The Laws of Manu | Manu Smriti | 11


Part 3: Atonement; retribution for improper action

Topic 22: The law of penances

22.1 Considerations in sacred rites

22.1.1 Distribution of wealth Charity Snātakas; those worthy of receiving gifts

1. Him who wishes (to marry for the sake of having) offspring, him who wishes to perform a sacrifice, a traveller, him who has given away all his property, him who begs for the sake of his teacher, his father, or his mother, a student of the Veda, and a sick man,

2. These nine Brāhmaṇas one should consider as Snātakas, begging in order to fulfil the sacred law; to such poor men gifts must be given in proportion to their learning.

3. To these most excellent among the twice-born, food and presents (of money) must be given; it is declared that food must be given to others outside the sacrificial enclosure.

4. But a king shall bestow, as is proper, jewels of all sorts, and presents for the sake of sacrifices on Brāhmaṇas learned in the Vedas. Begging for, or donating for, a second marriage

5. If a man who has a wife weds a second wife, having begged money (to defray the marriage expenses, he obtains) no advantage but sensual enjoyment; but the issue (of his second marriage belongs) to the giver of the money. Benefits of proper charity

6. One should give, according to one's ability, wealth to Brāhmaṇas learned in the Veda and living alone; (thus) one obtains after death heavenly bliss. Those worthy of performing the Soma Yajña

7. He who may possess (a supply of) food sufficient to maintain those dependant on him during three years or more than that, is worthy to drink the Soma-juice.

8. But a twice-born man, who, though possessing less than that amount of property, nevertheless drinks the Soma-juice, does not derive any benefit from that (act), though he may have formerly drunk the Soma-juice. Imitation charity

9. (If) an opulent man (is) liberal towards strangers, while his family lives in distress, that counterfeit virtue will first make him taste the sweets (of fame, but afterwards) make him swallow the poison (of punishment in hell).

10. If (a man) does anything for the sake of his happiness in another world, to the detriment of those whom he is bound to maintain, that produces evil results for him, both while he lives and when he is dead. Appropriating property from those who neglect religious duties In case of a shortage of funds for performing a sacrifice

11. If a sacrifice, (offered) by (any twice-born) sacrificer, (and) especially by a Brāhmaṇa, must remain incomplete through (the want of) one requisite, while a righteous king rules, From Vaiṣyas who neglect sacrifice

12. That article (required) for the completion of the sacrifice, may be taken (forcibly) from the house of any Vaiṣya, who possesses a large number of cattle, (but) neither performs the (minor) sacrifices nor drinks the Soma-juice; From Śūdra

13. (Or) the (sacrificer) may take at his pleasure two or three (articles required for a sacrifice) from the house of a Śūdra; for a Śūdra has no business with sacrifices. From neglectful Brāhmaṇa or Kṣattriya relations

14. If (a man) possessing one hundred cows, kindles not the sacred fire, or one possessing a thousand cows, drinks not the Soma-juice, a (sacrificer) may unhesitatingly take (what he requires) from the houses of those two, even (though they be Brāhmaṇas or Kshatriyas); From those who accumulate, but never distribute

15. (Or) he may take (it by force or fraud) from one who always takes and never gives, and who refuses to give it; thus the fame (of the taker) will spread and his merit increase. In dire hunger

16. Likewise he who has not eaten at (the time of) six meals, may take at (the time of) the seventh meal (food) from a man who neglects his sacred duties, without (however) making a provision for the morrow,

17. Either from the threshing-floor, or from a field, or out of the house, or wherever he finds it; but if (the owner) asks him, he must confess to him that (deed and its cause).

18. (On such occasions) a Kshatriya must never take the property of a (virtuous Brāhmaṇa; but he who is starving may appropriate the possessions of a Dāsya, or of one who neglects his sacred duties. Taking from the wicked and bestowing it upon virtuous

19. He who takes property from the wicked and bestows it on the virtuous, transforms himself into a boat, and carries both (over the sea of misfortune).

20. The property of those who zealously offer sacrifices, the wise call the property of the gods; but the wealth of those who perform no sacrifices is called the property of the Asuras. Kṣattriyas must protect such Brāhmaṇas in need

21. On him (who, for the reasons stated, appropriates another's possessions), a righteous king shall not inflict punishment; for (in that case) a Brāhmaṇa pines with hunger through the Kshatriya's want of care.

22. Having ascertained the number of those dependent on such a man, and having fully considered his learning and his conduct, the king shall allow him, out of his own property, a maintenance whereon he may live according to the law;

23. And after allotting to him a maintenance, the king must protect him in every way; for he obtains from such (a man) whom he protects, the part of his spiritual merit.

22.1.2 Situations to be avoided Begging from Śūdras for a sacrifice

24. A Brāhmaṇa shall never beg from a Śūdra property for a sacrifice; for a sacrificer, having begged (it from such a man), after death is born (again) as a Chāṇḍāla. Not fully using what has been begged for sacrifice, in sacrifice

25. A Brāhmaṇa who, having begged any property for a sacrifice, does not use the whole (for that purpose), becomes for a hundred years a (vulture of the kind called) Bhasa, or a crow. Seizing the property of temples or Brāhmaṇas

26. That sinful man, who, through covetousness, seizes the property of the gods, or the property of Brāhmaṇas, feeds in another world on the leavings of vultures. Omissions in sacrifice

27. In case the prescribed animal and Soma-sacrifices cannot be performed, let him always offer at the change of the year a Vaiśvanari Ishti as a penance (for the omission). Performing secondary duties while neglecting primary duties

28. But a twice-born, who, without being in distress, performs his duties according to the law for times of distress, obtains no reward for them in the next world; that is the opinion (of the sages).

29. By the Visve-devas, by the Sādhyas, and by the great sages (of the) Brāhmaṇa (caste), who were afraid of perishing in times of distress, a substitute was made for the (principal) rule.

30. That evil-minded man, who, being able (to fulfil) the original law, lives according to the secondary rule, reaps no reward for that after death. Insulting Brāhmaṇas A Brāhmaṇa protects himself through scriptural learning

31. A Brāhmaṇa who knows the law need not bring any (offence) to the notice of the king; by his own power alone be can punish those men who injure him.

32. His own power is greater than the power of the king; the Brāhmaṇa therefore, may punish his foes by his own power alone.

