This verse of the Satapatha Brahmana calls Shudras and women as untruth . The part from where it is taken deals with the pravargya ceremony.

aśūdrociṣṭī eṣa vai dharmo ya eṣa tapati saiṣā śrīḥ satyaṃ jyotiranṛtaṃ strī śūdraḥ śvā kṛṣṇaḥ śakunistāni na prekṣeta necriyaṃ ca pāpmānaṃ ca nejjyotiśca tamaśca netsatyānṛte saṃsṛjānīti

  1. And whilst not coming into contact with Shudras and remains of food; for this Gharma is he that shines yonder, and he is excellence, truth, and light; but woman, the Shudra, the dog, and the black bird (the crow), are untruth: he should not look at these, lest he should mingle excellence and sin, light and darkness, truth and untruth.

Can there be any hidden meaning ? Esoteric in nature or is it referring to all women or some particular women ?

  • Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking.
    – Community Bot
    May 15, 2022 at 3:31
  • My question is why does the Vedas call Shudras and Women as Untruth ?
    – seeker
    May 15, 2022 at 3:35
  • 1
    You should ignore these offensive verses. These verses were inserted during a time when Hindu society was going through degradation. May 15, 2022 at 4:24
  • 3
    This is the interpolation argument. It needs to be proven that this is interpolated.
    – seeker
    May 15, 2022 at 4:46
  • 2
    These verses are offensive and it doesn't matter if they are interpolated or originally there. They should be rejected because women and shudras are not untruth. Such name calling violates reason and hence is not scripture. 'Even the words heard from an ignorant person, if in themselves they be fraught with sense, come to be regarded as pious and wise. In days of old, Usanas said unto the Daityas this truth, which should remove all doubts, that scriptures are no scriptures if they cannot stand the test of reason.' Mahabharata Shanti Parva Section CXLII May 15, 2022 at 11:57

2 Answers 2


Such statements in the Vedas are offensive and should be rejected. That the Vedas have many statements that simply can't be of divine origin has been known for quite some time.

There was a time when the Vedas themselves were considered eternal in the sense in which the divine truths contained therein were changeless and permanent and were only revealed to man. At a subsequent time, it appears that the utterances of the Vedic hymns with the knowledge of its meaning was important; and it was held that the hymns themselves must have had a divine origin. At a still later period, the meaning of the hymns showed that many of them could not be of divine origin, because they inculcated upon mankind performance of various unholy acts, such as torturing animals; and we can find many ridiculous stories in the Vedas. The correct meaning of the statement "The Vedas are beginningless and eternal" is that the law or truth revealed by them to man is permanent and changeless. Logic, geometry, chemistry, etc., reveal also a law or truth which is permanent and changeless and in that sense they are also beginningless and eternal. But no truth or law is absent from the Vedas, and I ask any one of you to point out to me any truth which is not treated of in them.

(The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Vol.5: With the Swami Vivekananda at Madura, pp.205-206)

Such statements violate reason and it is a teaching of Hindu scripture itself that such statements in scripture do not have the status of scripture.

Even the words heard from an ignorant person, if in themselves they be fraught with sense, come to be regarded as pious and wise. In days of old, Usanas said unto the Daityas this truth, which should remove all doubts, that scriptures are no scriptures if they cannot stand the test of reason.

Mahabharata Shanti Parva Section CXLII

Yoga Vasistha II.18 says:

yuktiyuktamupādeyaṃ vacanaṃ bālakādapi | anyattṛṇamiva tyājyamapyuktaṃ padmajanmanā || 3 ||

The remark of a child is to be accepted, if it is in accordance with reason; but the remark of even Brahma Himself, the creator of the world is to be rejected like a piece of straw if it does not accord with reason.

REF: Vasistha's Yoga translated by Swami Venkatesananda, p 35.

Any defense of such statements on the grounds of infallibility can also be rejected. Acharya Shankara, for example, in his Gita Bhasya 18.66 says:

The appeal to the infallibility of the Vedic injunction is misconceived. The infallibility in question refers only to the unseen forces or apurva, and is admissible only in regards to matters not confined to the sphere of direct perceptions, etc ... Even a hundred statements of sruti to the effect that fire is cold and non-luminous won't prove valid. If it does make such a statement, its import will have to be interpreted differently. Otherwise, validity won't attach to it. Nothing in conflict with the means of valid cognition or with its own statements may be imputed to sruti.

REF: Srimad Bhagavad Gita Bhasya of Sri Sankaracarya translation by Dr. A. G. Krishna Warrier, p. 629.

Sri Vachaspati Mishra, another Advaita Vedanta philosopher, says,

Na hy āgamāḥ sahasram api ghaṭam paṭayitum īṣate (Bhāmatī, Introduction)

A thousand scriptures cannot make a jar into a cloth.

REF: Introductory remarks in Bhamati by Sri Vachaspati Mishra

Women and Shudras do not become untruths simply because that is written in the Vedas.

Why are such statements in the Vedas? The accurate answer is that we don't know.

  • Women and shudras are called "untruth" because they are not initiated into Vedas. Dog and black crows are called "untruth" because they are inauspicious. Once we know the meaning behind these Vedic statements, then we know that they are not against reason.
    – Ikshvaku
    May 16, 2022 at 11:53
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    Denying women and shudras access to the Vedas is anti-reason. May 16, 2022 at 12:12
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    We are all born from a woman. Women form 50 % of the population. So if women are untruth then what are we? How can the males be truth if they are born from untruth? This is why I said that denying women access to the Vedas is anti-reason. Shudras are persons who in fact need the Vedas even more than those who have attained higher Varna. Denying the needy the Vedas is anti-reason. The claim that Vedas won't work if 50 % of the population (women) read them is also anti-reason. Why should the Vedas not work for 50 % of the population. It makes no sense. May 17, 2022 at 3:32
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    Kurma Purana I.2.54 says: If a holy act is against the interest of other members of the society, it should not be practiced. It is Dharma which is the source of Artha and even of Kama. May 17, 2022 at 3:34
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    I had to laugh reading your claim that women's reproductive organs will be damaged from the power of mantras. You really believe this fairy tale. The fact that men can be initiated into Vedas while women who have given birth to these males can't be initiated reeks of discrimination and is anti-reason. May 18, 2022 at 3:32

(Please treat this as a comment, this is not an answer, Using answer space instead of the comment , owing to character restrictions)

This snippet is from a veritable resource
Hindu Dharma, The universal way of life, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Publication,-Pujyasri Chandrashekara Saraswati Swami,
reflects , socio-cultural attitude(which is not in accordance with the quote mentioned in the question) erstwhile, ..is suggestive of the fact that one shouldn't end up in assuming, that there could so much of social inequality in the past

Shankara Bhagvatpada went to Mahismati, the home town of Mandanamisra, where he happened to see women carrying water to their homes from the river. He asked one of them about Mandanamisra's house. In that city even ordinary women were learned. So their reply to the Acarya's question came in verse. Here is one of the stanzas from it:

Svatah pramanam paratah pramanam Kirangana yatra ca sangiranti Dvarastha nidantara sanniruddhah Janihi tan-Mandanapanditaukah

Svatah-pramana and paratah-pramana are part of the pramanya-vada I

From such incidents we know how wrong it is to say that in olden days only men in India were educated and that the women were condemned to remain unlettered

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