Is Euthanasia considered morally right?

Is it acceptable under certain conditions, for example, if a person is in extreme pain?

  • 3
    Related not duplicate Is painless killing a form of himsa? – The Destroyer Aug 4 '16 at 5:10
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    no, it is not considered morally right in Hinduism. – Swami Vishwananda Aug 5 '16 at 5:27
  • This is the problem." Hinduism doesn't consider Euthanasia as moral". If that is so, Sati practice by great pativratas, even Voluntary ones in Scriptures should also be considered immoral and they should be punished. One has to come out these colossal bigotry practices.. I have seen people just lying in pain without any support and who yearn to leave their body. but depending on bogus claims from scriptures we still have archaic laws. What is moral also has to be defined , first? – user808 Aug 14 '16 at 8:41
  • @user808, your inference "If that is so, sati should also be immoral" is not based on scriptures. Shastras allow sati by pativratas. Shastras also allow suicide as a prayaschitta for grave sins. "Bogus claims from scriptures" - as opposed to the highly valid "bogus claims from laymen" ? Who are we to decide when a soul should stay or leave the body ? You don't need to keep people on life-support, but you don't get to decide when to end their life. If your goal is to prevent suffering, give them painkillers, and if they're conscious, teach them how to end the biggest suffering of all - samsara. – ram Dec 31 '17 at 5:08
  • @Sarah - is the goal to end suffering, or to end life ? painkillers can treat extreme pain. ending life does not guarantee an end to suffering, it could make it worse. nobody wants to see people close to them suffer, but in matters that lie beyond the realm of understanding by mortal humans, we need to consult higher sources - shastras & acharyas. – ram Dec 31 '17 at 5:11

Euthanasia (voluntary or assisted suicide) is "quite desirable" says Medhātithi commenting on Manusmṛti 5.88:

‘Those who have abandoned themselves;’—i.e ., those who, even before their life’s span has been run out, give up their bodies (by committing suicide). [It is only such suicide that is reprehensible]. It is considered quite desirable in the case of old men suffering from incurable diseases given up by the physicians; as has been thus declared:—‘If an old man,—incapable of purification and memory, who has passed beyond the reach of the physician’s art,—kills himself by falling down from a precipice, or entering into fire, or by fasting, or by drowning in water,—in his case there is impurity for three days; his bones being collected on the second day, on the third day the water offering-should be made, and on the fourth day the Śrāddha should be performed’. Suicide is regarded as desirable also in the case of persons suffering from leprosy and such other diseases; as has been said in connection with men who, though still in the Householder’s state, have lost all energy,—‘Bent upon entering the Great Path, they do not wish to live on uselessly.’ That man is called ‘devoid of energy’ who is incapable of doing purificatory acts, as also saying the Twilight Prayers &c. Then again, in texts deprecating suicide, the words used are—‘if one whose body has not been emaciated, or who has not lost all energy, should kill himself &c. &c.’; which implies that it is permitted for those who are not such as here described.

  • Suicide and euthanasia are different. Suicide is where you kill yourself. Euthanasia is where someone else kills you to put you out of your misery. Sometimes euthanasia is done with the patient's consent, in which case it's called assisted suicide, but euthanasia also refers to cases where the patient is unable to consent due to being unconscious and the like and the doctor makes the decision to kill them, or where the patient wants to live but the doctor kills them anyway. – Keshav Srinivasan May 7 '18 at 20:21
  • Don't get lost in semantics but try to understand Medhātithi's intent (voluntary suicide). According to Wikipedia: "Voluntary euthanasia is legal in some countries. Non-voluntary euthanasia (patient's consent unavailable) is illegal in all countries. Involuntary euthanasia (without asking consent or against the patient's will) is also illegal in all countries and is usually considered murder." So I don't think OP was talking about involuntary suicide. As for non-voluntary (consent unavailable), I'd think Manu or Medhātithi would have no problem with it. Anyway, I updated the answer. – sv. May 8 '18 at 3:03
  • But Medhatithi doesn't even talk about assisted suicide. He talks about throwing yourself off a cliff and the like, not getting someone else to kill you. – Keshav Srinivasan May 8 '18 at 3:17
  • "He talks about throwing yourself off a cliff" - what if the person is too weak to go to the top of the cliff himself? Can he take someone's help to reach the top? If yes, is the person assisting responsible for the death? Did he kill the person? I'd think no. It was still a suicide and a voluntary one. Feel free to disagree but that is how I interpret it. "quite desirable in the case of old men suffering from incurable diseases" - for current times, I interpret this to mean assisted suicide with consent. Needn't even pull the plug himself. A simple gesture is all that is needed. – sv. May 8 '18 at 4:35
  • I think there may be a moral difference between taking someone to the top of the cliff and pushing them off the cliff. – Keshav Srinivasan May 8 '18 at 5:04

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