33. Let him use without hesitation the sacred texts, revealed by Atharvan and by Aṅgiras; speech, indeed, is the weapon of the Brāhmaṇa, with that he may slay his enemies. Means of passing through misfortune

34. A Kshatriya shall pass through misfortunes which have befallen him by the strength of his arms, a Vaiṣya and a Śūdra by their wealth, the chief of the twice-born by muttered prayers and burnt-oblations. Let no man deal improperly with Brāhmaṇas

35. The Brāhmaṇa is declared (to be) the creator (of the world), the punisher, the teacher, (and hence) a benefactor (of all created beings); to him let no man say anything unpropitious, nor use any harsh words. Persons unqualified to offer fire sacrifices

36. Neither a girl, nor a (married) young woman, nor a man of little learning, nor a fool, nor a man in great suffering, nor one uninitiated, shall offer an Agnihotra.

37. For such (persons) offering a burnt-oblation sink into hell, as well as he to whom that (Agnihotra) belongs; hence the person who sacrifices (for another) must be skilled in (the performance of) Vaitana (rites), and know the   whole Veda. One must avoid offering a miserly dakṣiṇā for sacrificial rites Misers, become equal to those who have not kindled the sacred fires

38. A Brāhmaṇa who, though wealthy, does not give, as fee for the performance of an Agnyadheya, a horse sacred to Prajāpati, becomes (equal to one) who has not kindled the sacred fires. Better to perform other meritorious acts than to give a small dakṣiṇā

39. Let him who has faith and controls his senses perform other meritorious acts, but let him on no account offer sacrifices at which he gives smaller fees (than those prescribed). Results of miserliness

40. The organs (of sense and action), honour, (bliss in) heaven, longevity, fame, offspring, and cattle are destroyed by a sacrifice at which (too) small sacrificial fees are given; hence a man of small means should not offer a (Śrauta) sacrifice. Voluntarily neglecting the sacred fires

41. A Brāhmaṇa who, being an Agnihotrin, voluntarily neglects the sacred fires, shall perform a lunar penance during one month; for that (offence) is equal to the slaughter of a son.

22.1.10 Obtaining wealth from Śūdras for sacred rites The priest is degraded

42. Those who, obtaining wealth from Śūdras, (and using that) offer an Agnihotra, are priests officiating for Śūdras, (and hence) censured among those who recite the Veda. The giver is elevated

43. Treading with his foot on the heads of those fools who worship a fire (kindled at the expense) of a Śūdra, the giver (of the wealth) shall always pass over his miseries (in the next world).

22.2 The liability & necessity of performing penance

22.2.1 Those liable to perform penance

44. A man who omits a prescribed act, or performs a blameable act, or cleaves to sensual enjoyments, must perform a penance.

45. (All) sages prescribe a penance for a sin unintentionally committed; some declare, on the evidence of the revealed texts, (that it may be performed) even for an intentional (offence). Expiation of unintentional & intentional offences

46. A sin unintentionally committed is expiated by the recitation of Vedic texts, but that which (men) in their folly commit intentionally, by various (special) penances. Social interaction avoided by those liable to perform penance

47. A twice-born man, having become liable to perform a penance, be it by (the decree of) fate or by (an act) committed in a former life, must not, before the penance has been performed, have intercourse with virtuous men.

22.2.2 The need for penance Physical reactions due to sinful activities

48. Some wicked men suffer a change of their (natural) appearance in consequence of crimes committed in this life, and some in consequence of those committed in a former (existence). Reactions for Mahā-Pātakas

49. He who steals the gold (of a Brāhmaṇa) has diseased nails; a drinker of (the spirituous liquor called) Sura, black teeth; the slayer of a Brāhmaṇa, consumption; the violator of a Guru's bed, a diseased skin; Reactions for Upa-Pātakas

50. An informer, a foul-smelling nose; a calumniator, a stinking breath; a stealer of grain, deficiency in limbs; he who adulterates (grain), redundant limbs;

51. A stealer of (cooked) food, dyspepsia; a stealer of the words (of the Veda), dumbness a stealer of clothes, white leprosy; a horse-stealer, lameness.

52. The stealer of a lamp will become blind; he who extinguishes it will become one-eyed; injury (to sentient beings) is punished by general sickliness; an adulterer (will have) swellings (in his limbs).

53. Thus in consequence of a remnant of (the guilt of former) crimes, are born idiots, dumb, blind, deaf, and deformed men, who are (all) despised by the virtuous. Penance relieves one from future reactions

54. Penances, therefore, must always be performed for the sake of purification, because those whose sins have not been expiated, are born (again) with disgraceful marks.

22.3 Definitions of sins

22.3.1 Major sins The Mahāpātakas; mortal sins

55. Killing a Brāhmaṇa, drinking (the spirituous liquor called) Sura, stealing (the gold of a Brāhmaṇa), adultery with a Guru's wife, and associating with such (offenders), they declare (to be) mortal sins (Mahāpātakas). Sins equal to Mahāpātakas Offences equal to killing a Brāhmaṇa

56. Falsely attributing to oneself high birth, giving information to the king (regarding a crime), and falsely accusing one's teacher, (are offences) equal to slaying a Brāhmaṇa. Offences equal to drinking sura

57. Forgetting the Veda, reviling the Vedas, giving false evidence, slaying a friend, eating forbidden food, or   (swallowing substances) unfit for food, are six (offences) equal to drinking Sura. Offences equal to stealing the gold of a Brāhmaṇa

58. Stealing a deposit, or men, a horse, and silver, land, diamonds and (other) gems, is declared to be equal to stealing the gold (of a Brāhmaṇa). Offences equal to violating a Guru’s bed

59. Carnal intercourse with sisters by the same mother, with (unmarried) maidens, with females of the lowest castes, with the wives of a friend, or of a son, they declare to be equal to the violation of a Guru's bed.

