Niyoga is an ancient Hindu tradition, in which a woman (whose husband is either incapable of fatherhood or has died without having a child) would request and appoint a person for helping her bear a child. According to this Hindu tradition the man who was appointed must be or would most likely be a revered person. There were various clauses associated with this process, as follows:
- The woman would agree to this only for the sake of rightfully having a child and not for pleasure.
- The child, thus born would be considered the child of the husband-wife and not that of the appointed man.
- The appointed man would not seek any paternal relationship or attachment to this child in the future.
- To avoid misuse, a man was allowed a maximum of three times in his lifetime to be appointed in such a way.
- The act will be seen as that of Dharma and while doing so, the man and the wife will have only Dharma in their mind and not passion nor lust. The man will do it as a help to the woman in the name of God, whereas the woman will accept it only to bear the child for herself and her husband.
In niyoga, the bodies were to be covered with ghee (so that lust may not take root in the minds of the participants but the actual act may take place for conception).