The Shiva Purana

by J. L. Shastri | 1950 | 616,585 words

This page relates “nature of women (stri)” as found in the Shiva-purana, which, in Hinduism, represents one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. This work eulogizes Lord Shiva as the supreme deity, besides topics such as cosmology and philosophy. It is written in Sanskrit and claims to be a redaction of an original text consisting of 100,000 metrical verses.

Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.

Chapter 24 - Nature of women (strī)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Vyāsa said:—

1. O sage, if you are pleased with me you shall narrate succinctly what was mentioned by Pañcacūḍā viz., that women are despicable.

Sanatkumāra said:—

2. I shall explain the nature of women (strī) as it is. O dear, listen to it, merely by hearing which excellent detachment results.

3. O sage, women are light-minded. They are at the root of all troubles. Attachment towards them should not be pursued by wakeful persons who desire liberation.

4. In this respect they quote an ancient tradition, the conversation of Nārada with the unchaste woman Pañcacūḍā.

5. Formerly, while the intelligent celestial sage Nārada was wandering in the worlds he saw the beautiful celestial damsel Pañcacūḍā.

6. The excellent sage Nārada asked the beautiful woman, the Apsaras—“O lady of beautiful waist, I have a certain doubt. Please explain it to me.”

7. O brahmin, thus addressed the excellent celestial damsel replied—“If you consider me competent and if there is a proper subject, I shall explain.”

Nārada said:—

8. O gentle lady, I shall never engage you in a subject beyond your scope. O lady of slender waist, I wish to hear from you the nature of women.

Sanatkumāra said:—

9. On hearing these words of that celestial sage the excellent Apsaras replied to that lord of sages, Nārada the excellent sage.

Pañcacūdā said:—

10. “O sage listen, being a woman I cannot censure women. You already know what women are and what their nature is.

11. O celestial sage, it does not behove you to urge me in such a question.” After saying this the excellent Apsaras Pañcacūḍā kept quiet.

12. On hearing her excellent statement the most excellent of the celestial sages replied to her with a desire for the benefit of the worlds.

Nārada said:—

13. It may be wrong to make a false statement. There is no defect in speaking the truth. Know this, O lady of good waist and speak the truth.

Sanatkumāra said:—

14. Thus prompted, the sweet-smiling lady, resolved and immediately began to explain truthfully the permanent defects of women.

Pañcacūḍā said:—

15. O Nārada, this is the defect in women. Even women of noble families, women with husbands and women endowed with beauty do not stand within the limits of decency.

16. There is none more sinning and more sinful than women. Women are at the root of all sins. This you know already.

17. They might have husbands of good knowledge, of ample wealth, of great comeliness and pleasing to them. But when they get opportunities for erring, they do not wait.

18. O holy lord, this is the evil practice of all of us, women, that we resort to sinful men casting off all shame and shyness.

19. Women love only those persons who solicit their company, who approach them intimately and who render them a little bit of service.[1]

20. Women usually do not observe the limitations of conventional decency. If at all they stand by them with their husbands it is because no man makes advances to them or because they are afraid of their husbands.[2]

21. There is no man not worthy of honour to women. They are not mindful of the age of the man. They carry on their dalliances with any man ugly or beautiful.[3]

22. It is not due to fear, taunts or affection for their husbands or regard for their lineage that women remain loyal to their husbands.

23. Even women of noble families aspire for the life of lascivious women who in their prime of youth adorned with lovable ornaments and beautiful wearing garments move about frivolously.

24. Even the women who are honoured well, loved intimately and looked after with care become attached to hunchbacks, blind men, imbeciles and dwarfs.

25. O celestial sage, they become attached to lame and even despicable persons. O great sage, there is none in the world who cannot be approached by women with solicitations of lust.

26. O brahmin, if women do not get men for their dalliance they begin to indulge in abnormal sexual activity with one another. They do not stand by their husbands.

27. Women become desperate when they do not get men, when they are afraid of servants, when they are frightened of being killed or imprisoned.

28. Because they indulge in sexual intercourse as they please they are fickle-minded, of evil deeds and emotionally incomprehensible even to an intelligent man.

29. Fire is not satiated with the logs of wood it consumes; the ocean is not satiated with the rivers that flow into it. The god of death is not satiated with the living beings he kills and women are not satiated with the number of men they cohabit with.[4]

30. O excellent sage, there is another secret of all women that immediately on seeing a man their vaginal passage begins to exude slimy secretions.

31. On seeing a man fresh and clean from his bath with his body perfumed with sweet scents, the vaginal passage of women begins to exude like water dripping from a leather bag.

32. Women do not brook their husbands who may give all that they love, who may honour and console them and who may look after them well.

33. Women do not remain satisfied and contented so much with simple loves and pleasures and with ornaments and money as with illicit love pursued by them with other men.

34. Women can be kept equally balanced against all these put together viz., god of death, Yama, Antaka, Pātāla, the submarine fire, the sharp edge of razor, poison, serpent and fire.

35. Ever since the five elements, the world, the men and women were created by Brahmā, O Nārada, the defect lies in women always.

Sanatkumāra said:—

36. On hearing her words Nārada was satisfied in his mind. Considering it to be the truth he became disinterested in them.

37. O Vyāsa, thus the nature of women as mentioned by Pañcacūḍā has been narrated to you. What other cause of detachment do you wish to hear?

Footnotes and references:


Pañcatantra Mitrabheda 142.


Cp. Ibid. Mitrabheda 143.


CP. Ibid. Mitrabheda 144.


Cp. Ibid. Mitrabheda 138.

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