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| arthikalpita kalpoyam prathyarthi gajakesari | vyasathirtha gurubhoryarth asmad ishtartha siddhaye ||

Home Page > Articles (Oct 2009) > Anubhashya
for PURIFICATION to be observed
Author: Shri D Prahaladacharya [Kannada Edition]
Transalated by: Shri NAPS Rao
1.2 Delivery by a daughter
1.3 Janana sannipata Ashoucha
1.4 Ashoucha Tarathamya
o Impurity due to DEATH
o 2.1 Death of a CHILD
2.1.1 Note
2.1.2 Ashoucha krama
2.1.3 Death of Female Child
2.1.4 Burial or Cremation
o 2.2 Impurity due to Death of RELATIVES
2.2.1 IMPURITY of 3 Days
2.2.2 Impurity of Pakshini Married woman Adopted son
2.2.3 Impurity for a DAY
o 2.3 Impurity due to CONTACT
2.3.1 Impurity due to contact with Village or House Village House Things
o 2.4 Overlapping of Impurity due to Death
o 2.5 Athikrantha Ashoucha
o 2.6 Intended Unnatural Death (Suicide)
o ELIGIBILITY for performing KRIYA
o Pollution due to MENSES
5.1 PROHIBITIONS during Pollution
o Immediate Purifcation
7.1 Shaving
7.2 Sapindikarana
7.3 Asthi-Sanchayana
o Purifcation at the end of Pollution
This is observed for 10 days from the date of delivery. The majority of the Dharma shashthrakaras
enjoin that the father and stepmothers should also observe untouchability till they take bath, while
the mother will observe it for the full 10 days. Other SAPINDA relations may not observe
untouchability, but will not be eligible to perform religious duties. The author of Shathashloki says
that untouchability should be observed for 10 days even by the father and 4 days by the sapinda
It is also enjoined that persons observing untouch-ability for diferent reasons will not touch each
other and should perform atonement (Prayaschittha), if they do so unwittingly. The mother should
also observe after the frst 10 days, impurity conventions for 20 days (for the birth of a male child)
or 30 days (for a girl), when she should not take part in religious duties. During this period, the
husband is forbidden to touch her. She should also not be seen or heard by others, while taking
food, during the frst 10 days. When twins are born, all the above conventions observed by the
mother for the frst 10 days should be observed by the father also. If any person other than a
sapinda relation, inadvertently touches either of them, he should take SACHELA bath (with all the
clothes on). If they are touched deliberately, the atonement is a sachela bath followed by
AGNISPARSHA (touching fre) and GHRITHAPRASHANA (partaking of ghee).
Any one touching the mother after the frst 10 days, should take a bath to become pure.
Termination of conception within 4 months is SRAVA (abortion), in the ffth and sixth month PATA
(miscarriage) and later PRASAVA (delivery). In the case of srava, the mother should observe
Impurity for 3 days, as in the case of the menses. Some advise that for srava after the frst 3
months she should observe it for 4 days. The father may take a bath to become pure.
In the case of pata, the mother should observe it for 5 or 6 days respectively, for the occurrence in
the ffth or sixth month. The father should observe 3 days. The sapinda relation should also will
take a purifying bath (according to Vaidyanatha for the occurrence in the sixth month, he should
also observe it for 3 days). The month is taken as 30 days (Savana).
In the case of prasava (premature delivery) in the seventh month and onwards, the parents and
sapinda relation should observe it for 10 days, SAMANODAKAS for 3 days, and SAGOTHRA
JNATHIS for one day. If the delivery is still born or the baby dies in a short time after birth, the
impurity is observed only on account of birth, and not for death of the child. If the child dies within
10 days, the impurity will end along with the impurity for birth (10 days). According to some
authorities, if the child dies in the evening of the 10 th day, the impurity is observed for a further 2
days and if the time of death is the last Yama of the 10 th night, for 3 more days. The author of
Shathashloki says that if the child dies within the 24 hours of the tenth day, the impurity will cease
with the normal birth impurity. It is however recommended to follow the traditional practice.
1.2 Delivery by a daughter:
The parents and brothers should observe 3 days or 1 day depending on whether the birth takes
place in their own house or in the husband's house. The paternal and maternal uncles may
observe 1 day only if the birth is in their own house, otherwise none.
