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Sexuality in Islam and Hinduism (4/4)

Hinduism is basically based on permission and prohibition regarding the sexuality.

In the two parts of this article we have presented some issues related to sex and sexuality in Islam. In the third part of this article we discussed some topics of sex and sexuality in the light of Hindu philosophy. In this last part and concluding part, we will present some issues that could not be covered in the previous parts.

Sex has become like flood or tornado in this age; rules of permission and prohibition regarding sexuality are in danger now. No matter how much human abandons the moral values, but his conscience is always alive and urges humans to commit the ethical principles. These are the main reasons and motivations that led me to write these articles.

Is adultery a sin in Hinduism?

The answer is yes, Manusmriti forbids sexual intercourse with a virgin girl (without marriage). It includes provisions for the atonement of this sin. Carnal intercourse with sisters by the same mother, with (unmarried) maidens, with females of the lowest castes, with the wives of a friend, or of a son, they declare to be equal to the violation of a Guru’s bed.[ Laws of Manu, Chapter 11:59]

In addition, when the gods lusted for Gautama’s wife and raped her, their intelligences were destroyed by lust. Then they were terrified and went to the sage Durvasas [an incarnation of Siva], who said, ‘I will remove all your defilements with the Satarudriya Mantra [an ancient Saiva prayer].’ Then he gave them ashes which they smeared upon their bodies, and their sins were shaken off.”(1) 

Also, whoever committed sexual intercourse with sisters by the same mother, with the wives of a friend, or of a son, with unmarried maidens, and with females of the lowest castes, shall perform the penance, prescribed for the violation of a Guru’s bed.[ Laws of Manu, Chapter 11:171]

If a person of lower varna (caste) has sexual intercourse with a woman of higher varna, with or without her consent, he is to be killed. (Manusmriti, VIII: 366)

Adultery by a Female is prohibited in Hinduism:

 Some Hindus criticize the principle of punishment for adultery in Islam. However, Hindu scriptures are clear in prescribing the punishment for adultery whether by a male or female. In this regard Manu says:

 If a wife commits adultery she would be punished and one of the punishments is: “Let him (the husband) leave the unfaithful wife to dwell robbed of her dignity, dirty, living only on a mouthful, despised (hated), and sleeping on the ground; but if she has got with child by the stranger, then it is laid down she shall be cast off.” (2)

 Another text says: “Where she is unfaithful to her husband, there is, for the woman, shaving the head, sleeping on the bare ground, bad food, and bad clothing (or: bad housing, kuvasas), and for work the removal of garbage and rubbish.” (3)

Regarding the punishment, one of the oldest and most revered Vedic rishis, Vasishtha ordains:

8. But if (a wife) has actually committed adultery, she shall wear during a year a garment smeared with clarified butter, and sleep on a mat of Kuśa grass, or in a pit filled with cow dung. After (the expiration of) the year, (the husband) shall offer eight hundred burnt-oblations, (reciting) the Sāvitrī (and the Mantra called) Śiras, while she is immersed in water. It is declared in the Veda that she becomes pure (thereby).

9. But if she commits adultery with a Guru, she is forbidden (to assist her husband) in (the fulfilment of) his sacred duties.

10. But (these) four (wives) must be abandoned, (viz.) one who yields herself to (her husband’s) pupil or to (his) Guru, and especially one who attempts the life of her lord, or who commits adultery with a man of a degraded caste. (4)

According to Baudh, the adulteress must do kricchra. And so on. But if the faithless wife has atoned for her sin, then she must be treated just as before her misdeed. A stirring picture of the woes of adultery is given in Kuttanim. Throwing out from the family, the censure by people, and danger to Life, the journey to hell, and other pains are given as the lot of the wife forgetful of virtue. The cutting off the nose, riding an ass, and so on is well enough known out of Indian literature. (5)

The adulteress has no right of life according to Hinduism as we have already been told, in losing her virtue she has also lost her womanhood and rights as a woman: if anyone kills her, he is practically left unpunished.

