To be clear, please don't conflate reading and reciting the Vedas to having understood the Vedas.

  1. I didn't come across anywhere in KMG Mahabharata where Karna is said to have read/recited vedas. At most he was fully conversant with the vedas and understood the eternal saying of the vedas (Udyog Parva)

  2. Maharishi Matanga, who was born a Chandala, because of his penance got the boon of God like status. But I could not find any reference of him teaching vedas to any disciple

  3. Jabala was son of a prostitute. and his father was unknown. For all we know he is from a Anuloma marriage. So his example would not count

  4. Romaharṣaṇa , a Suta, who was killed by Balarama had obtained Brahmin like status. Thus Balarama was exiled for 12 years in accordance with Manusmriti. However there is no mention of Romaharsana teaching the Vedas. He was killed when reciting the Puranas to other Brahmins.

And to emphasize, I am not looking for varna migration or getting into guna vs birth based varna classification. I am specifically looking for examples and/or statements in scriptures that categorically show Pratiloma or Shudra born have read/recited/taught Vedas or were allowed to do so

EDIT : Seems that even seasoned users are getting confused between pratiloma and anuloma born. Without getting into details, anuloma born are those where father is of higher caste than mother. Pratiloma born are those where mother is of higher caste than father

  • What does Karna have to do with this question, being the son of a God and Kunti?
    – S K
    Mar 1 '20 at 18:18
  • 'don't conflate reading and reciting the Vedas to having understood the Vedas' - you mean there are some people who have understood the Vedas without ever reading them? How is this even possible? Mar 1 '20 at 22:27
  • @SK - Karna's real birth was unknown to pretty much everyone. He was considered to be Suta, a pratiloma born Mar 2 '20 at 1:45
  • @sv - I can get the teachings of Ramayana from a knowledgeable person without reading or reciting each and every verse. And thus it won't be incorrect to say I have understood Ramayana Mar 2 '20 at 3:23
  • If the condition for Pratiloma is mother should be of higher caste than father, then their children need not be Shudra. For example: Yadu born out of Devayani, a Brahmin woman and Yayati. Sri Krishna, who was a descendant of Yadu, was renowned as Supreme Yogi Mar 2 '20 at 9:23

The basic idea of reading/reciting/teaching the Veda, needs some clarification.

The Veda, to be precise, the Rig Veda contains pure SPIRITUAL concepts. They were the experiences of the sages, said in the ecstasy and in extempore poetic manner.

In order to understand that poetic and cryptic poetry called Rig Veda, one should be another sage of having experienced similar ecstasy and a poet.

Mere recitation of such poetry results in NOTHING.

For example, it was narrated in the books that Sri Sankaracharya recited Kanakadhara stotram, in ecstasy, which showered the lady's house with goose berries made of pure gold.

Many might have recited Kanakadhara Stotram afterwards. How many of them got that type showering of gold in their houses?

So it is ascetic power and knowledge of the sage that involves in such poetry. Mere recitation does not yield anything but mental satisfaction.

Coming to the question part, yes, there was a mention of Sage Kavasa, the son of a slave girl, in Aitareya brahmana.

Not only he was a Sage, remember Saraswati followed him, indicating his SPIRITUAL illumination, but was accepted by Rishies of that age also.

Krishna Dvaipāyana also known as Veda Vyasa, compiler of Veda, was the the son of Satyavati, adopted daughter of the fisherman Dusharaj and the wandering sage Parashara, who is credited with being the author of the first Purana, Vishnu Purana.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Pandya
    Mar 2 '20 at 11:09

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