1.3 Janana sannipata Ashoucha
(BIRTH IMPURITY-Overlapping periods):
If the news of another birth ( with impurity observance for 3 or 10 days) is received in the 10 day
period being observed for the frst birth, the total impurity period ends with the observance of the
frst period. If however, the information is received after the evening of the tenth day, and before
the completion of the second yama of the 10 th night, a further 2 days period should be observed.
If it is received in the fourth yama or before sunrise, the further period will be 3 days. If the news
is received thereafter, the second impurity period should be observed for the remaining period of
the second birth.
While observing the second impurity for the remaining 2-3 days, any other impurity of 3 days,
which occurs, will be terminated with the observance of the former. How ever if the latter is for 10
days, it will not be so terminated but will be observed in full. If during this period, yet another
impurity of 10 days is to be observed, the last will terminate with the earlier one.
A 3 days impurity period will terminate another over-lapping 3 days period, but not a ten days
period. An impurity due to death will not terminate with the impurity due to birth. In the case of
births, if the news is received after the period is already over, father and brothers have only to
take a purifying bath.
While observing a 10 days period connected with a sapinda relation, if one's wife delivers a child,
the latter impurity will not terminate with the former. Only for the sapinda relations, such as
brothers, it will so terminate. Some scholars say that if the child is born between the 7 th and 10 th
month and dies due to sickness or deformation, the sapinda relatives need observe only a 3 day
impurity period.
It is considered that an impurity period of a longer duration is invariably heavier than the one of a
shorter duration. The lighter impurity will be absorbed in the heavier one and NOT VICE VERSA.
Impurity due to death is heavier than that due to birth. Even a 10 days birth impurity period will be
absorbed and terminated with an impurity of 3 days only for death. In the case of overlapping
impurities, the rule is that the earlier one will absorb the later ones, provided the news of the latter
is heard in the stipulated time. Otherwise, the latter one will be observed DE NOVO. In the cases
of impurity due to abortion or miscarriage for 5-6 days, a later birth impurity ,if any, for the mother
will be absorbed by the former.
1.4 Ashoucha Tarathamya (Gradation of impurities)
In the case of sapinda relations, impurity due to death is twice as strong as that due to birth. For a
lady in the menstrual period, the impurity is twice as strong as that of death impurity for sapinda
relations. For a new mother, the impurity is twice as strong than that due to a lady in her period.
The impurity for persons performing last rites, is twice as strong as that of the new mother.
Impurity due to DEATH
During the period of impurity due to death, untouchability and ineligibility to perform religious
duties are observed both by the persons performing the last rites (Karthas) and other relatives.
2.1 Death of a CHILD:
If the death occurs after the Namakarana (after 10 days from birth) and before the appearance of
teeth (6 months), the parents, own brothers and unmarried sisters should observe a 10 day period
of impurity. For sapinda relations only a bath is sufcient. The impurity prescribed for the father
will also apply to his other wives.
If the death occurs after 6 months, but before Chuda karma (frst hair cut ceremony which has not
been performed until 3 years), sapinda relations will should observe for a day, while for Sodaka
Jnathis, a bath is enough.
If it occurs after 3 but before 7 years (Garbhashtama) or if the chuda karma has been performed
before 3 years from that period and before the age of 7 years, or if the Upanayana has been
performed before the 7 th year, the period for sapinda relations is 3 days and for sodaka jnathis, a
bath will be enough.
2.1.1 Note:
A brief explanation of terms like sapinda etc is as follows:
Beginning with the Mula purusha (father), persons belonging to the family up to the 7 th
generation are called Sapindas. The frst 3 heads are called Antah-sapinda (Internal sapindas)
and the others are known as Bahih-sapindas (External sapindas). Persons belonging to the 8 th
generation onwards up to and inclusive of the 14 th head are called Sodakas. The persons
belonging to the 15 th generation onwards up to the 21 st head are called Jnathis or Sagothras.
2.1.2 Ashoucha krama:
Dashahashoucha ( impurity for 10 days due to death)
From garbhashtama onwards (or even before if Upanayana has been performed), 10 days
impurity should be observed fully by the parents or all sapinda relations. For sodakas, it is 3 days
and for jnathis, 1 day.
