Friday, February 19, 2010

Prayaschitha Dharma Prakarana

Prayaschitha Prakaranam 2
(Chapter on redemptive rituals) 2
I. Prayaschitha Shabhadaratha 2
Meaning of the word Prayaschitha (Redemption) 2
II.Prayaschitha akarane dosha 2
The result of not doing redemptive acts. 2
III. Nava Vidhani Paapani 4
The nine types of sins 4
IV. Mahapathakas 4
Greatest sins 4
V. Athipathaka 5
Great sins 5
VI .Samapathaka 5
(ordinary sins) 5
VII. Upapathaka 5
Subsidiary sins 5
VIII. Sankarikaranani 6
Getting polluted 6
IX. Malinikarana 6
Making dirty 6
X .Apathrikarana 6
Dealing with undesirable 6
XI. Jathibramsakarana 6
Destroying community 6
XII. Jnana Ajnana krutha Papa Vichara 7
Sins done knowingly and unknowingly 7
XIII. Pathakam Dwividam 8
Two types of crime 8
XIV. Prajapathya Kruchra Lakshanam 8
The procedure of Prajapathya Kruchra(Mortification) 8
XV. Pada Kruchra 8
The procedure of Pada (quarter) Kruchra 8
XVI. Ardha Kruchra 8
The procedure of Ardha (half) Kruchra 8
XVII. Athi Kruchra 9
The procedure of Athi (more) Kruchra 9
XVIII. Kruchradhi Kruchram 9
The Kruchram of Kruchrams 9
IXX. Chaandrayanam 9
Mortification for 30 days 9
XX. Keshaam chith paapanam Prayaschitha 10
Redemptive acts for certain sins. 10
XXI.Rahasya papa pariharam 12
Redemptive acts for sins done secretly 12
XXII. Kruchraprathinidhaya 12
Alternative to Kruchra 12

Prayaschitha Prakaranam
(Chapter on redemptive rituals)

Translated by


(This chapter lists out the different types of sins which can be done by a Brahmin. It then tells us in detail about several rituals involving mortification to get rid of the effects of sins.)

I. Prayaschitha Shabhadaratha
Meaning of the word Prayaschitha (Redemption)

1. Angeeras
Praya means Thapas(deep meditation) and Chitha means definitely .That is for the sin or fault committed by us, if we do redemptive acts like Kruchra, Sharanagathi(surrender) as per shastras , it is believed that the sin would be removed. These acts of redemption are called Prayaschitha.

2. Vignaneswareeya
The word Prayaschitha indicates those actions which remove sins. So the sages have told it as a rudi (traditional ) word. The common word for that is Prayaschitha and so Vignaneswara says it is Yoga rudi Prayaschitha.

Sin occurs by not performing actions recommended by shastras, by performing actions banned by Shastras, and by having no rule or control over actions of sound, touch, form , taste and smell. Thus sin occurs as three types The man who does sin should definitely do redemptive acts.

II.Prayaschitha akarane dosha
The result of not doing redemptive acts.

1. Yagnavalkya
If the people who do sin do not do Prayaschitha and do not even feel the guilt of having performed the sin, they would suffer very hard and cruel punishments in hell.
There are 26 types of hell. They are Thamisra, Lohasanku, Mahaniraya, Salmali , Rourava, Kumbhala , Poothimruthika, Kalasuthrathapana, Mahanaraka, Kaakola, Samjeevana, Mahapada, Aaveesi, Andathamishra, Kumbheepaka , Asipathravana, and Thapana. These are the hells which would be attained by people who do Mahapathaka (greatly sinful acts) and Upapathaka (subsidiary sinful acts) and who do not perform redemption.

2. Yagnavalkya
The people who do the five Mahapathakas would suffer in cruel hells for a long time and take several births in this world.
The man who does Brahmahathi (literally killing of a Brahmin) sin is born as Deer, dog, pig and Camel. The Brahmin who takes up to Alcoholic drink, will be born as donkey , pulkasa(demon) and Vena(bard). The Brahmin who steals gold, will take birth as worms, insects and flying insects. The one who rapes his teachers wife, would be born as grass, plants and climbers.
The one who does Brahmahathi (killing of Brahmin literally) would be born as one with T.B. , the one who drinks alcoholic drinks would be born with black teeth and the one who steals gold will have brittle nails. The one who joins with these types of people is also a great sinner. The hells merited by the type of his friends and rebirths would be awarded to him also.
If we do holy or sinful acts, first you would undergo blessings and punishments in the present birth and would go to heaven or hell. If we do it intensively you would see the results in three years three months and three days. So intensity in doing sins is not good .Sins should not be done at all.

