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I was very shocked to read recently that venerated gurus of vedanta like Adi Shankara and Ramanuja said shudras (and women) have no right to study vedas when infact vedas clearly don't say so . Quite to the contrary .

Then there're horrible punishments like "pouring molten lead in shudra's ears incase he heard vedic mantra" . "To slice his tongue incase he uttered a mantra" and to "chop his body" incase he preserves a veda.

Were these punishments actually carried out ?

How is it justified when vedas themselves say it is open to all ?

I simply don't get it ? how can smritis be upheld more than shruta (vedas) ?

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    Good question, but will most likely closed as opinion-based. You should try to convert this into an objective and factual question instead of asking for opinions ("How is [something] justified" is asking for opinions). 'Were these punishments actually carried out?' - this is a factual question. Jan 10, 2018 at 18:04
  • Were these punishments actually carried out? - Does this count? Jan 10, 2018 at 18:05
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    " vedas themselves say it is open to all " Citation needed. They don't say that.as far as I know. Can you post something to support? Jan 11, 2018 at 6:05
  • There are many theories on this. Some say these verses are added later and Acharyas accepted them (by accepting Sastras) or they could be meaningful if we apply "true" meaning of "Sudra". You can never get correct answer for that. Btw, saints like Veerabrahmendra Swami openly opposed it.
    – The Destroyer
    Mar 24, 2018 at 9:32
  • An interesting observation: As per Govindānanda and Ānandagiri in their sub-commentaries on Brahmasūtraśāṅkarabhāṣya (1.3.38), this particular verse concerning Śūdras who hear the Veda, is to be taken as prāyaścitta and not daṇḍa.
    – user23111
    Nov 27, 2021 at 15:25

1 Answer 1

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See the verse given below:

If a Sudra uses abusive language or physical violence against twice-born people, the part of his body used for the crime should be chopped off.

  1. If he has sex with an Arya woman, his penis should be cut off and all his property confiscated;

    1. if the woman had a guardian, then, in addition to the above, he shall be executed. 4.

    2. And if he listens in on a vedic recitation, his ears shall be filled with molten tin or lac; if he repeats it, his tongue shall be cut off; if he commits it to memory, his body shall be split asunder. If, while he is occupying a seat, lying on a bed, speaking, or walking on the road, he seeks to be their equal, he should be beaten

Gautama Smriti 11.31.


So, the persons or Achryas who justify the execution of such orders, do so based on the simple fact that "there are Hindu scriptures that have such injunctions".

Acharyas are persons, who are well versed in the scriptures (Srutis, Smritis etc). They won't say anything that is not found in scriptures or that is in contradiction with what's being stated in the scriptures. So, what more or different can you expect from them?

If you want the real essence of Hinduism and it's scriptures, then you have to listen to what the Yogis, Sadhus have to say. They know far more than what is revealed in the scriptures. Or get initiated yourself and start your own investigation.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Jan 14, 2018 at 7:04
  • An interesting observation: As per Govindānanda and Ānandagiri in their sub-commentaries on Brahmasūtraśāṅkarabhāṣya (1.3.38), this particular verse concerning Śūdras who hear the Veda, is to be taken as prāyaścitta and not daṇḍa.
    – user23111
    Nov 27, 2021 at 15:24

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