Hindu Law

Dharma and Desire
Dharma and Desire Menstruation -- A Hindu Perspective
Menstruation: A Hindu Perspective When love goes awry: Hindu divorce
When Love Goes Awry: Hindu Divorce
Women in the Manu Smitri

h i n d u - m a s t u r b a t i o n

MASTURBATION ---- Is it a Sin?
MORE THAN A FEW OF MY READERS HAVE BEEN ASKING ME VIA GOOGLE RECENTLY WHETHER MASTURBATION (OR HASTAMAITHUN, AS IT IS KNOWN IN HINDI) IS A SIN ACCORDING TO HINDU PRACTICES. Not being a Hindu myself, the question had me stumped, so I turned to my Nepali friend Umesh, currently suffering persecution at the hands of the Buddhist Soka Gakkai in Japan! Umesh said: "As I know it (Hinduism) allows masturbation. Only Muslims don't." After doing some Googling myself, Belief Net told me: "According to Hinduism, sexual pleasure is part of kama, one of the four goals of life. On the matter of masturbation, Hindu scripture is silent, neither labeling bad nor encouraging the practice. Traditional Islamic thought, on the other hand, regards masturbation as haram, or forbidden. This is usually based upon several Qur'an and Hadith verses, which state that people should refrain from illegal sexual acts..."
But while Hindu scripts apparently do not specifically condemn masturbation, or its female equivalent onami (as it is known in Japan), there are many Hindus who don't approve of the practice. Arjuna Haridas on Faith Freedom touched on one of these mindsets when he wrote earlier in 2007: "Here are my different views on masturbation. This is the result of me thinking (meditating) on it:
"View #1
"Is it forbidden? - No, and it would be "playing God" to say that it is since Vishnu Himself never forbade it in the Vedas or in any other Scripture.
"Is it best to avoid it? - It depends. If you are masturbating for "health reasons" (yeah, right) then fine. But, if you are masturbating as a result of the desire to fulfill your lust (which is the case 99.9% of the time), then you should avoid it. Wait until you get married, and then have all the sex you want as long as your mate is willing.
"The reasons behind this view - You are simply fulfilling your lust by masturbating, and our main goal is to achieve moksha, or liberation, through Bhakti, or devotion, to Lord Vishnu. It is best to deny our lusts, as we are to control our senses and not vice-versa (I.E. our senses controlling us). Lord Vishnu, as His Avatar Lord Krishna, says in the Bhagavad Gita that we are to deny our senses. Lord Vishnu also says this in the Garuda Purana.
"View #2
"Is it frobidden? - No, and it would be "playing God" to say that it is since Vishnu Himself never forbade it in the Vedas or in any other Scripture.
"Is it best to avoid it? - No because it is fulfilling the physical need for sex through a legitimate way, rather than an illegitimate way (such as rape, incest, fornication, adultery, etc.). The other legitimate way will be to have the "real thing" with your wife or husband (homosexuality isn't forbidden, either).
"The reasons behind this view - The body builds up sexual tension because the body isn't fulfilling its physical need for sex. To release this tension in a legitimate way other than sex with your spouse, you masturbate. The reason why semen is ejaculated (in males) is because the body needs to release this semen which is building up, and this is how it does it. You aren't "tricking your body" as others say.
"So if somebody came up to me and asked if masturbation is "allowed", I would tell him both views and tell him to choose either one and to remember the pros and cons of each.
"I follow View #1 (while also believing in the reasons behind both views) because of what Lord Vishnu says in both the Garuda Purana and in the Bhagavad Gita, and that is to deny your senses in favor of Bhakti, or devotion, to Lord Vishnu..."
