What is the Sikh attitude to contraception and family-planning?

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Gurbani advises to live in ‘Sehaj’ – a balanced and intuitively poised lifestyle. Sehaj is advised with everything in life, whether it be food, sex, sleeping or work.

ਬਹੁ ਸਾਦਹੁ ਦੂਖੁ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਹੋਵੈ ॥ ਭੋਗਹੁ ਰੋਗ ਸੁ ਅੰਤਿ ਵਿਗੋਵੈ ॥
ਹਰਖਹੁ ਸੋਗੁ ਨ ਮਿਟਈ ਕਬਹੂ ਵਿਣੁ ਭਾਣੇ ਭਰਮਾਇਦਾ ॥੭॥
“For one’s excessive indulgences, one receives only pain; from their enjoyments, (because) they contract diseases, and in the end, they waste away. (Worldly) pleasures can never erase pain; without accepting the Lord’s Will, one wanders lost and confused. ||7||”
(Ang 1034)

Using any kind of contraceptive or birth control is not accordance to Gurmat (the Guru’s Way). Sexual relations within marriage are only acceptable, which is a part of ‘Gristi’ (life of a householder). Sexual relations are necessary for a householder life as this is the only way a child is born. A Gursikh doesn’t engage in ‘kaam’ (lust). If a couple is using birth control, there is no other purpose other than fulfilling lust and sexual desires.

ਸੁਆਦ ਲੁਭਤ ਇੰਦ੍ਰੀ ਰਸ ਪ੍ਰੇਰਿਓ ਮਦ ਰਸ ਲੈਤ ਬਿਕਾਰਿਓ ਰੇ ||
“Deluded by pleasures of flesh and involved in sexual gratification you are wasting yourself in sin like a drunk fool.”
(Ang 335)

Accepting Guru Sahib’s Hukam (Will) includes accepting how many children he gives us. Birth control is wrong from that angle as well. Traditionally Sikh families are large providing spiritual Sangat to the couple and helping the Panth to gain strength and remain strong.

Whenever we’re confused about an issue we can ask ourselves, “Would puraatan (ancient) Gursikhs have done this or approve of this?” The answer to birth control is clearly no.

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