2.1.3 Death of Female Child:
If the death occurs after 10 days from birth but before 3 years, the impurity period is 10 days for
parents, brothers and unmarried sisters. For sapindas, a bath is enough.
If it is after 3 years but before betrothal, sapindas should observe 1 day and sodaka, a bath will
be enough.If it is after betrothal and before 10 years, sapindas will observe 3 days if the girl is
married. For sodaka and jnathis, a bath is sufcient. The husband-to-be and his sapindas should
also observe 3 days, for a betrothed girl.
For a married girl, the husband's family should observe impurity for 10 days and parents and
brothers for 3 days. For a girl above 10 and unmarried, parents and all sapinda relations will
observe 10 days. Some Smrithis say that impurity due to death or birth of an unmarried girl will
apply only to sapindas belonging to 3 generations. This practice is not followed by us.
2.1.4 Burial or Cremation:
In the case of the death of a child:
If a child, male or female dies before namakarana ceremony, burial should be performed. If the
death is between namakarana and before 6 months of it's birth, either burial or cremation can be
performed. For a male child after 6 months and female child after 3 years, only cremation should
be performed. For a male child dying after 3 years Udaka dana should be performed.
If a child dying within 6 months after birth is buried, only a bath is enough for sapindas. If
cremated, one day impurity should be observed. If the child dies after 6 months and before 3
years and the body is buried, 3 days should be observed. Abandoning the body is also allowed in
the shashthras along with burial and cremation, though it is not practised in this part of the
2.2 Impurity due to Death of RELATIVES :
2.2.1 IMPURITY of 3 Days
A person who has undergone Upanayana samskara has to observe 3 days impurity for the
deaths of the following 14 relations:
1. Mother's
5. Father's
2. Mother's
6. Father-in-law
3. Mother's
7. Mother-in-law
4. Mother's
8. own sisters
9. Daughter 11. sister's male
10. Daughter'
12. sister's
13. wives of 4* 14. Male children
of 4* & 5*
Reciprocally in the case of the death of a person who has undergone Upanayana, all the above
14 relatives are required to observe 3 days impurity.
The shashtras prescribe the same practice in the case of death of the following:
1.Own Guru/Acharya who taught the vedas and shashtras.
2.Wife of the Guru/Acharya
3.Son of the Guru/Acharya
4.A benevolent shrothriya, who dies in one's house.
5.Priest of the family
The above practice is not in vogue in this part of the country.
2.2.2 Impurity of Pakshini:
A period of one and a half day is called Pakshini.
If the death occurs before sunset, the whole day time of that day, the following night and the next
day time is considered as pakshini. If the death occurs during the night before sunrise, that night,
next day and night are called pakshini.
The impurity of pakshini has to be observed in case of death of the following:
1. Daughter of mother's sister
2. Daughter-in-law
3. Daughter of father's sister
4. Daughter of son
5. Daughter of sister
6. Daughter of brother
7. Daughter of paternal uncle
8. Daughter of a daughter
9. Daughter of maternal uncle
10.Daughter-in-law of maternal uncle
11.Daughter-in-law of sister
12.Daughter-in-law of daughter
Reciprocally, the above relations of a person who dies should also observe a pakshini.
Top Married woman
A married woman has to observe a pakshini in the case of death of any of the following relations
of her husband or her self:
1.@ Mother's
19.@ Own brother
2.@ Mother's
20. Son of 19
3. Maternal
21. Daughter of 19
4. Son of 3 22. Son's daughter
5. wife of 3
23. Daughter's
6. Daughter of
24. Father's father
7. Mother's
25. Father's mother
8. son of 7 26. Uncle's wife
9. Daughter of
27. Brother's wife
10. Maternal
uncle's wife
28.* Sister's son's
11. Son of 10
29.* Uncle's son's
12. sister of 10
30.* Brother's son's
13. Father's
31.* Daughter's
son's wife
14. Son of 13
32. Paternal aunt's
son's wife
15. Daughter of
33. Maternal aunt's
son's wife
16. Own sister
34.* Maternal
uncle's son's wife
17. Son of 16
18. Daughter of
In the case of the death of a persons 1,2,19 (marked @) occurring in the house or in the
presence of a daughter's son who has had upanayana samskara, 3 days impurity should be
observed. The reciprocal is also to be followed. If the death of persons 28,29,30,31, and 34
(marked *) occurs elsewhere, a married lady need take only a purifying bath. The above relatives
should also reciprocally observe the same in the event of the death of a married person.