22.3.2 Secondary sins Upa-Pātakas; general offences causing loss of caste

60. Slaying kine, sacrificing for those who are unworthy to sacrifice, adultery, selling oneself, casting off one's teacher, mother, father, or son, giving up the (daily) study of the Veda, and neglecting the (sacred domestic) fire,

61. Allowing one's younger brother to marry first, marrying before one's elder brother, giving a daughter to, or sacrificing for, (either brother),

62. Defiling a damsel, usury, breaking a vow, selling a tank, a garden, one's wife, or child,

63. Living as a Vrātya, casting off a relative, teaching (the Veda) for wages, learning (the Veda) from a paid teacher, and selling goods which one ought not to sell,

64. Superintending mines (or factories) of any sort, executing great mechanical works, injuring (living) plants, subsisting on (the earnings of) one's wife, sorcery (by means of sacrifices), and working (magic by means of) roots, (and so forth),

65. Cutting down green trees for firewood, doing acts for one's own advantage only, eating prohibited food,

66. Neglecting to kindle the sacred fires, theft, non-payment of (the three) debts, studying bad books, and practising (the arts of) dancing and singing,

67. Stealing grain, base metals, or cattle, intercourse with women who drink spirituous liquor, slaying women, Śūdras, Vaiṣyas, or Kshatriyas, and atheism, (are all) minor offences, causing loss of caste (Upapātaka). Jatibhramsa; causing loss of caste

68. Giving pain to a Brāhmaṇa (by a blow), smelling at things which ought not to be smelt at, or at spirituous liquor, cheating, and an unnatural offence with a man, are declared to cause the loss of caste (Jatibhramsa) Samkarikarana; degrading one to a mixed caste

69. Killing a donkey, a horse, a camel, a deer, an elephant, a goat, a sheep, a fish, a snake, or a buffalo, must be known to degrade (the offender) to a mixed caste (Samkarikarana). Apatra; making one unworthy to receive gifts

70. Accepting presents from blamed men, trading, serving Śūdras, and speaking a falsehood, make (the offender) unworthy to receive gifts (Apatra). Malavaha; which make one impure

71. Killing insects, small or large, or birds, eating anything kept close to spirituous liquors, stealing fruit, firewood, or flowers, (are offences) which make impure (Malavaha).

22.4 Expiation of sins

72. Learn (now) completely those penances, by means of which all the several offences mentioned (can) be expiated.

22.4.1 Atonement for Mahāpātakas Slaying a Brāhmaṇa Physical penances Solitary penance for twelve years

73. For his purification the slayer of a Brāhmaṇa shall make a hut in the forest and dwell (in it) during twelve years, subsisting on alms and making the skull of a dead man his flag. Giving up one’s life

74. Or let him, of his own free will, become (in a battle) the target of archers who know (his purpose); or he may thrice throw himself headlong into a blazing fire; Offering sacrifice

75. Or he may offer a horse-sacrifice, a Svargit, a Gosava, an Abhigit, a Visvagit, a Trivrit, or an Agnishtut; Self-control & reciting Veda while walking one hundred yojanas

76. Or, in order to remove (the guilt of) slaying a Brāhmaṇa, he may walk one hundred yojanas, reciting one of the Vedas, eating little, and controlling his organs; Charity to qualified Brāhmaṇas

77. Or he may present to a Brāhmaṇa, learned in the Vedas, whole property, as much wealth as suffices for the maintenance (of the recipient), or a house together with the furniture; Walking the course of the Sarasvatī or reciting three times the Veda

78. Or, subsisting on sacrificial food, he may walk against the stream along (the whole course of the river)   Sarasvatī; or, restricting his food (very much), he may mutter thrice the Samhitā of a Veda. Selfless service to cows & Brāhmaṇas

79. Having shaved off (all his hair), he may dwell at the extremity of the village, or in a cow-pen, or in a hermitage, or at the root of a tree, taking pleasure in doing good to cows and Brāhmaṇas.

80. He who unhesitatingly abandons life for the sake of Brāhmaṇas or of cows, is freed from (the guilt of) the murder of a Brāhmaṇa, and (so is he) who saves (the life of) a cow, or of a Brāhmaṇa.

81. If either he fights at least three times (against robbers in defence of) a Brāhmaṇa's (property), or reconquers the whole property of a Brāhmaṇa, or if he loses his life for such a cause, he is freed (from his guilt).

82. He who thus (remains) always firm in his vow, chaste, and of concentrated mind, removes after the lapse of twelve years (the guilt of) slaying a Brāhmaṇa. Confessing one’s crime in the assembly of Brāhmaṇas

83. Or he who, after confessing his crime in an assembly of the gods of the earth (Brāhmaṇas), and the gods of men (Kshatriyas), bathes (with the priests) at the close of a horse-sacrifice, is (also) freed (from guilt).

84. The Brāhmaṇa is declared (to be) the root of the sacred law and the Kshatriya its top; hence he who has confessed his sin before an assembly of such men, becomes pure. The words of learned men are a means of purification

85. By his origin alone a Brāhmaṇa is a deity even for the gods, and (his teaching is) authoritative for men, because the Veda is the foundation for that.

86. (If) only three of them who are learned in the Veda proclaim the expiation for offences, that shall purify the (sinners); for the words of learned men are a means of purification. A Brāhmaṇa purifies himself through self-control

87. A Brāhmaṇa who, with a concentrated mind, follows any of the (above-mentioned) rules, removes the sin committed by slaying a Brāhmaṇa through his self-control. Atonement for sins equal to killing a Brāhmaṇa

88. For destroying the embryo (of a Brāhmaṇa, the sex of which was) unknown, for slaying a Kshatriya or a Vaiṣya who are (engaged in or) have offered a (Vedic) sacrifice, or a (Brāhmaṇa) woman who has bathed after temporary uncleanness (Atreyi), he must perform the same penance,

89. Likewise for giving false evidence (in an important cause), for passionately abusing the teacher, for stealing a deposit, and for killing (his) wife or his friend: There is no means of purification for the intentional killing of a Brāhmaṇa

90. This expiation has been prescribed for unintentionally killing a Brāhmaṇa; but for intentionally slaying a Brāhmaṇa no atonement is ordained. Drinking liquor Penances Giving up one's life

91. A twice-born man who has (intentionally) drunk, through delusion of mind, (the spirituous liquor called) Sura shall drink that liquor boiling-hot; when his body has been completely scalded by that, he is freed from his guilt;

92. Or he may drink cow's urine, water, milk, clarified butter or (liquid) cowdung boiling-hot, until he dies; Performing austerities

93. Or, in order to remove (the guilt of) drinking Sura, he may eat during a year once (a day) at night grains (of rice) or oilcake, wearing clothes made of cowhair and his own hair in braids and carrying (a wine cup as) a flag. Drinking of sura forbidden for the twice-born

