This is what I found on a Hindu critique blog vedkabhed on Wordpress.

अनस्थाः पूताः पवनेन शुद्धाः शुचयः शुचिमपि यन्ति लोकम् |
नैषां शिश्र्नं प्र दहति जातवेदाः स्वर्गे लोके बहु स्त्रैणमेषाम् ||

anasthāḥ pūtāḥ pavanena śuddhāḥ śucayaḥ śucimapi yanti lokam |
naiṣāṃ śiśrnaṃ pra dahati jātavedāḥ svarge loke bahu straiṇameṣām ||

Boneless, pure, cleansed with the wind, brilliant, they go to a brilliant world. The fire does not burn their male organ. In Swarga they get plenty of women. [Atharvaved 4:34:2]

Is it the actual description or a distorted one?


All of our books must have to be read with a context. Translating directly is nothing less than absurdity. Here is the translation

  • 2
    Welcome to the Hinduism SE!! Can you please try to add English translation also as this is an English language site? Also, please add whose translation is this..
    – YDS
    Aug 4 '20 at 15:19

William Dwight Whitney citing Sāyaṇa's commentary translates it the same way:

Atharva-Veda Samhita

Book IV, Hymn 34

34. Extolling a certain rice-mess offering.

  1. Boneless, purified, cleansed with the purifier, bright (śuci), they go to a bright world; Jātavedas burns not away their virile member; in the heavenly (svargá) world much women-folk is theirs.

    Ppp. makes pūtās and śuddhās exchange places in a; and there is confusion in its text. The comm. explains anasthās by na vidyate asthyupalakṣitaṁ ṣāṭkāuśikaṁ śarīram eṣām, and strāiṇam by strīṇām samūho bhogārtham; the "they" are the performers of the sava sacrifice. The Anukr. does not notice the redundancy of a syllable in c. ⌊There should be a space between prá and dahati.—Regarding sensual pleasures in heaven, see Muir's note. l.c.; Zimmer, p. 413; Lanman, Skt. Reader, p. 379 end, 380; and Weber's note; cf. also AB. i. 2214.⌋

To fully understand the context of this verse/hymn, you can read John Muir's Yama and the Doctrine of a Future Life, According to the Rig-, Yajur-, and Atharva-Vedas where the author writes:

The enjoyments of this future state are said in R.V. ix. 113, 7 ff. to be conferred by the god Soma, and are described as follows:

  1. Place me, O purified (Soma) in that imperishable and unchanging world, where perpetual light and glory are found.

  2. Make me immortal (in the realm) where king Vaivasvata (Yama) dwells, where the sanctuary of the sky exists, and those great waters (flow).

  3. Make me immortal in the third heaven, in the third sky, where action is unrestrained, and the regions are luminous.

  4. Make me immortal in the world where there are pleasures and enjoyments–in the sphere of the sun,–where ambrosia and satisfaction are found.

  5. Make me immortal in the world where there are joys, and delights, and pleasures, and gratifications; where the objects of desire are attained.

The pleasures here referred to are most probably to be understood as of a sensual kind. Such at least is the prospect held out in the following passage of the Atharva Veda, iv.34,2:

Boneless, pure, cleansed by the wind, shining, they go to a shining region; Agni does not consume their generative organ; in the celestial sphere they have abundance of sexual gratification.

If you are interested in the 'mystical' interpretation, you can read this translation by Tulsi Ram Sharma.


The verse given in the question deals straightforwardly with sexual pleasure. Should we try to understand it in the spiritual sense? The answer is no since the Atharvaveda deals with sorcery, black magic etc.

The Atharvaveda has some special features because of which it stands a little apart from the other three Vedas, especially the Rgveda. It deals with the things, here and now, then the hereafter, and the sacrifices which are a means to it. Major portion of this Veda is concerned with diseases and their cure, rites for prolonging life, rites for fulfilling one's desires, building construction, trade and commerce, statecraft, penances and propitiatory rites and black magic, though high philosophical ideas, much nearer to the thought pattern of the Upanishads, are also to be found.

A concise encyclopedia of Hinduism by Swami Harshananda

A spiritual reading of the verse would go against the grain of Atharvaveda. Of course one might ask why Atharvaveda has all these nonspiritual things.

Hinduism says that there are four goals of life, dharma, artha (wealth), kama (desire) and moksha.

Many Hindus concentrate on the first three goals. They strive to acquire wealth, desire for good things of life and strive to do all these virtuously (if they do not want to ignore the precepts of dharma). These Hindus do not give much importance to the spiritual aspect of Hinduism. They don’t, for example, do spiritual practices and some may even be atheists. A system that includes atheism cannot be called religion. So one can characterize this as simply a way of life. This is dramatically different from other religions where there is no freedom to disbelieve.

There is another way to live. A small number of Hindus strives to attain moksha and give up striving for wealth or desire for good things of life.

The key point is that Hindus have a choice. They do not have to blindly believe in a fixed doctrine to be a Hindu.

What is the spirit of Hinduism? What are the essential principles? The spirit of science is not dogmatic certainty but the disinterested pursuit of truth, and Hinduism is infused by the same spirit. Fixed intellectual beliefs mark off one religion from another, but Hinduism sets itself no such limits. It is comprehensive and synthetic, seeking unity not in a common creed but in a common quest for truth. Hinduism is more a way of life than a form of thought. It insists not on religious conformity but on a spiritual and ethical outlook in life. It is fellowship of all who accept the law of right and earnestly seek for the truth.

History of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa under British rule by L.S.S. O’Malley quoted in British Paramountcy and Indian Renaissance Part II edited by R. C. Majumdar

Hinduism allows its follower to choose freely his own way of life. The bulk of Atharvaveda is meant for Hindus who are not interested in spiritual life but want to improve their life in the here and now and if possible in heaven. This is the reason why such verses should be accepted in a straightforward sense.

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