Top Adopted son
An adopted son will observe 3 days impurity for the following deaths in the family:
1. Mother who gave him birth
2. Father who gave him birth
3. Brother
4. Step Brother An adopted son will observe pakshini in case of the following deaths:
1. Real father's
12. Real mother's
2. Real father's
13. Real mother's
3. Real father's
14. Real mother's
4. son of 3 15. son of 14
5. Daughter of 3
16. Daughter of
6. Real father's
17. Real mother's
7. son of 6 18. son of 17
8. Daughter of 6
19. Daughter of
9. Own brother20. Real sister
10. Son of 9 21. Son of 20
11. daughter of
22. Daughter of
Reciprocally, in the case of death of an adopted person, the above relations should observe
pakshini. In this respect, it is recommended to follow the practice of the noble and learned people
2.2.3 Impurity for a DAY
This should be observed in case of the death of the following persons:
1. Step mother's father
2. Step mother's mother
3. Step mother's brother
4. Wife of 3
5. Daughter of 3
6. Son of 3
7. Step mother's sister
8. Sister of 7
9. Daughter of 7
10. Step mother's daughter
11. Son of 10
12. Daughter of 10
13. Daughter of a son of father's step mother
14. Daughter of a son of step mother
15. Brother of step mother orMaternal uncle who is step mother's step brother
or Maternal uncle who is the son of mother's step brother
16. Son of Maternal uncles of both kinds
17. Daughter of the above maternal uncles
18. Daughter of father's step mother
19. son of 18
20. Daughter of 18
Reciprocally, the above 20 relations will also observe 1 day impurity in case of a death of the
adopted person. For the death of any of the above, in addition to the adopted person, his wife and
her brother (Shyala) will also observe 1 day.
A lady is required to observe 1 day's impurity for the death of the following 20 relations:
1. Step mother
2. Mother of 1
3. Father of 1
4. Brothers of 1
5. Wives of 4
6. Sons of 4
7. Daughters of 4
8. Step mother's sisters
9. Step mother's Daughter
10.Sons of 8,9
11.Daughters of 8,9
12.Sons of father's step mother
13.Step mother's son
14.Son of 12
15.Wife of 12,13
16.Sons of 12,13
17.Daughters of 12,13
18.Daughter of father's step mother
19.Son of 18
20.Daughter of 18
In the case of the death of a lady, all her relations mentioned above except her stepmother should
also reciprocally observe one day. The step mother and her husband (father of the deceased
lady) are required to observe 3 days.
An adopted person will observe 1 day in case of death of the following relations:
1. Sisters of real father
2. Sons of 1
3. Daughters of 1
4. Daughter of the person who adopted him
5. Sons of 4
6. Daughters of 4
7. Father of the mother of the person who adopted him
8. Mother ........ do ........
9. Sister ........ do ........
10.Sons of 9
11.Daughters of 9
12.Brother of the mother who adopted the person
13.Sons of 12
14.Daughters of 12
2.3 Impurity due to CONTACT
Sodakas performing the last rites or performing actions such as decorating, carrying, cremating
the body and touching the bones etc. will observe the impurity for 10 days just like sapindas.
Other relatives performing the same functions will only observe their natural periods of impurity. If
these functions are performed by persons other than Jnathis or Sodakas, they may observe the
impurity till they see the stars or sunrise depending on whether these actions are performed
during day or night. If persons other than Jnathis receive a honorarium or gift for performing any
act from the sons of the deceased, they too should observe 3 days. If they live in the same house
and take food etc, they will observe 10 days and perform Vrathas like Chandrayana and Kricchra.
If a person touches a dead body without knowing, he has to fast for a part of the day. If he
touches an impure person often it is enough if he observes impurity only for the days he comes in
contact. If the contact is by mistake, a bath is enough. If a person follows a dead body to the
cremation ground, he should not take food in Shraddha and perform Japa, Homa and such
activities. If the body followed is that of a Brahmin, he can purify himself by taking bath, touching
fre, sipping a drop of ghee and again taking another bath, before he is eligible to perform his
normal duties.
