At Kashi and at the sister ashrams & centers around the country, there is a growing group of gays and lesbians known as “Kashi Rainbow”. The Kashi Rainbow goal is to share the unique, non-judgmental perspective of Kashi Ashram, where gays & lesbians – and anyone in between – can feel safe and comfortable to be themselves. As a visitor once said, “Kashi is truly a vacation from hate”, and as such particularly welcomes anyone from the glbt community.
Kashi Rainbow’s Inspiration
Ma Jaya was always a fearlessly outspoken and unapologetic gay activist. Even before the beginning of the AIDS plague, she actively supported the gay community, never hesitating to embrace those who society sees as different and promoting openness and honesty about being gay. Ma often quoted her teacher, Swami Nityananda, who says that the soul has no gender – “So how can anyone justify being homophobic?”, she asks.
In the early 1990’s, during the dark years of the AIDS epidemic in the US, Ma and her students would visit people with AIDS in hospices and hospitals in Los Angeles, San Francisco, West Palm Beach. During that time she met Paul Monette who wrote about her in his book, The Last Watch of the Night.
In almost every public darshan Ma Jaya mentioned ‘my gay and lesbian children, and everyone in between’. Many of us within the gay, lesbian, bisexual & transgender community have been deeply affected by Ma and Kashi in their lives. “I have eternal gratitude for one thing I heard, and continue to hear Ma say: “God doesn’t make mistakes”. This one simple sentence from someone who truly knows God has changed my life. I’m finally learning to live without pain and guilt.”