The type of rebirths taken by people who commit different types of sins is also told by Manu. He who befriends a sinner or steals the wife of another or steals the property of a Brahmin would be born as Brahma rakshas(a type of ghost) .
He who tells gossips about others would be born as one having a stinking nose. He who points out the ills of others would have a stinking mouth. He who steals grain would be born as handicapped. The Misraka(adulterator) who buys good grains and adulterates it with bad grain would have extra organs.
The one who steals food would be diseased , he who muzzles the opinion of others be born as a dumb one , the one who steals cloth would be born as one with Leucoderma and the one who steals a horse would be born lame.
The people who do such sins would not be liked by good people , would be zombies, would be dumb, would be blind , would be deaf and would have ugly looking organs.
People who due to avarice steal gems, corals and pearls would be born in criminal tribes.
The one who steals grains would be born as a mouse, the one who steals bell metal would be born as a swan , the one who steals water would be born as a water crow, the one who steals honey would be born as big fly , the one who steals milk would be born as crow, the one who steals juicy things would be born as a dog and the one who steals ghee would be born as a mongoose.
The one who steals white silk would be born as a small bird, the one who steals costly white silk would be born as frog, the one who steals things made of cotton thread would be born as a Krowncha bird , the one who steals a cow be born as mountain rat, and the one who steals Jaggery would be born as a bat.
The one who steals things made with good ivory would be born as a mouse , the one who steals leafy vegetables be born as a peacock, the one who steals cooked rice would be born as an animal called Swavith and the one who steals uncooked rice born as a porcupine.
The one who steals fire would be born as a stork, the one who steals house hold articles as a worm called Grahakari and the one who steals red apparels as a thief.
The one who steals deer or elephant would be born as wolf , the one who steals horse would be born as tiger , the one who steals fruits and flowers as monkey, the one who steals women as a bear , the one who steals drinking water as Chathka (bird who cannot drink water)bird, the one who steals vehicles as camel and the one who steals cows as white sheep.
Whatever may be the case , the one who steals the belongings of others would be born as a beast or a bird, Eating material meant for Homa without doing Homa is a sin which gives the same result. So undesirable acts should not be done.
There may be minor differences to the punishment which would be awarded, among different sages but one of them is definite.

III. Nava Vidhani Paapani
The nine types of sins

Anger, passion and avarice are the three enemies of men. The one who is subject to these does the nine types of sins viz Mahapathaka, Athipathaka , Samapathaka, Upapathaka , Samggeranakarana , malinikarana , apathreekarana, Jathibramsa karana and Prakeernaka.

IV. Mahapathakas
Greatest sins

Killing of Brahmins , drinking , stealing of the gold of Brahmins , raping teachers wife and being friends with these four types of people are Mahapathakas. The people who do these are called great sinners.

V. Athipathaka
Great sins

The man who rapes his Mother’s sister, friend of mother , daughter, father’s sister , uncle’s wife , sister and mother in law is the one who does Athipathakas.

Having sex with a debased one , aborting a foetus and killing husband are Athipathakas for women.

VI .Samapathaka
(ordinary sins)

Insulting elders , insulting Veda , troubling friends and forgetting the already learned Vedas are sins equivalent to Brahmahathi
Drinking Coconut water in a bell metal vessel, drinking milk mixed with salt , taking bath in water used by a washer man and drinking milk or curd in a copper vessel are considered equivalent to drinking Alcohol.

Stealing the article given to us for safe custody and stealing land, diamond and jewels are equivalent to stealing gold.

He who does evil things without intention or motive with his daughter , Dalith lady and the wives of friends as well as son which commits sin equivalent to raping the teacher’s wife. These are classified as Samapathakas,. But if he does it willfully it is Athipathaka..

VII. Upapathaka
Subsidiary sins

Conducting Yaga on behalf of a man who does not oknow Veda, Deserting teacher , father and mother , forsaking fire and Veda, giving up sons , The elder brother remaining bachelor when the younger one is married (the elder commits Parivithi sin and the younger parivedana) , giving away girls to such brothers, Performing marriages of such brothers , raping of a virgin, living out of interest earned from money, Serving a Brahmachari, Selling tank , flower garden , wife and son, not performing rituals like sacred thread ceremony at the proper time, not obeying paternal and maternal uncles, Teaching Vedas and Vedanta for money compensation, Reciting Vedas and Vedanta for money, Selling goods like Gingelly, being in charge of the treasury of the king, running machines, pinching medicinal plants, Earning a living by use of women, Performing worship for spoiling others, Attracting people by magical chants, Moola Karma (?) Cutting living trees for sake of fire wood, Cooking for our own eating, Eating food in homes of people who abuse Shastras, Being a government servant , Not doing Agnihothra(mandatory fire worship), Stealing metals other than gold, Not returning loan, Reading the science developed by Mlechhas(foreigners?), Engaging in music and dance , stealing grains, copper and similar metals and cows, Drinking habit , sex with wives of others, and troubling Kshatriyas , Vaisyas and others are called Upapathakas.