If a dead body is seen accidentally, an Achamana is adequate. If seen intentionally, a Sachela
snana is required (taking bath with all the clothes he was wearing).
A woman whose parent dies elsewhere while she is living in her husband's house, will observe
impurity for 3 days. If she is in the house where death has occurred or if she is staying with her
brothers taking food with them then, she should also observe 10 days.
Any person who performs various acts in connection with the ceremonial disposal of the dead
body without receiving any rewards, particularly for the bodies of persons of their own caste, who
have none to take care of them, will acquire immense merit (Punya).
The following persons are prohibited in acts such as decorating a dead body, etc.
2. Husband of a pregnant Lady
3.Persons sufering from Leprosy and such other diseases
4.Persons whose father is alive
5.Persons who already have some other impurity
6.Persons belonging to other castes
2.3.1 Impurity due to contact with Village or House in which death has occurred. Village: If a person belonging to the same caste dies, the whole village becomes impure
till the body is removed. If a big road comes between the house and the rest of the village or if the
house is away at least from the houses of 400 brahmins or a great river reaching the ocean
ultimately comes in between, the whole village need not observe the impurity. House: If a person belonging to the same caste, but not a Jnathi or any other relation dies
in a house, the house is treated as impure till the body is removed. If a Sodaka or Jnathi or
Daughter or any other relative of 3 days impurity relationship dies in the house, the house
becomes impure for 10 days. If any other relative dies in the house the house is impure for 3
days. If a daughter delivers in the house, the house is treated as impure for 10 days. Things: All things in a house, where a death has occurred and the house itself will have
impurity of the same strength as long as the owner has impurity. It is forbidden to receive things
from that house as Dana or Bhojana. The things will become pure by sanctifcation by Prokshana
etc. when the owner himself becomes pure.
2.4 Overlapping of Impurity due to Death.
The occurrence of one impurity during the period of another is known as Sannipata or Sampata.
If during a 10 day period of impurity due to death, another one of 10 days or 3 days due to death
or birth occurs, the latter gets terminated with the former. An impurity of birth can never cause the
termination of an overlapping impurity due to death and only an impurity of death can cause the
termination of both kinds of overlapping impurities.
The author of Shathaka however says that an impurity of 10 days due to birth can cause the
termination of an overlapping impurity of death for 3 days. He also says that an overlapping
impurity of birth of 10 days can be terminated by an impurity of death for 3 days. Some scholars
do not agree with this view. One can follow the practice prevalent in the region.
The impurity associated with the death of the parents will be observed by the sons till the
completion of Sapindikarana. The observance by the other sapindas will end with the completion
of Ekoddista.
If the mother's death occurs within 10 days of the death of father or vice-versa, the period will be
observed till the sapindikarana of both parents. For the other sapindas, the period will end with
the Ekoddista of the parent who died frst (on the 11 th day after the frst death). For the sons
performing Kriya of their parents, overlapping due to death of an uncle is not considered a
Impurity due to death of parents is considered as stronger than any other impurity. If one is
already in an impurity period for the death of an paternal uncle etc. and performing the kriyas, and
his parent passes away, he should get engaged in the Kriya of the parent frst every day and then
only perform the kriya of his uncle etc.
Just as in the case of overlapping of impurity due to birth, if one hears of a death before the
evening of the tenth day, the completion of the earlier impurity will terminate the later one also.
There after, if the news is heard within the frst 3 Yamas of the tenth night, impurity will be
observed for 2 more days. If heard afterwards, but before sunrise, the period will be for 3 more
days. If the matter is only known after sunrise of the 11 th day, the next impurity will be observed
When observing this 2 or 3 days impurity, another impurity of 3 days occurs, both are terminated
at the end of the frst 3 day impurity. IF another impurity of 10 days occurs instead of 2/3 days the
period will still be terminated by the end of the frst 3 day period. If the person's wife or wife of any
sapinda relative delivers a child the impurity due to birth for 10 days will not be terminated by the
end of the frst 2/3 days period. The impurity of 3 days will be terminated by the 10 days impurity,
but not vice versa.