On the broader issue of sex and sexuality All Experts says: "Hinduism's moral traditions about premarital sex are rooted in its concept of the stages of life. One of these stages is the life of the celibate student (Brahma Charya), which precedes the stage of the married householder (Grihasta). Celibacy is considered the appropriate behavior for both male and female students (or unmarried singles who have left school). A person receives good Karma if he follows the stages of life (four Ashramas).
"Sexual relationship and begetting children form part of the duty (Dharma). In many respects the place of sex for Hindus is idealised by the gods. The gods also demonstrate what an ideal relationship with one's husband/wife should be. For example, the gods Shiva and Parvarti are often held up as the ideal couple. Women will often pray for a husband like Shiva and follow Parvarti's patient example in waiting for one to come along. It is said that Parvarti waited sixteen years until she met Lord Siva. Soon after seeing him, she felt amourus. Kama shot arrows of arousal on Lord Siva to unite them. But Lord Siva opened his third eye and burnt Kama to ashes. The two waited until King Himavan took the decision to perform their marriage..."
Thus, if a Hindu wants to understand appropriate sexual behavior, he or she need look no further than the gods for guidance. Follow their example. But the examples set can be contradictory, because life itself is contradictory. A Hindu myth from India described the phallic god Shiva being masturbated by Agni, the god of fire, who swallowed his semen. Agni then gave birth to Skanda, a god of male beauty. But the Hindus, like later Buddhists, often denounced attachment to sexual pleasure as a cause of human suffering. The oldest Chinese traditions of Taoism equated certain forms of sexual pleasure with generating chi, or life force. As "cultivation," prolonged masturbation without ejaculating was believed to enhance health and well being. At the same time, frequent ejaculation was considered a waste of this same precious chi.
In a wonderful Greek myth, Hermes invented masturbation. He taught the practice to Pan, so that the woodland god no longer suffered his habitual frustration. Thereafter Pan learned to give pleasure to others as well as to himself." (Source: Jack In Library.)
Why Hindus Worship the Shiv Ling by Kartik Mohan reads: "First, to answer the question. Philip asks, why is it that we worship the Shiv Ling- isn't it Shiva's penis? My reply to that is yes, and that is exactly the reason. The Shiv Ling, depicted in consummate union with the Yoni ( vulva ) of Shakti, is representative of the most wonderful and miraculous feature of life itself. What distinguishes life from non-life, after all? Above all else, the ability to reproduce its own kind. If we are to revere the concept that life itself is sacred- which even the Christians claim to believe- why is the most characteristic feature of life, the act of progenition, any less sacred? It is not only sex we are talking about here. It is the consummation of the vast and different energies of the male and female universal prerogative, of which the Shiv Ling in union is a symbol- celebrating the fact that humankind has two sexes, each with its unique attributes and qualities, and when they come together, they produce a synergy, they create MORE life, they become more than the sum of their individual parts. Many ancient civilisations recognized the wonder of this concept- including the Chinese, who represent it somewhat more abstractly in the symbol of Yin and Yang. It is a tribute to these ancient and wise people that they were able to perceive true miracles, true wonderment, in the very features of life which surround us in our everyday existence. They did not need to have some man walk upon water to see a miracle, nor see crippled people cured instantaneously- or, worse yet, read about it in some book and call their blind adherence to such beliefs "faith".
"Now. My friend Philip was actually horrified, appalled, revolted by the very idea that we heathens could worship something such as a penis. The REALLY interesting question is, WHY? "

