Modern and Youth Issues

What is the Sikh attitude towards masturbation?

Lust or uncontrolled sexual desire is one of the five evils that Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji warns us about time and time again. Masturbation, also referred to as Self-Sex, involves lustful thoughts that inspires or encourages more sexual thoughts and acts, and is therefore not appropriate for a Sikh to engage in. This is mostly seen in adolescence period as they want to satisfy their sexual needs. It is for self pleasure (sexual pleasure using with own or others hands or objects).

Gurbani guides us that although a Sikh does not have sex or intimacy outside of marriage, one must also be cautious and mindful of controlling our sexual organs:

ਬਿੰਦੁ ਨ ਰਾਖਹਿ ਜਤੀ ਕਹਾਵਹਿ ||
“O Yogi! You do not control your seed and semen, and yet you claim (to the world) you are practicing abstinence.”
(Ang 903)

In the Sikh way of life masturbation is not considered an acceptable option for quenching physical desire or sexual desire. The Sikh of the Guru has the best option to search for and find the TRUE source of satisfaction and fulfilment in life. Master your mind at this age and you will master the world while quite young. Naam is the only thing which will quench our inner thirst:

ਸਾਚੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਅਧਾਰੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਜਿਨਿ ਭੁਖਾ ਸਭਿ ਗਵਾਈਆ ||
ਕਰਿ ਸਾਂਤਿ ਸੁਖ ਮਨਿ ਆਇ ਵਸਿਆ ਜਿਨਿ ਇਛਾ ਸਭਿ ਪੁਜਾਈਆ ||
“The True Name is my only support; it satisfies all hunger. It has brought peace and tranquillity to my mind; it has fulfilled all my desires.”
(Ang 917)

Guru Gobind Singh Ji says:

ਖਾਲਸਾ ਸੋਇ ਕਰੇ ਨਿਤ ਜੰਗ ।
“The Khalsa is the one who daily engages in battle (with their internal enemies, i.e. the five vices)”

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji says:

ਇਸੁ ਤਨ ਮਨ ਮਧੇ ਮਦਨ ਚੋਰ ॥ ਜਿਨਿ ਗਿਆਨ ਰਤਨੁ ਹਿਰਿ ਲੀਨ ਮੋਰ ॥
ਮੈ ਅਨਾਥੁ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕਹਉ ਕਾਹਿ ॥ ਕੋ ਕੋ ਨ ਬਿਗੂਤੋ ਮੈ ਕੋ ਆਹਿ ॥੧॥
“(As a consequence of my fickle mind, now) within the body and mind are thieves like sexual desire, which has stolen my jewel of spiritual wisdom. I am a poor orphan, O God; unto whom should I complain? Who has not been ruined by sexual desire? What am I? ||1||”
(Ang 1194)


According to science, practising masturbation makes one weak and can lead to both psychological and physiological imbalances. Frequent masturbation and ejaculation stimulate acetylcholine/ parasympathetic nervous functions excessively, resulting in the over production of sex hormones and neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine, dopamine and serotonin. Abundant and unusually amount of these hormones and neurotransmitters can cause the brain and adrenal glands to perform excessive dopamine-norepinephrine-epinephrine conversion and turn the brain and body functions to be extremely sympathetic. In other words, there is a big change of body chemistry when one excessively practices masturbation.

The side effects of such changes to the body include:
* Fatigue
* Feeling tired all the time
* Lower back pain
* Stress / Anxiety
* Thinning hair / Hair Loss
* Soft / Weak Erection
* Premature Ejaculation
* Eye floaters or fuzzy vision
* Groin / Testicular Pain
* Peyronie’s disease
* Pain or cramp in the pelvic cavity or/and tail bone  



ARDAAS: One should daily pray for Guru Ji to give strength to overcome the five vices.

ਗਉੜੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥
ਰਾਖੁ ਪਿਤਾ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਮੇਰੇ ॥
ਮੋਹਿ ਨਿਰਗੁਨੁ ਸਭ ਗੁਨ ਤੇਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
ਪੰਚ ਬਿਖਾਦੀ ਏਕੁ ਗਰੀਬਾ ਰਾਖਹੁ ਰਾਖਨਹਾਰੇ ॥
ਖੇਦੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਅਰੁ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਸੰਤਾਵਹਿ ਆਇਓ ਸਰਨਿ ਤੁਹਾਰੇ ॥੧॥
ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਹਾਰਿਓ ਅਨਿਕ ਬਹੁ ਭਾਤੀ ਛੋਡਹਿ ਕਤਹੂੰ ਨਾਹੀ ॥
ਏਕ ਬਾਤ ਸੁਨਿ ਤਾਕੀ ਓਟਾ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਿ ਮਿਟਿ ਜਾਹੀ ॥੨॥
ਕਰਿ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਸੰਤ ਮਿਲੇ ਮੋਹਿ ਤਿਨ ਤੇ ਧੀਰਜੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥
ਸੰਤੀ ਮੰਤੁ ਦੀਓ ਮੋਹਿ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਗੁਰ ਕਾ ਸਬਦੁ ਕਮਾਇਆ ॥੩॥
ਜੀਤਿ ਲਏ ਓਇ ਮਹਾ ਬਿਖਾਦੀ ਸਹਜ ਸੁਹੇਲੀ ਬਾਣੀ ॥
ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਮਨਿ ਭਇਆ ਪਰਗਾਸਾ ਪਾਇਆ ਪਦੁ ਨਿਰਬਾਣੀ ॥੪॥੪॥੧੨੫॥
“Gauree, Fifth Mehl: Save me, O My Father God. I am worthless and without virtue; all virtues are Yours. ||1||Pause|| The five vicious thieves (lust, anger, greed, attachment and ego) are assaulting my poor being; save me, O Savior Lord! They are tormenting and torturing me. I have come, seeking Your Sanctuary. ||1|| Trying all sorts of things (to save myself from these five vicious thieves), I have grown weary, but still, they will not leave me alone. But I have heard that they can be rooted out, in the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy; and so I seek their Shelter. ||2|| In their Mercy, I have met Your Saints, and from them I have obtained satisfaction. The Saints have given me the Mantra which makes one Fearless (against the five vicious thieves), and now I practice the Word of the Guru’s Shabad in my life. ||3|| (As a result of the spiritual peace giving Bani) I have now conquered those terrible evil-doers, and my speech is now sweet and sublime. Says Nanak! (now) the Divine Light has dawned within my mind; I have obtained that state of Nirvaanaa where no desire can effect me. ||4||4||125||”
(Ang 205)

GURBANI: To overcome troubling sexual thoughts that robs the individual of peace of mind and consciousness, one has to replace the sexual thoughts with the Guru. The Guru is Gurbani (the Guru’s Word). To replace troubling sexual thoughts with the Guru, is to replace that space in the mind with Gurbani.Before going to sleep, one should recite Sohila Sahib and then recite and contemplate the following Shabad or any other Shabad relating to Kaam (lust):

ਸੁਧ ਜਬ ਤੇ ਹਮ ਧਰੀ ਬਚਨ ਗੁਰ ਦਏ ਹਮਾਰੇ ॥
ਪੂਤ ਇਹੈ ਪ੍ਰਨ ਤੋਹਿ ਪ੍ਰਾਨ ਜਬ ਲਗ ਘਟ ਥਾਰੇ ॥
ਨਿਜ ਨਾਰੀ ਕੇ ਸੰਗ ਨੇਹ ਤੁਮ ਨਿੱਤ ਬਢੈਯਹੁ ॥
ਪਰਨਾਰੀ ਕੀ ਸੇਜ ਭੂਲਿ ਸੁਪਨੇ ਹੂੰ ਨ ਜੈਯਹੁ ॥੫੧॥
ਅਧਿਕ ਹਰੀਫੀ ਜਾਨਿ ਭੋਗ ਪਰਤ੍ਰਿਯਾ ਜੂ ਕਰਹੀ ॥
ਹੋ ਅੰਤ ਸ੍ਵਾਨ ਕੀ ਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਹਾਥ ਲੇਂਡੀ ਕੇ ਮਰਹੀ ॥53॥
suDh jab te ham Dharee, bachan gur de-e hamaare.
pooth eihai pran tohe praan jab lag ghatt thaare.
nij naaree ke sang neh tum nith baddheyo.
par-naaree kee sej bhool supbe hoo(n) na jeyeo.
aDhik hareefee jaan bhog par-triya joo karhee.
ho anth svaan kee mrith haath lendee ke marhee.
“When I came to a mature age my Guru told me; Son, remember these teachings for the rest of your life: Love and care for your wife daily, but never even in your dreams go into the bed of another woman. Those that have sexual relations with someone other than their spouse, they die the death of a dog.”
(Dasam Granth)

Whenever a sexual thought or desire comes in the mind, then within your mind repeat a Gurbani line relating to Kaam. Some possible suggestions:

ਪਰ ਤ੍ਰਿਅ ਰੂਪੁ ਨ ਪੇਖੈ ਨੇਤ੍ਰ ||
par triaa roop na pekhai netar.
“With your eyes never look another woman with lustful eyes.”
(Ang 273)

ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਧਨੁ ਹਿਰੈ ||
kaam kroDh antar Dhan hirai.
“Sexual desire and anger steal the wealth of the self within.”
(Ang 351)

ਹੇ ਕਾਮੰ ਨਰਕ ਬਿਸ੍ਰਾਮੰ ਬਹੁ ਜੋਨੀ ਭ੍ਰਮਾਵਣਹ ||
he kaamun bisraamun bahu jonee
“O sexual desire, you lead the mortals to hell; you make them wander in reincarnation through countless species.”
(Ang 1358)

When reciting this Shabad within the mind, ensure that you clearly to pronounce each word and hear the words within your mind.

EXERCISE: No matter what your age or situation, a good way to control your sexual energy is by doing a lot of physical exercise. You need to sweat, sweat, sweat. Run, play soccer, basketball, cricket – what ever sport you like. The important thing is to use some discipline. Do the above things on a regular basis and if you are spontaneously hit with sexual desires, instead of reaching for the computer, go do something that has been mentioned above. Exercise reduces emotional tension and depression which is the linked to masturbation problem. Double your physical activity when you feel stress increasing. If you are serious about wanting to control this energy, then you will have to discipline yourself into helping yourself. Long cold showers are also good for transmitting sexual energy, and they are great for the nervous system.

DIET (WHAT YOU EAT): Food not only nourishes the body, it affects the mind and consciousness as well. Food can be classified by the effect they have on the body and mind, into three types – saatav, raajas and taamas. Tamasic food is the kind of food which clouds our mind, promotes negative emotions, and makes us lethargic or sluggish. People with a predominantly taamsic gunn includes the characteristic of demonstrating sensory gratification and seeming almost to be entirely engaged in (or thinking about) eating, drinking, sleeping, sex or laziness. Taamsic food includes meat, fish, eggs, alcohol, tobacco, fried food, frozen food, stale foods, and soda.

ਬਾਬਾ ਹੋਰੁ ਖਾਣਾ ਖੁਸੀ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥
ਜਿਤੁ ਖਾਧੈ ਤਨੁ ਪੀੜੀਐ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਚਲਹਿ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
“O Baba! The pleasures of other foods are false, by eating which, the body is ruined, and wickedness and corruption enters into the mind. ||1||Pause||”
(SGGS – 16)

Raajas food is that which brings about activity or restlessness. Whereas, Sattvic food is the kind which makes you feel light, energetic and enthusiastic. Raajas food includes coffee, black tea, onion, garlic, citrus fruits, very spicy foods, chocolate and salt.

Saatav foods include milk, rice, fresh sweet fruits, honey, fresh vegetables, nuts, and daal (lentils). Saatav foods are those included in the thirty-six types of food that Gurbani classifies as Amrit (life-giving) food. These are all lacto-vegetarian foods. Gurbani says:

ਜਿਹ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ਛਤੀਹ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਖਾਹਿ ||
ਤਿਸੁ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਕਉ ਰਖੁ ਮਨ ਮਾਹਿ ||
“By His Grace, you partake of the thirty-six delicacies;
enshrine that Lord and Master within your mind.”
(Ang 269)

The basic nature of the mind is creative or saatas, with just enough raajas and tamaas to bring desires to fruition. That means that the base of our diet should be a lacto-vegetarian, consisting of fresh or freshly prepared grains, vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, milk, ghee and butter in moderation, cold pressed oils and natural sweeteners.

For this reason anyone struggling with sexual thoughts and urges to masturbate should avoid all fish, egg, meat, very spicy food, foods that contain lots of masala, and junk food.

DIET (WHO YOU EAT FROM): The state of the mind and level of spirituality of the person cooking has a substantial impact on one’s state of mind and consciousness. On one level this can be that while cooking food the mind remains forever engrossed in loving devotion so that the consumed food has the effect of gearing the mind towards divine consciousness. In Rehatname, Sikhs are advised not to eat from those who do not have any spiritual discipline as the lax of such a person influences others in the same way as their own mind is inclined. Eating food from people who have little spiritual discipline and indulge in listening to lustful music, lustful television, and lustful conversations or lustful thoughts will impact us.