2.5 Athikrantha Ashoucha
(Impurity which has lapsed)
If a son is in a distant place from the place where a parent dies, and kriya is being performed in
the parent's place by another son, the distant son should observe 10 days impurity beginning with
the date of death, if the news reaches him within the frst 4 days (before Asthi sanchaya).
If the news is heard after this, the son should observe 10 days from the day the news reaches
If the news of the death of paternal uncle etc, sapindas, whose kriya is already performed, is
heard after 10 days but before 3 months, a 3 days impurity will be observed.
If heard after 3 months, but before 6 months, one and half days will be observed. If between 6
months and 1 year , 1 day will be observed. If heard after 1 year, a bath is enough according to
Shathashloki. Vaidyanatha says that if the news reaches after 6 months and before 9 months, 1
day impurity will be observed, and thereafter and before the completion of the year, a bath is
enough. The directions of Shathashloki is being practised in South Canara. For a lapsed impurity,
all the other relatives will need to take a bath only.
In case the Kriya of parents is not performed after 10 days and till a year, the sons should
observe the impurity for 10 days after they hear the news and also perform the kriya. If the son
has started the kriya of the parent after 10 days by cremating the bones (Asthidaha) or a portrait,
the jnathis who had not observed the pollution earlier should observe it for the entire period of the
kriya and after making udakadana will be purifed. If they had observed the impurity earlier, but
not ofered udakadana, they should observe it for a day during the kriya period.
There are specifc statements in the Dharma shashtras that the relations who had observed
impurity and ofered udakadana do not have any pollution during the kriya period. But tradition is
slightly diferent. According to the latter, since Ekoddista is yet to be performed, pollution will
continue and has to be observed till it is performed.
If a sapinda other than the son performs the kriya after the frst 10 days and before the year end,
then, even if he has already observed the impurity, he will have to observe it again for 3 days
during the period of the kriya according to Vaidyanatha. According to Shathashloki, if Asthi
samskara is made 10 days impurity will be observed.
For an Athikrantha Ashoucha for a boy not having Upanayana samskara or an unmarried girl,
sapindas need not observe the Impurity. Only Parents and brothers observe it for 3 nights.
According to tradition of this region, the step brothers also observe 3 nights.
For samanodaka relation the 3 days impurity will be reduced to one and half days (pakshini)if the
news is heard after the frst 10 days but before the year. If heard after the period of impurity but
before 10 days, the impurity will be observed as follows:
1. 3 nights pollution will be observed for just a day
2. Pakshini will also be observed for a day
3. The impurity for a day will be over by just a day.
4. One day's impurity will be over by a bath
If the news is heard after 10 days, a bath is enough according to Shathakakara. If the stipulated
time is over, a bath is enough according to Vaidyanatha. The frst view is practised in this region.
Deshanthara means a place where a diferent language is spoken or a Gavuda (30 miles) from
the living place. According to some, a place separated by a great river or mountain is also
2.6 Intended Unnatural Death (Suicide)
Death intentionally brought on himself by a person is considered diferently. Examples include the
Approaching animals like wild bufaloes, tigers etc
Associating with thieves, low caste people
Death due to thunderbolt, poison, or fre
Falling down from a high altitude
Drowning in water
Hanging oneself
Carelessly handling snakes etc.
In such cases sapindas observe impurity only until cremation. The person who performs the kriya
should observe it for 3 fortnights, 6 months or a year. All rites ending with sapindikarana,
preceded by Prayaschittha should be performed for purifcation.
When a person dies accidentally, by wild animals, fre, weapons, poison etc, pollution should be
observed and kriya performed till the normal stipulated time. For deaths due to diseases like
Cholera, Typhoid, smallpox, and Leprosy etc. the body must be buried without recitation of the
manthras. Then as per prayaschittha rules, the kriya will have to wait for a year, 6 months, 3
months, or 3 fortnights (41 days). The cremation rites will be performed afterwards with manthras
along with the prescribed kriyas, observing full impurity till sapindikarana is performed.
