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Niyog Pratha In Hindu Dharma

1. Niyoga in the Hindu Scriptures

📚Gautama Dharmasutra 18.4-6📚
A woman whose husband is dead and who desires offspring (may bear a son) to her brother-in-law… (On failure of a brother-in-law she may obtain offspring) by (cohabiting with) a Sapinda, a Sagotra, a Samanapravara, or one who belongs to the same caste.”  (source)

📚Baudhayana Dharmasutra 2.2.4.7-9📚
A widow shall avoid during a year (the use of) honey, meat spirituous liquor, and salt, and sleep on the ground. Maudgalya (declares that she shall do so) during six months. After (the expiration of) that (time) she may, with the permission of her Gurus, bear a son to her brother in law, in case she has no son.”  (source)

📚Garuda Purana Chp 95📚
The younger brother of a husband, may go unto a childless wife of his elder brother for the purpose of begetting an offspring on her person with the permission of his elders, first had and obtained in that behalf, and with his body annointed with clarified butter.”  (source)

📚Garuda Purana 1.95.16-17📚
For producing a son and a heir in the family the brother-in-law or a cousin or a person of the same clan can have intercourse with an issueless widow till she conceives. If he touches her after that he becomes degraded. The son born thus is the legitimate son of the deceased husband.”  (source)

📚Kurma Purana 2.22.98📚
a son born of the Niyoga rite should perform Sraddha to his progenitor as well as the dead husband of his mother. Then he shall be the true heir. If a son is born out of the semen virile without the sanction of Niyoga, the son should offer Pindas to the progenitor. However, he may perform Sraddha to the Ksetrin (mother’s husbands).”  (source)

📚Vishnu Smriti 15.1-3📚
Now there are twelve kinds of sons. The first is the son of the body, viz. he who is begotten (by the husband) himself on his own lawfully wedded wife. The second is the son begotten on a wife, viz. one begotten by a kinsman allied by funeral oblations, or by a member of the highest caste, on an appointed (wife or widow).”  (source)

📚Yajnavalkya Smriti 1.3.68📚
The younger brother of the husband, a Sapinda or a Sagotra, being anointed with clarified butter, and with the permission of the Guru, may go to a sonless widows, when in season, with the desire of raising a son.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 9.190📚
In the case of a man dying childless, if an issue is raised from a member of the same family, all the property that there may be shall be delivered to that child.”  (source)

📚Vasistha Dharmasutra 17.56-61📚
After the completion of six months she shall bathe, and offer a funeral oblation to her husband. (Then) her father or her brother shall assemble the Gurus who taught or sacrificed (for the deceased) and his relatives, and shall appoint her (to raise issue to her deceased husband)…Let him approach (the widow) in the muhuarta sacred to Pragapati (behaving) like a husband, without (amorously) dallying with her, and without abusing or ill-treating her.”  (source)

📚Katyayana Smriti Verse 859📚
When a person begets a fruit (a son) with the consent of the owner of the field (husband of the wife), both of them are entitled to the fruit (the son), since a fruit is not produced in the absence of one (of the two).”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 9.59📚
On failure of issue, the woman, on being authorised, may obtain, in the proper manner, the desired offspring, either from her younger brother-in-law or from a ‘Sapiṇḍa’.”  (source)

📚Manusmriti 3.173📚
He who would lasciviously make love to the wife of his dead brother, even though she may have been appointed according to law (to bear a child by him), should be known as the “didhiṣūpati.”  (source)


2. Examples of Women Practicing Niyog

📚Mahabharata 1.179.33-47📚
O best of Brahmanas, I desire to obtain from thee that by which, O foremost of all that are conversant with the Vedas, I may be freed from the debt I owe to the race of Ikshvaku! O best of men, it behoveth thee to grant me, for the perpetuation of Ikshvaku’s race, a desirable son possessing beauty and accomplishments and good behaviour.’ “The Gandharva continued, ‘Thus addressed, Vasishtha, that best of Brahmanas devoted to truth replied unto that mighty bowman of a monarch, saying, ‘I will give you…After the royal sage had entered his capital, the queen, at the king’s command, approached Vasishtha. The great Rishi, making a covenant with her, united himself with her according to the high ordinance. And after a little while, when the queen conceived, that best of Rishis, receiving the reverential salutations of the king, went back to his asylum. The queen bore the embryo in her womb for a long time. When she saw that she did not bring forth anything, she tore open her womb by a piece of stone. It was then that at the twelfth year (of the conception) was born Asmaka, that bull amongst men, that royal sage who founded (the city of) Paudanya.”  (source)