ਜਾਕੀ ਰਹਿਤ ਨ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਗੁਰਮੰਤ੍ਰ ਨਹੀ ਚੀਤ ||
ਉਨਕਾ ਭੋਜਨ ਖਾਇਕੈ ਬਿਸਰਹਿ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਪ੍ਰੀਤ ||
“One who has no Rehit (discipline) and does not meditate on the Gurmantar (given by the Panj Pyaare when one receives khande-di-pahul); If you eat their food, you will loose the love for God.”
(Rehitnama Bhai Chaupa Singh)

ਸੰਤਨ ਕਾ ਦਾਨਾ ਰੂਖਾ ਸੋ ਸਰਬ ਨਿਧਾਨ ||
ਗ੍ਰਿਹਿ ਸਾਕਤ ਛਤੀਹ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਰ ਤੇ ਬਿਖੂ ਸਮਾਨ ||੨||
“The dry bread of the Saints is equal to all treasures. The thirty-six tasty dishes of the faithless cynic are just like poison.”
(Ang 811)

ਨੜੀ ਮਾਰ, ਸਿਰ ਗੁੰਮ, ਕੁੜੀ-ਮਾਰ ਨਾਲ, ਰੋਟੀ ਬੇਟੀ ਦਾ ਨਾਤਾ ਨਹੀਂ ਰੱਖਣਾ | (ਰਹਿਤਨਾਮਾ ਭਾਈ ਨੰਦ ਲਾਲ ਜੀ)
“Those who consume any intoxicant, cut their hair, or those who kill their baby-daughters – do not keep the relationship of eating from food from them or marriage with them.”
(Rehitnama Bhai Nand Lal Singh Ji)

SANGAT (COMPANY): Good and bad company affects our mind and thoughts. One should keep company of Gursikhs as much as you can. Company is not limited to people, one should ensure the eyes do sangat of positive things and avoid viewing anything that provokes lust or sexual feelings or thoughts. One should ensure that the ears do sangat of positive things and avoid hearing anything that provokes sexual feelings or thoughts. For this reason one should only watch educational or religions programmes on TV, use the Internet for work, education or learning about Sikhi, and listen to Keertan or religious songs only.

ਕਬੀਰ ਮਨੁ ਪੰਖੀ ਭਇਓ ਉਡਿ ਉਡਿ ਦਹ ਦਿਸ ਜਾਇ ||
ਜੋ ਜੈਸੀ ਸੰਗਤਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਸੋ ਤੈਸੋ ਫਲੁ ਖਾਇ ||੮੬||
“O Kabeer! The mind has become a bird; it soars and flies in the ten directions. According to the company it keeps, so are the fruits it eats.”
(Ang 1369)


1. Never touch the intimate parts of your body except during normal toilet processes. Avoid being alone as much as possible. Find good company and stay in this good company.

2. If you are associated with other persons having this same problem, you must break off their friendship. Never associate with other people having the same weakness. Don’t suppose that two of you will quit together, you never will. You must get away from people of that kind. Just to be in their presence will keep your problem foremost in your mind. The problem must be taken out of your mind for that is where it really exists. Your mind must be on other and more wholesome things.

3. When you bathe, do not admire yourself in a mirror. Never stay in the bath more than five or six minutes — just long enough to bathe and dry and dress and then get out of the bathroom into a room where you will have some member of your family present.

4. When in bed, if that is where you have your problem for the most part, dress yourself for the night so securely that you cannot easily touch your vital parts, and so that it would be difficult and time consuming for you to remove those clothes. By the time you started to remove protective clothing you would have sufficiently controlled your thinking that the temptation would leave you. Also don’t sleep with anything too soft (like a blanket) underneath you.

5. If the temptation seems overpowering while you are in bed, get out of bed and go into the kitchen and fix yourself a snack, even if it is in the middle of the night, and even if you are not hungry, and despite your fears of gaining weight. The purpose behind this suggestion is that you get your mind on something else. You are the subject of your thoughts, so to speak.

6. Never read pornographic material. Never read about your problem. Keep it out of mind. Remember — “First a thought, then an act.” The thought pattern must be changed. You must not allow this problem to remain in your mind. When you accomplish that, you soon will be free of the act.

7. Put wholesome thoughts into your mind at all times. Read Gurbani and translations, read good books about the life of good Gursikhs and read about Sikh history. Morning, evening and bedtime, make it a routine to read Nitnem, and also read or listen to Gurbani during the day to keep the mind uplifted and occupied with the divine sound.

8. Pray. But when you pray, don’t pray about this problem, for that will tend to keep it in your mind more than ever. Pray for faith, pray for understanding of Gurbani, pray for humanity etc, but keep the problem out of your mind by not mentioning it ever — not in conversation with others, not in your prayers. Keep it out of your mind!

The attitude of a person toward his problem has an effect on how easy it is to overcome. It is essential that a firm commitment be made to control the habit. As a person understands his reasons for the behaviour, and is sensitive to the conditions or situations that may trigger a desire for the act, he develops the power to control it.