According to most scholars, atheism is a part of Hinduism. However, are there any verses in the Puranas or the Mahabharata that condemn atheism?

  • "Atheism" has more than 1 definitions. Which one do you refer for this Qn?
    – iammilind
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 16:17
  • @iammilind the definition of atheism in my question is who does not believe in any divine powers over him or her
    – user9969
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 16:25
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    @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury - A little Suggestion. I think you should wait for some time before accepting an answer. Because you are asking very good questions and the users who are attempting to answer your questions will be discouraged if one answer is quickly accepted and by waiting you will also receive multiple answers. :) Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 16:34
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    @SwiftPushkar Oh all right. Yes I have been told this before by Keshav Srinivasan but I forgot
    – user9969
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 17:03
  • Surya Kanta, you should update your question with the comment clearly mentioned. The answer given by @Rickross is good, but your question is different as per the comment. Or you should ask another question which handles that meaning of atheism. Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 3:35

2 Answers 2


Atheism and atheists are condemned in all scriptures.

12.33. Covetousness, sleepiness, pusillanimity, cruelty, atheism, leading an evil life, a habit of soliciting favours, and inattentiveness, are the marks of the quality of Darkness (Tamas).

4.163. Let him avoid atheism, cavilling at the Vedas, contempt of the gods, hatred, want of modesty, pride, anger, and harshness.

11.66. Stealing grain, base metals, or cattle, intercourse with women who drink spirituous liquor, slaying women, Sudras, Vaisyas, or Kshatriyas, and atheism, (are all) minor offences, causing loss of caste (Upapataka).

2.11. Every twice-born man, who, relying on the Institutes of dialectics, treats with contempt those two sources (of the law), must be cast out by the virtuous, as an atheist and a scorner of the Veda.

3.150. Manu has declared that those Brahmanas who are thieves, outcasts, eunuchs, or atheists are unworthy (to partake) of oblations to the gods and manes.

8.22. That kingdom where Sudras are very numerous, which is infested by atheists and destitute of twice-born (inhabitants), soon entirely perishes, afflicted by famine and disease.

8.309. Know that a king who heeds not the rules (of the law), who is an atheist, and rapacious, who does not protect (his subjects, but) devours them, will sink low (after death).

All Verses from Manu Smriti.

In all these verses given above NAstikyam is the original Sanskrit word, translation of which is given as atheism.

One, who is given to the vilification of the Vedas , one who is given to speaking against the Deities ; one, who is given to speaking ill of the twice-born ; [all these] should be avoided in all rites appertaining to a S'raddha. (34)

An ungrateful person ; a deceitful person ; a wicked soul ; an atheist ; one, who speaks against the Vedas ; one, who slays a friend ; one, who knows another's wife ; one, who falsely accuses a learned person ; [should, also, be avoided.] (35)

Usana Smriti verses.


[An ideal wife] She should not be prodigal in her purse, nor hostile to the spirit of piety or gain. Carelessness, fickleness of mind, anger, envy, deception, vanity, rivalry, mischievousness, cruelty, inordinate pride, cunningness,. atheism, daringness, discontent, and dissimulation are the fifteen vices which a chaste wife should always try to renounce.

VyAsa Smriti chapter 2 verses.

  • Add some more verses if you find
    – user9969
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 16:16
  • Ok will try to add. @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury
    – Rickross
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 16:22
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    @Rickross nAstika and (english)atheist are not exactly the same in Hinduism. One can be an english theist while being a nAstika (rejects Vedas). The question has a comment that clearly states the English definition of atheism. Maybe it was added after your answer. Could you clarify? Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 3:33
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    In my answer atheist= non believer , which is what OP is asking about i guess. Also "in Hinduism nAstika means those who don't believe in Vedas," Where to find this definition? In some of the verses i have given, Veda scorner, Veda hater and atheists are mentioned together but separately. So, Manu Smriti atleast is not conveying that meaning. No other Smritis do so either. So what do u want me to do here? I have already given the verses that am aware of. @user1952500
    – Rickross
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 4:35
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    The OP mentioned something about the english meaning in the comment that made me curious. The verses 2.10-11 of Manusmriti seem to say that 'he who scorns the Shruti and Smriti' is a nAstika. (That is one of the commonly used meanings...'nAstiko vedanindaka:'). I don't think anything needs to be done. Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 4:49

Atheism also means not following the path of Vedas as per Hindu scriptures. Vishnu Purana strongly condemn atheism(rejecting Vedas) and even declare death penalty for rejecting Vedas.

VP 3.17

When the mighty Vishńu heard their request, he emitted from his body an illusory form, which he gave to the gods, and thus spake This deceptive vision shall wholly beguile the Daityas, so that, being led astray from the path of the Vedas, they may be put to death; for all gods, demons, or others, who shall be opposed to the authority of the Veda, shall perish by my might, whilst exercised for the preservation of the world.

Hindu scriptures also say one shouldn't have contact with unbelievers of god:

Brahmavaivarta Purana 2.111.15

The company of non-believers should be left in the same way, as the person runs away in panic at the sight of a terrible snake.

  • O God how will I survive this Kali Yuga? 90% of my friends are atheist
    – user9969
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 16:35
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    @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury, the point is to do your best to repair but ultimately get out of a sinking ship.
    – ram
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 4:24