This verse from the Narada Dharma Shastra apparently permits sexual intercourse with promiscuous women, prostitutes, and female slaves:

Nārada (12.78).—‘Intercourse is permitted with a wanton woman who belongs to another than a Brāhmaṇa-caste, or a prostitute, or a female slave, or a female not restrained by her master; if these women belong to a lower caste than oneself; but with a woman of a superior caste intercourse is forbidden.’

I got that verse from the "Comparative notes by various authors" section for this Manusmriti verse on widsomlib.org.

However, the Parasara Smriti forbid sexual intercourse with prostitutes, according to this answer:

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

  2. 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 [cow?], or a female ass, one should perform the Prajapatya penance. (Parashara Smriti)

Now at first glance, whenever there is a conflict between two equally authoritative scriptures, in this case, the Dharma Shastras of Narada and Parashara, there is option in following either course of action. This is according to all the Dharma Shastras themselves, as well as a Mimamsa rule:

Manusmriti 2.14 - Where there is conflict between two Vedic texts [or two Smritis], both are held to be Dharma; both have been rightly pronounced by the wise to be Dharma.

So, if we apply this rule to the Narada Smriti verse in question, this would actually mean that Hinduism permits having sex with prostitutes, female slaves, and promiscuous women, since anyone who wants to can take that option.

But however, rules regarding prohibition of sex with certain types of women still apply. So for example, a Shudra man cannot approach a Brahmana woman; a Dvija man cannot approach a Shudra, Chandala, or Mleccha woman; you cannot approach promiscuous wives of other men; cannot approach promiscuous relatives; or the Guru's wife, etc.

So in this case, you would need to combine the prohibitions of intercourse with certain types of women with the allowance of this verse.

But there are other possibilities like the Narada Smriti verse actually being an interpolation, or that it only applies to low-caste people, or that it is only permissible at certain times, etc.

The footnote for that verse on sacred-texts.com says this:

The two terms, svairinî, 'a wanton woman,' and abrâhmanî, 'one not belonging to the Brahman caste,' have to be connected. 'A wanton woman,' a self-willed unchaste woman. Nishkâsinî p. 181 means 'one who has left her family' according to the Madanaratna, and 'a female slave not restrained by her master' according to Vigñânesvara, Mâdhavâkârya, and the rest. Vîramitrodaya, p. 510. See above, V, 39.

So it looks like Vigñânesvara and Mâdhavâkârya were commentators, as well as Mitamiśra, who wrote the Vīramitrodaya.

So can someone provide an English commentary for that verse?

  • 5
    Why do you use your own translation "sex slave" when the original clearly says "female slave"? Also, where do you spot the motivational accent? Jan 17, 2019 at 23:47
  • @GabeHiemstra That's how I interpreted it, but you're right, I changed it back to "female slave," now.
    – Ikshvaku
    Jan 17, 2019 at 23:49
  • @GabeHiemstra Sorry, what do you mean by motivational accent?
    – Ikshvaku
    Jan 17, 2019 at 23:50
  • you say "apparently supports", but where do you see the translation say supporting besides permitting? Jan 17, 2019 at 23:51
  • 4
    Before you self answer question kindly wait for sometime until community checks whether it is within site regulations or not!!! Jan 18, 2019 at 3:24


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