In Hindu philosophy, sex and sexuality are an integral part of life. The Hindu civilization glorifies the sensual body and several classic texts discuss the sacred nature of sexuality and affirm the positive aspects of sex. Hinduism and sexuality
The three gunas of human life Moksha Kama Dharma Artha
Artha or meaningful work Artha translates as goals that bring money & property. Artha stresses the need to engage in meaningful work.
Kama or sensual, sexual desire Kama means pleasure, sensual gratification, sexual fulfillment, pleasure of the senses, desire, Eros, the aesthetic enjoyment of life.
Dharma or righteousness Dharma means ‘that which upholds or supports.’ Dharma governs righteous conduct and ethics - which are universal.
Hindu culture which traditionally celebrated sexual openness, came under pressure during Mughal and British rule when sexuality was oppressed and repressed. Independent India, which internalized many of Britain’s missionary values, codified what kind of sex and between whom it was permissible in law. Hinduism, sexuality and HIV
This made for an environment of sexual hypocrisy and repression. Against this backdrop HIV made its agile entry in India. When AIDS was first detected, it was met with intolerance. Considered a foreigner’s disease, an appeal was made for the country to return to its pristine values. Hinduism, sexuality and HIV
“ Lust is suspect for it obstructs in the exercise of Free Will.” - Augustine in the City of God “ Sex is like that over-powering aunt. You must live with her but must show her due respect and yet show her, her place.” - Ramakrishna of Dakishineswar
India has experienced over twenty years of HIV-AIDS and witnessed the emergence of an epidemic. Hindu leaders across India congregated in Bangalore from June 1-2, 2008 to reaffirm and declare their commitment to comprehensively respond to the HIV-AIDS epidemic. Response of Hindu leaders
“ We recognize today the need to incorporate HIV information in appropriate ways into our discourses, our rituals, our festivals, our religious education and training of future leaders of our faith.” - Excerpt from the Hindu caucus leaders’ declaration, Bangalore June 1-2, 2008
“ We pledge to work towards overcoming HIV in an inclusive manner and for this purpose mobilize the human, spiritual, institutional and financial resources that our communities possess.” - Excerpt from the Hindu caucus leaders’ declaration, Bangalore June 1-2, 2008
“ We resolve to utilize our places of worship, our educational and health facilities and our women and youth programs to provide the full range of prevention, treatment, care and support services in coordination with the government.” - Excerpt from the Hindu caucus leaders’ declaration, Bangalore June 1-2, 2008