After the upanayana ritual, boys from the upper three varnas are able to receive knowledge from the Vedas. What about girls? Does this affect their karma?

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    Possibly this question already has an answer - hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/2057/… Sep 9, 2016 at 10:51
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    Girls are not allowed to recite the veda. They may read commentaries, however. It does not affect their karma because their good karma is preserved and enhanced by devotion to parents and husband.
    – user1195
    Sep 10, 2016 at 2:07
  • There is a big difference between learning Vedic chants and learning the meaning of Vedanta. Women (or any non-dwija for that matter), are not allowed to chant Vedas, but they are not denied in learning the meanings hidden in vedanta .e.g Maitreyi was taught atma vidya by her husband Yagnyavalka. In fact, all of Itihasa and Purana extract the essence of Vedas and present them to those who can't learn it.
    – ram
    Sep 11, 2020 at 22:45

4 Answers 4


Yes, females are allowed to read the Vedas. I am posting a passage from a famous 14th century text(Jivanmuktiviveka of Vidyaranya) which shows the importance of women Rishis in the formulation of the present day Hinduism and the equal rights enjoyed by women in Hinduism..

Renunciation is mentioned in the Taittiriya and other Upanishads: 'Some have attained immortality, not by acts, nor by offspring, nor by wealth, but by renunciation alone' (Kaivalya Upanishad., 3). Females also are entitled to this kind of renunciation. The Caturdharike of the Mokshadharma, by using the word bhikshuki (female mendicant) with reference to the lady in question, when dealing with the controversy between Sulabha and janaka, indicated that females may renounce before marriage, or after the death of their husband and may go about as religious mendicants, may learn and hear the sastras dealing with moksha (namely the Upanishad and cognate literature), may meditate upon the atman in seclusion and assume the emblems of tri-danda, etc. In the wake of the argument in the Devatadhikarana (the section about devata) in the fourth chapter of the third book of the Sarirakabhasya, wherein a discussion has been started relating to the rights of a widower (to such renunciation), the name of the lady Vacaknavi has also been mentioned. These references go to strengthen the right claimed by Maitreyi, the wife of Yajnavalkya, of whom she inquires in the words: 'Of what use would such (wealth) be to me, if the possession of such would not render me immortal? Tell me whatever your worship knows,as to what I should do, in order to be free from mortality' (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.5.4).

Jivanmuktiviveka of Vidyaranya translated by S. Subrahmanya Sastri and T.R. Srinivasa Ayangar, Chapter 1, Vividisa-samnyasa: The Renunciation of the Seeker

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    " I am posting a passage from a famous 14th century text" What is the name of the text.
    – Yogi
    Sep 9, 2016 at 15:08
  • I posted the name at the very end. The name is Jivanmuktiviveka. Sep 9, 2016 at 16:44
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    Okay I edited question for future readers. Btw how can you validate this scripture's comments on something as complicated as vedas & women?
    – Yogi
    Sep 9, 2016 at 16:57
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    I hope you are not serious. You want me to validate Vidaranya Swami, the famous author of Pancadasi and Jivanmuktiviveka!! Sorry I am unable to do so. Sep 9, 2016 at 17:17
  • I don't think this is a complete answer as you are quoting the text a bit out of context. Where it says "after the death of their husband...." it's talking about married women and it makes perfect sense because once a woman is widowed she can no longer serve her husband and cannot reap the benefits of her husband's good acts. And where it says 'before marriage' it's talking about renunciation .. so what about girls who do want to get married? Can they learn the Vedas? Sep 9, 2016 at 20:32

Women not barred from learning Vedas

Contrary to the popular belief that women are prohibited from learning the Vedas, here are two scholars who are on a mission to encourage women in mastering them. Speaking to The Hindu, Mysore-based Samveda Mahamandala President K.R. Manjunatha Shrouthy said not a single word was mentioned in the Vedas prohibiting woman from learning them.

“It is a misconception that reciting mantras from Vedas would affect child-bearing. In fact, there are some mantras like those found in Tandya Brahmana which should be recited by only women,” he pointed out.

Upapradhan Acharya of Acharyakulam (Haridwar) Krishna Bhatt taught the Rig Veda to his wife after their marriage.

“She did her Masters and M. Phil after marriage. She mastered the Vedas as well. I can proudly say that we are the only ghanapati [expert] couple in the entire country who recite Rig Veda,” he said.

Mr. Bhatt added that there were no restrictions on sudras acquiring divine knowledge. “At Acharyakulam, we are imparting Vedic knowledge to children of all prisms of life.

“All that they require is a qualification of Class V or VI in age group of 10 to 11,” he said. Dwelling on the Vedas and science, Mr. Shrouthy, a chartered accountant, said the Vedas referred to science and cited examples of gravitation theory and planetary movement.

“There are references to herbs for treatment of ailments in the Atharavana Veda. To unearth the essential aspects the Vedas and science, extensive research is the need of the hour, he added.



Of course girls are eligible to learn Vedas. It should not even be a serious question because the Veda itself contains many mantras and hymns of female rishis.

Moreover, works such as Mahabhashya define words specific to women who are Vedic professors, like "Upādhyāyā" or "Upādhyāyī". And women who studied specific branches of Veda were called by specific names, such as "Kāṭhī" (i.e. student of Kaṭha branch), "Bāhvṛcī" (student of Rig Veda), etc.

Other references to women in ancient India involved in Vedic study can be found in this work: https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/67132/20/20_chapter%2014.pdf

  • there is a difference between learning veda and learning meaning of vedas. the meanings are not denied to anyone - that is the reason for itihasa and purana, which distill the meaning to easy stories. the chants however are denied to some. secondly, can women in kali yug learn vedas ? rules change for each yuga.
    – ram
    Sep 14, 2020 at 2:51
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    It would be useful if some important extract from the linked source is cited/quoted.
    – Pandya
    Jan 14, 2021 at 7:20

Of course, they were allowed to study Vedas. It was essential for women to read Vedas before marriage.

Manusmriti 3:2. (A student) who has studied in due order the three Vedas, or two, or even one only, without breaking the (rules of) studentship, shall enter the order of householders(Husband and wife).

Padma Puran 6.242.100-104 mentions Devi Sita was well versed in Vedas.

100-104. Then Lakṣmī, the chief goddess of the worlds, who was beautiful, who resembled a crore of young suns, whose hands were like red lotuses, who was endowed with all (good) characteristics, who was adorned with all ornaments, who, the beautiful one, had worn on her bosom a garland of fresh flowers, was born in Janaka’s house, at the opening of a furrow, at an auspicious moment in an auspicious field dug up by Indra’s plough. Seeing that girl, auspicious and full of all Vedas, the lord of Mithilā took her out and nourished her as (his) child. The chief goddess, dear to the lord of worlds, grew in the charming house of Janaka for the protection of the entire world.

In Kathak Samhita 5:4:23-24 a women is praying Vedas for knowledge.( I am unable to quote English translation so I am pasting Hindi one.)

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  • First reference from Garuda Purana says bridegroom (not the bride) should be well-versed in Vedas? Sep 16, 2020 at 20:56
  • @sv. You are right I removed it. Thank you for correcting me. Sep 17, 2020 at 8:13

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