Whether the death is intended or otherwise, the sapindas and sodakas who have observed
pollution from the date of death and performed udaka dana need not observe it again during the
kriya period. Only a bath is sufcient. If they have observed only the impurity but not udaka dana,
they should again observe 3 days for sapindas and 1 day for sodakas.
For an unnatural death, since there may be delay in performing the kriya, it is considered in our
region that impurity of sapindas will continue after the frst 10 days until the Ekoddista is
performed. The performers of kriya will also have it till it is completed. However the period beyond
the ten day period is not considered as strong. Thus, other impurities would not stand terminated,
if they occur during this period. The view that when a body is buried, pollution will continue till the
body is absorbed by the earth is not supported by evidence. For example, when the bodies of
children are buried, it is clearly stated that pollution is less with burial than with cremation.
In case of unnatural death, shashthras do not prohibit cremation. However due to fear of
supernatural causes or ofcial interference , the practice of burial is usually followed in this region.
The reason for the delay in performing the kriyas is the unnatural death and not the burial. The
buried body can also be cremated after a few days, prayaschittha performed, and all kriya ending
with sapindikarana done without waiting for the 3 fortnights etc. Thus in the case of unnatural
death, tradition can be followed regarding the cremation or burial, the period of the kriyas etc.
If the main performer of the kriya is in a diferent place and could not commence it within 10 days,
he has to begin by doing recremation etc (samskaras), even in the case of death due to unnatural
causes. This can be done on a piece of bone if available, replica by a Palasa Danda etc. This
kriya will be performed for 10 days by the son. If a sapinda or relation is doing it, 4 days kriya is
sufcient. If during such performance, the relative comes to know of any other pollution due to
death of a sapinda, the kriya is to be stopped immediately. If he is a sapinda, the kriya will be
stopped only on account of the death of his own parent. The pollution due to the death of other
sapindas can not come in the way of completing this kind of kriya.
If a maternal grand father or grand mother who has brought up their daughter's son who is the
sole successor of their property dies, their kriya can be performed by the grandson. If his own
parents are alive, their permission should be taken and the full kriya performed. Other pollution
due to any other sapindas can not obstruct the kriya. If such a person is already adopted by his
maternal grandfather, he need not observe pollution on account of birth or death of sapindas.
ELIGIBILITY for performing KRIYA
Own sons and grandsons are mainly eligible to perform kriya. If there are no such persons,
brothers can do so provided the partition of the property has not taken place. If even brothers are
not there, their sons become eligible. If the partition of property has taken place, the wife of the
deceased will be eligible. If she too is not there, the brothers or their sons will be eligible even
after partition.
After partition of property, persons who have no sons can adopt the son of a daughter. After
performing his Upanayanam and other samskaras etc, he may be made the heir apparent for the
entire property and will be eligible to perform the kriya etc as if he is a son, even if his real parents
are still alive.
For a maternal grandfather who dies without nominating a specifc person as his successor with
the necessary samskara, all the sons of the daughters will become eligible for the kriya of the
maternal grand father or grand mother. It is enough if one of them who has no parents performs
the kriya. In the kriya of such a grandfather's wife, the daughter is the main eligible person. The
kriya should be performed either by her husband. if alive or her son.
For a childless elder brother who performs the Upanayana of a younger brother, the latter will be
eligible for the kriyas as if he is the son, both for the elder brother and his wife. If the elder brother
has not performed the upanayana of his younger brother, all the younger brothers will be eligible
to perform mutually the Kriyas of the other brothers. If one of them is childless and has adopted
the son of another brother, the adopted son will be mainly eligible. If no such adoption has taken
place. all the sons of all the other brothers are equally eligible, any of them who is able to perform
the kriya being entitled to do it. Similarly in the succeeding generations of children, who ever is
the closest relative has the eligibility. The order of Dayada is also taken into consideration for
deciding the eligibility.
If a childless person adopts the son of a sapinda jnathi, the adopted son will be mainly eligible.
Even if the adopted boy is not the son of a sapinda Jnathi, he will continue to be mainly eligible.
A Brahmacharin can perform the kriyas of only the father, mother, stepmother, maternal grand
parents. He is not eligible to perform the kriyas of the others . If he does so or stays with people
who are performing such kriyas and takes his food etc with them, he will have to undergo
Upanayana samskara again.
