In their commentaries to Brahma-Sutra 1/3/38-9, Acharya Shankara and Acharya Ramanuja BOTH quote slokas from the Smriti-s that prescribe pouring molten lead into the ears of a Shudra if he accidentally hears the Veda-mantras.

The sub-commentary of Baladaeva Vidyabhushana's 'Govinda-bhashya' also quotes the same prescription while Baladeva himself mentions that the Shudras are impure like a graveyard.

Is there any commentary of that Sutra which does not prescribe such horrible torture on the Shudras?

  • @LazyLubber I also think that no realised soul can accept these verses but there are high chances of interpolations.
    – user17294
    Apr 14, 2019 at 7:44
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    "but there are high chances of interpolations". I doubt if these are interpolations.
    – user16581
    Apr 14, 2019 at 7:57
  • I would take all such biographies and hagiographies with a pinch of salt. Mostly they would have been written by over-devoted followers.
    – user16581
    Apr 14, 2019 at 8:11
  • can you please share the verse? and also a link to the commentaries so that we can read through them. Apr 14, 2019 at 13:19
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    @sidharthchhabra Link to Shankara's commentary - sacred-texts.com/hin/sbe34/sbe34107.htm Link to Ramanuja's commentary - sacred-texts.com/hin/sbe48/sbe48137.htm Some of my previous messages got unceremoniously deleted. Hopefully, no one will delete this message.
    – user16581
    Apr 14, 2019 at 13:46

1 Answer 1


This is a great question. Many hindus became muslims because of literal reading of vedic smrtis by Smartas and Shankarites (followers of Shankaracharya). The oppression by upper castes forced the lower castes to turn into Muslims.

Sri Ramanujacharya was a legendary teacher in the history of world. He worked very hard to share deeper insights behind the vedic aphorisms.

Sri Ramanujacharya's commentary on the above mentioned verse can be read here. He writes:

"There are, on the other hand, those who hold that the knowledge which the Vedânta-texts enjoin as the means of Release is of the nature of devout meditation; that such meditation has the effect of winning the love of the supreme Spirit and is to be learned from scripture only; that the injunctions of meditation refer to such knowledge only as springs from the legitimate study of the Veda on the part of a man duly purified by initiation and other ceremonies, and is assisted by the seven means (see above, p. 17); and that the supreme Person pleased by such meditation bestows on the devotee knowledge of his own true nature, dissolves thereby the Nescience springing from works, and thus releases him from bondage. And on this view the proof of the non-qualification of the Sûdra, as given in the preceding Sûtras, holds good.--Here terminates the adhikarana of 'the exclusion of the Sûdras.'"

In other words, he states that a Sudra can become qualified to receive Vedic knowledge by being duly purified by initiation and the related ceremonies. He is not suggesting that Sudras be bathed in molten lead but he is showing the proper way to access the vedic knowledge. Vedic knowledge without proper training can be dangerous. For example, if I were to be given keys for a thermonuclear fusion plant, I would create a mess and would destroy the whole region. Similarly, if one tries to read/hear vedic knowledge without the proper training under a Guru and service to Guru, that person is going to wreck his own and other's lives.

Srila Ramanujacharya was a very compassionate and loving teacher. His heart was always in giving everyone access to a relationship with the the Supreme, Sri Narayana. We all owe him respects a million times for his service and compassion.

A example of Sri Ramanujacharya following the above principle in his life is how he took Kanchipuran, a sudra, as his mentor. Sri Ramanujacharya showed that one's birth/caste cannot stop one from having a relationship with the supreme.

Following quote from a peer reviewed philosophy encyclopedia:

From a young age he is reputed to have displayed a prodigious intellect and liberal attitudes towards caste. At this time he became friendly with a local, saintly Sudra (member of the servile caste) by the name of Kāñcīpurna, whose occupation it was to perform services for the local temple idol of the Hindu deity Vishnu. Rāmānuja admired Kāñcīpurna's piety and devotion to Vishnu and sought Kāñcīpurna as his guru-much to the horror of Kāñcīpurna who regarded Rāmānuja's humility before him as an affront to caste propriety.

I am sure that Srila Baladeva Vidyabhushan has a similar mood. However, I looked up his commentary and can't find the above mentioned verse. I would request the person who asked the question to provide a link Srila Baladeva Vidyabhushan's commentary on the above mentioned verse so that we can discuss that too.

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    "In other words, he states that a Sudra can become qualified to receive Vedic knowledge by being duly purified by initiation and the related ceremonies. " I am struggling to understand where he says this.
    – user16581
    Apr 14, 2019 at 15:34
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    1.The Question is not expected to provide link The one who chose to answer must check and contradict if required.2.Lazy Lubber already provided the link to show that Sri Ramanuja's commentary contains the smriti verses mentioned in the question.3.Therefire is does NOT answer the question at all.
    – user17294
    Apr 14, 2019 at 16:03
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    1. I am a fool and not able to find the above mentioned commentary of Srila Baladeva Vidyabhushana. 2. Thanks to Lazy Lubber. Apr 14, 2019 at 16:15
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    "Many hindus became muslims because of literal reading of vedic smrtis by Smartas and Shankarites (followers of Shankaracharya)." Could you provide references to justify this claim?
    – user16581
    Apr 14, 2019 at 16:46
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    @LazyLubber "Most of India's 140 million Muslims are descended from local converts. Many of them converted to Islam to escape Hindu upper-caste oppression." bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-36220329 Apr 18, 2019 at 17:20

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