Child needn't be reproduced only by conventional sex. There are many other ways, such as Kunti and Madri having child from devtas. Similarly, Dronacharya was born when Bhardwaj ejaculated in a Drona-Patra. (But here again Bhardwaj was not unmarried but had a wife, also he ejaculated when a saw an Apsara)

Is there any example of a man having a child without the help of a woman?

In Mahabharata it is written that a man can't have a child without woman. But this is not said by Krishna. So, it can't be considered authentic. Many people in Mahabharata has said many things, those things needn't all be authentic.

No man, even in anger, should ever do anything that is disagreeable to his wife; for happiness, joy, virtue and everything depend on the wife. Wife is the sacred soil in which the husband is born again, even the Rishis cannot create men without women.

— Adi Parva, Mahabharata Book, 1.74.50-51

Is there any example of an unmarried man having a child without the help of a woman?

2 Answers 2


In some of the versions of Rāmāyaṇa (not Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa), the famous vānara Hanumāna who was a brāhmacāri, had a son miraculously. One of the tales goes like, after Hanumāna burnt the entire Laṅkā with his tail, due to tremendous heat emerging out of his body, he dived into the sea to cool himself. It's said that, in the process, a drop of his sweat fell inside the mouth of a large fish (probably crocodile as the name suggests) and that impregnated it. In some other versions, it was Hanumāna's reproductive fluid that fell along with the sweat inside makara's mouth. That's how Hanumāna's son named Makardhvaja was conceived.

In the bhakti tradition, Nābhādas, the author of Bhaktamāla, is described by Priyādāsa in his commentary Bhaktirasabodihī as Hanumāna-vaṁśī, but he never defines the term, and it has had many interpretations. Rūpkalā, in his commentary named Bhaktisudhāsvādu, lists many interpretations of the term explains that Nābhādas was born from a drop of Hanumāna's sweat. He narrates the story of how Nābhā-jī came to be born in an unusual manner. One time, Śiva was instructing Hanumāna in Yoga. Due to Hanumāna's great mental effort, a drop of sweat fell from his body. This drop was caught by Śiva in a container, and in order to increase bhakti, he threw it down to earth where it became Nābhā-jī. That's one interpretation of Rūpkalā, as to why, Nābhādās is called Hanumāna-vaṁśī, and showing him to be an ayonija i.e. not born out of a woman's womb. (Hare, 2011)

The Kṛttivāsī Rāmāyaṇa, is one of the later versions of Rāmāyaṇa that was composed by the fifteenth century Bengali poet Kr̥ttivāsa. In that, there is another episode, when the famous king Dilīpa of the Ikṣvāku dynasty died, there was no heir to the kingdom. Śiva appeared and commanded the two widowed queens to make love together and blessed them that they would have a child that way. The two queens executed Śiva's order and one of them conceived a child named Bhagīratha, the famous ancestor of Rāma.
So, Bhagīratha was born by the sexual congress of the widowed wives of the late king, and this episode is not there in the Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa. (Bose & Bose, 2013)

In the Kannada retelling of Rāmāyaṇa, Rāvaṇa (Ravul̥a), with his queen Mandodari was childless. So, Ravul̥a goes to the forest to perform austerities and meets Śiva, disguised as a yogin. Śiva gives him a magic mango and asks him to share it with his wife. Ravul̥a agreed, but Śiva said that he wouldn't do as said, and then will bear the repercussions of his own disobeying of the command. On the way to Laṅkā, Ravul̥a felt extremely hungry that he ate the mango himself, thereby fulfilling the prediction of the yogin. Thus, he became pregnant, and each day of pregnancy was equivalent to a month. At the ninth day, he sneezed and out came a little baby girl. The oracles said that the girl would be Ravul̥a's death and so he put her in a box and buried her in a field faraway. The traditional bards who narrate this tale say that Sita was called Sita because she was born when her father sneezed (in Kannada, sita means sneeze). And in Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, her name is Sītā (as in furrow) because she was found in a furrow when her foster father Janaka was ritually plowing the sacred fields. Thus, in the Kannada folk retelling of Rāmāyaṇa, Sītā is ayonij. (Ramanujan,1991)

Mahābhārata has an instance of an Ikṣvāku king named Yuvanāśva (who was already married) who gave birth to his son Māndhātā by himself. ( Sections CXXVI, LXII, XXIX ) The story went like this, Yuvanāśva who had retreated to the forest, observed a fast once. But unfortunately, he suffered from terrible hunger as result and from a hermitage drank/ate some sacrificial water/butter from the jar/pot. Apprently, the water/butter was not ordinary but a magical type which could make the one who drank it pregnant, and bestow them with a godly son. That's how Yuvanāśva became pregnant and gave birth to a godly son.

