Women Can Learn The Vedas Affirm Vedas

The topic, “Can  women learn The Vedas”, the Scriptures of  the Hindus is very sensitive authentic material on this subject is scarce.

One group maintains that women are barred from Learning the Vedas.

Their arguments and references.

They quote the Smritis which do not carry the weight and authority of The Vedas.

There are clear injunctions in various smR^itis and purANas that prohibit women from learning the veda.

The most famous of these that is quoted by most AchAryas comes from bhagavAn bAdarAyaNa:(Bhadarayana)


strIshUdradvijabandhUnAM tray Ina shrutigocharA |
karmashreyasi mUDhAnAM shreya evaM bhavediha |
iti bhAratamAkhyAnaM kR^ipayA muninA kR^itam ||

“stri-sudra-dvijabandhunam trayi na sruti-gocara. Because woman class and
less intelligent class, and these unworthy sons of the brahmanas and
ksatriyas, they will not be able to understand the original Vedic

Kanchi Peryavar says thus,

ஸ்த்ரீகள் படிக்க வேண்டியதைச் சொன்னமாதிரியே படிக்க வேண்டாததையும் சொல்லவேண்டும். இப்படி நான் சொன்னால் கன்னா பின்னா புஸ்தகங்கள் படிக்கக்கூடாது என்பதைத்தான் நான் சொல்கிறேன் என்று எதிர்பார்பீர்கள். அதுவும் வாஸ்தவந்தான். ஆனால் கன்னா பின்னாவே இல்லாத இன்னொன்று, எல்லாக் கன்னா பின்னாக்களையும் போக்குகின்ற இன்னொன்றும் ஸ்த்ரீகளுக்கு வேண்டாம் என்று சாஸ்த்ரம் சொல்லியிருப்பதால் அதையும் நான் தெரிவிக்க வேண்டியிருக்கிறது.

வேதத்தைத்தான் சொல்கிறேன்.

வேதத்தின் தாத்பர்யத்தைச் சொல்லும் பல புஸ்தகங்கள் இருக்கின்றன. அவற்றை ஸ்த்ரீகள் படித்துச் தெரிந்து கொள்ளட்டும். நேரே வேதத்தைப் படிப்பதும் அதிலுள்ள ஸூக்தங்களைப் பாடம் பண்ணுவதும், புருஷர்கள் மாதிரியே அத்யயனம் பண்ணுவதும் வேண்டாம்.”


I am providing the Link at the end of the Post for those who know Tamil.


The essence of what He says is that there might have been exceptions in the earlier Yugas and in KaliYug, Women are weak.


They need not learn the Vedas.


The Essene of the Vedas is present in the Dharma Sastras Ramayana and Mahabharata.


If  women are sincere in learning the Vedas, they an follow the Dharma Sastras and the Ithihasas like Ramayana and Mahabharata.


However the Sruthi is clear on Women learning the Vedas.


Women a learn The Vedas,Veda References.

1.      The “Brahma” in a yajna is the best trained
purohit who can correct the others involved in the yajna. BRAHMAA VAA

brahmanishtaha syaath tham brahmaanam kurveeth”.“Atha kena brahmtvam
kreeyathe iti trayyaa vidyayethi, trayya vidyayeti ha brooyaath”
(Aithareya 5.33).
2.       A woman can be a brahma as mentioned in Rigveda (8.33.-19).
“…sthree hi brahmaa vibhoovidhaha” .

( the woman who conducts the veda pravachana is called an Achaarya) .
4.      Aachaarya lakshana :- “UPANEEYA TUM YAHA SHISHYA
PRACHAKSHATHE”.( The one who can conduct the upanayana samskaara and teaches the Vedas is called the Aachaarya).

