If someone has sex with a maid or someone else's wife with their permission (mutual consent), what is the punishment for it as per Hindu scripture?

  • 4
    Concept of "consent" doesn't work here. One will get punishments for their illicit affairs.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Jan 30, 2016 at 10:02
  • 3
    Related Does Hinduism forbid sexual intercourse before marriage?
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Jan 30, 2016 at 10:03
  • 4
    Hindu Dharma was not a political religion like Islam or Christianity. Hence there is no legalism as such at the core of the religion. Jurisprudence in Hinduism is from smritis which are man made and not considered divine revelations, thus allowing scope for change over time. This is contrast with Islam where jurisprudence is through divine revelations & hence cannot be questioned. So I would say there is no divine punishment in Hinduism ;)
    – Bharat
    Commented Jan 30, 2016 at 18:41

3 Answers 3


Punishment for illicit sex (which includes sexual intercourse with someone else's wife and also with one's maid) as per Srimad Bhagavata Purana is torment in a hell called "Taptasurmi".

yas tv iha vā agamyāṁ striyam agamyaṁ vā puruṣaṁ
yoṣid abhigacchati tāv amutra kaśayā
tāḍayantas tigmayā sūrmyā lohamayyā puruṣam
āliṅgayanti striyaṁ ca puruṣa-rūpayā sūrmyā

(Bhagavata Purana, Canto 5, Chapter 26, Verse 20)


A man or woman who indulges in sexual intercourse with an unworthy member of the opposite sex is punished after death by the assistants of Yamarāja in the hell known as Taptasūrmi. There such men and women are beaten with whips. The man is forced to embrace a red-hot iron form of a woman, and the woman is forced to embrace a similar form of a man. Such is the punishment for illicit sex.

Purport of the Verse

Generally a man should not have sexual relations with any woman other than his wife. According to Vedic principles, the wife of another man is considered one's mother, and sexual relations are strictly forbidden with one's mother, sister and daughter. If one indulges in illicit sexual relations with another man's wife, that activity is considered identical with having sex with one's mother. This act is most sinful. The same principle holds for a woman also; if she enjoys sex with a man other than her husband, the act is tantamount to having sexual relations with her father or son. Illicit sex life is always forbidden, and any man or woman who indulges in it is punished in the manner described in this verse.

Also see: Alternate translation by Motilal Banarsidass Publishers (p. 768-769).

  • 1
    If it is consensual sex
    – user4753
    Commented Jan 30, 2016 at 9:10
  • Does not matter if its consensual or not.What matters is you are not allowed to have sex with other person's wife.And if you do then that is the prescribed punishment.
    – Rickross
    Commented Jan 30, 2016 at 9:43
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    Both the persons involved.
    – Rickross
    Commented Jan 30, 2016 at 9:56
  • 2
    I'm not so sure on this.But "Puryodakam" is the hell where those sinners are sent and tormented who have intercourse with women just for satisfying lust without any intentions of marrying them.
    – Rickross
    Commented Jan 30, 2016 at 12:18
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    "may be I'm totally wrong though" - sorry to disappoint you, but whoever told you that is plain wrong :P I heard from 3 separate TV guru's whose discourses I listen to .. they were urging people to read GP now and not at the time of death. One even mocked the public thinking saying "if no one has GP as home, from where should one get GP at the time of death?? From the local library?? Get over this kind of thinking..." etc. :D Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 17:09

In section CIV of Anusasana Parva of the Mahabharata, Bhishma told the following words to Yudhishthira

Persons of every order should never have sexual congress with other people's wives. There is nothing that shortens life so effectually as sexual congress with other people's wives. For as many thousand years shall the adulterer have to live in Hell as the number of pores on the bodies of the women with whom he may commit the offence.

It clearly says that the act of sexual congress with other's wives will shortens life and causes to live in hell for the number of years equal to thousand times of number of pores on the body of the women involved in the act.

Another punishment from Skanda purana is given below

Suta said: ..... If a base man carnally approaches a forbidden woman, O Brahmanas, or if a woman carnally approaches a forbidden man, he or she has to embrace a red-hot iron statue of the woman or the man (as the case may be) and remains like that as long as the stars and the moon (shine). They are thrown into the dreadful Naraka with plenty of thorns. ......

[30-35a. CHAPTER THIRTY: The Glory of Dhanuskoti, Section I: SETU-MAHATMYA, BRAHMA-KHANDA]

  • @Pratimaputra Yeah, thorns and till star, moon shine is bonus here :P
    – hanugm
    Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 16:23
  • ha ha yes......
    – user17294
    Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 16:24

No particular reference for punishment for "consensual sex".