📚Shrimad Bhagavatam 9.9.35-39📚
O foolish, sinful person, because you have eaten my husband when I was sexually inclined and desiring to have the seed of a child, I shall also see you die when you attempt to discharge semen in your wife. In other words, whenever you attempt to sexually unite with your wife, you shall die. Thus the wife of the brāhmaṇa cursed King Saudāsa, known as Mitrasaha. Then, being inclined to go with her husband, she set fire to her husband’s bones, fell into the fire herself, and went with him to the same destination. After twelve years, when King Saudāsa was released from the curse by Vasiṣṭha, he wanted to have sexual intercourse with his wife. But the Queen reminded him about the curse by the brāhmaṇī, and thus he was checked from sexual intercourse. After being thus instructed, the King gave up the future happiness of sexual intercourse and by destiny remained sonless. Later, with the King’s permission, the great saint Vasiṣṭha begot a child in the womb of Madayantī. Madayantī bore the child within the womb for seven years and did not give birth. Therefore Vasiṣṭha struck her abdomen with a stone, and then the child was born. Consequently, the child was known as Aśmaka [“the child born of a stone”].”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 1.104.37-47📚
The virtuous Vali, ever devoted to truth, then learning who the man was that was thus saved by him, chose him for raising up offspring. And Vali said, ‘O illustrious one, it behoveth thee to raise upon my wife a few sons that shall be virtuous and wise.’ Thus addressed, the Rishi endued with great energy, expressed his willingness. Thereupon king Vali sent his wife Sudeshna unto him. But the queen knowing that the latter was blind and old went not unto him, she sent unto him her nurse. And upon that Sudra woman the virtuous Rishi of passions under full control begat eleven children of whom Kakshivat was the eldest…Thy unfortunate queen Sudeshna, seeing me blind and old, insulted me by not coming herself but sending unto me, instead, her nurse.’ The king then pacified that best of Rishis and sent unto him his queen Sudeshna. The Rishi by merely touching her person said to her, ‘Thou shalt have five children…”  (source

📚Matsya Purana 48.67-76📚
After that, King Bali appeased that sage and was furious with his wife; and sent her again well-dressed, after her toilet, to the sage, when the seer said. ”O. Devi! Cast off your bashfulness and then lick the whole of my body with your tongue, after rubbing it with salt, curds and honey; you will then attain your wish and get sons.” The queen followed the directions of the seer, but omitted to lick the hind private parts. When the sage said; ”O, blessed one! Your eldest son will be without that part of the body which you have omitted to lick.” The queen said:- ”Sire! It is not worthy of you to bless me with such an offspring. Be pleased at my devotion and show your mercy to me.” Dirghatama said:- ”O, Blessed one, through your fault this will happen exactly as I have told you and this son of yours will not delight you in any way, but your grandson will; he will, however, not feel the necessity of the missing part of his body.” Then the sage, touching her abdomen, said, ”O, queen because you have licked all parts of my body except the privates, your sons will be like the full moon, and, in all you will be blessed with five sons of Divine beauty who will be most illustrious, renowned, righteous and performers of sacrifices.”  (source)

📚Padma Purana 1.55.19b-30a📚
There was a well-known sage, Śantanu by name, who was honoured by gods and whose lustre was like that of the lotus-born one (i.e. Brahmā). (His) beautiful and youthful (wife) was known as Amoghā. Once Brahmā went to her house to meet her husband (Śantanu). At that time, the best sage (i.e. Śantanu) had gone to the forest for (collecting) flowers etc… Seeing that woman of a spotless body, the Creator was overpowered with the passion of love…The semen of the supreme soul, Brahmā, fell on the bedstead. Then Brahmā, being afflicted and distressed, quickly left. Then the sage came home, and saw (Brahmā’s) semen on the seat. He asked the beautiful woman (his wife): “Who had come here?” Then that brāhmaṇa understood it by means of meditation. “O good woman, please preserve by my order the very important semen of Brahmā. A son, who alone will purify all the worlds, will be born (to you). Our desire which is all auspicious will (now) be fulfilled.” Then the chaste, illustrious woman, obeying his order, drank, for the birth of a son, the semen of Brahmā, the supreme soul.”  (source)

