Section 377 and Dharma – Imposed by British, Repealed by Indian Supreme Court

Section 377 and Dharma – Imposed by British, Repealed by Indian Supreme Court

Section 377 criminalizing homosexuality was introduced in India in 1861. Today the Indian Supreme Court called it “irrational”, “arbitrary” and “incomprehensible”, and ruled that consensual adult sex between two gay couples is not a crime. It took 157 years for Indian society to come back to its normal ways of looking at this topic. Or so it seems.

What the British imposed on the Indian society in terms of Section 377 had no basis in Indian civilizational ethos. But what the Supreme Court has “gifted” is also not representative of the Indian ethos.

Sexuality is one part of the existence of living beings. Not a way to define them completely. Physically one can be referred to so, but not as a being.

The Charaka Samhita (4.2) discusses special births of different genders and sexual orientations. Such characteristics are ascertained during embryological development.

These are the Eight such categories.

  1. Dviretas- he has both male and female “seed.”
  2. Pavanendriya- he has no discharge of semen.
  3. Samskaravahi- he is aroused according to previous life impressions.
  4. Narashandha- his manhood is completely destroyed.
  5. Narishandha- her womanhood is completely destroyed.
  6. Vakri- his penis is severely curved or deformed.
  7. Irshyabhirati-he is aroused only by the jealous feelings of seeing other men in the act of sexual union.
  8. Vatika-he is born without testicles.

It is important to note that the Sage – Charaka describes these states as inborn and “incurable”.

The Caraka Samhita is an ancient Vedic medical text put into writing sometime around 200 B.C. According to this text, all eight types of napumsa are produced by various factors such as previous life impressions, an equal “seed” conception, parental conditions and certain afflictions within the womb. Two other types of napumsa are mentioned in Chapter 4.4: the varta, whose female “seed” is afflicted in utero, and the trnaputrika, whose male “seed” is similarly afflicted. All ten types are described as inborn and incurable.

It is not a mental disorder or some moral affliction. There are karmic reasons which manifest in embryonic state and therefore not changed by medicine.

Even Sushruta Samhita describes homosexual men – and calls it kliba. There are 5 types:

  1. Asekya- he is aroused only by swallowing a man’s semen.
  2. Saugandhika- he is aroused only by smelling the genitals of other men.
  3. Kumbhika-he takes the passive role in anal sex.
  4. Irshyaka- he is aroused only by the jealous feelings of seeing other men in the act of sexual union.
  5. Shandha- he has the qualities and behavior of a woman.

The Shandhas are of 20 types.

  1. Nisarga-he is born without proper genitals.
  2. Baddha-he has no testicles.
  3. Paksha-he is periodically impotent with women (every other fortnight, month, etc.).
  4. Kilaka-he penetrates the woman using another man or some instrument.
  5. Sapadi- he is unable to enjoy sex due to the power of a curse.
  6. Stabdha- his penis is paralyzed, with no sperm.
  7. Irshyaka-he is aroused only by the jealous feelings of seeing other men in the act of sexual union.
  8. Sevyaka-he is sexually enjoyed by other men.
  9. Aksipta-his semen is deficient or does not discharge properly.
  10. Moghabija-his attempts to unite with the woman are fruitless.
  11. Salina-he is too shy or inhibited to even approach women.
  12. Anyapati-he copulates with things or beings other than women.
  13. Mukhebhaga-he performs oral sex on men.
  14. Vataretas-he has no discharge of semen.
  15. Kumbhika-he takes the passive role in anal sex.
  16. Panda-his penis does not respond to (the woman’s) touch.
  17. Nasta-he is without sperm due to disease.
  18. Asekya-he is aroused only by swallowing a man’s semen.
  19. Saugandhika-he is aroused only by smelling the genitals of other men.
  20. Shandha-he has the qualities of a woman; behaving and talking as they do, he may castrate himself.

It is not just male, but even female homosexuality that has been described in various texts. Although it wasn’t as much explored as the male homosexuality. The women who cannot have sex with men are called Nastriyas. There are 10 types described:

  1. Svairini-she engages in lovemaking with other women. [Kama Sutra (2.8)]
  2. Kamini-she engages in lovemaking with both men and women. [Bhagavata Purana (5.24.16)]
  3. Stripumsa-she is masculine in behavior and form. [Mahabharat and other texts]
  4. Shandhi-she is averse to men and has no menstruation or breasts. [Sushruta Samhita (6.38) and Caraka Samhita (4.2; 4.4; 6.30)]
  5. Narishandha-her womanhood is completely destroyed. [Caraka Samhita (4.2; 4.4; 6.30)]
  6. Varta-her female “seed” is afflicted in utero. [Caraka Samhita (4.2; 4.4; 6.30)]
  7. Sucivaktra or Sucimukhi-she has an extremely small, undeveloped vagina. [Sushruta Samhita (6.38) and Caraka Samhita (4.2; 4.4; 6.30)]
  8. Vandhya-her menstruation is absent or suppressed. [Sushruta Samhita (6.38)
  9. Moghapuspa-her attempts to unite with the man are fruitless. [Caraka Samhita (4.2; 4.4; 6.30)]
  10. Putraghni-she has repeated miscarriages. [Sushruta Samhita (6.38) and Caraka Samhita (4.2; 4.4; 6.30)]

Marriage and homosexuality

Marriage was never based on sexuality. But on union of two beings and two types of energies. When the Mangalsutras were created, they were more than just a ritual. They were a way to unite two beings in a way that will help them even use marriage to transcend. This could happen because of certain types of states that the two human beings were -physically and in terms of consciousness.

Sexuality is one thing. Marriage is another.

Sexuality – as the various texts and King Bhagirath’s story suggests – can be between any two people. Marriage, if done for one’s spiritual development, should ideally be between two certain type of people.

Can marriage be done for social and sexual purposes? Yes. Most of them are in today’s society. Should the marriage between any type of people be illegal? Certainly no.

As long as we are only to surf the surface of existence, anything is ok. But if we are to use our lives as a lever to catapult ourselves out of bondage of karma and get to liberation, then we need to go beyond all this. Then we need to go beyond looking at any and everything from sexual standpoint.

And, that is what the Indian Sages and Dharmic scriptures have always said.

Section 377 repeal and Dharma

British had made something that our Sages said was seeded in embryo as illegal. That was the imposition of an idea that was based on the Western / Abrahamic moral construct on a civilization that was way beyond this juvenile way of looking at things.

However, what the Supreme Court has given to India in the wake of the movements is also an imposition of the Western ways of thinking. It has established Sexuality as being the central aspect of human existence and indeed the only relevant part of a marriage. It is not. And that is where what was imposed by the Abrahamic religious mind and reversed by anti-religious (Abrahamic) mind are silly actions that have no relevance to Indian civilizational ethos.

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