The Third Gender and Spirituality

 By Tanima Narang, GNLU

Editor’s Note: In the Indian subcontinent, e.g., the Hijras are believed by many to have extraordinary powers, through which they can bless individuals or curse them. This gives Hijras an extraordinary space in the social order, and accepted Indians still welcome Hijras to look for their gifts on significant events, eg- new baby, marriage, etc.

The third gender has been credited mystical powers by most indigenous societies.1  To Hindus, this is joined with the love of Bahuchara Mata, a Hindu goddess. They accept that the powers of the ladylike part of the goddess stream in a practically shamanic path through the “hijras”.

According to folklore, Bahachura mata and her sisters were of the charan caste and were on a trip with a band when a raider named Bapiya struck their troop. It was regular practice around charan men and ladies, if overpowered by their adversaries, not to surrender, but to kill themselves instead. Shedding the blood of charan was viewed as a grievous sin. The point when Bapiya struck the band, Bahuchara and her sisters proclaimed tragu and cut their breasts. Legend tells that Bapiya was cursed and became impotent. The curse was lifted only when he worshiped Bahuchara Mata by dressing and acting like a woman.2 Today Bahuchara Mata is a recognized patroness of—and revered by—the hijra group in India. In spite of the fact that huge numbers of her devotees believe in peacefulness and think about executing of all creatures and animals a sin, verifiably Bahuchara Mata was, similar to numerous Hindu +divine beings and goddesses, the beneficiary of many sacrifices.

The Hindu god Shiva is known to have numerous attributes. One such is the Hermaphrodite. He is often referred to as Ardhanarisvara, with a double male and female nature. The Puranic masterminds deciphered this bisexual part of the Lord Shiva in different ways. One such image outflow is the Phalus (the male conceptive part) and the Yoni (the female regenerative part). The Puraanas additionally utilize an alternate more conciliatory imagery to embody the bisexual normal for Shiva, as stated by which the bisexual is the encapsulation of the vast present, through which the universe rose up out of Shiva.3

Muslims believe that every prayer done by a faithful hijra will be fulfilled because they are specially blessed as a compensation for the fact that they are denied the ability to have children and a “normal” family life as a born woman. At the time of the conception of Christ, cliques of men dedicated to a goddess prospered all around the wide district stretching out from the Mediterranean to south Asia. While Galli (eunuch priests) were missionizing the Roman Empire, kalû, kurgarrû, and assinnu (also transgender and eunuch priests), kept on doing aged customs in the sanctuaries of Mesopotamia, and the third-sex antecedents of the hijra were plainly apparent. There were also eunuch ministers of Artemis at Ephesus, the western Semitic Qedeshim 4 and the male “sanctuary whores” known from the Hebrew Bible and Ugaritic writings of the late second thousand years. Past India, current ethnographic writing archives sexual orientation variant shaman-ministers all around southeast Asia, Borneo, and Sulawesi. All these parts impart the attributes of commitment to a goddess, gender transgression and receptive anal sex, ecstatic ritual techniques (for healing, in the case of galli and Mesopotamian priests, and fertility in the case of hijra), and actual (or symbolic) castration.

It might be not difficult to release the various references to galli in aged expositive expression, both Christian and Pagan, as exoticisms comparable to today’s interest with sex transgression as proved by movies such as M. Butterfly and The Crying Game. Dissimilar to the cutting edge figure of the transvestite, in any case, galli were part of an official Roman state religion with signs in all aspects of the Greco-Roman world and at each level of social order. One finds the Roman elite worshiping Cybele with bloody animal sacrifices directed by state-selected archigalli; regular freedman and plebians forming friendly fraternities, for example, the Dendrophori and Canophori, to perform different parts in her yearly celebrations, and the poor and slaves swept up by the frenzy of her ceremonies, regularly to the shock and alarm of their superiors.5

The greater part of the more established world religions recognized their gods as bisexual and entire gendered. Ardhanarisvara in Hinduism, Avalokitesvara and Kuan Yin in Buddhism, and Dionysus in the Greek pantheon are cases of this. Divine hermaphrodism is reflected in resulting representations of avatars, for example, Sri Krisna in Vedanta, Lan Ts’ai Ho in Taoist China. In the Qabbalah, Adam reflected a bisexual God before the part into Eve and resulting transgress. Likewise with numerous nobles, the Pharaohs of Egypt copied their divine beings, which were for the most part hermaphroditic all around Africa. Holy messengers and Faeries too, are normally discerned as gender ambiguous creatures.6 The reflections of Transgender Spirit are ancient and profound.

Edited by Hariharan Kumar

1. Toward the Undivided – Sacred Sex, The Hermaphrodite, and the Dual Nature of God

2. Pattanaik, Devdutt (2002). The Man Who was a Woman and Other Queer Tales from Hindu Lore. Haworth Press, Binghamton, NY, USA. p. 165.

3. Vensus A. George. 2008. Paths to the Divine: Ancient and Indian. CRVP. P. 271.

4. Qedeshim means “pagan ministers and/or male prostitutes.”


6. Holly Boswell.

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