It seems highly likely that verse 5.10.7 of Chandogya Upanishad is not authentic. The first reason is that there are multiple versions and manuscripts of the Chandogya Upanishad that do not have verse 5.10.7. If the verse is authentic, how do you explain those manuscripts that do not possess this verse? The second reason is that Chandalas, as we know them today, didn't even exist in Vedic times. If the verse is authentic, it can not be referring to the group of people called 'Chandalas' today. The third reason why is because it's face-value interpretation is contradictory to the rest of the Upanishad.

I've been trying to find a reason why it could be an authentic verse but I can't find one.

Please don't downvote this without explaining why.

  • If we ever come across a passage that was added to scripture, we have the duty to remove it, so that we may restore scripture to it's original state. Sep 16, 2022 at 17:18

2 Answers 2


The authenticity of any text used to haunt the ancients. Hinduism has faced this problem in the past. In the ancient world no text was safe from modification because of the absence of the printing technology. So Hindu scriptures have given us guidelines to follow.


Everything written in Hindu scripture is not valid. A scriptural statement can be invalid if it does not satisfy reason.

Primacy of reason

Bhishma Said:

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

Acharya Shankara 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 18.66 of Sri Sankaracarya translation by Dr. A. G. Krishna Warrier, p. 629.

Rejection of discriminatory verses

Any discriminatory verse in Hindu scripture is also automatically invalid according to Hindu scripture and should not be followed. This is necessary because Hinduism is not an organized dharma and does not have any central body to oversee the content of Hindu spiritual texts.

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.

Kurma Purana I.2.54

The implication of the Kurma Purana verse is that the hereditary caste system practiced by Hindus is an invalid system on the grounds of discrimination. So if you think that the Chandogya Upanishad V.10.7 is discriminatory then you can regard that shloka as invalid regardless of its authenticity.

However, I don't think the Chandogya shloka is discriminatory. Read my post on this issue: Is it justified to Outcaste Chandalas?

  • But how do you explain the existence of versions of the Chandogya Upanishad without this verse? And why do the earliest manuscripts not have this verse?
    – user28653
    Nov 4, 2022 at 1:16
  • If this verse really is authentic, then the word "chandala" is probably referring to some kind of impure animal species. If authentic, then the use of this word would predate any other mention my many centuries.
    – user28653
    Nov 4, 2022 at 1:18
  • It's implausible that Chandala could mean evil man considering that it's talking about birth as a Chandala. In all certainty, if the verse is authentic, then the word must be referring to some kind of animal.
    – user28653
    Nov 4, 2022 at 1:26
  • All the translations that I have seen contain this verse. That means Sankaracharya must have accepted this verse. Scholars consider the Upanishads commented on by Sankaracharya to be authentic. I don't know why some manuscripts don't contain this verse. Nov 4, 2022 at 3:23

You are completely right. The fact that the earliest manuscripts do not include this verse, and that there are still versions of the Upanishad that do not include this verse, mean that it's extremely unlikely this verse is authentic.

If the verse is authentic, then the word "chandala" must be referring to some type of impure animal, considering that no class of chandalas existed at the time of the composition of the Upanishads. Overtime, the word would have changed meaning until it reached it's current state.

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