Hinduism and Tribal Religions

Living Edition
| Editors: Pankaj Jain, Rita Sherma, Madhu Khanna


  • Amitabh Vikram Dwivedi
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1036-5_545-1


In the Sanskrit language, the lexicon Prayaschitta connotes many meanings but chiefly “penance, expiation, atonement” are most prominent. The word is also employed in a sense to make amends of one’s sins or errors, such as hatya “killing,” vyabhichar “adultery,” or anything that is against dharma. As an alternate to imprisonment or other forms of punishment, Prayaschitta is designed to correct an individual through certain strict measures as guided by the dharmashastra. The intent and thought of an improper act decides how much penance is appropriate to balance the bad karma. Further, Samaveda describes the concept of Prayaschitta in detail. However, in the Vedic literature, various forms of the word Prayaschitta are mentioned, such as Prayaschitta. The Taittiriya Samhita defines it as a mishap or accidental happening and denotes a sense of remorse while excluding the concept of sin. Also, Aranyaka and Brahmana associate error and mistake with Prayaschitta. So the range...

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Humanities & Social Sciences – Languages & LiteratureShri Mata Vaishno Devi UniversityKatraIndia