94. Sura, indeed, is the dirty refuse (mala) of grain, sin also is called dirt (mala); hence a Brāhmaṇa, a Kshatriya, and a Vaiṣya shall not drink Sura. Three kinds of sura

95. Sura one must know to be of three kinds, that distilled from molasses (gaudi), that distilled from ground rice, and that distilled from Madhūka-flowers (madhvi); as the one (named above) even so are all (three sorts) forbidden to the chief of the twice-born. Liquor & flesh forbidden for Brāhmaṇas Liquor and flesh are the food of the Yakṣas, Rākṣasas, and Piśāchas

96. Sura, (all other) intoxicating drinks and decoctions and flesh are the food of the Yakṣas, Rākṣasas, and Piśāchas; a Brāhmaṇa who eats (the remnants of) the offerings consecrated to the gods, must not partake of such (substances). Drunkenness may cause improper action

97. A Brāhmaṇa, stupefied by drunkenness, might fall on something impure, or (improperly) pronounce Vedic (texts), or commit some other act which ought not to be committed. Brāhminhood forsakes the drinker of sura

98. When the Brahman (the Veda) which dwells in his body is (even) once (only) deluged with spirituous liquor, his Brāhminhood forsakes him and he becomes a Śūdra.

99. The various expiations for drinking (the spirituous liquors called) Sura have thus been explained; I will next proclaim the atonement for stealing the gold (of a Brāhmaṇa). Stealing the gold of a Brāhmaṇa Atonement by confession & giving up one's life

100. A Brāhmaṇa who has stolen the gold (of a Brāhmaṇa) shall go to the king and, confessing his deed, say, 'Lord, punish me!'

101. Taking (from him) the club (which he must carry), the king himself shall strike him once, by his death the thief becomes pure; or a Brāhmaṇa (may purify himself) by austerities. Atonement by austerities

102. He who desires to remove by austerities the guilt of stealing the gold (of a Brāhmaṇa), shall perform the penance (prescribed) for the slayer of a Brāhmaṇa, (living) in a forest and dressed in (garments) made of bark.

103. By these penances a twice-born man may remove the guilt incurred by a theft (of gold); but he may atone for connexion with a Guru's wife by the following penances. Violating the Guru’s bed Atonement by giving up one's life

104. He who has violated his Guru's bed, shall, after confessing his crime, extend himself on a heated iron bed, or embrace the red-hot image (of a woman); by dying he becomes pure;

105. Or, having himself cut off his organ and his testicles and having taken them in his joined hands, he may walk straight towards the region of Nirriti (the south-west), until he falls down (dead); Atonement by austerities

106. Or, carrying the foot of a bedstead, dressed in (garments of) bark and allowing his beard to grow, he may, with a concentrated mind, perform during a whole year the Krichchra (or hard, penance), revealed by Prajāpati, in a lonely forest;

107. Or, controlling his organs, he may during three months continuously perform the lunar penance, (subsisting) on sacrificial food or barley-gruel, in order to remove (the guilt of) violating a Guru's bed. Conclusion of penances for Mahāpātakas

108. By means of these penances men who have committed mortal sins (Mahāpātakas) may remove their guilt, but those who committed minor offences, causing loss of caste, (Upapātaka, can do it) by the various following penances.

22.4.2 Atonement for secondary sins Upa-Pātakas Slaying a cow

109. He who has committed a minor offence by slaying a cow (or bull) shall drink during (the first) month (a decoction of) barley-grains; having shaved all his hair, and covering himself with the hide (of the slain cow), he must live in a cow-house.

110. During the two (following) months he shall eat a small (quantity of food) without any factitious salt at every fourth meal-time, and shall bathe in the urine of cows, keeping his organs under control.

111. During the day he shall follow the cows and, standing upright, inhale the dust (raised by their hoofs); at night, after serving and worshipping them, he shall remain in the (posture, called) Vīrāsana.

112. Controlling himself and free from anger, he must stand when they stand, follow them when they walk, and seat himself when they lie down.

113. (When a cow is) sick, or is threatened by danger from thieves, tigers, and the like, or falls, or sticks in a morass, he must relieve her by all possible means:

114. In heat, in rain, or in cold, or when the wind blows violently, he must not seek to shelter himself, without (first) sheltering the cows according to his ability.

115. Let him not say (a word), if a cow eats (anything) in his own or another's house or field or on the threshing-floor, or if a calf drinks (milk).

116. The slayer of a cow who serves cows in this manner, removes after three months the guilt which he incurred by killing a cow.  

117. But after he has fully performed the penance, he must give to (Brāhmaṇas) learned in the Veda ten cows and a bull, (or) if he does not possess (so much property) he must offer to them all he has. Atonement for Dvījas for other offences

118. Twice-born men who have committed (other) minor offences (Upapātaka), except a student who has broken his vow (Avakirnin), may perform, in order to purify themselves, the same penance or also a lunar penance. Atonement for a student who has broken his vow

119. But a student who has broken his vow shall offer at night on a crossway to Nirriti a one-eyed ass, according to the rule of the Pāka yajñas.

120. Having offered according to the rule oblations in the fire, he shall finally offer (four) oblations of clarified butter to Vata, to Indra, to the teacher (of the gods, Brihaspati) and to Agni, reciting the Rik verse 'May the Maruts grant me,' &c.

121. Those who know the Veda declare that a voluntary effusion of semen by a twice-born (youth) who fulfils the vow (of studentship constitutes) a breach of that vow.

122. The divine light which the Veda imparts to the student, enters, if he breaks his vow, the Maruts, Puruhūtā (Indra), the teacher (of the gods, Brihaspati) and Pāvaka (Fire).

123. When this sin has been committed, he shall go begging to seven houses, dressed in the hide of the (sacrificed) ass, proclaiming his deed.

124. Subsisting on a single (daily meal that consists) of the alms obtained there and bathing at (the time of) the three savanas (morning, noon, and evening), he becomes pure after (the lapse of) one year. Atonement for gatibhramsakara offences

125. For committing with intent any of the deeds which cause loss of caste (Gatibhramsakara), (the offender) shall perform a Samtapana Krichchra; (for doing it) unintentionally, (the Krichchra) revealed by Prajāpati. Atonement for samkarikarana, apatra & malavaha offences

126. As atonement for deeds which degrade to a mixed caste (Samkara), and for those which make a man unworthy to receive gifts (Apatra), (he shall perform) the lunar (penance) during a month; for (acts) which render impure (Malinikaraniya) he shall scald himself during three days with (hot) barley-gruel.