📚Shrimad Bhagavatam 9.6.2-3📚
Rathītara had no sons, and therefore he requested the great sage Aṅgirā to beget sons for him. Because of this request, Aṅgirā begot sons in the womb of Rathītara’s wife. All these sons were born with brahminical prowess.— Having been born from the womb of Rathītara’s wife, all these sons were known as the dynasty of Rathītara, but because they were born from the semen of Aṅgirā, they were also known as the dynasty of Aṅgirā. Among all the progeny of Rathītara, these sons were the most prominent because, owing to their birth, they were considered brāhmaṇas.”  (source)

📚Devi Bhagavatam Purana 6.25.1-10📚
Vyasa said :– OKing! The mother became astonished to hear me. Becoming very anxious for a son, she began to speak to me. O Child! The wife of your brother, the daughter Ambalika of Kasiraj, is a widow; she is very sorrowful; she is endowed with all auspicious signs and endowed with all good qualities; better cohabit with that beautiful young wife and get a child according to the tradition of the S’istas…Seeing me an ascetic with matted hairs on my head and void of every love sentiment, perspiration came on her face; her body turned pale and her mind void of any love towards me. When I saw that lady trembling and pale beside me, I angrily spoke :– “O One of beautiful waist! When you have turned out pale, considering your own beauty, let your son be of a pale colour.” Thus saying I spent there that night with Ambalika. After enjoying her I took farewell from my mother and went to my place.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 1.106📚
She, however, sent unto him, a maid of hers, endued with the beauty of an Apsara and decked with her own ornaments. And when the Vyasa arrived, the maid rose up and saluted him. And she waited upon him respectfully and took her seat near him when asked. And, O king, the great Rishi of rigid vows, was well-pleased with her, and when he rose to go away, he addressed her and said, ‘Amiable one, you shalt no longer be a slave. Your child also shall be greatly fortunate and virtuous, and the foremost of all intelligent men on earth!‘ And, O king, the son thus begotten upon her by Krishna-Dvaipayana was afterwards known by the name of Vidura. He was thus the brother of Dhritarashtra and the illustrious Pandu. And Vidura was free from desire and passion and was conversant with the rules of government, and was the god of justice born on earth under the curse of the illustrious Rishi Mandavya. And Krishna-Dvaipayana, when he met his mother as before, informed her as to how he had been deceived by the seniormost of the princesses and how he had begotten a son upon a Sudra woman. And having spoken thus unto his mother the Rishi disappeared from her sight.”  (source)

📚Devi Bhagavatam Purana 6.25.11-21📚
Ambika sent to me a maid-servant of Vichitravîrya, full of youth and beauty, and adorned with various ornaments and clothings. That maid-servant of beautiful hairs and of a swan-like gait adorned with garlands and red sandal-paste, came to me with many enchanting gestures and making me take my seat on the cot, became herself merged in love sentiments. O Muni! I became pleased with her gestures and amorous sports and passed the night, full of love towards her and played and cohabited with her.”  (source)

