The Bhagavad Gita says in 10.34:

I am Death among plunderers. I am the origin of all that shall be born. In women I am fame, prosperity, eloquence, memory, intelligence, endurance and forgiveness/forbearance.

Ramanujacharya's commentary for that verse:

I am also Death or Mrtyu [a servant of Yama] who snatches away the life of all beings. Of those beings that shall be born I am that activity called birthing. In women (or known as feminine perfections, or the female Deities presiding over these qualities), I am prosperity (Śrī); fame (Kīrti); eloquence (Vāk); memory (Smṛti); intelligence (Medhā); endurance (Dhṛti) and forgiveness (Kṣamā).

However, Manusmriti says:

For women there is no dealing with the sacred texts; such is the rule of law; the fact is that, being destitute of organs and devoid of sacred texts, women are ‘false’

The meaning of "destitute of organs" according to two commentators:

Medhatithi - ‘Destitute of Organs’—‘Organ’ here stands for strength;—courage, patience, intelligence, energy and so forth are absent in women; that is why they are prone to become over-powered by sinful propensities. Hence it is that they have to be carefully guarded.

Vivādaratnākara (p. 412) - ‘Nirindriyāḥ,’ devoid of the faculties conducive to steadiness, truthfulness and so forth.

Courage, patience/forbearance/steadiness, and intelligence, are qualities of women according to the Bhagavad Gita, but which the commentators of the Manusmriti say they don't have.

The commentators are probably wrong, and didn't have the Gita verse in mind when commenting on that Manusmriti verse. The Manusmriti merely says they are "nirindriya," which means "without organs," and could be interpreted another way.

Here is another place where the Gita and Manusmriti seem to contradict each other.

How to reconcile?

  • 2
    There is no need to reconcile, Manu Smriti doesn't has to be in sync with Gita as Gita was spoken by Lord, Manu Smriti wasn't so it can be wrong.
    – Pinakin
    Jan 26, 2019 at 4:19
  • 1
    @ChinmaySarupria I think it would be better to interpret the Manu verse so it's compatible with the Gita verse.
    – Ikshvaku
    Jan 26, 2019 at 4:22
  • 3
    See Sanskrit words, Naari means educated woman (in Sastras) while Stree means not educated and wordily woman who has higher attachments towards her family. Adi Shankara also uses word "Stree Balandha" in Dakshinamurthy Stotram. Manu also says "Yatra Nariyastu poojyanthe ramayantre tatra Devataha" which means "where 'Naari' (not all women) is worshiped, there Devas are happy". Krishna uses Naari in BG.
    – The Destroyer
    Jan 26, 2019 at 5:35
  • spoken by the Lord- so what? It is an authored scripture it was composed by Vyasa @ChinmaySarupria
    – Rickross
    Jan 26, 2019 at 6:28
  • does not seem contradictory.kindly read minutely gitasupersite.iitk.ac.in/…
    – user17294
    Jan 26, 2019 at 10:45

1 Answer 1


English Translation By Swami Gambirananda

10.34 And I am Death, the destroyer of all; and the prosperity of those destined to be prosperous. Of the feminine [Narinam may mean 'of the feminine alities'. According to Sridhara Swami and S., the words fame etc. signify the goddesses of the respective alities. According to Madhusudan Saraswati, these seven goddesses are the wives of the god Dharma.-Tr.] (I am) fame, beauty, speech, memory, intelligence, fortitude and forbearance.

So if the Commentary of Sridhara Swami or Madhusudan Saraswati is accepted, there is no contradiction.

And in the Veda, Sabda or words are pure. Vedas can never be impure. Dhwani or Sound has been referred to as impure under certain circumstances.

By the way, the Manusmriti sloka and translation provided here:

नास्ति स्त्रीणां क्रिया मन्त्रैरिति धर्मे व्यवस्थितिः । निरिन्द्रिया ह्यमन्त्राश्च स्त्रीभ्यो अनृतमिति स्थितिः ॥ १८ ॥

nāsti strīṇāṃ kriyā mantrairiti dharme vyavasthitiḥ | nirindriyā hyamantrāśca strībhyo anṛtamiti sthitiḥ || 18 ||

For women there is no dealing with the sacred texts; such is the rule of law; the fact is that, being destitute of organs and devoid of sacred texts, women are ‘false’—(18)

My doubt is :How does स्त्रीभ्यः mean (all) women? Then it would be स्त्रियः ie prathama, bahubachan. I think स्त्रीभ्यः is panchami, bahubachan. So it should mean 'among women, who are such and such etc are worthless.

  • I thought the same about Anusasanika Parva until I realized it also praised women. In such cases, women, shudra, and chandala aren't used generally, because of the diverse views on them. Idk if the Manusmirti has as diverse views as Anusasanika Parva though.
    – Haridasa
    Jan 9 at 23:30

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