PSYCHOANALYTIC PERSPECTIVE ---- Masturbation as a Drive.
Psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan calls masturbation the "primary addiction". It is a form of jouissance (addictive pleasure) which does not pass through the Other. Lacan contrasts the jouissance of masturbation with the purer energy of desire, and the stern commands of the superego. Desire can never be satisfied, is constant, eternal. Although some desire is channelled into the drives (such as masturbation), not all of it is. We desire the things we do not have. . I used to live with an American girl who worshipped Kali, and she faithfully wore a skull necklace wherever she went. Lord Vishwakarma is the architect's god and the presiding deity of all craftsmen. Son of Brahma, he is the divine draftsman of the whole universe, and the official builder of all the gods' palaces. Vishwakarma is also the designer of all the flying chariots of the gods, and all their weapons. If you are a craftsman perhaps you should consider praying to him every September 17 to gain some higher inspiration!

THE KAMA SUTRA ---- Pleasure is the Essence of Life.
HERE IS PART OF A RECENT CONVERSATION ON Ammas.com: "Dear Ammas, I am 39 yrs old and been married for almost 8 years now and I have a 1 and a half year old baby girl.
"I have been masturbating for almost 10 years now sometimes twice a week or once a week. This happens when I am alone, but I masturbate after watching P*** websites/moviees...
"I am Hindu/Brahmin by religion, I feel teeribly guilty after this,..and I know this is considered as a Sin in our religion- Hindu/Brahmin.
"I need your help on 1) how to control this habit 2) Is Masturbation considered as a sinful act in Hinduism.
"Thank you for your help
To which Ammas replies: "Sexuality is a basic but most essential recognition that humans need other humans for survival and also that humans are capable of giving and receiving love and affection from birth to death. Sexuality is a complex phenomenon which involves interaction between one's (a) biological sex (b) core gender identity (c) gender identity and (d) gender role behaviour. From ancient times India belongs to Hinduism both in religion and as a culture. The famous Kama Sutra is the work of an Indian Hindu Saint- seeks not to repress sexuality, but to perfect it. By perfecting the act of divine sex, including masturbation, as seen depicted at the 10th century Hindu temple of Khajuraho, one clears the mind of earthly desires, leaving the soul on a higher level devoid of such worries, filled with bliss, and relaxed.
"At the same time Yogis and Saints of Hinduism preaches to develop Self Control abilities. The ability to set up boundaries for the self. Self-control can be expanded into several different areas, ranging from respect to willpower. Self-control is therefore centered in the ability of a person to exert their will over the inhibitions of their body or self. People demonstrate great differences in their level of self-control. It can be affected because of illness and past experiences and it can be improved through the course of life through dedication and will power.
"Masturbation - whether by a man or a woman, whether he/she is single or married - is normal. But in married life masturbation should not affect the joint sexual life. If your masturbation habit affects the married sexual life (partnership sexual life) then it is wrong for you. You have to decide if masturbation is ok with you and for the sexual satisfaction which is highly required in married life in order to concrete the relationship secure, sharing and the mutuality. Masturbation is definitely better than cheating. It is definitely not a sin. A lot of married men or women masturbate but they donft admit out of embarrassment or for privacy, but they do and there is nothing wrong with it..."
Indulge in more sex with your partner. Give yourself and your partner more sexual satisfaction in regular. Avoid loneliness. You masturbate because your body and mind need more sexual pleasure and its release than what you are getting from partnership sex. So this cannot be considered as immoral or as a sin or cheating your partner. But your act do not affect the perfection of mutual sexual life that highly required to maintain in married life. "
Former Indian state government advisor M.P. Bhattathiry wrote: "In Hinduism it is believed that the Gods are living, thinking, dynamic beings who live in a different world, in an inner world in the microcosm within this world in which there exists a greater macrocosm than this visible macrocosm. The Hindu believes that these beings guide our experiences on earth, actually consciously guide the evolutionary processes. Therefore, he worships these beings as greater beings than himself, and he maintains a subjective attitude toward them, wondering if he is attuned with these grand forces of the universe, if his personal will is in phase with what these great beings would have him do." He didn't say that we can become gods ourselves, but that is one of my unorthodox Hindu ideas. The first step is to learn about the many different gods and what they represent. The second step is to pray to them in some way and thus some of their energies into your own life. Whether the Hindu gods are real beings or only Jungian archetypes, they can help you get more out of your own life. a lesson. They have certainly taught me a lot, and I am grateful to them!

Crowded World | Indian Hub | Hinduism | Hindu Thought | Is Masturbation a Sin?

Contact the author Rob Sullivan at coderot@gmail.com. Copyright February 2016.

Hindu Gods


The Gods of Hinduism -- Shitala


Ganesha and His Wives


The gods of Hinduism -- Hanuman


The Gods of Hinduism -- Kali


The Gods of Hinduism -- Krishna


The Gods of Hinduism -- Buddha