This question is asked by the curiosity created by my previous question.

Are shudras allowed to wander near sacrifices?

Are they allowed to put a sight on a sacrifice?

Are they allowed to touch sacrificial butter or other things?

Can they participate in a sacrifice?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Dec 26, 2017 at 5:12
  • Do u want any other info to be provided in the answer? It seems to me that i have answered all ur queries
    – Rickross
    Commented Dec 26, 2017 at 6:10
  • @Rickross down there is question about sacrifical food there i want a verse which directly answers the question then the answer would look more good if you want. Commented Dec 26, 2017 at 6:28
  • Which question, i can not find. Your main question has 4 sub-Qs and i have answered them. So if u can mention the question clearly. @Fiercelord
    – Rickross
    Commented Dec 26, 2017 at 6:33
  • "Are they allowed to touch sacrificial butter or other things?" there is an alternate answer that says they can in some particular situation but a clear answer is too needed. Commented Dec 26, 2017 at 6:49

2 Answers 2

  1. Can a Sudra perform a Vedic sacrifice?

Usually no. Given below are the duties of the 4 Varnas.

1.88. To Brahmanas he assigned teaching and studying (the Veda), sacrificing for their own benefit and for others, giving and accepting (of alms).

1.89. The Kshatriya he commanded to protect the people, to bestow gifts, to offer sacrifices, to study (the Veda), and to abstain from attaching himself to sensual pleasures;

1.90. The Vaisya to tend cattle, to bestow gifts, to offer sacrifices, to study (the Veda), to trade, to lend money, and to cultivate land.

1.91. One occupation only the lord prescribed to the Sudra, to serve meekly even these (other) three castes.

Manu Smriti verses.

So, as one can see, persons from all Varnas can offer sacrifices but not the Sudras. And, the reason they are not allowed to do so is because they are not allowed to undergo Upanayana (sacred thread ceremony). And without undergoing Vedic initiation, one should not chant any Vedic Mantras.

Manu Smriti 2.172. (He who has not been initiated) should not pronounce (any) Vedic text excepting (those required for) the performance of funeral rites, since he is on a level with a Sudra before his birth from the Veda

However, they can (and should) offer the Shraddha (as the related Mantra "Swadha" can be recited even without initiation). They can also perform the 5 great sacrifices (the Pancha Maha Yajnas).

The service of the twice born is [the duty of] a Sudra, if he can not maintain himself by that, he may become a tradesman, or he maintain himself with various works of art, but he should always do good unto the twice born.

[He should be] devotedly attached to his wife, be of pure conduct, a protector of servants and given to the performance of Shraddha. With the recitation of the Mantram-Namas, he should perform the five Yajnas.

Yajnavalkya Smriti verses 120,121.

So, he can only chant the Mantra "Namas" or Namaha and complete the sacrifices. He should not chant Vaushat, Swaha, Om etc, which are chanted during those sacrifices. As per another Smriti, a Sudra can also similarly perform simple sacrifices called the Paka Yajnas.

  1. Are they allowed to touch sacrificial butter or other things?

No again usually because their touch is considered as impure in the Smritis.

Manu Smriti 3.240. What (any of) these sees at a burnt-oblation, at a (solemn) gift, at a dinner (given to Brahmanas), or at any rite in honour of the gods and manes, that produces not the intended result.

Manu Smriti 3.241. A boar makes (the rite) useless by inhaling the smell (of the offerings), a cock by the air of his wings, a dog by throwing his eye (on them), a low-caste man by touching (them).

But, there is an exception. If a Sudra is law-abiding then he can be employed by an Arya for cooking the sacrificial offerings. Even the Manu Smriti says, such a Sudra is equal to a Vaishya for practical purposes.

Arya men who are pure should cook offering to All-gods. The cook should refrain from speaking, coughing, or sneezing while facing the food. Should he touch his hair, body, or garment, he should wash himself with water. Alternatively, Sudra men under the supervision of an Arya may do the cooking. They are to follow the identical procedure of sipping, with the additional requirement that every day they should shave the hair of their heads, bodies, and beards; clip their nails; and bathe with their clothes on. Alternatively, they may shave only on the eighth day of each fortnight or on new- and full-moon days.

Apasthamba dharma Sutras 2.39

  1. Are they allowed to put a sight on a sacrifice?

Generally, a Vedic recitation is to be stopped in the vicinity of a Sudra. So, around a Vedic sacrifice (where Vedic Mantras are recited) their presence must not be welcome.

Within sight or hearing of a Sudra or a degraded person, furthermore, vedic recitation is suspended for the duration.

Baudhayana Dharma Sutras 1.21.15

  • thanks@rickross the previous question which i asked is connected to it as men who are unrightious,not read vedas and are not good like wild are equal to pashus (other creatures) so they are treated in some terms equally but a shudra can regain a good status by performing good as listed in above given link to manusmriti. Manu Smriti 9.335: If a Shudra (uneducated) serves the educated ones, is polite, devoid of ego and stays in respectful company of knowledgeable ones, he/ she is considered as having a noble birth and stature. Commented Dec 25, 2017 at 13:40
  • Yes one who is illiterate in the Vedas is equal to Shudra even if he is a Brahmin by birth. Do u want such verses to be added in the answer? @Fiercelord
    – Rickross
    Commented Dec 25, 2017 at 13:44
  • no no but i think if you want you can add verses that really answer the cooking one sub-question along with the alternate one. Thankyou for your answer normally i do not ask caste-related question but it was important this time.;) Commented Dec 25, 2017 at 13:48
  • @Fiercelord Manu Smriti verse 9.335 is saying that he will attain a superior birth in his next life, not that he is already considered to be of noble birth right now. Commented Dec 25, 2017 at 13:57
  • @keshav srinivasan " he/ she is considered as having a noble birth and stature." it is continuos tence having. Commented Dec 25, 2017 at 14:06