Siddhaanta Koumudi edited by Mahamahopaadhyaaya pandit Shivadatta sarma says,

6.      Rigveda 10.159-2.3″THADVIDAHA�….UTAAHAMASMI SAM JAYAA…UTTAMAM”.(May I get a good husband…..Because of Vedas, I will become tejasvi and a
powerful spokes person…
May my daughter shine well because of her good
character) .
7.      Taandya brahmana (5-6-8) advises that women have to chant
saamaved along with veena when a yajna is being conducted.
8.      The Mantra 5.5.29 ordains that the women have to circumambulate the yajna kunda
chanting the veda mantras.
9.      .The kumari Gandharva grahathaa story in
Eithareya proves that the women had all rights for Vedas.
10.  Laatyayana
shrouthasootra, Shaankaayana shroutha sootra etc., also confirms the
rights of women for Vedas.
There are several other authorities advising women to chant veda mantras. .
11.  Yajurveda23-23, 25-27, 29;
12.  Shatapatha brahmana 1-9-2-2-1,;
13.  Taittareeya samhitha 1.1.10,
14.  Aaswalaayana grihya sootra 1.1.9,
15.  Kaataka grihyasootra 3.1.30, 27-3,
16.  Paaraskara grihyasootra 1.5.1,2. ,
17.  Yajurveda 36-24
“tacchakshurdeva sahitam…” is to chanted only by a woman.
18.  Rigveda  10-85.48 has to be chanted by husband and wife together.
19.  Some Names of women who chanted Vedas:-  Ghoshaa, godaa, vishvavaraa, apaalaa, adithi, jahu, indraani, vedavathi, Oorvashi, shachee, shrithaavathi, Siddhaa,
Shreemathi, Shivaa, Sulabhaa, Svadhaa, Vapunaa, Dhaarini, Romashaa,
Lopaamudraa, Yamee, Shaashvathee, Idaa, Gaargi, Maithreyi…….
20.  Some more Authorities for women chanting veda mantras:- Examples of women
mantradrashtaaras: Ghoshaa, godhaa, vishvavaraa, Apaalaa, Upanishad,
Jahu, Indraani, saramaa, Romashaa, Oorvashi, Lopaamudraa, Yamee,
Shaashvathee, Sooryaasavithree,….etc.,
21.  Rigveda 10-134, 10-39,
10-40, 8-91, 10-95, 10-109, 10-154, 10-159, 10-189, 5-28, 8-91 ..etc.,
are from women.
22.  Taittareeya brahmana 2-3-10..”..
23.  Tam trayee vedaa anya
srijantha….vedan pradadow”(Three vedas were given to the woman
Seetaa-savitri through Soma).
24.  Manu’s daughter Idaa is described in
Taittareeya Brahmana( 1-1-4) as Yajnaprakaashinee meaning Yajna tatva
prakaashana samarthaa.
(This can be continued…)
25.  To cite examples of mention in Mahaakavyas:-
Udyogaparva 190-18: “Atra siddhaa shivaa naama braahmNee veda paaragaahaa..”
(A brahmin lady by name Shivaa was a scholar of vedas and she got
26.  A non brahmin lady Droupadi was a scholar of vedas.
27.  Madhva in his Mahabharata tatparya nirnaya says, “Vedaaschapyuttama
streebhihi krishnaattaabhirihaakhilaaha.
( Good women should learn Vedas like Droupadi).
28.  Valmiki Ramayana:-
Vaidehi shokasantaptaa hutaashanmupaagatam.
( The sad Seeta did homa to Agni)
29.  VR 5-15-48:- “Sandhyaakaale …..Sandhyaartham varavarninee”.
(Seetha would certainly come to the river to perform sandhya with pure water).
30.  Valmikiramayana 4-16-12, 2-20-15 indicate that Kousalya and Kaikeyi also
were doing agnihotra etc.,
31.  Vaali’s wife Tara chanted

32.  Puranas :-
Vishnupurana (1-10) and (18-19);
Markandeyapurana (52); Brahma vaivarta purana (14-65) etc., may be seen.’

Shri.Ramanujacharya, Founder of Visishtadvaita, affirms that women an lear the Vedas.

But Ramanuja thinks that any person wishing to pursue
the knowledge of Brahman must first learn to chant the
Vedas (swadhyayam).
He thinks that learning Vedas is a
Samskaara (refinement or exaltation of excellence) and
Swadhyaaya forms the object of Samskaara. Taittriya
is quoted to substantiate this"

Professor Bhatnagar.

Prof . Bhargava tell us that in Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 6.4.17, there is a ritual “for parents desirous of a daughter who would shine with learning.

” The Upanayana ceremony was common to boys as well as to girls.

The Atharvaveda 9.15.18  says that a girl gets a young and eligible husband only when she has passed a period of brahmacarya.