“When a married woman commits adultery, her hair shall be shaved, she shall have to lie on a low couch, receive bad food and bad clothing? And the removal of the sweepings shall be assigned to her as her occupation.”(6)

“The unchaste wife should be deprived of authority, should be unadorned, allowed food barely sufficient to sustain her body, rebuked, and let sleep on low bed, and thus allowed to dwell.”(7)

These are some punishments prescribed for a woman if she commits adultery, but the condition is that if she is married.

Punishment in Hinduism for helping others on Adultery

In Hinduism, we find a punishment for helping others to commit adultery. The punishment is the hellfire.   

“Of course, he, too, is a wicked man who helps others to adultery: “He that seduces or touches another’s wife, or gets her for another, goes to hell.”(5)

According to Islamic tradition, a person who guides and helps another to do good is like the doer in reward. And according to the reasoning and analogy, the one who helps another to bad deed is like the wrong doer. 

Brahman-Murderer and Adulterer is Equal

According to Hinduism an adulterer is even to be punished with death. For unnatural desires, of whatever kind, the law writings and the Puranas lay down various purifications and penances (and expulsion from the caste). Anyone practicing such lewdness or other forbidden sexual intercourse is the same as a Brahman-murderer.

Is Homosexuality Forbidden in Hinduism?

Perhaps, many Hindu brothers do not know that homosexuality is forbidden in Hinduism and according to logical analogy the lesbianism must be forbidden in Hinduism as well.

So, too, homosexuality is a dreadful sin: ” The blind ones, evil-livers, very foolish ones, however, who find their delight in intercourse with a base womb (especially of an animal, but also of a woman of low rank) (viyonau), and with men, are born again as men incapable of begetting.”(9)

In the above-mentioned text we find three types of sexuality prohibited in Hinduism; sexual intercourse with an animal, with a woman of low caste and with men and the last one is sexual intercourse with man that is called homosexuality.

Ruling on Masturbation in Hinduism

According to Hinduism, sexual pleasure is a part of kama, one of the four goals of life on the earth. 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 and Glorious Qur’an praise those men and women who guard their private parts.

Is Sexual Intercourse in Mouth Prohibited in Hinduism?

There are some sorts of sexual intercourse prohibited in Hinduism. Hindu scriptures say in this connection:

It must not be practised in the open air and must be practised secretly, in the latter passage is added that it must also be in lawful wife, which may mean the restriction to one’s own wife, but it refers to the ritu. Then there is only the vulva for it; if it is done in the mouth, it is a crime. (10)

What is Ritu?

The days of purity for a woman from her menstruation, is called in Hindu terminology as Ritu. So, Ritu is the monthly cleansing, and then in particular those days after the period, from the fourth day onwards, which in the Indian view are proper for conception.

The days and nights when the sexual intercourse is recommended in Hinduism are mentioned specifically. 

Sixteen nights are the “” Season ” of women. Among these he should approach them during the even nights. Let him avoid the Parvana nights, and the first four nights. By so doing he would be even a Brahmachari. (11)

Is Intercourse in period prohibited in Hinduism?

It is highly virtuous to practice love on those days with the wife. Subhadra in vii, 78 cries over her son fallen in the tender bloom of youth, Abhimanyu, and for him wishes in a long drawn out prayer of blessing that he may in the world beyond enjoy the happiness to be won through the noblest, best, and most pious human deeds and thoughts. And here she brings this in, too: “Good luck is for those who are obedient to father and mother and of those that only find their delight with their own wife; and good luck hastens towards those wise men who at the time of ritu go to their wife and keep themselves away from strange women.” 

“They who do as is hitting with their own wife at each ritu, and faithfully carry out the sacrifice by fire overcome disasters.”