22.4.3 Specific details of atonement for the five main categories of sin Killing living beings Atonement for brāhmaṇas for having killed a Kṣattriya, Vaiṣya or a Śūdra

127. One fourth (of the penance) for the murder of a Brāhmaṇa is prescribed (as expiation) for (intentionally) killing a Kshatriya, one-eighth for killing a Vaiṣya; know that it is one-sixteenth for killing a virtuous Śūdra.

128. But if a Brāhmaṇa unintentionally kills a Kshatriya, he shall give, in order to purify himself, one thousand cows and a bull;

129. Or he may perform the penance prescribed for the murderer of a Brāhmaṇa during three years, controlling himself, wearing his hair in braids, staying far away from the village, and dwelling at the root of a tree.

130. A Brāhmaṇa who has slain a virtuous Vaiṣya, shall perform the same penance during one year, or he may give one hundred cows and one (bull).

131. He who has slain a Śūdra, shall perform that whole penance during six months, or he may also give ten white cows and one bull to a Brāhmaṇa. For various animals

132. Having killed a cat, an ichneumon, a blue jay, a frog, a dog, an iguana, an owl, or a crow, he shall perform the penance for the murder of a Śūdra;

133. Or he may drink milk during three days, or walk one hundred yojanas, or bathe in a river, or mutter the hymn addressed to the Waters.

134. For killing a snake, a Brāhmaṇa shall give a spade of black iron, for a eunuch a load of straw and a masha of lead;

135. For a boar a pot of clarified butter, for a partridge a drona of sesame-grains, for a parrot a calf two years old, for a crane (a calf) three years old.

136. If he has killed a Hamsa, a Balaka, a heron, a peacock, a monkey, a falcon, or a Bhasa, he shall give a cow to   a Brāhmaṇa.

137. For killing a horse, he shall give a garment, for (killing) an elephant, five black bulls, for (killing) a goat, or a sheep, a draught-ox, for killing a donkey, (a calf) one year old;

138. But for killing carnivorous wild beasts, he shall give a milch-cow, for (killing) wild beasts that are not carnivorous, a heifer, for killing a camel, one krishnala.

139. For killing adulterous women of the four castes, he must give, in order to purify himself, respectively a leather bag, a bow, a goat, or a sheep.

140. A twice-born man, who is unable to atone by gifts for the slaughter of a serpent and the other (creatures mentioned), shall perform for each of them, a Krichchra (penance) in order to remove his guilt.

141. But for destroying one thousand (small) animals that have bones, or a whole cart-load of boneless (animals), he shall perform the penance (prescribed) for the murder of a Śūdra.

142. But for killing (small) animals which have bones, he should give some trifle to a Brāhmaṇa; if he injures boneless (animals), he becomes pure by a suppressing his breath (Prāṇāyāma). For cutting fruit trees, shrubs, creepers, lianas or flowering plants

143. For cutting fruit-trees, shrubs, creepers, lianas, or flowering plants, one hundred Rikas must be muttered. For destroying creatures bred in food, condiments, fruits or flowers

144. (For destroying) any kind of creature, bred in food, in condiments, in fruit, or in flowers, the expiation is to eat clarified butter. For destroying plants produced by cultivation, or that spring up in the forest

145. If a man destroys for no good purpose plants produced by cultivation, or such as spontaneously spring up in the forest, he shall attend a cow during one day, subsisting on milk alone.

146. The guilt incurred intentionally or unintentionally by injuring (created beings) can be removed by means of these penances; hear (now, how) all (sins) committed by partaking of forbidden food (or drink, can be expiated). Forbidden food In connection with spirituous liquor

147. He who drinks unintentionally (the spirituous liquor, called) Vāruṇī, becomes pure by being initiated (again); (even for drinking it) intentionally (a penance) destructive to life must not be imposed; that is a settled rule.

148. He who has drunk water which has stood in a vessel used for keeping (the spirituous liquor, called) Sura, or other intoxicating drinks, shall drink during five (days and) nights (nothing but) milk in which the Sankhapushpi (plant) has been boiled.

149. He who has touched spirituous liquor, has given it away, or received it in accordance with the rule, or has drunk water left by a Śūdra, shall drink during three days water in which Kuśa-grass has been boiled.

150. But when a Brāhmaṇa who has partaken of Soma-juice, has smelt the odour exhaled by a drinker of Sura, he becomes pure by thrice suppressing his breath in water, and eating clarified butter.

151. (Men of) the three twice-born castes who have unintentionally swallowed ordure or urine, or anything that has touched Sura, must be initiated again.

152. The tonsure, (wearing) the sacred girdle, (carrying) a staff, going to beg, and the vows (incumbent on a student), are omitted on the second initiation of twice-born men. Other forbidden substances

153. But he who has eaten the food of men, whose food must not be eaten, or the leavings of women and Śūdras, or forbidden flesh, shall drink barley (-gruel) during seven (days and) nights.

154. A twice-born man who has drunk (fluids that have turned) sour, or astringent decoctions, becomes, though (these substances may) not (be specially) forbidden, impure until they have been digested.

155. A twice-born man, who has swallowed the urine or ordure of a village pig, of a donkey, of a camel, of a jackal, of a monkey, or of a crow, shall perform a lunar penance.

156. He who has eaten dried meat, mushrooms growing on the ground, or (meat, the nature of) which is unknown, (or) such as had been kept in a slaughter-house, shall perform the same penance.  

157. The atonement for partaking of (the meat of) carnivorous animals, of pigs, of camels, of cocks, of crows, of donkeys, and of human flesh, is a Tapta Krichchra (penance).

158. If a twice-born man, who has not returned (home from his teacher's house), eats food, given at a monthly (Śraddhā,) he shall fast during three days and pass one day (standing) in water.

159. But a student who on any occasion eats honey or meat, shall perform an ordinary Krichchra (penance), and afterwards complete his vow (of studentship).