Droṇa, the teacher of Pāṇḍavas and Kauravas, was pot-born and untouched by a mother's womb. Sage Bhārdavāja had gone to river Gangā for offering havis when he saw an apsarā Ghr̥tācī draped in wet clothes with water dripping from them. When a gush of wind drew away her clothes, the sage was aroused and lost to ejection of some reproductive fluid, which he then put in a water pot (droṇa). Thus, Droṇa was born from a water pot and had no biological mother, as you mentioned. Droṇa's brother-in-law Kr̥pa and Droṇa's wife Kr̥pī, too were not born of mother's womb. Their father Śaradvat, son of sage Gautama, was aroused upon seeing an apsarā sent by Indra to upset his concentration and practice. And as a result, he lost self-control and ejaculated. The semen fell on a reed and split in two halves, from which born twins, Kr̥pa and Kr̥pi.

Even in the accounts of these two motherless births of Droṇa and Kr̥pa-Kr̥pi, women did play an indirect role of initial motivators, that of facilitating arousal. There are some birth accounts in Mahābhārata, where women don't play a role at all. These births have been described as ayonija or non-uterine. As is known, Drupada out of desire to avenge Droṇa for hs humiliation, scouted and found a suitable priest to perform a yajña for the generation of a son, who could slay Droṇa, At the end of havana (oblation), the priest told the queen 'a twin for you has appreared' and invited her to eat the havis (offering). The queen asked the priest to wait for a while so that she could go and wash her mouth and have a bath. But the proud priest refused to wait and put the havis into the ritual fire. From the fire of the sacrificial altar, sprang a boy, Dhr̥ṣṭadyumna and the princess Kr̥ṣṇā, better known as Draupadī, both having terrible heavenly announcements associated with their fate and purpose.

In Bhāgavata Purāṇa (IV.14-15), we see another case of ayonij, i.e. of Pr̥thu. Pr̥thu was churned out of the body (arms) of the late king Veṇa by the sages, so he was born without any female involvement.

In popular oral tradition, Rādhā, the beloved of Kr̥ṣṇa, is believed by some devotees to be ayonija, where they refer a folktale of her as a child being found laying on a lotus leaf by the wife of Vr̥ṣbhānu (in some versions by Vr̥ṣbhānu himself), who became her foster parents later. The Garga Saṁhitā is sometimes wrongly cited to support this, since I.8.6 clearly mentions Rādhā's entry into the womb of Vr̥ṣbhānu's wife. In Kr̥ṣṇa-Janma-Khaṇḍa (XVII. 146-147) of Brahmavaivarta Purāṇa though, Rādhikā (Rādhā) is born as the daughter of Kalāvatī and Vr̥ṣbhānu, but not out of the female womb as clearly mentioned in the verses. Thus she is ayonij, as per this text.

Popular tradition also talks about the birth of Ayyappa, where in some versions he is said to have been born by the union of Mohinī (the feminine form of Viṣṇu) and Śiva. This example can be problematic because Viṣṇu is considered a male but also has a feminine form in this case, so would he be considered a woman or man? There is another problem which is present in the conception of children by deities. It's hard to restrict the high ranking Purāṇic deities (trīmurti) to specific genders, for e.g. Śiva is seen in certain traditions as being both feminine and masculine, such as in his form Ardhanārīśvara. For e.g., Brahmā who with his mental power alone, without any involvement of women, produced his mind-born sons (mānasaputra) in the Viṣṇu and Bhāgavat Purāṇa. The problem with this is that we can't clearly call Brahmā or Viṣṇu or Śiva, no matter their form, as exactly male or female because they are beyond the gender categories of ordinary humans, and thus they are often personified in traditions with both male and female forms or genderless.

Most of the devas or some of those blessed with divine powers are beyond gender forms and so, many of them have the ability to take the forms of man or woman at will. Let there be a case, where a supposedly -male deity takes the form of a woman and has intercourse with a man, then they can have a child (for eg. Sugrīva was born this way). But would it still be considered a correct example? Because the deities don't have the limitation of ordinary hetro-sexual humans in which child can only (usually) be produced with the aid of the opposite sex.

