‘Women can keep One Secret’- Voltaire (Post No.4592)


Written by London Swaminathan 


Date: 7 JANUARY 2018


Time uploaded in London- 16-59




Post No. 4592

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks.




You may find the title a bit puzzling. The reason I chose this title for the essay is no quotes are available from Hindus sources in the quotations websites. But the most interesting about secret is that it is in the oldest book in the world- The Rig Veda. Later we find this word in hundreds of places in Hindu books both in Sanskrit and Tamil. I will give some quotes below; please don’t keep them secret; let it spread to blogs and websites as well!

The Rig Veda has the word secret in the second Mandala (chapter):

Raha- suu

The meaning given in the Vedic index is ‘bearing in secret’. It is in RV 2-29-1

It is a hymn to Visvedevas

“Upholders of the Law, ye strong Adityas, remove my sin like her who bears in secret.

You, Varuna, Mitra and all gods who listen, I call to help me , I who know your goodness”


Bearing in secret is a term applied to an unmarried mother according to Vedic index.



The second reference about secret itself is secretive!

Rahasyu Deva-malimlue

is the name, in the Pachavimsa Brahmana (14-4-7), of a mythical person who at Munimarana slew the saintly Vaikhanases.


We don’t know much about the mythical person and the motive behind the murder. A typical secret story!

We have lot of references in the epics.

But the oft quoted Bhagavd Gita has a secret.

Lord Krishna says

“This same ancient Yoga has been today declared to thee by me; for thou art my devotee and my friend; and this is the Supreme Secret (rahasyam uttamam)


In most of the old Hindu scriptures they used the word Rahasyam (secret) for Veda and Upanishads.

Tamils are very clever that they translated the Veda (knowledge) it self Secret (Marai in Tamil); they knew very well that Vedas are not to be taken literal but understood through the hidden meaning!



Secret in Manu Smrti

The oldest law book in the world is Manu Smrti (older than the Hammurabi’s code). It used the word secret to denote Upanishads,the philosophical treatises of the Hindus.

Here are some quotes:

उपनीय तु यः शिष्यं वेदमध्यापयेद् द्विजः ।

च्/ सकल्पं सरहस्यं च तमाचार्यं प्रचक्षते

  1. They call that twice born who initiates a pupil and teaches him the Veda together with the Kalpa and the Rahasyas, the teacher (akarya, of the latter).

Rahsyas= Upanishads  Manu 2-140


तपोविशेषैर्विविधैर्व्रतैश्च विधिचोदितैः ।

वेदः कृत्स्नोऽधिगन्तव्यः सरहस्यो द्विजन्मना 2-165

  1. A twice born man must study the whole Veda together with the Rahasyas, performing at the same time various kinds of austerities and the vows prescribed by the rules (of the Veda).

rahasya= Upanishads

twice born = Brahmana, Kshatriya and Vaisya in the Vedic age; later only Brahmins


  1. The initial triliteral Brahman on which the threefold (sacred science) is based, is another triple Veda which must be kept secret; he who knows that, (is called) learned in the Veda.11-266
  2. Thus the acts which secure supreme bliss have been exactly and fully described; (now) the secret portion of these Institutes, proclaimed by Manu, will be taught.12-107
  3. Thus did that worshipful deity disclose to me, through a desire of benefiting mankind, this whole most excellent secret of the sacred law.12-117



SECRET in Later Literature


In the literature, the word used with the modern meaning, like we use it today


Chanakya Niti (3rd Century BCE):

One should not trust a bad friend, nor should repose too much of trust (even in good) friend lest the friend in a fit of rage were to lay bare all the secrets.

Chapter 2, Verse 6


na visvaset kumitre ca mitre caatiwa visvaset

kadaacit kupitamitram sarvam guhyaam prakaasayet


Never reveal Your Plans/ Ideas


One should not reveal through words (talk about) an action one has in mind. One should keep it secret in his counsel and apply it to one’s mission.

Chapter 2, verse 7


manasaa chintitam kaaryam vachasaa na prakaasayet

mantrena rakshayet guudam kaarye chaapi niyojayet.


Some of his instructions are valid even today.

Source for slokas: Chanakya Niti, translated by Satya Vrat Shastri, Kolkata.


Author’s name Chanakya alias Kautilya






Secret in Epics, Kalidasa, Panchatantra


A man should never disclose a secret to a woman if he longs for prosperity- Vishnusharman in Panchatantra Book3,97 (also in Katha Sarit Sagara)


This is repeated by all the English authors like Shakespeare and Tamil authors like Kamban and Vivekachudamani etc.



Constant you are, but yet a woman; and for secrecy, no lady closer; for I well believe thou wilt not utter what thou dost not know.




There is a secret drawer in every woman’s heart.

Victor Hugo.


  A woman can keep one secret,—the secret of her age.




A man can keep another person’s secret better than his own; a woman, on the contrary, keeps her secret though she blabs all others.

La Bruyère.




He cannot keep a secret longer than the morning des drops on the grass- Kalidasa in Vikrama Uvasiiyam Act 2


Good is the secrecy of a secret, its revelation is not to be praised

–Jataka Tales VI, Book 22, No546


One should not disclose secrets to everyone; one should reveal some only to one’s wife, some to one’s friend and some to one’s son, for they cannot be trusted- Vishnusarma in Panchatantra Book 1



Whoever divulges secrets should be torn to pieces- Arthasastra of Chanakya/Kautilya Book 1 Chapter 15


It is always difficult to keep secrecy counsels secret when many are concerned.—Vyasa in Mahabharata, Shanti Parva


This is also repeated by umpteen English writers. Anything concerning two or more people is not at all a secret.




Ancient Tamil literature also has many quotations on Secret:-


Tamil Veda Tirukkural of Tiruvalluvar says,


“The mean are like the drum that is beaten, for they hear secrets and betray them” (Kural/ Couplet 1076)


Another translation of the same Tamil couplet is as follows:


“Like a tom-tom, the base ones will broadcast

Whatever information they come by”


The Bible  also has a parallel quotation:

A gossip gives away secrets,

But a trusty man keeps his own counsel (Proverbs 11,13)



Pazamozi Nanuru is another Tamil didactic work which has few quotations:-


Telling a secret to base one is like placing cotton on the top of a palmyrah tree. (It will be blown into all directions easily)


We may compare it with What Khalil Gibran said:


Kahlil Gibran — ‘If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind forrevealing them to the trees.’


The same book says,

The wise ones never tell a secret to mean minded people.


There are hundreds of proverbs in Indian languages. I have to deal with it separately.