Vedas Not Clear Women Chastity Pancha Kanyas Chaste?

I have been under the impression that the Vedas and the Epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata are very strict about the  chastity of women.

There is also a view that women were suppressed and that there was no sexual intransigence during this period.

Pancha Kanyas, Five Chaste women of Hinduism.jpg
Pancha Kanyas,Hinduism. Image Credit.

And in such cases the punishment was severe by a Male dominated Vedic society.

I searched the texts , both the Sruthi and Smriti.

I have not been able to find a clear-cut definition of chastity of women relating to Physical interaction in the Vedas.

Corrections, inputs are welcome.

Smritis, especially the Manu Smriti is eloquent in describing the Adultery by men and the punishment to be meted out to them, the need to protect women

and how society will disintegrate because of a woman being not Chaste.

However I have  not been able to locate the definition of Adultery by women specifically.

One finds the instance of Jamadagni, father of Parashurama, asking Parasuram to cut off his mother Renuka’s head.

That a part of her became to be worshiped as Mariamman is a different story.

There is also the instance of Lord Rama asking Sita to prove her chastity by Fire.

Compare this with the Panchakanyas, Five Virgins who are worshiped as the embodiment of Virtue and chastity in Hinduism.

अहल्य द्रौपदी सीता तारा मन्दोदरी तथा
पञ्चकन्या स्मरेन नित्यं महा पातक नाशनं

ahalyā draupadī sītā tārā mandodarī tathā ।
pañcakanyāḥ smarennityaṃ mahāpātakanāśinī

English translation
Ahalya, Draupadi, Sita, Tara and Mandodari
One should forever remember the panchakanya who are the destroyers of great sins

A variant replaces Sita with Kunti:

Sanskrit transliteration
ahalyā draupadī kuṃtī tārā mandodarī tathā ।
pañcakanyāḥ smarennityaṃ mahāpātakanāśinīm

Differences are underlined.

Orthodox Hindus, especially Hindu wives, remember the Panchakanya in this daily morning prayer. Their names are extolled and the prayer is pratah smaraniya, prescribed to be recited in the early hours of the morning.

The panchakanya literally means five kanyas. Kanya may be translated as girl, daughter, maiden or virgin.

Though all being married, the choice of the word kanya, not nari(woman) or sati (chaste wife), seems interesting to scholar Pradip Bhattacharya”

Of these five,

Ahalya was violated by Indra,

Draupadi had five Husbands,

Tara lived with her husband Vaali’s Brother , Sugreeva.

Mandodai married Vibhishana, Ravanas’ brother, after Ravana’s death?

Only Sita fits the concept of Chastity and loayalty to the core!

That’s why She is treated as Moher by all, Thayar in Tamil.

I am confounded!


11 thoughts on “Vedas Not Clear Women Chastity Pancha Kanyas Chaste?

  1. Dear Mr Ramanan50

    You are confounded because you are applying the principles of kaliyuga to incidents that happened in other yugas. Also, you are applying the rules of humans to those entities who are beyond humans. let us see

    Ahalya was voilated by indra – all examples mentioned in sastras, are lessons to humans. This does not mean that the enactor of the example itself is wrong. for example Lord Krishna steals butter. but this should not warrant you to call Him a thief. if we call Him a thief, we are at mistake, not Lord Krishna. in the same way, Ahalya is extremely chaste. but to teach a lesson to all humans, that even in the position of indra, one can succumb to lust, such things happen as accident (or arranged by God). every one must worship Ahalya because she finally got liberated by the touch of Lord Rama’s lotus feet who is supremely pure (chaste).

    Draupadi had five husbands – it is said in the sastras that in kaliyuga, a woman should not give birth to a child from husband’s brother. but the incident of draupadi marrying five brothers happened NOT in kaliyuga. in other yugas, the marriage is NOT viewed as a licence for sex life. hence it is possible. but in kaliyuga, peoples consciousness is so low that they think marriage means sex. this is unfortunate. Also, Sage Veda Vyasa convinces Draupadi’s father about marrying five brothers by citing previous similar incidents in the past. therefore, Draupadi should not be evaluated with our degraded kaliyuga consciousness.

    Taara livied with sugreeva – first vaali and sugreeva does not belong to human species. and hence human principles does not apply. second vaali and sugreeva are kings (kshatriya sect) hence they can marry more than one woman. third this incident did not happen in kaliyuga. from any of the above three angles, it is NOT wrong for taara to take shelter of sugreeva when her own husband is no more. when Lord Rama spoke to dying Vaali, Lord Rama said that vaali is being killed for kidnapping Sugreeva’s wife. but the same Lord Rama befriended Sugreeva because sugreeva did not kidnap taara. it was taara who took shelter at sugreeva after vaali’s presumed death or actual death later.

    mandodari married vibhisana – the rules for kshatriyas are applied here. again this did not happen in kaliyuga. the same above arguments are vaild here too. infact, when mother sita visits anasuya in the forest, anasuya says, you are the best chaste wife in the whole world. but mother sita says better chaste wife than me is mandodari because she is faithfully serving an ill-charactered fellow called ravana.

    all the above explanations are obtained from parampara understandings of our sastras and not by speculation of our imperfect human mind.

    hope this clarifies.


    1. My point is Vedas are silent on this issue . As I observed elsewhere in my site, the issue of sex, chastity do not matter for evolved souls.This should not be taken to mean Hedonism. I have dealt with this in my article Sex ,Tantra Principles. Regards.


  2. There are lot of mis-interpretations about Goddess Draupadi on the web, maybe because of the individual’s assumptions or what they think polyandry is. In fact, She cannot be compared with anyone/ anything, nor do we have that standard to comment on Her. Please read the content in this URL and I hope you will understand who She is.

    “Draupadi Amman Thunai” – Meaning, may Goddess Draupadi’s Blessing be on you all, always.

    Know more about one of the diving shrines/ temples of Goddess Draupadi in KONDAL village, near Mayiladuthurai, Tamil Nadu.


    1. I have information that Draupadi visited South.Can you forward authentic informatio or link to my email, ,if you have the information.On chaste women please read my post on the Chaste women of Hinduism.Regards


  3. SITA do not come under panca kanya for she is godess along with Rama .instead it to be Tara who is wife chandra .i.e two Taras in this sloka . these women suffered a lot and untold misery ,women chastity was not considered not so sacred as it is today ,even marriages were not considered as a must at that time , only getting children was most importent to continue progeny ,in this regard Yayati’s daughter madhavi is relevant.Sita come out of Agni so was Drupadi


  4. There is an argument (which I accept) that Hindu-ism is not a “religion”. “Religions” were conceived as having a sole supreme sovereign who was above all laws and made laws that were handed down for others to follow. This is not true for Hindus. There is no “being” who is above the law and hands down laws. For us the “Brahman” is the only law – it is the law and we are part of that. The code of dharma rules us and that code is shared among Hindus by means of the Vedas, vedanta and epics. So we are ruled by a moral code of living and not be a humanoid God. that sets us apart from other religions. If religions are nations, sanatana dharma is the UN, sitting above nations and providing a code of conduct.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I fully endorse the above views.During vedic period attainment of brahma gnam is the sole be all end all of life.Everybody is so pure and chastity is unquestioned virtue . Brahamam is the saswatham and sole goal and other virtues are presupposed and presumed AND UNDILUTED


      1. This kind of Knowledge is very delicate.In the hands of the immature these principles might be interpreted as a Licence for licentiousness.This is one of the reasons why the Vedas have been following strict code for learners .


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