my life, a purpose. So I started to learn more about the Hare Krishna movement again. I discovered that there was a kind of a center in that city. In fact, it was a devotee’s house and he opened it up for meetings, lectures, kirtans, etc. So finally I went there.
It was a simple and tiny room, with little deities of Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra in a little altar. I remember that Jaya Govinda Dasa was leading kirtan and the devotees were sitting around with some other visitors. So I sat there too, listened the lecture, ate prasadam and just watched without saying anything. But at the end, Abhicheta Dasa, the devotee owner of the space came to us (my ex and I) and asked: are you girlfriends? We were shocked. We didn’t know what to say because we didn’t know how they would react. But seeing our confusion, he said: It’s ok. You are fine here. We are not this material body, we are a spiritual soul.
From that moment on, I started going to Hare Krishna meetings all the time. I started to read, to learn, and to chant my japamala rounds. When I started to date Tatiane, she went there with me. She doesn’t consider herself a devotee but she was sympathetic. She always supported me and my devotional life. In 2018 we decide to get married. Gay marriage has been legal in Brazil since 2013, but something was missing. What was it? God!
At that time I didn’t have a guru, a spiritual master. So I started to send messages to all the advanced devotees that I knew, including Maharaj Chandramukha Swami, who was the first one to answer me. He was really kind and patient. He told me that some devotees were against homosexual weddings because they believed it was “ilicit sex.” One of our vows, if we enter the Hare Krishna tradition, is to avoid illicit sex.
But Maharaj said: who am I to say that your sexual life, with someone you love, respect, and are loyal to is ilicit? There are heterosexual devotees with truly illicit sexual lives. He told me that ISKCON wasn’t ready to host homosexual weddings in temples. But that shouldn’t stop us from talking to a priest and getting a blessing somewhere else if we were convinced of our feelings. So that was exactly what we did. As a recommendation, we spoke with Rama Putra Das and he agreed to celebrate our wedding.
In our city, Taubaté, we don’t have a temple, but a a devotee has a house that he uses as an office and all Sunday he let us do the meetings. The devotees named It Bhakti Yoga House.
I’m a freelance journalist and Tatiane is cashier in a supermarket, so we didn’t have much money to work with for our wedding. We spoke with our parents and devotees and all of them were happy to help. Yes, including our parents!
Prashanta Das said that we could use Bhakti Yoga House and if it was too small, he would rent a larger space for the ceremony. Krishna Kripa Devi Dasi sowed my skirt and dupatta, took care of all the decorations, and photographed the wedding. Her husband, Narada Muni Das, cooked with the help of Bhakta Caique and led kirtan with other devotee. Our parents bought the cloth, the flowers, bhoga, etc. It was a family union, Prabhupada’s family.
And it happened. It really happened. Now Tatiane and I are married with the blessings of Krishna, our parents, friends, community of devotees, Hridayananda Dasa Goswami (Rama Putra Das’ spiritual master) and now my beloved Gurudev, Maharaj Chandramukha Swami.
We really believe that we are not this body, that we are all spiritual souls.
Hare Krishna and God bless!