VIII. Sankarikaranani
Getting polluted

Killing of donkey , dog, Camel , Deer , Elephant , Goat, Sheep , fish snake and Buffalo are Sankarikarana sins.

IX. Malinikarana
Making dirty
Troubling worms , insects and birds, eating food mixed with alcohol and stealing flowers , firewood and fruits are classified as Malinikarana sins.

X .Apathrikarana
Dealing with undesirable

Taking money from those who do not follow rituals , selling things , serving others and telling lies for everything are Apathrikarana sins

XI. Jathibramsakarana
Destroying community

Wounding , troubling Brahmins and making them sad , smelling things like onion, garlic etc and denying sex to the husband are Jathibramsakarana sins.

XII. Jnana Ajnana krutha Papa Vichara
Sins done knowingly and unknowingly

Redemption is only for those sins which are committed unknowingly. For sins committed knowingly , there is no redemption.

2. Manu
Some people are of the opinion that redemption is there only for sins committed unknowingly. Others however believe that redemption is there for sins committed knowingly also.

The redemption for sins committed knowingly are double that for sins committed unknowingly.

There are two results of Prayaschitha (redemption). One is that he will not suffer in hell after death. He also can have good interaction with every one in this world when he is alive. But if he has committed the five great sins , even if he carries out redemption , no interaction should be there with him. No body should have any dealings with him. So except for these, in case of Upapathakas , if redemption is done , he will not suffer hell after death and even in this world he can interact with others. For people who do Upapathakas intentionally, they should do double the amount of redemption. If this is done even for them there is no suffering in hell and people will move with them.
There is no redemption for the one who does Mahapathakas intentionally. The only redemption is to fall from a mountain or falling in fire. That is redemptive acts are only for those Mahapathakas not done intentionally.
Because redemptive acts after death are banned in the Kali age , for the acts of passion done intentionally resulting in a Mahapathakas , the suffering for hell is bound to be there. But if he does the 12 year Sadhya Prayachitha, other people can move with him.
If Upapathakas are done unintentionally , just by reading Vedas, the redemption can be carried out. But if done intentionally redemptive rituals should be carried out.

It tells about redemption to those who aid a murder. The murderer, the man who approves it, the one who encouraged doing it, the man who helped in planning, The man who encourages a murder, The one who helps in its execution , The man who showed the path , the man who provided the place , the man who gave the weapon , The one who fed the murderer before committing it , the one who did not prevent it even though he could have prevented it , The man who appreciated it are all guilty. There is redemptive rituals for all of them.

XIII. Pathakam Dwividam
Two types of crime

Sins are of two types. One is doing sin with every one’s knowledge or publicly. This is called Prakasa papam. Another is the sin committed without any one knowing it. This is called Rahasya papam (Secret sin) . In case of Prakasa papam we should approach scholars who are expert in Vedas, Scholars knowing Dharma Sasthra and Great people who observe all rituals and carry out the redemptive ritual as advised by them. That is a Prakasa Prayachitham (public redemption). In case of Rahasya papam , the redemptive act also can be kept as secret,

XIV. Prajapathya Kruchra Lakshanam
The procedure of Prajapathya Kruchra(Mortification)

This consists of taking food for three days only in day time followed by three days of food only in night time, followed by three days of food once , if offered without begging which is followed by starving for three days. This takes a period of 12 days to observe.

XV. Pada Kruchra
The procedure of Pada (quarter) Kruchra

This consists of taking food for one day in day time only, followed by one day food at night time only , followed by one day one time food, if available without begging and one day of starvation. This takes a period of 4 days to complete.

XVI. Ardha Kruchra
The procedure of Ardha (half) Kruchra

This consists of taking food for one day in day time only, followed by one day food at night time only , followed by two days one time food, if available without begging and two days of starvation. This takes a period of 6 days to complete.

XVII. Athi Kruchra
The procedure of Athi (more) Kruchra

This consists of taking only one hand full of food once in three days in day time, followed by three days at night time followed by three days if available without begging. This is to be followed by three days of complete starvation. This takes a period of 12 days to complete. Some sages permit only one mouthful of food but Sage Parasara is kind enough to permit one handful of food.

