Among other things, I understand that a widow is not allowed to give her son/daughter away in marriage, only a husband-wife couple can do so.

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    first, only a daughter is given in marriage, not son. second, only a man can give away the daughter. so, usually her brother-in-law (husband's brother) or equivalent relative male gives away the daughter. widows are not 'inauspicious' in most cases. in fact, if they follow the strict rules of chastity, they are considered same as a rishi doing tapas.
    – ram
    Apr 9, 2018 at 0:03
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    When you make posts only express hate (and you obviously have no clue how real Hindus live in the real world), you make erros. shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/72215/9/… " A widowed woman.was an ill-fated creature and an object of pity and compassion. She had to face numerous hardships. She had to spend her life with her head shaven and arms bared; she was an outcaste on festive occasions - a bad omen, her very sight being regarded as most inauspicious." By the way , You support Sati in 2018, don't you ?
    – S K
    Apr 9, 2018 at 0:39
  • you're asking if scriptures say they're inauspicious, and then pointing out to how people don't follow it, and then criticizing the scriptures ? you make no sense. Next, I'm not advocating sati. But I'm not dis-advocating it either. If the wife does it voluntarily, it is not against shastra. It was mostly done by kshatriya women in the past. you're confusing scripture with lack of following of said scripture.
    – ram
    Apr 9, 2018 at 1:40
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    "But I'm not dis-advocating it either. If the wife does it voluntarily," yup - I know where this execrable posturing is coming from.
    – S K
    Apr 9, 2018 at 1:58
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    "no point talking to you." from your lips to God's ears.
    – S K
    Apr 9, 2018 at 16:41

3 Answers 3


Yes, scripture suggests that widows are inauspicious and should be avoided "like the poison of a snake." Only exception is one's own widowed mother.

Julie Leslie, in The Perfect Wife — a translation of/commentary on Strīdharmapaddhati (Guide to the Religious Status and Duties of Women) by Tryambaka of 18th century Thanjavur — says the following.

Tryambaka also discusses the interesting question of the impurity and inauspiciousness traditionally ascribed to widows. The examples he quotes are typical. 'Just as the body, bereft of life, in that moment becomes impure, so the woman bereft of her husband is always impure, even if she has bathed properly. Of all inauspicious things, the widow is the most inauspicious; there can never be any success after seeing a widow (cf. section IIA, pp. 54—7). The wise man should avoid even her blessing (tadāśiṣam api—excepting only that of his mother—for it is devoid of all auspiciousness, like the poison of a snake (āśīviṣopamām).'

According to Tryambaka, however, such remarks apply only to the widow who does not behave as she ought (ācārahīnāviṣayam). For even if she becomes a widow, the pativratā — 'who is devoted to (good) conduct' (caryāparā), 'fully committed to her religious duty' (dharmasamayukta), and 'who follows (the proper path of) widowhood' (vaidhavyam palayet) — earns a threefold reward: she is both happy and auspicious (śubhā) in this life; she obtains the pleasures of heaven (svargabhogān), or indeed the same heaven as her husband (patilokam); and she marries that same husband again in her next life. Theoretically at least, if she behaves as she should (see above), the dread inauspiciousness with which the scriptures threaten her are cancelled out. But if she cannot do this, she would presumably be well-advised to die with her husband.

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    @SK if you consider that scripture, consider Brahma samhita scripture too, it was written by a women from her own opinions and perspective in 18th century. Apr 9, 2018 at 16:49
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    @SK Anubhav is right. Why are you considering this a scripture. These are personal opinions of 18th century woman/man Apr 9, 2018 at 17:03
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    @sv. Quote from dharma shastras. Kunti and wives of dasratha went on to live very fulfilling lives no one avoided them like poison of a snake. Apr 9, 2018 at 17:03
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    Even today there's a isn't single smriti which is followed to the letter. People always follow a collection of 'good' rules from various sources and dump the 'bad'. You seem to be doing the same. Showing me the 'good' ones. 'I'll believe in laws given by rishis rather than mortals' - rishi is also a mortal. We need to learn treat everyone as humans first. Good idea wins no matter who says it. @AnubhavJha Apr 9, 2018 at 17:33
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    'in some cases sati might be moral' - under no circumstance is sati moral, that is why India made it illegal. @AnubhavJha Apr 9, 2018 at 17:53

Skanda Purana says so.