160. He who eats what is left by a cat, by a crow, by a mouse (or rat), by a dog, or by an ichneumon, or (food) into which a hair or an insect has fallen, shall drink (a decoction of) the Brahmasuvarkala (plant). He who desires to be pure, must not eat forbidden food

161. He who desires to be pure, must not eat forbidden food, and must vomit up such as he has eaten unintentionally, or quickly atone for it by (various) means of purification.

162. The various rules respecting penances for eating forbidden food have been thus declared; hear now the law of those penances which remove the guilt of theft. Theft

163. The chief of the twice-born, having voluntarily stolen (valuable) property, grain, or cooked food, from the house of a caste-fellow, is purified by performing Krichchra (penances) during a whole year.

164. The lunar penance has been declared to be the expiation for stealing men and women, and (for wrongfully appropriating) a field, a house, or the water of wells and cisterns.

165. He who has stolen objects of small value from the house of another man, shall, after restoring the (stolen article), perform a Samtapana Krichchra for his purification.

166. (To swallow) the five products of the cow (pankagavya) is the atonement for stealing eatables of various kinds, a vehicle, a bed, a seat, flowers, roots, or fruit.

167. Fasting during three (days and) nights shall be (the penance for stealing) grass, wood, trees, dry food, molasses, clothes, leather, and meat.

168. To subsist during twelve days on (uncooked) grains (is the penance for stealing) gems, pearls, coral, copper, silver, iron, brass, or stone.

169. (For stealing) cotton, silk, wool, an animal with cloven hoofs, or one with uncloven hoofs, a bird, perfumes, medicinal herbs, or a rope (the penance is to subsist) during three days (on) milk.

170. By means of these penances, a twice-born man may remove the guilt of theft; but the guilt of approaching women who ought not to be approached (agamya), he may expiate by (the following) penances. Agamya; approaching women who ought not be approached

171. He who has had sexual intercourse with sisters by the same mother, with the wives of a friend, or of a son, with unmarried maidens, and with females of the lowest castes, shall perform the penance, prescribed for the violation of a Guru's bed. Approaching relatives

172. He who has approached the daughter of his father's sister, (who is almost equal to) a sister, (the daughter) of his mother's sister, or of his mother's full brother, shall perform a lunar penance.

173. A wise man should not take as his wife any of these three; they must not be wedded because they are (Sapinda-) relatives, he who marries (one of them), sinks low. Improper or unnatural crimes

174. A man who has committed a bestial crime, or an unnatural crime with a female, or has had intercourse in water, or with a menstruating woman, shall perform a Samtapana Krichchra.

175. A twice-born man who commits an unnatural offence with a male, or has intercourse with a female in a cart drawn by oxen, in water, or in the day-time, shall bathe, dressed in his clothes. By approaching Chaṇḍālas, one becomes degraded

176. A Brāhmaṇa who unintentionally approaches a woman of the Chāṇḍāla or of (any other) very low caste, who eats (the food of such persons) and accepts (presents from them) becomes an outcast; but (if he does it)   intentionally, he becomes their equal. Correcting an exceedingly corrupt wife

177. An exceedingly corrupt wife let her husband confine to one apartment, and compel her to perform the penance which is prescribed for males in cases of adultery.

178. If, being solicited by a man (of) equal (caste), she (afterwards) is again unfaithful, then a Krichchra and a lunar penance are prescribed as the means of purifying her. Atonement for approaching Vriṣalīs

179. The sin which a twice-born man commits by dallying one night with a Vriṣalī, he removes in three years, by subsisting on alms and daily muttering (sacred texts).

180. The atonement (to be performed) by sinners (of) four (kinds) even, has been thus declared; hear now the penances for those who have intercourse with outcasts. Associating with outcastes Becoming an outcast

181. He who associates with an outcast, himself becomes an outcast after a year, not by sacrificing for him, teaching him, or forming a matrimonial alliance with him, but by using the same carriage or seat, or by eating with him.

182. He who associates with any one of those outcasts, must perform, in order to atone for (such) intercourse, the penance prescribed for that (sinner). Duties of the Sapindas and Samanodakas of an outcast

183. The Sapindas and Samanodakas of an outcast must offer (a libation of) water (to him, as if he were dead), outside (the village), on an inauspicious day, in the evening and in the presence of the relatives, officiating priests, and teachers.

184. A female slave shall upset with her foot a pot filled with water, as if it were for a dead person; (his Sapindas) as well as the Samanodakas shall be impure for a day and a night;

185. But thenceforward it shall be forbidden to converse with him, to sit with him, to give him a share of the inheritance, and to hold with him such intercourse as is usual among men;

186. And (if he be the eldest) his right of primogeniture shall be withheld and the additional share, due to the eldest son; and his stead a younger brother, excelling in virtue, shall obtain the share of the eldest. Reinstatement after performing penance

187. But when he has performed his penance, they shall bathe with him in a holy pool and throw down a new pot, filled with water.

188. But he shall throw that pot into water, enter his house and perform, as before, all the duties incumbent on a relative. Rules in the case of female outcasts

189. Let him follow the same rule in the case of female outcasts; but clothes, food, and drink shall be given to them, and they shall live close to the (family-) house. Avoiding unpurified sinners & not reproaching those who have atoned

190. Let him not transact any business with unpurified sinners; but let him in no way reproach those who have made atonement. Avoiding dwelling with certain sinners, even after purification

191. Let him not dwell together with the murderers of children, with those who have returned evil for good, and with the slayers of suppliants for protection or of women, though they may have been purified according to the sacred law. Purification for various offences Vrātyas & those who follow forbidden occupations

192. Those twice-born men who may not have been taught the Savitri (at the time) prescribed by the rule, he shall cause to perform three Krichchra (penances) and afterwards initiate them in accordance with the law.

193. Let him prescribe the same (expiation) when twice-born men, who follow forbidden occupations or have neglected (to learn) the Veda, desire to perform a penance. Acquiring property by reprehensible action

194. If Brāhmaṇas acquire property by a reprehensible action, they become pure by relinquishing it, muttering prayers, and (performing) austerities.

195. By muttering with a concentrated mind the Savitri three thousand times, (dwelling) for a month in a   cow-house, (and) subsisting on milk, (a man) is freed from (the guilt of) accepting presents from a wicked man.

196. But when he returns from the cow-house, emaciated with his fast, and reverently salutes, (the Brāhmaṇas) shall ask him, 'Friend, dost thou desire to become our equal?'