Furthermore, cohabitation in the ritu is one of the virtues leading to heaven and also one of the things whereby a Shudra obtains the being born again as a Brahman although not without intermediate stages. But on the other hand, it is then found to be an ethical command that the husband keep not only from all other women, but from his own wife, too, outside the ritu or ritukala (time of the ritu). He that obeys this law and practices chastity is equal in virtue to him that wholly abstains. As chastity has two forms: monasticism and copulation in the ritu only. “How does one become a brahmacharin (sexual ascetic)?” Yudhishthira asks Bhishma, and the answer is: “Let a man go to his own wife during the ritu “the holy duties of the father of the family are enumerated, and there we find: “Let him call his wife only at the time of the ritu (nanritau).”

In addition, copulation outside the ritu is set beside killing a cow and relieving the body into water, and it stands along with the denial of the divine. (12)

In Hinduism, sexual intercourse with unclean woman is strictly forbidden. To have sexual intercourse with a woman during the monthly flow is reckoned among the dreadful crimes set forth in Arjuna’s formula of self-cursing.

To visit a rajasvala (menstruating woman) is one of the seven things whereby a man loses his happiness or long life. (13)

Is Bath after the end of Period Necessary in Hinduism?

It is often emphatically laid down that the husband during the ritu must visit (ritugamana) the wife, and it is a sin for him not to fulfill his married duty then. It also has been mentioned that the evil-minded man (dushtatman) who does not let his wife have her rights, when she has bathed after the monthly cleansing.

The last line of the reference mentions bath for the woman after the end of her menstruation.

Sexual Intercourse in Daytime is Prohibited in Hinduism

There are some regulations for the pleasures of sex in Hinduism. It should not be in public, not outside the vulva, not by day or at certain other times, not with another woman than the wife.

One should never approach his wife in the day-time. “Day and Night are Prajapati; its day is spirit, its night matter. Those who unite in love by day waste their spirit, but to unite in love by night is right.” So also Sankha-Likhita: He should not approach his wife in day-time, though in season.”(14)

“He who does not approach near his wife, when she has bathed after her monthly course, incurs the horrible sin of killing the fetus, there is no doubt in it.”(15)

Conclusion:

After this study in the philosophy of sexuality in both religions of the world; Hinduism and Islam, we can conclude: First: Sexual intercourse is recommended during the ritu (beyond the menstruation days) and this is in Islam and Hinduism.

Second: There are many rulings common denominator between Hinduism and Islam. The adultery is forbidden in both religions, and all types of abnormal sex are forbidden in both religions, and the punishment of adultery is in this world and the hereafter in both religions.

Third: In the case of menstruation according to Islamic jurisprudence. Women have special provisions in worship. They should not perform the prayer or observe fasting, and should not touch the Glorious Quran or enter the mosque unless they are purified of menstruation and do full body bath. However, in Hinduism, women in the case of menstruation are considered unclean and everything that is touched by them is also unclean. And in some areas, menstruating Hindu woman is isolated in separate huts not to touch or to be touched.      

 

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(1) Padma Purana 4:101:174-9.

(2) Manu, xi, 177.

(3) Narada xii, 91-92.

(4) Vāsiṣṭha Dharmasūtra by Vāsiṣṭha, 1882.

(5) Sexual Life in Ancient India: A Study in the Comparative History of Indian

 By Johann Jakob Meyer p.521

(6) Yajnavalkya Smriti, by Yajnavalkya, Commentaries by: Vijnaneshvar, Visvesvara and Balambhatta PayagundeEdited by: S.S. Setlur, Brahmavadin Press, Georgetown, Madras (Chennai), 1912, p. 137)

(7) Ibid.

(8) Sexuality in Hinduism. P. 279

(9) Sexual Life in Ancient India: A Study in the Comparative History of Indian By Johann Jakob Meyer p.242

(10) Ibid.

(11) Yajnavalkya Smriti, by Yajnavalkya, Commentaries by: Vijnaneshvar, Visvesvara and Balambhatta PayagundeEdited by: S.S. Setlur, Brahmavadin Press, Georgetown, Madras (Chennai), 1912, p. 151.

(12) Sexual Life in Ancient India.

(13)Ibid.

(14) Yajnavalkya Smriti P.152.

(15)Ibid.

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