XVIII. Kruchradhi Kruchram
The Kruchram of Kruchrams

This consists of drinking only water once during meals time for three days in day time, followed by three days at night, and followed by three days without begging, which would be followed by three days of complete starvation. Sage Yagnavalkya says that, taking once only milk for 21 days is Kruchradhi Kruchram. This is easier.
Thaptha Kruchram is taking once for three days hot water once, followed by three days of once hot milk followed by three days of hot ghee, which has to be followed by three days of complete starvation.

Santhapana Kruchram is taking Cow’s urine , Cow dung , milk , curd, Ghee and Kuchotha (?) in that order once for one day each , followed by one day of starvation.

Starving for 12 days is called Paraga Kruchram. Suppose we live for one month only on fruits , it is called Phala Kruchram, Suppose we take only gruel made of Barley for one month it is called Yavaka Kruchram.

Reciting Agamarshana Suktha followed by Thrishavasa (?) snana and observing fast for three days is called Agamarshana Kruchram.

IXX. Chaandrayanam
Mortification for 30 days

This is of two types - Pippeelika Madhyam (Ant middle) and Yava Madhyam (Barley middle.
Pippeelika Madhyam is fat in the beginning and end and slender in the middle and Yava Madhyam is thin in the beginnings and end and stout in the middle.

Sage Vasishta
This Is Pipeelika Madhya Chaandrayanam
Start on Prathama of Krishna Paksha. Take 14 handful of food on that day. On the second day take 13 handful and so on and observe fast on Amavasya. On Shukla Prathama take one hand full and next day two hand full and so on. On Pournami day take 15 handful.
This is Yava Madhya Chaandrayanam
Start on Shukla Paksha Prathama. Take one handful on the first day, two on the second day and so on for 15 days. On Krishna Paksha Prathama take 14 handfuls. Daily reduce one handful for 14 days and on Amavasya observe fast.

Before beginning of these rites, you have to shave and give Dhana and Dakshina to Brahmins.
Taking three handful of food for one month and living a life of austerity is called Rishi Chaandrayanam.
Taking four handfuls during day followed by four handfuls at night for one month and leading a proper life is called Shisu (child) Chaandrayanam.
Taking eight handfuls for one month is called Yathi Chaandrayanam.

XX. Keshaam chith paapanam Prayaschitha
Redemptive acts for certain sins.

Parasara says that in the Kali age the redemption for Brahma Hathi dosha is to take bath in Rameshwaram. He has instructions for doing it properly . We should do Sankalpa and without slippers and umbrella walk and reach Rameswaram from our home. While going you have to beg and eat. While Begging you have to say , “I am a sinner, I have Brahma Hathi dosha, Please give me alms,”. We should never enter any house. We can take rest in river banks or cattle sheds, Frequently we have to describe the nature of sin committed by us to people. After reaching Rameshwaram , you have to take bath in Dhanushkoti and in all theerthas including Agni Theertham. After this we can to return to our village and give as Dhana hundreds of cows and feed hundreds of Brahmins.

The one who does Brahma Hathi Dosha , should build a hut outside the village and stay there for 12 years. He has to eat by begging for food in the Kapala (skull) of a human being. Also all the twenty four hours we should meditate on Hari.

The redemptive act for the one who kills a cow is like this. He should shave all the hair from his head , take bath thrice a day and observe Go (cow) Vrutha. He should live with the group of cattle at night. When Cows go for grazing during day time , he should follow them. He should not bother about sun , rain etc. He should pay attention in protecting the cow. If they are caught in mud, he should himself lift and help them. Then he has to observe Prajapathya Kruchram. That Kruchram should be divided in to four depending on the age of the cow killed. Then he should do Godhana and feed Brahmins. This is the Prayaschitha for killing cows.
Then he tells about redemptive act for killing a cow or for beating it a with a stick , big stone and knife and other weapons.
For the one who beats with a stick and kills , Santhapana Kruchram is prescribed. For the one who hits it with a ball of mud and kills it , Prajapathya Kruchram is prescribed. For the one who kills it with a stone Thaptha Kruchram and the one who kills with knife Athi Kruchram is prescribed.
If a man kills a cow and hides it, , he would go to the hell called Kala Suthra and suffer there for a long time. Then he would be born for seven lives as one who has great disease , eunuch and one who only suffers. In the term cow, bull also is included.

4. Manu
If a man drinks alcoholic drink , for redemption he has to boil the drink and drink it as such when it is boiling. If his body is burnt as a result, he would get rids of the sin committed by drinking.

