Do the Vedas and the Upanishads support atheism(lack of belief in the existence of God or gods)? And if they support, then give reference.

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    Brahma Sutras talk about Nastika (aka Charvaka/Lokayata/Materialism). They don't support it.
    – ram
    Jan 31, 2021 at 19:56
  • @ram can you write an answer Jan 31, 2021 at 21:06
  • Nastika is not atheist. Ton of a difference. Nastika relates to rejection of supremacy of Vedic texts. For, example, Buddhist thought and Jain literature is nastika but hardly any westerner will call it atheist. Atheism tends to go along with hedonism, reckless temporary enjoyment and the Roman concept of 'carpe diem' - live life like there's no tomorrow. Nastika is only rejection of Vedas, not rejection of the entire Indian way of life/ cultural values.
    – user22892
    Jan 31, 2021 at 21:20
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    Hence, it would be more helpful to specify which one you want to ask? Atheist or nastika? Even the most hedonistic text in the sanskrit language/Indian literature, the kamasutra, written by Vatsyayana recommends some 20-30 years of brahmacharya/celibacy to gain maturity and control of the senses so that one is able to enjoy hedonism properly. This fact is conveniently left out by westerners when they are looking for 'fun' in the kamasutras.
    – user22892
    Jan 31, 2021 at 21:24
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    You need to clarify what you mean by atheism. It is more finely defined in the Indian schools of philosophy then the Western catch-all term. Feb 1, 2021 at 5:26

2 Answers 2


The Tejobindu Upanishad, associated with the Krishna Yajurveda, condemns atheists as follows:

  1. This great science of Shankara should never be explained to any ordinary person, to an atheist or to a faithless, ill-behaved or evil-minded person.

Although, atheism is condemned throughout Hindu scriptures, it does not mean that atheists/sceptics are unwelcome or discarded from the system.

There is an episode between Indra (here the God) and Nema (here the sceptic) in Rig Veda, that highlights this point I made. Nema, a sceptic, does not believe in God's existence.

He says:

"There is no Indra; who has ever seen him?" (Rig Veda 8.100.3)

Now, this is the most common objection from a sceptic. Since we can't see God why to believe in his existence?

But Indra did not get angry with Nema for saying so but instead gleefully revealed himself to Nema.

Indra says:

Here am I, adorer! Look upon me here!. All that exists I surpass in my glory. The Truth make me mighty, And I also rend the worlds asunder. (Rig Veda 8.100.4)

This shows that everyone is welcome (in the eyes of God) and no one is discarded for their beliefs. But scriptures, overall, do condemn atheism.


Do vedas support atheism? Give reference from vedas and upanishades only

No they don't because they always say God (Brahman) created the universe. For example:

Taittiriya Upanishad - [Brahman] wished, may I be many, may I grow forth. He brooded over himself (like a man performing penance). After he had thus brooded, he sent forth (created) all, whatever there is.

  • Thanks for your answer Feb 1, 2021 at 4:33
  • Very interesting quote from the Tattiriya Upanishad :).This is interesting because it reminds one of the big bang theory, in which initially all was one, and later became many. However, this looks poetical rather than literal. Plus, as the brahman is without attributes, 'he wished' doesn't make sense literally, neither does 'he brooded' and 'he' created.
    – user22892
    Feb 1, 2021 at 6:26
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    @IamThat That is a misconception. Brahman is saguna and not nirguna. The Upanishads in several places describe Brahman as saguna.
    – Ikshvaku
    Feb 1, 2021 at 12:51
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    Ah, I see, you follow a dualistic interpretation/ dvaita vedanta. If taken literally, this verse is indeed difficult to explain by advaita vedanta interpretation.
    – user22892
    Feb 1, 2021 at 12:52
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    @IamThat Yep, I think the message of the Upanishads is Vishishtadvaita Vedanta, and so I think Brahman is a sentient, personal deity with qualities.
    – Ikshvaku
    Feb 1, 2021 at 12:53

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