Who is Shudra (or Sudra)

A Sudra is not a Sudra by birth alone--nor a Brahmana is Brahmana by birth alone. He, it is said by the wise, in whom are seen those virtues is a Brahmana. And people term him a Sudra in whom those qualities do not exist, even though he be a Brahmana by birth. (Source: Vana Parva: Tirtha-yatra Parva of Mahabharata)

A man, may be born in the Sudra caste, but if he is possessed of good qualities, he may attain the state of Vaisya and similarly that of a Kshatriya, and if he is steadfast in rectitude, he may even become a Brahmana. (Source : Vana Parva: Markandeya-Samasya Parva of Mahabharata)

This is also discussed here:

Can a Sudra become a Brahmin in 'this' birth?


[Nārada Muni:] If one shows the symptoms of being a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya or śūdra, as described above, even if he has appeared in a different class, he should be accepted according to those symptoms of classification. (Source: Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāṇa) 7.11.35)

From the kṣatriya known as Agniveśya came the celebrated brāhmaṇa dynasty known as Āgniveśyāyana. (Source: Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāṇa) 9.2)

Manu also had a son known as Dhṛṣṭa, from whom another sect of kṣatriyas was generated, but although they were born of one who had the qualities of a kṣatriya, they became brāhmaṇas." (Source : Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāṇa) 9.2)

In addition to these nineteen sons mentioned above, there were eighty-one younger ones, all born of Ṛṣabhadeva and Jayantī. According to the order of their father, they became well-cultured, well-behaved, very pure in their activities and expert in Vedic knowledge and the performance of Vedic rituals. Thus they all became perfectly qualified brāhmaṇas. (Source: Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāṇa) 5.4.13

That wretched Brahmana who falls away from his duties and whose behaviour becomes wicked, becomes, O king, a Sudra. (Source: Santi Parva: Rajadharmanusasana Parva of Mahabharata)

Vishvamitra was a kshatriya king earlier. Later, he undertook intense penance and attained brahminhood. This is discussed here.

Now, coming to your questions:

Are shudras allowed to wander near sacrifices? Can they participate in a sacrifice? Are they allowed to put a sight on a sacrifice?

In few cases No:

The Sudra is not fit for the sacrifice (the One Day Sacrifices). -Krishna Yajur Veda - Kanda 7 - p1

In few cases Yes:

ब्राह्मणान्क्षत्रियान्वैश्याञ्छूद्रांश्चैव सहस्रश:।

समानयस्व सत्कृत्य सर्वदेशेषु मानवान्।।1.13.19।।

"Let all the people from all the kingdoms, say Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vyasyas, Shudras be invited in scores duly honouring them." So said Vashishta to Sumantra. (Dasaratha's Aswamedha yaga)

Vidura (born from a Sudra woman) became the disburser in Yudhisthira's Rajasuya yaga. -Sabha Parva: Rajasuyika Parva of Mahabharata

Are they allowed to touch sacrificial butter or other things?

From Santi Parva: Rajadharmanusasana Parva of Mahabharata

In few cases No:

The Brahmana is the performer or the sacrifices of the three other orders.

A Sudra, is not competent to titter swaha and swadha or any other Vedic mantra.

In few cases Yes:

The Sudra, without observing the vows laid down in the Vedas, should worship the gods in minor sacrifices called Paka-yajnas.

Vidura (born from a Sudra woman) became the disburser in Yudhisthira's Rajasuya yaga. -Sabha Parva: Rajasuyika Parva of Mahabharata

However, same chapter mention that it is not true that the gods and other (Superior) persons do not manifest a desire to share the offerings in such sacrifices of even the Sudra. For, this reason, the sacrifice that consists in devotion is laid down for all the classes.

Yuga effect

In Uttara Kanda of Ramayana, the eight leading Brahmanas named Markandeya, Maudgalya, Vamadeva, Kashyapa, Katyayana, Javali, Gautama, and Narada say:

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In three Yugas (Kreta, Treta and Dwapara) the Sudras were not entitled to the vitues of devout penances. The degraded caste the Sudras, having thy regeme, have engaged in austere penances. And in the Kali Yuga asceticism shall be established in the Sudras.


Ramcharitmanas 1.1.163 says

जनि आचरुज करहु मन माहीं। सुत तप तें दुर्लभ कछु नाहीं।।

तपबल तें जग सृजइ बिधाता। तपबल बिष्नु भए परित्राता।।

तपबल संभु करहिं संघारा। तप तें अगम न कछु संसारा।।

So, one can attain any thing by Karma/Action/Tapa:

Bali Maharaj (son of a Daitya) will become next Indra.

Vishvamitra (a kashtriya king) attained the post of Bhrahmrshi.

Bhakti of Sabri (born in low cast) is believed to be perfect.

Vidura (born from a Sudra woman) is believed one of the most intelligent persons in Mahabharata.

  • Good work @YDS but i know that by birth castes were not earlier they evolved recently and a man decides own future by his activities and deeds and not by birth.;) And i may know the verses of uttar khand Commented Dec 25, 2017 at 14:51
  • @Fiercelord Added the shloka from Uttara Kanda of Ramayana ..
    – YDS
    Commented Dec 25, 2017 at 16:01
  • @Fierce lord varna is based on birth. You can ask Keshav Srinivasan regarding this.
    – user9554
    Commented Dec 27, 2017 at 15:30
  • @Parikshitha pls discuss in chat chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/70796/…
    – YDS
    Commented Dec 27, 2017 at 17:12

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