Some of the examples from the epics given, are of the children of married people, or of women playing an indirect role (of motivators) in the birth (such as Droṇa). Makaradhvaja and Nābhādāsa are the only example given where they were born from womb. Although there is belief in bhakti traditions that Nābhādāsa is ayonija, but that is just a belief, since he is an actual historical person. As for the rest of the examples, none of these are born of actual intercourse or a female's womb, the only issue is that even though in some examples no woman was involved in the conceiving of their child (such as in the case of Yuvanāśva, Ravul̥a, Draupadī etc.), most of the men were married. The example from Kṛttivāsī Rāmāyaṇa of women themselves making love and having a baby without a man is interesting and unique even though it's not a correct example for the question, so it deserved mention according to me, on it being quite a peculiar birth. These are the only (semi) examples I could give. I hope it's not useless.



Parāśara said:— From Brahmā, continuing to meditate, were born mind-engendered progeny, with forms and faculties derived from his corporeal nature; embodied spirits, produced from the person of that all-wise deity. All these beings, front the gods to inanimate things, appeared as I have related to you, being the abode of the three qualities: but as they did not multiply themselves, Brahmā created other mind-born sons, like himself; namely, Bhrigu, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Aṅgiras, Marīci, Dakṣa, Atri, and Vaśiṣṭha: these are the nine Brahmas (or Brahma ṛṣis) celebrated in the Purāṇas.(Sri Vishnu Maha Puran 1:7:1-5).

So, while creating his mind born sons (mānas putra), Lord Brahma was unmarried and the sons were created purely through yoga or meditation.

But actually, there is no particular answer to this question because every creature be it male or female is born of Prakriti so half of them are male and half female. That's why wives' are also called as Vamangi means possessing left half of their husband's body or Ardhandini. Just like Ardhanareshwara Bhagawan. So, if we go by the scriptures, no examples will be correct.

न हि कश्चित्क्षणमपि जातु तिष्ठत्यकर्मकृत् | कार्यते ह्यवश: कर्म सर्व: प्रकृतिजैर्गुणै: || b.g. 3.5 ||

There is no one who can remain without action even for a moment. Indeed, all beings are compelled to act by their qualities born of material (motherly) nature (the three guṇas).


Brihad Arankyaka Upanishad.:

स वै नैव रेमे तस्मादेकाकी न रमते । स द्वितीयमैच्छत् स हैतावानास यथा स्त्रीपुमासौ सम्परिष्वक्तौ । स इममेवाऽऽत्मानं द्वेधाऽपातयत्। ततः पतिश्च पत्नी चाभवताम् । तस्मादिदमर्धबृगलमिव स्व इति ह स्माऽऽह याज्ञवल्क्यस् तस्मादयमाकाशः स्त्रिया पूर्यत एव । ता समभवत् ततो मनुष्या अजायन्त ॥ ३ ॥

I-iv-3: He (Purusha) was not at all happy. Therefore people (still) are not happy when alone. He desired a mate. He became as big as man and wife embracing each other. He parted this very body into two. From that came husband and wife. Therefore, said Yajnavalkya, this (body) is one-half of oneself, like one of the two halves of a split pea. Therefore this space is indeed filled by the wife. He was united with her. From that men were born.

I hope this clarifies all your queries. Prd..

  • "even the Rishis cannot create men without women" - this is for humans and doesn't necessarily apply to gods. Brahma is god (not human)
    – ekAntika
    Dec 28, 2022 at 11:58
  • Yes, Lord Brahma is a god no doubt but the question is asking is there any unmarried man not unmarried human. Plus, when you consider a rishi, rishis are called as self realised entity. When one knows brahman they becomes brahman themselves. So, in a sense rishis are also gods not human. Dec 28, 2022 at 12:32
  • "Rishi" may be different from human but not same as god because gods are immortal due to nectar but a rishi can be killed eg jamadagni killed by arjuna, etc. Brahma is like >= gods
    – ekAntika
    Dec 28, 2022 at 12:54
  • Vajra Suchika Upanishad.: 9. Who indeed then is brAhmaNa ? Whoever he may be, he who has directly realised his AtmA and who is directly cognizant, like the myrobalan in his palm, of his AtmA, that is without a second, that is devoid of class and actions, that is free from the faults of faults of the six stains (hunger, thirst, grief, confusion, old age, and death) and the six changes (birth, existence etc), Dec 28, 2022 at 13:30
  • that is of the nature of truth, knowledge, bliss and eternity, that is without any change in itself, that is the substratum of all the kalpas, that exists penetrating all things that pervades everything within and without as AkAsh, that is of nature of undivided bliss, . Dec 28, 2022 at 13:30

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