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Adultery (Hinduism)

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Part of the Encyclopedia of Indian Religions book series (EIR)


Adultery, sometimes found in the form of incest, is a consensual sexual act between two persons who are not in a conjugal relationship with each other. Adultery is considered sinful and wrong in Hindu traditions, so much so that it is also unlawful and criminal under Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code. The Hindu Dharmaśāstras forbid any type of sexual union or act – physical, mental, or emotional – outside the socially sanctioned marriage institution (8:352) [1]. According to the Bhagavad Gītā, a “corrupt woman” destroys family values. This further leads to the destruction of the clan (1:60–62) [2]. The Manusmṛti implores the ruler to free the state from adultery, assault, theft, defamation, and violence (5:154; 8:386–387) [1].

In the Apaddharmanuśāsana Parva of Śānti Parva of the Mahābhārata(Section CLXV), there is a dialogue between Bhishma and Yudhishthira where Bhishma asserts that adultery is a major sin and recommends punishment for the one who is proven guilty...

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Correspondence to Amitabh Vikram Dwivedi .

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Dwivedi, A.V. (2021). Adultery (Hinduism). In: Long, J.D., Sherma, R.D., Jain, P., Khanna, M. (eds) Hinduism and Tribal Religions. Encyclopedia of Indian Religions. Springer, Dordrecht.

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    Adultery (Hinduism)
    18 June 2021


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    Adultery (Hinduism)
    21 March 2018