What is Hinduism’s view on porn?
In Hinduism we have the concept of "Ashtavidha Mithuna" .i.e 8 forms of copulation all of which are equivalent or equally important in a given context .
For example,from the book Essence of Dharma Sindhu :
During the Upavaasa time(fasting time), one should not take water too many times, should not chew betel leaves/nuts, should not sleep, nor resort to Ashtavidha Mithuna ie. think of sex, hear provocative songs, viewing objectionable material, secret gossip, take vows and decisions and refrain from acts other than related to devotion.
The Daksha Smriti says:
Thinking of a woman or her picture, praising a woman or her picture, sporting with a woman or her picture, glancing at a woman or her picture, secretly talking to a woman, thinking of a sinful action towards a woman actuated by sensuality, determining upon the sinful action, and bodily action resulting in the discharge of semen are the eight characteristics of copulation; and Brahmacharya is quite contrary to all these eight indications.
Now,viewing/reading pornography comes under one or more types(of copulation) given above. So,the point is, if one form of copulation is objectionable in a given context then any other 7 forms are equally objectionable.
Hence, if doing actual copulation is offensive or objectionable in a context/situation then viewing porn is equally offensive or objectionable in that context/situation.
For example,in Hinduism "Parastreegamana" (having sex with other's wife ) is a sin.So ,whatever i have posted above would imply that, viewing pornography(which is nothing but watching a parastree, or someone who's not one's wife, having sex) is also a similar kind of sin.
Edit-The following texts are taken from an abridged version Yajnavalkya Smriti:
A householder should preferably wear a white cloth. Hair, moustache and nails shall he kept always clean. He should not take food unless supervised by his wife.......
He should never gaze at fire, sun, a nude woman, a woman engaged in a sexual act, wine, faeces, etc. He should never sleep with his head to the west.
And more from the same Smriti:
13 — 20. There are many Upapātakas (minor sins and turpitude)....... causing others to break their vow, selfish ventures, cohabitation with an alcoholic, forsaking of one's study of Vedas, sacred fires, child, and kinsmen, perusal of illegal and unholy literature, selling of oneself or one's own wife, all these are Upapātakas.
The above texts in bold have direct reference to pornography or sexually explicit materials i guess.And as per them,viewing pornography comes under "minor sins" or Upapaatakas.(Mahapaatakas are grave sins)
In Hinduism, maintaining Brahmacharya(celibacy) is of utmost significance for spiritual aspirants.
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