197. If he answers to the Brāhmaṇas, 'Forsooth, (I will not offend again), 'he shall scatter (some) grass for the cows; if the cows hallow that place (by eating the grass) the (Brāhmaṇa) shall re-admit him (into their community). Sacrificing for Vrātyas

198. He who has sacrificed for Vrātyas, or has performed the obsequies of strangers, or a magic sacrifice (intended to destroy life) or an Ahina sacrifice, removes (his guilt) by three Krichchra (penances). Casting off a suppliant for protection, or improperly divulged the Veda

199. A twice-born man who has cast off a suppliant for protection, or has (improperly) divulged the Veda, atones for his offence, if he subsists during a year on barley. Having been bitten by an anima

200. He who has been bitten by a dog, a jackal, or a donkey, by a tame carnivorous animal, by a man, a horse, a camel, or a (village-) pig, becomes pure by suppressing his breath (Prāṇāyāma). Purifying those excluded from society at repasts

201. To eat during a month at each sixth mealtime (only), to recite the Samhitā (of a Veda), and (to perform) daily the Sakala oblations, are the means of purifying those excluded from society at repasts (Apanktya). Improper action

202. A Brāhmaṇa who voluntarily rode in a carriage drawn by camels or by asses, and he who bathed naked, become pure by suppressing his breath (Prāṇāyāma).

203. He who has relieved the necessities of nature, being greatly pressed, either without (using) water or in water, becomes pure by bathing outside (the village) in his clothes and by touching a cow.

204. Fasting is the penance for omitting the daily rites prescribed by the Veda and for neglecting the special duties of a Snātaka. Improper behaviour towards Brāhmaṇas or superiors

205. He who has said 'Hum' to a Brāhmaṇa, or has addressed one of his betters with 'Thou,' shall bathe, fast during the remaining part of the day, and appease (the person offended) by a reverential salutation.

206. He who has struck (a Brāhmaṇa) even with a blade of grass, tied him by the neck with a cloth, or conquered him in an altercation, shall appease him by a prostration.

207. But he who, intending to hurt a Brāhmaṇa, has threatened (him with a stick and the like) shall remain in hell during a hundred years; he who (actually) struck him, during one thousand years.

208. As many particles of dust as the blood of a Brāhmaṇa causes to coagulate, for so many thousand years shall the shedder of that (blood) remain in hell.

209. For threatening a Brāhmaṇa, (the offender) shall perform a Krichchra, for striking him an Atikrichchra, for shedding his blood a Krichchra and an Atikrichchra.

22.4.4 Expiation of offences for which no atonement has been prescribed

210. For the expiation of offences for which no atonement has been prescribed, let him fix a penance after considering (the offender's) strength and the (nature of the) offence.

22.5 The process of penance

211. I will (now) describe to you those means, adopted by the gods, the sages, and the manes, through which a man may remove his sins.

22.5.1 Penances for sins made public Details of the various penances Krichchra

212. A twice-born man who performs (the Krichchra penance), revealed by Prajāpati, shall eat during three days in the morning (only), during (the next) three days in the evening (only), during the (following) three days (food given) unasked, and shall fast during another period of three days. Samtapana Krichchra

213. (Subsisting on) the urine of cows, cowdung, milk, sour milk, clarified butter, and a decoction of Kuśa-grass, and fasting during one (day and) night, (that is) called a Samtapana Krichchra. Atikrichchra

214. A twice-born man who performs an Atikrichchra (penance), must take his food during three periods of three days in the manner described above, (but) one mouthful only at each meal, and fast during the last three days. Tapta Krichchra

215. A Brāhmaṇa who performs a Tapta Krichchra (penance) must drink hot water, hot milk, hot clarified butter and   (inhale) hot air, each during three days, and bathe once with a concentrated mind. Paraka Krichchra

216. A fast for twelve days by a man who controls himself and commits no mistakes, is called a Paraka Krichchra, which removes all guilt. Chāndrāyaṇa

217. If one diminishes (one's food daily by) one mouthful during the dark (half of the month) and increases (it in the same manner) during the bright half, and bathes (daily) at the time of three libations (morning, noon, and evening), that is called a lunar penance (Chāndrāyaṇa). Yavamadhyama

218. Let him follow throughout the same rule at the (Chāndrāyaṇa, called) yavamadhyama (shaped like a barley-corn), (but) let him (in that case) begin the lunar penance, (with a) controlled (mind), on the first day of the bright half (of the month). The lunar penance of ascetics

219. He who performs the lunar penance of ascetics, shall eat (during a month) daily at midday eight mouthfuls, controlling himself and consuming sacrificial food (only). The lunar penance of children

220. If a Brāhmaṇa, with concentrated mind, eats (during a month daily) four mouthfuls in a morning and four after sunset, (that is) called the lunar penance of children. Eating during a month in any way thrice eighty mouthfuls of sacrificial food

221. He who, concentrating his mind, eats during a month in any way thrice eighty mouthfuls of sacrificial food, dwells (after death) in the world of the moon. The Rudras, Ādityas, Vāsus, Maruts & the great sages, practised this rite

222. The Rudras, likewise the Ādityas, the Vāsus and the Maruts, together with the great sages, practised this (rite) in order to remove all evil. Other activities that accompany the performance of penances

223. Burnt oblations, accompanied by (the recitation of) the Mahavyahritis, must daily be made (by the penitent) himself, and he must abstain from injuring (sentient creatures), speak the truth, and keep himself free from anger and from dishonesty.

224. Let him bathe three times each day and thrice each night, dressed in his clothes; let him on no account talk to women, Śūdras, and outcasts.

225. Let him pass the time standing (during the day) and sitting (during the night), or if he is unable (to do that) let him lie on the (bare) ground; let him be chaste and observe the vows (of a student) and worship his Gurus, the gods, and Brāhmaṇas.

226. Let him constantly mutter the Savitri and (other) purificatory texts according to his ability; (let him) carefully (act thus) on (the occasion of) all (other) vows (performed) by way of penance. Penance purifies known sins; recitation of sacred texts, unknown sins

227. By these expiations twice-born men must be purified whose sins are known, but let him purify those whose sins are not known by (the recitation of) sacred texts and by (the performance of) burnt oblations. Freedom from guilt

228. By confession, by repentance, by austerity, and by reciting (the Veda) a sinner is freed from guilt, and in case no other course is possible, by liberality. Confession

229. In proportion as a man who has done wrong, himself confesses it, even so far he is freed from guilt, as a snake from its slough. Repentance

230. In proportion as his heart loathes his evil deed, even so far is his body freed from that guilt.

231. He who has committed a sin and has repented, is freed from that sin, but he is purified only by (the resolution of) ceasing (to sin and thinking) 'I will do so no more.'