Generally by using the term permission (mutual consent), you have made the choice very easy. The confusion in morality starts, when the consent is not involved. However, adultery is forbidden (when all parties are not in consent). Here is a quote from Bhisma during AnushAsana Parva, which comes in the reference of what shortens the life:

Persons of every order should never have sexual congress with other people's wives. There is nothing that shortens life so effectually as sexual congress with other people's wives. For as many thousand years shall the adulterer have to live in Hell as the number of pores on the bodies of the women with whom he may commit the offence.

In MahAbhArata, there are multiple references to "consensual sex" though. Below examples are not to justify that 'all consensual sex are alright'; But to show that everything depends on context. 1 thing done exactly same in different contexts won't generate similar fruits. Similarly, 2 different things done in different contexts may generate similar fruits.
This shows that the fruit changes also with the context, and not the act alone.

The king PAndu handed over the kingdom and went to forest with both of his wives. In a bid to have children (especially sons), he consented both of his wives to invite various devatas to impregnate them. This is mentioned in Sambhava Parva:

Kunti summoned the eternal god of justice to obtain offspring from him. And she offered without loss of time, sacrifices unto the god and began to duly repeat the formula that Durvasa had imparted to her some time before. Then the god, overpowered by her incantations, arrived at the spot where Kunti was seated in his car resplendent as the Sun. Smiling, he asked, 'O Kunti, what am I to give thee?' And Kunti too smiling in her turn, replied, 'Thou must even give me offspring.' Then the handsome Kunti was united (in intercourse) with the god of justice in his spiritual form and obtained from him a son devoted to the good of all creatures.

All the 5 sons were born in similar fashion. There is no mention of PAndu or his wives getting any punishment for this act.

Regarding maid, there is a close example. Due to fierce body of sage VyAsa, both the queens AmbikA & AmbalikA (wives of Vichitraveerya) were not ready to have 2nd sex with him for begetting a healthier child. Finally they consented their domestic help (not exactly maid), who was a Vaishya woman (3rd Varna) to approach VyAsa. This is how Vidura was born.

Now this is not a good example, but just to show that, even during MahAbhArata times, so called open culture existed in certain places. There is a chapter in sacred-texts, about how Karna & his charioteer Shalya get into a heated argument. Karna criticizes Shalya's kingdom for its culture where women were freely allowed for liquor and sex.

From Anushasana Parva, there is a story, where a husband Sudarsana consents his wife (also a granddaughter!) to sleep with a guest:

Oghavati remembered the words of her husband. If she accepts the desire of the guest, her chastity will be spoiled. If she refuses, it would amount to violating the command of her husband. At last she agreed to share bed with the guest. The guest took her inside.

At that time, Sudarsana arrived at the house and called his wife. There was no reply. The guest shut the mouth of Oghavati not to speak. Sudarsana repeatedly called his wife for which the guest replied: “You wife is attending on the guest. You know much better about honoring guests. Hence be patient. Dont be angry.” said the guest from inside.

“O great man! I am very happy that my wife is attending on the guest. Where the guests are satisfied fully, that house is purified. I will wait outside till the worship of guest is completed.” said Sudarsana.

Later, the guest reveals himself as Dharma dev and blesses Sudarsana. Who eventually gets to highest of heavens with his physical body. Half part of his wife flows as a pious river, near which the war of Kurukshetra happened.

  • 1
    I don't know about second example but Niyoga is not sin. Indeed, it's purpose is only to beget a son or daughter. Illicit affair is always a sin. Grihastha should not do sex with any lady other that his wife.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 14:39
  • No. This act creates Samskara and they face consequence for this act. By spouses you mean, husband and maid or wife and maid?
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 15:05
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    @AnilKumar Yes Niyoga (as mentioned in 2 examples) is indeed valid. But the "consent" from both husband & wife is required. I have based my answer on that word. OP has also stressed on that. As I mentioned in answer, there is no justification. It just explained "context". What should be done & not done, depends on society. If the said sex is not for sensual pleasure or impulsive, then it doesn't generate binding with fruits. Something done naturally or out of duty is Ok. OP has kept all those things open. Hence it will lead to endless discussions based on individual interpretation. :-)
    – iammilind
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 16:56
  • there is always 3 parties involved in any transaction, even between two people. God. If God does not consent to it, then it is not consensual even if the 2 parties agree.
    – ram
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 14:49
  • When Devas procreate, it is not the same as human procreation. there is no physical union. 'yonir yatha na dushyetha' - it is spiritual only. english translation to the word intercourse is wrong.
    – ram
    Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 5:01

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