As to why I was curious upon a question like this : given that ancient Hinduism has given world the popular literature work of kama sutra, so surely there must be some reference as to a thing like this in our religion, moreover this occupation/practice is as old as any other ancient puja or culture, so surely there must be a piece of script regarding this topic.

what I exactly seek to know : Are there any specific piece of literature discussing about this very topic ? Was this taboo practice considered a sin and why so ? Were there any instances where gods were directly involved in any such thing ?

N.B. : I don't wish to offend anyone.

  • 1
    Puranas do have stories of prostitutes where they got liberated after praying to Shiva or expiating their sins by visiting some Tirthas.
    – The Destroyer
    Oct 31, 2016 at 15:43
  • "why was it allowed to continue then..." - why do you see it even now? why do you see adharma consistently across all yugas? Oct 31, 2016 at 16:50
  • @sv. I meant if such a practice was regarded as sin, why wasn't it abandoned legally, in other words anyone practicing those weren't punished, like thieves or burglars were.
    – Arnav Das
    Oct 31, 2016 at 16:53
  • 2
    'why' is a difficult question, there cannot be a single correct answer. 'what' can be answered. why is prostitution still legal in some countries even today? what about gambling? consuming liquor? supply & demand. Oct 31, 2016 at 17:10
  • @sv. i now see your point, asking in 'why' in that sense is a bit ambiguous too
    – Arnav Das
    Oct 31, 2016 at 17:33

2 Answers 2


Prostitution is always condemned in Hindu Scriptures.

Here are few verses from Parashara and the Manu Smritis:

66.By selling Wine and meat,by consuming prohibited foods,cohabiting with prostitutes a shoodra falls from his caste.(Parashara Smriti)

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  1. On carnal intercourse with a beast, or a prostitute and the like, or with a female buffalo, or with a female camel, or with a she monkey, or with a sow, or a female ass, one should perform the Prajapatya penance.

enter image description here

Similarly, the Manu Smriti says:

4.84. Let him not accept presents from a king who is not descended from the Kshatriya race, nor from butchers, oil-manufacturers, and publicans, nor from those who subsist by the gain of prostitutes.

4.85. One oil-press is as (bad) as ten slaughter-houses, one tavern as (bad as) ten oil-presses, one brothel as (bad as) ten taverns, one king as (bad as) ten brothels

enter image description here

Were there any instances where gods were directly involved in any such thing ?

I don't know of any such instances.

  • 1
    " a shoodra falls from his caste" -- so he becomes casteless? Dec 1, 2016 at 19:30
  • 1
    Yeah probably that is what is meant..he becomes an outcaste..
    – Rickross
    Dec 2, 2016 at 5:18
  • 1
    Thanks for your feedback @Bingming
    – Rickross
    Feb 11 at 9:26
  • 1
    You can check my answer hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/58183/24460 on this post. I have quoted some ślokas.
    – Bingming
    Feb 12 at 0:43
  • 1
    Upvoted the answer @Bingming
    – Rickross
    Feb 12 at 5:11

For a saṁnyāsin/brahmacārīn (dvija in brahmacaryāśrama), maithuna (with anyone) is niṣiddhakarman.

Seeking services of veśyā (i.e. having maithuna with her, for a śulka) by a non brahmacārin/saṁnyāsin is not an aparādha with an associated daṇḍa, provided the veśyā doesn't belong to a varṇa preceding his own. Such a karman doesn't come under the criteria of saṅgrahaṇa (by taking into account the jīvikā of a veśyā), unless the veśyā is herself in a committed relationship with a man. As Nārada smṛti (12.78-79) states-

svairiṇyabrāhmaṇī veśyā dāsī niṣkāsinī tathā / gamyāḥ syurānulomyena striyo na pratilomataḥ // āsveva tu bhujiṣyāsu doṣaḥ syāt paradāravat / gamyāsvapi hi nopeyādyattāḥ paraparigrahāḥ //

In similar vein, Vātsyāyana in Kāmasūtra (1.5.2) states,

tadviparīta uttamavarṇāsu paraparigṛhītāsu ca / pratiṣiddho'varavarṇāsvanirvasitāsu / veśyāsu punarbhūṣu ca na śiṣṭo na pratiṣiddhiḥ / sukhārtatvāt //

As Vātsyāyana says, kāmasambandha with veśyā is neither pratiṣiddha nor vihita, because that is purely for ratisukha (not vivāha and santānotpatti). And that there's no doṣa in being veśyākāmī, as per him (veśyākāmino'yamadoṣaḥ - Kāmasūtra 2.9.27). It's important to note that Vātsyāyana is nowhere prescribing/commending taking the services of a veśyā, as becomes clearer in the later adhyāyas too, but is only discussing regarding it. Also, the sixth adhikaraṇa of Kāmasūtra, which contain six adhyāyas, deals with veśyās/gaṇikas primarily. If you are interested in knowing about their description, that would be helpful alongwith Yaśodhara's commentary Jayamaṅgalā. Kauṭilya's Arthaśāstra also mentions important info related to veśyās/gaṇikas, including their business, etc. Samayamātṛkā by Kṣemendra satirizes veśyās and their business. Several Bauddha and Jaina śāstras too mention about veśyās and their business. So, the business of veśyās was actually a pretty established practice in even pre-12th century Bhārata.They weren't seen as unlawful, and the rājya accepted their practice.
However, that doesn't imply śiṣṭas approved of the veśyā-business.

Now, although anuṣṭhāna of such karman (taking services of a veśyā, considering the conditions above) doesn't bestow daṇḍa on the veśyā's client, it's still a pāpakarman on his part, as it makes him an adhikārin of prāyaścitta. This is stated by Nandapaṇḍita in his commentary Vaijayantī on Viṣṇusmṛti (53.7), after he quotes Nārada smṛti (12.78-79)

gamyatvaṁ ca daṇḍābhāvamabhipretya ; na tu prāyaścittābhāvam

Many śāstras state prājāptya as a prāyaścitta for gamana with veśyā

paśuveśyāgamane ca prājāpatyam // (Viṣṇu smṛti 53.7)
paśuveśyābhigamane prājāpatyam vidhīyate // (Atri smṛti 269 ; Mitākṣarā (2.290)

paśuveśyādigamane mahiṣyuṣṭrīkapīstathā /
kharīṁ ca sūkarīṁ gatvā prājāpatyavrataṁ caret //
(Parāśara smṛti10.16)

Nandapaṇḍita's Vaijayantī (53.7) mentions another prāyaścitta, ascribed to Yama

veśyāgamanajaṁ pāpaṁ vyapohanti dvijātayaḥ /
pītvā sakṛt sakṛttaptaṁ saptarātraṁ kuśodakam //

Were there any instances where gods were directly involved in any such thing ?

This is a really ambiguous question put forth by the OP. Is he trying to ask, if devatās were involved in 'prostitution'? If so, the question doesn't make any sense.

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