232. Having thus considered in his mind what results will arise from his deeds after death, let him always be good in thoughts, speech, and actions.

233. He who, having either unintentionally or intentionally committed a reprehensible deed, desires to be freed from (the guilt on it, must not commit it a second time. Austerity

234. If his mind be uneasy with respect to any act, let him repeat the austerities (prescribed as a penance) for it   until they fully satisfy (his conscience). Austerity is the root of all perfection

235. All the bliss of gods and men is declared by the sages to whom the Veda was revealed, to have austerity for its root, austerity for its middle, and austerity for its end.

236. (The pursuit of sacred) knowledge is the austerity of a Brāhmaṇa, protecting (the people) is the austerity of a Kshatriya, (the pursuit of) his daily business is the austerity of a Vaiṣya, and service the austerity of a Śūdra. The potency of austerities

237. The sages who control themselves and subsist on fruit, roots, and air, survey the three worlds together with their moving and immovable (creatures) through their austerities alone.

238. Medicines, good health, learning, and the various divine stations are attained by austerities alone; for austerity is the means of gaining them.

239. Whatever is hard to be traversed, whatever is hard to be attained, whatever is hard to be reached, whatever is hard to be performed, all (this) may be accomplished by austerities; for austerity (possesses a power) which it is difficult to surpass.

240. Both those who have committed mortal sin (Mahapataka) and all other offenders are severally freed from their guilt by means of well-performed austerities.

241. Insects, snakes, moths, bees, birds and beings, bereft of motion, reach heaven by the power of austerities.

242. Whatever sin men commit by thoughts, words, or deeds, that they speedily burn away by penance, if they keep penance as their only riches.

243. The gods accept the offerings of that Brāhmaṇa alone who has purified himself by austerities, and grant to him all he desires.

244. The lord, Prajāpati, created these Institutes (of the sacred law) by his austerities alone; the sages likewise obtained (the revelation of) the Vedas through their austerities.

245. The gods, discerning that the holy origin of this whole (world) is from austerity, have thus proclaimed the incomparable power of austerity. Reciting the Veda

246. The daily study of the Veda, the performance of the great sacrifices according to one's ability, (and) patience (in suffering) quickly destroy all guilt, even that caused by mortal sins.

247. As a fire in one moment consumes with its bright flame the fuel that has been placed on it, even so he who knows the Veda destroys all guilt by the fire of knowledge.

248. The penances for sins (made public) have been thus declared according to the law; learn next the penances for secret (sins).

22.5.2 Penances for secret sins Freedom from various sins From Mahāpātakas

249. Sixteen suppressions of the breath (Prāṇāyāma) accompanied by (the recitation of) the Vyahritis and of the syllable Om, purify, if they are repeated daily, after a month even the murderer of a learned Brāhmaṇa.

250. Even a drinker of (the spirituous liquor called) Sura becomes pure, if he mutters the hymn (seen) by Kutsa, 'Removing by thy splendour our guilt, O Agni,' &c., (that seen) by Vasiṣṭha, 'With their hymns the Vasiṣṭhas woke the Dawn,' etc., the Mahitra (hymn) and (the verses called) Suddhavatis.

251. Even he who has stolen gold, instantly becomes free from guilt, if he once mutters (the hymn beginning with the words) 'The middlemost brother of this beautiful, ancient Hotri-priest' and the Sivasamkalpa.

252. The violator of a Guru's bed is freed (from sin), if he repeatedly recites the Havishpantiya (hymn), (that beginning) 'Neither anxiety nor misfortune,' (and that beginning) 'Thus, verily, thus,' and mutters the hymn addressed to Purusha. From various degrees of sin

253. He who desires to expiate sins great or small, must mutter during a year the Rit-verse 'May we remove thy anger, O Varuṇa,' &c., or 'Whatever offence here, O Varuṇa,' etc.  

254. That man who, having accepted presents which ought not to be accepted, or having eaten forbidden food, mutters the Taratsamandiya (Rikas), becomes pure after three days.

255. But he who has committed many sins, becomes pure, if he recites during a month the (four verses) addressed to Soma and Rudra, and the three verses (beginning) 'Āryamān, Varuṇa, and Mitra,' while he bathes in a river.

256. A grievous offender shall mutter the seven verses (beginning with) 'Indra,' for half a year; but he who has committed any blameable act in water, shall subsist during a month on food obtained by begging.

257. A twice-born man removes even very great guilt by offering clarified butter with the sacred texts belonging to the Sakala-homas, or by muttering the Rik, (beginning) 'Adoration.'

258. He who is stained by mortal sin, becomes pure, if, with a concentrated mind, he attends cows for a year, reciting the Pavamani (hymns) and subsisting on alms. For secondary sins

259. Or if, pure (in mind and in body), he thrice repeats the Samhitā of the Veda in a forest, sanctified by three Paraka (penances), he is freed from all crimes causing loss of caste (pātaka).

260. But if (a man) fasts during three days, bathing thrice a day, and muttering (in the water the hymn seen by) Āghamarṣaṇa, he is (likewise) freed from all sins causing loss of caste.

261. As the horse-sacrifice, the king of sacrifices, removes all sin, even so the Āghamarṣaṇa hymn effaces all guilt. He who recites the Veda is completely freed from all sins

262. A Brāhmaṇa who retains in his memory the Rigveda is not stained by guilt, though he may have destroyed these three worlds, though he may eat the food of anybody.

263. He who, with a concentrated mind, thrice recites the Rik Saṁhitā, or (that of the) Yajur-veda; or (that of the) Sama-veda together with the secret (texts, the Upanishads), is completely freed from all sins.

264. As a clod of earth, falling into a great lake, is quickly dissolved, even so every sinful act is engulfed in the threefold Veda.

265. The Rikas, the Yajus (-formulas) which differ (from the former), the manifold Saman (-songs), must be known (to form) the triple Veda; he who knows them, (is called) learned in the Veda.

266. 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.