If you happen to drink milk or coconut water in a copper vessel or drink milk mixed with salt or drink alcoholic drink knowingly you have to observe Chaandrayanam. If you do it unknowingly, Prajapathya Kruchra is sufficient.

If a Brahmin steals Gold, he should give a big mortar (Ulakkai) to the king and request the king to beat him with the mortar. If not he should do the redemptive act prescribed for drinking alcohol .Other alternative is to give to another Brahmin Gold equivalent to his own weight.
Going to a prostitute, destroys both respectability as well as wealth. This would also destroy fame and Thapas. Having sex with a widow would reduce your power as well as life. Having sex with some body else’s wife would destroy everything. The prayachitham for this is very harsh.

The man who spreads gossip about others, a rowdy , Drunkard and a Gambler are considered as very bad people. If we happen to live with any of them for one day, we have to perform Paraga Kruchra. If we live with any of them for 15 days, we have to perform Thaptha Kruchra . If we live with any of them for a month, we have to perform Prajapathya Kruchra. If we live for one year we have to perform Chaandrayanam. Then only we would become clean. If we live more than one year, we are also classified as very bad.

The one who takes bath in the well for 7 days, the one who takes bath in hot water for 7 days and the one who does not clean himself with mud after answering nature’s calls should do Prajapathya Kruchram and then drink Pancha Gavya to get himself cleaned.

10. Yagnavalkya
For getting rid of Upapathakas we have do Chaandrayanam or live with only milk as food for one month or perform Paraga Kruchra.

XXI.Rahasya papa pariharam
Redemptive acts for sins done secretly

Doing Veda Parayana daily , doing the five great Yagna (Pancha Maha Yagna) and being patient , destroy the sins committed in secret. Like a fire makes twigs in to ash , the Veda knowing Brahmin , drives away all the sins by the fire of his knowledge. It is also told that if we do 16 Pranayamas along with Mantras, the sins committed vanish.

Chaandrayanam, Yavaka Kruchra , Thula Purusha Dhana , Go Vrutha ,and taking care of cows are normal redemptive acts for all sins.

Even though we are involved in several sins , if we meditate on Achyutha and Vasudeva forgetting the world , we again become pure and become noble.

4. Brugu
Even if sins are done in one crore different ways , if we sing “Rama, Rama”, by the effect of the name “Rama” all sins would be destroyed This is a redemptive act for all sort of sins. There is no better redemptive act in any of the Shastras.

The man , though he has committed all sorts of sins ,, if he sings about Lord Shiva with a sinless mind and great devotion , he would become a pure soul.

6. Athri
If we chant the Sri Rudra Mantra, eleven times , even if we have committed great sins, we would get rid of all sins.

XXII. Kruchraprathinidhaya
Alternative to Kruchra

Because due to the change of time and place, we may not be able to observe Prajapathya Kruchra , The great sages have told other alternatives.. This Kruchram according to them is equivalent to feeding 12 Brahmins or Ten thousand times chanting of Gayathri or doing 1000 thila homams.

Prajapathya Kruchra is equivalent to

200 pranayamas
Or 12 times bathing in sacred rivers like Ganga
Or Walking 20 miles singing the names of God
Or Chanting Gayathri Manthra 10000 times
It is sufficient if one of them is observed.

If we are not able to observe Prajapathya Kruchra, we have to give one cow to a Brahmin, If this is not possible, we can give sufficient money to buy a cow to a Brahmin
If without intention sins occur to sagely elders , they can do Japa and Homa and get rid of the sin. If Sin is done by one who does not follow Achara, he has to do Kruchrams to get rid of sins. In case of rich people they can get rid of their sins by large donations of wealth.
Thus ends The chapter on Redemptive acts in Samkshepa Dharma Sasthra.

Thus ends The Samkshepa Dharma Shastra.


  1. thanks for the lucid translation of the Samkshepa Dharma Shastra. Excellent work. you may want to review adiyen's work on 18 sins mentioned in Kaisika Puranam (within Varaha Puranam) on my blog page at

  2. Dear Sir,

    In these Kruchras, for example:

    "10. Yagnavalkya
    For getting rid of Upapathakas we have do Chaandrayanam or live with only milk as food for one month or perform Paraga Kruchra."

    Should one not drink water also (e.g. with regard to the above quote - one can take only milk as food and cannot take water or other food items).

    Any light you can shed on this matter will help me assimilate your translation more precisely.

    Many thanks for making it available on the web, and I highly appreciate your time in answering this.

    Best regards,

  3. How to get rid of the sin incurred by sleeping with ones own mother .. Step mother or mother in law?