📚Devi Bhagavatam Purana 2.6.1-12📚
Out of Vyāsa Deva’s semen, Dhritarāstra was born. Ambikā Devī, the mother of Dhritarāstra closed her eyes on seeing Veda Vyāsa; hence Dhritarāstra was born blind. Seeing Dhritarāstra blind Satyavatī asked Vyāsa to go to Ambālikā (Pānḍu’s mother); the princess Ambālikā, mother of Pānḍu turned pale at the sight of Vyāsa; hence her son became of a pale colour out of Vyāsa’s wrath. Hence the name of the son was Pānḍu. Next the maid servant, expert in the science of amorous pleasures, satisfied Vyāsa; hence her son Vidura was born of Dharma’s part and became truthful and holy.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 1.120.26-41📚
Hearing these words of the ascetics, Pandu, remembering the loss of his procreative powers owing to the curse of the deer, began to reflect deeply. And calling his wedded wife the excellent Kunti, unto him, he told her in private, ‘Strive thou to raise offspring at this time of distress… The religious institutes mention six kinds of sons that are heirs and kinsmen, and six other kinds that are not heirs but kinsmen. I shall speak of them presently. O Pritha, listen to me. They are: 1st, the son begotten by one’s own self upon his wedded wife; 2nd, the son begotten upon one’s wife by an accomplished person from motives of kindness; 3rd, the son begotten upon one’s wife by a person for pecuniary consideration; 4th, the son begotten upon the wife after the husband’s death; 5th, the maiden-born son; 6th, the son born of an unchaste wife; 7th, the son given; 8th, the son bought for a consideration; 9th, the son self-given; 10th, the son received with a pregnant bride; 11th, the brother’s son; and 12th, the son begotten upon a wife of lower caste. On failure of offspring of a prior class, the mother should desire to have offspring of the next class. In times of distress, men solicit offspring from accomplished younger brothers. The self-born Manu hath said that men failing to have legitimate offspring of their own may have offspring begotten upon their wives by others, for sons confer the highest religious merit. Therefore, O Kunti, being destitute myself of the power of procreation, I command thee to raise good offspring through some person who is either equal or superior to me. O Kunti, listen to the history of the daughter of Saradandayana who was appointed by her lord to raise offspring. That warrior-dame, when her monthly season arrived, bathed duly and in the night went out and waited on a spot where four roads met. She did not wait long when a Brahmana crowned with ascetic success came there. The daughter of Saradandayana solicited him for offspring. After pouring libations of clarified butter on the fire (in the performance of the sacrifice known by the name of Punsavana) she brought forth three sons that were mighty car-warriors and of whom Durjaya was the eldest, begotten upon her by that Brahmana. O thou of good fortune, do thou follow that warrior-dame’s example at my command, and speedily raise offspring out of the seed of some Brahmana of high ascetic merit.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 1.123.1-9📚
Vaisampayana said, ‘O Janamejaya, when Gandhari’s conception had been a full year old, it was then that Kunti summoned the eternal god of justice to obtain offspring from him. And she offered without loss of time, sacrifices unto the god and began to duly repeat the formula that Durvasa had imparted to her some time before. Then the god, overpowered by her incantations, arrived at the spot where Kunti was seated in his car resplendent as the Sun. Smiling, he asked, ‘O Kunti, what am I to give thee?’ And Kunti too smiling in her turn, replied, ‘Thou must even give me offspring.’ Then the handsome Kunti was united (in intercourse) with the god of justice in his spiritual form and obtained from him a son devoted to the good of all creatures. And she brought his excellent child, who lived to acquire a great fame…And this first child of Pandu shall be known by the name of Yudhishthira. Possessed of prowess and honesty of disposition, he shall be a famous king, known throughout the three worlds.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 1.123.75-77📚
The celebrated Pandu, tempted by the desire of having more children wished to speak again unto his wedded wife (for invoking some other god). But Kunti addressed him, saying, ‘The wise do not sanction a fourth delivery even in a season of distress. The woman having intercourse with four different men is called a Swairini (heanton), while she having intercourse with five becometh a harlot. Therefore, O learned one, as thou art well-acquainted with the scripture on this subject, why dost thou, beguiled by desire of offspring, tell me so in seeming forgetfulness of the ordinance?”  (source)

📚Brahmanda Purana 3.46.29-33📚
After killing all the Ksatriyas on the surface of the Earth, Rama became calm…Ksatriya kings were begotten of the widowed wives of those Ksatriyas by Brahmanas. Again he (Rama) killed hundreds and thousands of such kings. In two years, Rama made the Earth devoid of Ksatriyas once again…Again, O king, enlightened Ksatriyas were procreated by the Brahmanas. Rama killed them entirely like the god of death, the destroyer of the Earth.”  (source)

📚Mahabharata 1.104.4-7📚
And the illustrious scion of Bhrigu’s race, by means of his swift arrows annihilated the Kshatriya tribe one and twenty times. “And when the earth was thus deprived of Kshatriyas by the great Rishi, the Kshatriya ladies all over the land had offspring raised by Brahmanas skilled in the Vedas. It has been said in the Vedas that the sons so raised belongeth to him that had married the mother. And the Kshatriya ladies went in unto the Brahamanas not lustfully but from motives of virtue. Indeed, it was thus that the Kshatriya race was revived.”  (source)