Semitic religions such as Islam and Christianity consider masturbation to be a sin. What about Hinduism? Please give some authentic quotes for the answers.

  • It doesn't say anything about masturbation in Christianity. It talks about lust, which can usually be associated with such, but the act itself is not mentioned. If you feel it does, please direct me to the verse. – NuclearPeon Jul 2 '14 at 21:45
  • @NuclearPeon - Christianity is not limited to Bible. Matter of fact, what matters far more is what the practitioners of a religion do, not what their book preaches. Majority of Christian dogma has jack shit to do with anything said in the Bible. – Davor Jul 3 '14 at 7:38
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    If the practitioners do not practice what Jesus taught, it isn't Christianity although it may be based on its influence. They may not be 100% accurate at deciphering the subtle nuances or they may miss important points and cultural references, but I disagree that Christianity goes beyond the bible; Not only does it include very old texts such as the Torah, but it's a collection of the most accurate and verifiable texts afterwards, esp. of the apostles. The dogma is inaccurate if the authority is anything but from God. I don't mean to hijack this question, but @KiranRS I am skeptical it's a sin – NuclearPeon Jul 3 '14 at 8:42
  • this is a natural activity. dogmatic misinterpretation of ancient scriptures that does not directly mention this nonsense. – user2902 May 3 '15 at 17:09
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    In college days people used to call this "Hath Yoga". Only in this website, I learned that, that meaning was not true! – iammilind Dec 14 '17 at 3:14

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.

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    Good answers respond to what is asked and great answers clarifies thought I think this specific answer is in the second category, but would be a great help to ignorant people like me if you can simplify your style a little bit more, in that if you separate your answers from the quotations fro literature that would make it easier to ready and comprehend for people like me – skv Nov 20 '14 at 14:09

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.

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    Is Kamasutra a religious text!?? Really!! LOL And you got 15 upvotes..._Kaliyuga!_ Whatever comes in path of breaking the cycle of Birth-Death is a NEVER motivated in Hinduism... And there is NOTHING like "Sin" in Hinduism, rather just action and reaction... And Grihasta Ashram is NOT to indulge in insane sex, rather to balance out the "unresolved" Kaama (IF present) with responsibility of a wife and kids. If you have to MISINTERPRET things go ahead, its your age...KaliYuga! – Hindu Nov 16 '14 at 8:35
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    @Hindu i didn't said kamasutra is religious text and anyways Hinduism was not either, It is a way of life till some misunderstood came in existence. – Ankit Sharma Nov 16 '14 at 12:38
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    Very bad misinterpretation. Even in married life one should not. Kama Sutra is NOT a religious text. – Swami Vishwananda Nov 17 '14 at 10:12
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    I am with @Hindu and SwamiVishwananda on this. This got upvoted and selected as correct? Wow! – user1195 Dec 23 '14 at 13:15
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    @moonstar2001 it was written in India by a hindu but its not hindu treatise because few religious people think its harming them because it represent natural things. – Ankit Sharma Jan 2 '15 at 10:00

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.

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  1. 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).

  • So, combination of "reciting the Gayatri Mantra 1000 times & doing 3 rounds of pranayama." has 1009 times Gayatri mantra (with 9 times during Pranayama)? – The Destroyer Oct 8 '16 at 5:59
  • Yes but while chanting 1000 times one can chant loud whereas while chanting alongwith antara kumbhaka the recitation is only in mind because ur nose & lips will be closed. In general,doing pranayamas like the way mentioned above is an extremely powerful way of removing sins (even great sins) and comes handy when particular expiation rites are too difficult to perform. – Rickross Oct 8 '16 at 7:21
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    Thanks! BTW, you say Parashara Smriti is particularly Smriti for Kali Yuga. Are there any scriptures which say Parashara Smriti is for Kali Yuga other than Parashara Smriti? I'm not doubting Parashara Smriti but consider all Smriti as one and same. Also, Smriti contradicts with each other. – The Destroyer Oct 8 '16 at 7:43
  • @TheDestroyer Its not something that i'm saying.It is so said in PS.And as i have said,i don't know of any scriptures that contradicts with that view point.Possibly there are none.Also ,generally ,all Smritis(Dharma Shastras not puranas) say the same thing,so not much contradictions as such between them.So.other Smritis will also say the same thing about masturbation.Its just the explicit nature of the verse found in PS that makes it important in the context of the question. – Rickross Oct 8 '16 at 8:51
  • By Smritis i mean here "Dharma Shastras" like Vyasa,Manu,Daksha,Yajnvalkya,Parashara and others. – Rickross Oct 8 '16 at 8:54

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.

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    -1 just for your first sentence, 'Hinduism does not deal with social situations'. It is the biggest culture which deals with social situations than any other cultures. As an example, just see about Shodasha Sanskara. Pls consider editing your answer if it make sense. – user11 Jul 30 '14 at 18:02
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    There is a difference between a Purana, a Vedas, and other treatise. Description of societies and how the people reacted have come through all the rest of the texts. We will live in confusion as to which ones are religious texts, and which ones are parables, or interpretative or reformative theories which came along the way. But thats fine. I would say that is the essence of Hinduism anyway. – Raghuraman.K Jul 31 '14 at 15:14
  • @Raghuraman.K Agreed! With so much of western way of thinking around I can we still have to free ourself from the English ruling our heads. Its SAD that KamaSutra is considered as a religions text. Hinduism is ONLY concerned with breaking the Birth-Death cycle and break free from this Dukkhalay Ashashvatt Sansaar, AND NOTHING ELSE. Life is NOT a gift rather an opportunity. But its Kaliyuga...and such ignorance is "fine"! – Hindu Nov 16 '14 at 8:26
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    @Raghuraman.K, you must live in a very different India and follow a very different hinduism than what most hindus know : how to deal with women - manu smriti, apasthamba sutra . how to marry - manu smriti, apasthamba sutra . how to divorce - no chapter on this cos it is not allowed . how to have sex - no chapter on this cos people already know it . whom/when to have sex - manu smriti, apasthamba sutra . whether to have drugs - not allowed . whether to have alcohol - not allowed . – ram Jul 15 '16 at 4:25

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.

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

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