Untouchability can be of a couple of forms:

  1. one which arises out of temporary impurity (aśauca) e.g., not touching a menstruating woman

  2. a person is untouchable due to the nature of his work e.g., a sewer worker

  3. a person belonging to a certain class, tribe, country, etc. is untouchable

Do Vedas (saṃhitas, āraṇyakas or brāhmaṇas) discuss untouchability of either of these forms?

  • Why did you consider above 3 cases only as untouchability? Is there any reason for it?
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 17:10
  • I'm interested in all forms untouchability. Only listed the types that I know of so people don't assume I'm only referring to #3 @TheDestroyer Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 17:52
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    For brahmacharis and Sanyasis even girls are untouchables. For a chaste wife, every man other than her husband is untouchable. Same with a chaste husband. Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 17:56
  • That must be from the smritis. What do Vedas say? @NarayanaSharma Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 20:06
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    For a man or woman who is in "madi" their own family is untouchable @NarayanaSharma
    – user1195
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 16:13

1 Answer 1


I don't know the answer in its entirety but 1. is apparently discussed in yajur veda. Regardless, I'd like you to think about the following.

  1. Vedas were not divined in the kali yuga.

  2. The different varnas came into being in different yugas. Narada explains this in Uttara Kanda of Ramayana.

  3. Vedas embody universal truths that endure across time and space. So if something that is a kali yuga phenomenon does not appear in the veda, it does not mean the veda is wrong nor does it mean that the yuga dharmas are invalid. It is precisely for the changing yuga dharmas that smritis were born. And these smritis note the practices that are to be upheld by various people during various times.

  4. Even within a certain yuga, if a certain phenomenon is unacceptable, change does happen within that yuga itself. It does not render the Veda or the change invalid. As an example, are computers mentioned in the veda? (although this is a favorable kali yuga change)

So the lens of "if it does not appear in Rig Veda, it is false" is really just a blinder with a very tiny aperture.

  • 1
    This looks like commentary. Doesn't answer my question. Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 18:09
  • Where exactly is Yajur Veda discussing this topic? If u give me the locations I can easily verify as I have both the books SYV and KYV.
    – Rickross
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 7:29
  • @Rickross don't know. You may just have to rifle through the whole thing; sorry.
    – user1195
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 16:14
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    @sv i guess it is.
    – user1195
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 16:14

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