Skanda Purana, Vaishnava Khanda (Book II), Vasudeva Mahatmya (Section IX), Chapter 22:

Of all inauspicious things, a widow is the most inauspicious one. Her sight or touch destroys the merit of men. (11)

If at time of starting on a journey one sees a widow in front, one shouldn't go at that time. Otherwise death is certain. (12)

The blessings of widowed women are similar to the hissing of black serpents. A householder should be afraid of them as of ogresses. (13)


The answer is No. Vyasa says there are not inauspicious. In fact, a sensible man should worship her.

Kashi Khanda of Skanda Purana chapter 4 contains characteristics of a chaste woman. These are said by Brihaspati. These are again narrated by Vyasa.

After talking about duties and characteristics of a chaste woman, Vyasa continues to talk about duties of a widow.

  • If a widow does austerities and charity as prescribed for the better lokas of her husband, she is auspicious.

  • When a widow has love and respect towards her husband, she is auspicious.

  • It is to be noted that a widow is prescribed to do charity and vratas where Brahmins and sages should be fed. So, one can go and visit her if she is inviting as a part of vratas.

  • Regarding visit to temples, she is recommended to visit famous temples like Badarikashrama (Badrinath) and offer worship there.

  1. A widow who is fond of her husband, should not do anything without asking her sons. A widow who is accustomed to observe all these vows and practices1 is considered auspicious.

  2. A widow who is chaste and who observes all these pious practices, shall attain the regions of her husband. She shall not be miserable anywhere.

  3. If a woman considers her husband as a deity, there is no difference between her and Ganga. She is directly equal to Umã, the consort of Siva. Hence a sensible man should worship her.

It is clear from the words of Vyasa and Brihaspati that a widow who are fond of their husband and perform charity and worship for the betterment of her husband is equal to Umā, consort of Shiva. She should be worshipped and treated like before.

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    I heard this in a discourse too but this is a minority view. Is 106 referring to married woman or widow (name of the chapter is, The Characteristics of a Chaste Woman)? BTW, 74 & 78 say a widow should shave her head off and always sleep on bare floor. Jun 24, 2019 at 14:55
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    @sv. Many beliefs came in and changed the way of people. 106 refers to widows because it says she shall reach her husband's region and enjoy heavenly pleasures again. Yes, some verses says she should lead a life of ascetic i.e., sleeping on floor, not wearing gaudy garments, eat once (or twice). If she's an older woman, we can't force her to sleep. Many senior citizens can't sit on floor. Can they sleep? Anyways, I believe in this because they haven't done anything to show hatred. It's her husband who died. Jun 24, 2019 at 17:13
  • 104 & 105 talk about widows. 106 uses the word 'woman' not 'widow' - so the question is, should a sensible man worship a chaste married woman or a widow? Jun 24, 2019 at 17:23
  • From the same chapter: 50. 'A widow devoid of conjugal bliss and weal is the worst of all inauspicious things. There would be no success in a venture, if one sees a widow (at the outset).' and 51. 'A sensible man should avoid such a woman bereft of all conjugal bliss and even her blessings, except in the case of his (widowed) mother.' – given this, 106 must be an interpolation or must mean chaste married woman, not a widow. Jun 24, 2019 at 17:24
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    The most illogical view is calling or believing a widow as inauspicious. Some people have tendency to see only negative points but not the positive ones which are mentioned in scriptures. In fact, a sensible man should worship her +1
    – user6981
    Jun 24, 2019 at 17:43

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