Semitic religions such as Islam and Christianity consider masturbation to be a sin. What about Hinduism? Please give some authentic quotes for the answers.
A glass can be looked on as half empty or half full. I think it is best to rephrase this question by asking instead - What does Hinduism say about continence (self constraint in sexual matters)?
Swami Nikhilananda in his writings on Hindu ethics says:
Besides the objective duties based on the castes and stages of life, there are laid down the common duties of men, the sadharanadharma, which are the foundation of the moral life. Manu, the lawgiver, enumerates these common duties as follows: steadfastness (dhairya), forgiveness (kshama), good conduct (dama), avoidance of theft (chauryabhava), control of the senses (indriyanigraha), wisdom (dhi), learning (vidya), truthfulness (satya) and absense of anger (akrodha)...the aim of Hindu ethics is to enable a man ultimately to conquer his lower self and attain freedom from passion, desire, and attachment.
All Hindu philosophers regardless of their conceptions of the supreme end of man, admit the empirical reality of the individual, endowed with volition, desire, will, conscience or consciousness of duty, emotion, etc. The goal of Hindu ethics is to train these faculties in such a way that they shall lead the individual to the realization of Moksha, or Liberation. Therefore all the schools of philosophy have described the virtues and their opposites in detail. It is expected of the moral agent that he should follow the former and shun the latter. We propose to discuss the virtues and their opposites according to the classification of Nyaya and of Patanjali's system.
Vatsyayana, in his commentary on the Nyaya aphorisms, classifies will as impious (papatmika) and auspicious (subha). The impious will leads to unrighteousness (adharma), and the auspicious will, to righteousness (dharma). Righteousness, it is necessary to add, is conductive to the Highest Good, whereas unrighteousness produces evil. The purpose of ethics is to subdue the impious and to manifest the righteous will."
Unrighteousness may take three forms, namely, physical, verbal, and mental, depending upon the condition of its functioning. Physical unrighteousness manifests itself asa cruelty (himsa), theft (steya), and sexual perversion (pratisiddha maithuna); verbal unrighteousness, as falsehood (mithya), rudeness (katukti), insinuation (suchana), and gossip (asambaddha); mental unrighteousness, as ill-will (paradroha), covetousness (paradravyabhipsa), and irreverance (nastikya)."
Patanjali...describes the virtues that must be cultivated...chastity or continence...
The practice of continence, highly extolled by all the philosophers and mystics of India, implies, besides the literal meaning of the vow, abstention from lewdness in thought, speech, and action through any of the sense-organs. Through the practice of this virtue, one develops the capacity for subtle spiritual perception.
The Hindu treatise on sex Kama Sutra (4th to 6th centuries AD) does not condemn masturbation at all and moreover explains in detail the best procedure to masturbate; "Churn your instrument with a lion's pounce: sit with legs stretched out at right angles to one another, propping yourself up with two hands planted on the ground between in them, and it between your arms".
According to Hinduism, life begins at the Brahmacharya or "student" stage, in which they are directed to chastely advance themselves educationally and spiritually to prepare themselves for a life of furthering their dharma (societal, occupational, parental, etc. duties) and karma (right earthly actions); only once they reach the Grihastya or "householder" stage can they seek kama (physical pleasure) and artha (worldly achievement, material prosperity) through their vocations. Sexual pleasure is part of kama, one of the four goals of life. Source:(1,2).
So Mastrubation is not a sin in Hinduism but its only allowed in "Grihastya Jeevan".
Note 1 :- A treatise is a formal and systematic written discourse on some subject, generally longer and treating it in greater depth than an essay, and more concerned with investigating or exposing the principles of the subject.*.
*Note 2:- Vātsyāyana the writer of Kama Sutra was hindu/Indian making it Hindu treatise which doesn't means to be a religious text. Religious text are which represent God not sex. And hindu text doesn't means religious text only. There are so many text which are presented as hindu text but that doesn't make them religious just because they are hindu. *
Note 3:- This post doesn't trying to attack on anyone’s religious values at all but its more of fact based post. Hinduism was always one of the more open religion then any other religion, it just became strict and strict by time.
Hindu Scriptures describe masturbation as a sin.
The Parashara Smriti, Chapter 12 , Sloka 63 specifically deals with masturbation and provides an expiation(prayaschitta) for that sin too.
- If a householder willingly causes the discharge of his virile seed otherwise than in sexual intercourse, he should recite the Gayathri verse one thousand times, and should perform three Pranayamas.
Now,for a student (Brahmachari) masturbation is a more serious sin because it then involves breaking of the vow (of celibacy).
Manu Smriti 2.180. Let him always sleep alone, let him never waste his manhood; for he who voluntarily wastes his manhood, breaks his vow.
So , masturbation is indeed a sin as per Hindu Sastras and the expiation is reciting the Gayatri Mantra 1000 times & doing 3 rounds of pranayama.
For those who don't know what technically constitutes a Pranayama-As per Manu, reciting the Gayatri verse 3 times while holding one's breath inside makes one round of Pranayama
User Yogi wrote in a comment
Not everyone can recite Gyatri, it needs initiation and only Bramhanas can recite it.
Those who are not initiated into Gayatri can simply do Pranayama without any mantra.A Pranayama, even if it's done without any mantra, is an effective method of destroying sins. But Pranayama done with mantras is even more effective in doing so (Note that these expiation measures are all additional information that are not exactly related to the question).
Hinduism does not deal with social situations like Western religions do.
There are no chapters on how to deal with women, how to marry, how to divorce, how to have sex, whether to have drugs, whether to have alcohol etc etc. There are no 10 commandments.
There have been various books or literature on topics like society, class, sex etc, but that's on the side. They are again theories written by many people along the way.
Interestingly, if you see India as it is today, there is a lot of ingrained rules on how to live, marry, divorce. A kind of Hindu law. But all of those have come from centuries of learning, shaping, relearning, adapting, adopting, copying, debating, conflicting, dispelling, removing, curtailing, picking, dropping and how you like it.
As a society it slowly adopts what's best in the current context. Look at child marriage - It was prevalent 2 centuries ago. Now it is unheard of. Sati - prevalent 100 years ago. Now - unheard of. Women at work - unheard of 100 years back. 33% reservation for women in parliament - Now.
So, in a way, the religion has found a non-prescriptive way of dealing with internal change. And the core of it is is a simple idea
" Nobody is wrong. Nobody is right".
This concept is the basis of all values that came from India.
==> Debate, conflict, understand, Agree, Accept, Change and keep doing that in circles.
The one thing people outside of India may have noticed is that Indians are always fighting war of words with each other. Now thats the fundamental value that societies need to adapt, and to change.
In a short way, Masturbation was also debated in India by Vatsayana, and he was the first to say OK to it. I dont think, any conflicting ideas have come since then.
The Hindu concept of Masturbation is neither dogmatic nor based on superstition. It accepts the fact that it is a natural phenomenon, the normal urge for the gratification of body & mind. There is scientific evidence & medical approval on this. Only point to be noted is that this should not be practiced too frequently, too much indulgence is similar to any other addiction which leads us to lack of concentration & abhorrence from duty. Otherwise it is healthy, enjoyable & ecstatic bliss for conjugal relationship.