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by Jayaram V

"O son of Kunti, the pleasures that are born out of sensory contacts are sources of pain. They certainly are transient, having a beginning and an end. The intelligent man is wise enough not to indulge in them. (Bhagavad gita 5.22)

Hinduism is a religion of the individuals and has many layers. If someone wants to find mud and sewage in it, he will find them in abundance...To say that Hinduism approves prostitution or debauchery is an insult to the heritage of mankind.

According to Hinduism sex is not undivine, but lust is definitely. Hinduism approves sexual union between married couple, for the purpose of procreation, but not pleasure. The physical body is a seat of impurities and those who are interested in salvation should be wary of it. A man may get involved in physical pleasures but then he has to pay the price. Hindu laws forbid men to indulge in sex with unmarried women and maidens against their wish. In ancient vedic society, women were expected to live under the protection of their men all the time and were not allowed to move freely in society on their own. They were to be accompanied by men all the time, especially when they were outside their houses.

Sexual union between a householder and a prostitute is against religious injunctions, (adharma) and therefore strictly prohibited. A prostitute is a fallen woman, who has deviated from the normal life and made her looks as the means of commerce. She is a victim of her own karma and through her charm she not only drags others into delusion and darkness but also destroys her own future. Association with her would taint the mind and the body, deludes the buddhi and hampers a person's spiritual progress. However a prostitute can turn to religion and redeem herself. So also a person who fell into bad ways.

Hinduism considers the human body as a temple of the divine. At the same time, if care is not taken, it will act as a vehicle of wild passions and innumerable impurities. Initiates into spiritualism are advised to contemplate upon the impurities and negative aspects of the body so as to develop detachment from it. Hindu scriptures advocate the control of the body, the mind and the senses in order to turn our attention inward and realize our divine nature. 

The left hand tantric practices involving sex in which many degenerate scholars of east and west take particular interest and the techniques of Kamasutra, which the press often adopts for its sensational trash, are followed by a microscopic minority who do such things in complete secrecy. Their over all percentage in Hindu society would be less than a fraction. It is outrageous to judge Hinduism on the basis of such deviants as it would be equally outrageous to judge humanity on the basis of some sexual perverts and some mentally perverted nitwits. The problem of prostitution in India is a problem of poverty and international crime and religion plays very little role in it except providing some solace to the unfortunate souls.

Hinduism is against Prostitution

There is a misconception among many that Hinduism supports or formalizes prostitution in the form of such institutions as the Devadasi system. There are a number of scholars who rile and ridicule Hindu society for it. Prostitution is a product of social and economic factors and prevails in every society and in the shadow of every religion. In some societies it is hidden and in some it  is open.  Hinduism is a religion of the individuals and has many layers. If someone wants to find mud and sewage in it, he will find them in abundance, without ever realizing the fact that Hinduism is a product of the collective consciousness of humanity where one can find its glorious heights as well as its abominable depths. If sex is legalized in some Christian dominated communities it does not mean that Christianity has anything to do with it.

The Devadasi system was originally introduced as a part of the tantric beliefs and methods of worship in certain temples of India to provide regular female attendants to the presiding deities. But over a period of time the system degenerated and was put to great misuse, giving enough scope and opportunity to the critics of Hinduism to speak about it disparagingly. It is completely wrong to believe that Hinduism favors the Devadasi system. If that was so it would have been practiced in every Hindu temple, not just a few.

Hinduism is against sensual pleasures that degrade man and put his salvation in jeopardy. Hinduism is against sex that is against the injunctions of dharma and harmful to the welfare of an individual, his family and society.

The Essence of Hinduism  is Tolerance

Whether it is homosexuality or the promiscuous behavior, the fact is that Hinduism tolerates the ignorant souls of this whole wide world without crushing them with the weight of its scriptural authority. If the transvestites of India have their own gods and goddesses whom they worship under the umbrella of Hinduism, and if Hindus accept them as a part of their community with aplomb, it is because Hinduism inculcates among its adherents the virtue of compassion and an inherent ability to see life in a larger frame work. The eunuchs in India are believed by the masses to be blessed with supernatural powers because of the special rites performed during their initiation and for this reason they are usually invited into homes and shops on certain auspicious occasion to purify the place and bless the people in their own special ways. It does not matter whether the same people indulge in prostitution as their regular profession.

Hinduism accepts the diversity of the world as an integral part of this reality that we call our world and accepts all the people in it as the children of God who are in various stages of ignorance or spiritual progress. Like a perfect yogi it views them all with equanimity. It accepts their  wisdom as well as their ignorance,  without passing snobbish judgments. Hinduism may not favor prostitution, but would sympathize with the prostitutes of the whole world and wait for the poor souls to redeem themselves through their good actions and return to the path of dharma someday in future. Hinduism does not condemn a prostitute, but prostitution definitely.

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