Olivia Cattedra omcatt at CIUDAD.COM.AR
Sun Dec 22 15:12:05 CST 2002

Hi all of you,

i had read in this board, some weeks ago,  a definition of the word niyoga
as inner union as consecquences of knowledge (if i dont misunderstood), i
wish more information around it, since looking in the internet for
definitons i found the following, which is quite different of the
here-quoted niyoga. thank all of  you in advance, and happy new year


Info form internet:

The correct term is Niyoga, niyogam being the practice and sometimes fruit
of Niyoga. Niyoga is a cultural/ religious practice that has died out now
though it does have parallels with the ancient Judaic custom of Levirate.
The usage of this practice extends as far back as the Vedas. The Buddhists
as well as the Jains knew it too as the Jataka stories testify.
Primarily the Niyoga is the practice of begetting children on a woman by a
proxy when her husband is impotent, sterile or dead without leaving
children. Not to have a male offspring to perform one's funeral rites, as
well as the ceremonies for one's ancestors, was the ultimate moral nightmare
for the ancient Indian. The proxy need not be a family member. The Levirate
was specifically for widows and only the husband's brother could stand in
for him- the most famous case being that of Onan who was reluctant and
spilled his seed on the ground. In Niyoga the proxy was usually a sage or
Brahmin in high standing, one that would be constantly on the move and not
around to embarrass with his presence later. It is interesting that the
ancient Indians knew about both impotence ands sterility and did not
automatically blame the woman for a childless state as became the inevitable
rule for the last seven hundred years. Knowledge can be lost as social
practices change.
The most famous examples of Niyoga are the Pandava brothers in the
Mahabharatha, begotten on the wives of Pandu by gods because the poor man,
while neither impotent nor sterile, was cursed to die instantly if he
indulged in sexual intercourse. {He did die so later after the children were
born}. The sage Veda Vyasa was commanded by his mother to raise offspring
upon his royal half brother's widows, a situation neither the sage nor the
women were pleased with. The result was one blind child, caused by the girl
shutting her eyes to the sage, and one albino child, caused by the girl
turning pale with fear and disgust at his horrific appearance. The only
intellectually and physically perfect child was born when one of the
princesses sent her maid to substitute for her. This was Vidura, the wisest
man of his time.
It is obvious that the practice was a concession to social imperatives and
not very popular with anybody, though it was extensively practiced. It died
out naturally when a more conservative moral code came into vogue and also
because the theory of rebirth made offerings to ancestors a tricky business
when it was not a downright contradiction in terms.
The late nineteenth century saw Swami Dayananda Saraswati attempt to
resurrect Niyoga as part of his "Back to the Vedas" campaign. Not even his
own followers took him seriously as India was attempting to win the respect
of a critical British ruling class by being even more Victorian than them.
Niyoga remained an oddity with impeccable theological sanction but it was
clearly a dead horse not worth the flogging..."

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