[Advaita-l] Prasna regarding Aruna Prasna

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Thu Nov 7 15:43:55 CST 2013

Dear Venkatesh,


I never cease to be amazed by the nature of your interests and the resultant questions that
you ask on this forum, which typically have very little to do with advaita vedAnta per se!
Many others have weighed in on your question, but I have a much more fundamental issue
for you to consider. Would you take into account the following?


1. Forest living people in ancient times were not all Sannyasin-s. Pray, let us know how you
come to such a conclusion. vAnaprasthASrama preceded saMnyAsa in ancient times. A yuga
argument, saying vAnaprastha is not seen in kali yuga, is meaningless. The veda is for all
yuga-s, not only for kali yuga.


2. All the Rshi-s of our tradition lived in forest hermitages. They did not live only in villages,
cities and towns. Most Rshis-s had lifelong patnI-s. Is it possible that Rshi-s had progeny and
started off the various gotra-s without the RshipatnI-s having been pregnant at some point
of time in their lives? We know the names of arundhatI, anasUyA, ahalyA, aditi, diti, danu,
reNukA, lopAmudrA, etc. from the purANa-s, as some of these ladies.


3. Even outside of the patnI-s of Rshi-s, there had to have been other ladies in the forest
ASrama-s, who had to have gotten pregnant in order to have children, no? Surely you have
heard the story of dushyanta and SakuntalA (daughter of Rshi viSvAmitra and apsaras menA).
Did not SakuntalA live in the forest, in kaNva's ASrama, and give birth to sarvadaman, i.e.
bharata, while in the forest itself? She was not in dushyanta's palace at the time, was she?


All in all, it was a very practical matter that women were present in the araNya-s, that they
got pregnant, that they had children, that some of these pregnancies ended in miscarriages
and that the women heard the veda mantra-s being recited as a matter of course. Nobody
had to specifically invite a group of pregnant women to sit and listen to the veda being
chanted. Nobody stopped chanting veda mantra-s just because women were present,
some of whom could have been pregnant. However, some specific mantra-s are considered
harmful to a growing foetus. This is well-known from the recitation tradition, so pregnant
women were asked to move away from hearing range at the time these verses were recited.
That this should become such a topic for discussion is curiously amusing.




> Namaste
> I have a question regarding Aruna Prasna. In one place they say
> 'Apakraamata Garbhinyaha' and after some Mantras they say 'Yathaasthaanam
> Garbhinyaha'. Pregnant ladies must leave that place and come back after the
> mantras are finished.
> This Aruna Prasna is coming from Taittiriya Aranyaka. The Aranyaka portion
> is for forest living people in ancient times. They lived like Sanyasis in
> the forest and they studied Aranyakas. If living like Sanyasis why they are
> saying pregnant women have to leave and come back after some mantras? Why
> they were sitting with pregnant women and saying mantras?

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