The rg Veda mentions women performing yajnas alone and the satapaha brahmana tells us that the Patnikarma of women chanting SamaVeda was later taken over by udgatrs.”

Harita smR^iti discusses two categories of women:

1. brahmavAdinI: She is the true brahmachAriNI who can undergo upanayana and agni homa, study the scriptures and live on bhikShA.
2. sadyo vadhu: Undergo upanayana but enter matrimony early on without the study of scriptures.



While venerable commentators point out various technicalities in accepting this pramANa, there is no room for doubt regarding the need for upanayana samskAra if a woman needs to study shruti, if at all such an adhikAra is accepted.


One can find a clear reference to a brahmachAriNI in the gR^ihya sUtra when AshvalAyana talks about the samAvartana samskAra:


ashmanastejo.asi shrotraM me pAhIti maNikuNDale AbadhnIta anulepena pANI pralipya mukhamagre brAhmaNo.anulimpet | bAhU rAjanyaH | agre.anulimpet | udaraM vaishyaH | pUrvavat | upasthaM strI | tadvat ||”


Kalidasa, the Divine Poet affirms this hen he speaks of Goddess Parvati.

Kalidasa’s description of bhagavatI parvatI performing agnihotra can be somewhat accepted as reflecting the society in those days:


kR^itAbhiShekAM hutajAtavedasaM tvaguttarAsa~NgavatIM adhItinIm || [kumArasambhava]

sItA is described as performed sandhyA in rAmAyaNa:

sandhyAkAlamanAH shyAmA dhruvameShyati jAnakI |
nadIM chemAM shubhajalAM sandhyArthaM varavarNinI ||’

To sum up.

There are some injunctions on women prohibiting them from learning the Vedas.


Kanhi Periyavar says that women in Kali Yuga are weak and hence need not learn the Vedas.


His advice is to learn the Dharma sastra and he does not say learning  the Vedas is prohibited .


His Concern seems more on the the rigorous  practice and Discipline needed to learn the Vedas and that being weak, women need not learn the Vedas.


He does no say the Vedas proscribe women learning the Vedas.


Sruthi is the Highest authority, Smrtis take a backseat, so also  the Purana and The Ithihasas, when compared with the Vedas.


I feel on the strength of the Sruthi, Vedas can be learned by women by following the procedure laid by The Vedas to learn them.








* This post is intended to Highlight this issue and My views are not the final authority.

I have references from the Vedas,and to me Vedas are the Authority.

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10 responses to “Women Can Learn The Vedas Affirm Vedas”

  1. But do you consider it practical as in almost All upanyasams the upanyasakas, vidwans, veda virpannargal, mahamahopadyayas etc., have always been against veda adhikaram and adhyayanam including upanayana yogyatha for sthree. They base their argument almost entirely on the strength of as you said Vyasa Manu then dozens of other acharyas including Adi Shakarar, Ramanujar. So do you think is it humanly possible ever to challenge the stance of Bagahwan Vyasar and say there are Sruthi Pramanam. Do you have a practical solution for consensus building amongst us the sanathani dharmikals?


  2. Sir, you have quoted various pramanam for adhikaratvam of sthree regarding veda adhyayanam. I would like to know why are we people doing vicharam and samvadham on this topic? What is really our aim after all? Are we aiming at rejuvenating the practice of women learning vedam and letting them undergo upanayanam (with necessary tweaks and methods that would well suit today’s time and situations) –or– are we here to say there was no discrimination in the past and explaining with valid reasons the present context of (practical) prohibition so that people obtain proper understanding?

    You have said in an another article in this blog about you being close with Sringer Mahasannidhanam. So have you ever discussed this with Him? What are the views of Him as well as various mathadhipadhis on this according to your knowledge?

    May you please clarify it for me as I’m really unable to understand with what objective and long term and short term goals are we sanathana dharmikas discussing this topic?


    • You have answered yourself.
      1 . The article is to show that there was no gender bias in ancient Sanatan dharma.
      2. People should follow these practices today .
      As to my discussing this with Sringeri AcharyaI did not discuss this with him


      • Sir, when you say people should follow these practices today do you mean to say society can open the doors of learning vedam for women as it is done by boys and men today? If it be how could society get this going particularly the approval of Aacharyas and Mathadhipathis being indispensable and absolute


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