For a woman who has no son,step sons will perform the kriyas, on par with their own parents and
will have to observe the impurity etc accordingly. Normally her son would have been eligible.
When the father is alive and a childless stepmother dies, the stepsons will perform the kriyas only
if their own mother is not alive. otherwise the father will have to perform the same.
Pollution due to MENSES
Beginning with the day the lady menstruates, she will be ineligible for any religious act and
untouchable for 3 days. On the fourth day, even after bath, she will still be ineligible for a day,
except to serve her husband. If the period starts within 20 ghatikas of the night (before 2 pm), it is
considered as belonging to the previous day, otherwise the next day.
If the period starts within 16 days of the previous period, a bath is enough otherwise the pollution
will be observed as laid down. No other type of impurity is terminated by the impurity due to the
Ladies in their monthly periods are forbidden to touch or speak to other persons and should not
see other men. Taking food twice or thrice a day, travelling by a vehicle or crossing a river etc are
also forbidden. During this period the lady is not purifed from any other impurity like that of birth
or death. This procedure is applicable to the ladies of all the 4 varnas.
In the case of death of parents, sons have eligibility only for the posthumous rites beginning with
cremation and ending with sapindikarana. During Sandhya vandana 3 times a day, they have to
ofer Arghya reciting the Gayathri manthra. Other manthras like marjana etc which are recited
daily are to be remembered mentally. Until Ekoddista, Gayathri japa should be performed by
reciting Gayathri in a low voice. On the day of Ekoddista, Sandhyavandana can be performed
normally. After that day and till Sapindikarana, the performer of the kriya can recite other vedic or
smrithi manthras connected with the rites.
During birth pollution, the father of the child immediately after delivery should perform sachela
snana (with the clothes he is wearing). He is eligible only for certain rituals to be performed before
cutting the navel cord, and giving gifts. Deva pooja can be performed on the 6 th, 7 th and 10 th
Sapindas can ofer Arghyas in all the 3 Sandhyas and can recollect the manthras mentally, either
during birth or death pollution. Sapindas with a gap of 3 heads (generations) can perform all the
daily, and occasional rituals after the Ekoddista.
If within the impurity period, an eclipse of the sun or moon occurs, the persons can perform japa,
tharpana, and Janma nakshatra shanthi, ofering gifts, pradakshina of the deity (going round) and
ofering namaskara (prostration) etc and other noble deeds. They can not undertake Paurohithya
(ofciating as a priest) for a Homa, enter a temple, worship an Idol or receive Dana (Gifts).
5.1 PROHIBITIONS during Pollution
The performers of the kriya must not do the following till sapindikarana is over:
1. taking food twice a day
2. Sleeping during day time
3. Intercourse with a woman
4. Sleeping on a cot or bed
5. Conversations with Shudras or low class people
6. Entering his new house or performing Vastu homa etc
7. Taking oil bath
8. Tying hairs
9. Wearing ornaments
10. Chewing of betel nuts
11. Use of sandal paste or fowers
12. Wearing new clothes
Even after sapindikarana, till the frst year is completed, the performer of kriya should not marry or
have intercourse with his wife. During the frst year of death, if Nandi shraaddha has to be
performed, it should be done after having done the remaining Masikas. There is a tradition
according to which the masikas will be performed once again on the due dates only in the case of
Persons observing pollution of any kind should not do the following:
1. taking bath in sacred waters (Tirthasnana)
2. Entering a temple
3. Seeing the deity
4. Pradakshina and Namaskara (going round the deity and ofering salutations.
5. Study of sacred texts
6. Performing sacrifces
7. Undertaking Paurohithya (Yaajana)
8. Ofering Gifts
9. Receiving Gifts
10. Pilgrimage to sacred places
11. Taking food in shraddhas or other auspicious ceremonies.
During the period of death pollution, one must not:
1. Enter an auspicious house
2. Bring Thulasi, Flowers, or Darbha grass
3. Touch the things to be used for worship of God
4. Touch earthen vessels
In between Ekoddista and sapindikarana, performance of auspicious ceremonies like marriage,
Upanayana etc is prohibited.
If a person intentionally takes food in a house where impurity is being observed, he too should
observe it for the entire period, and perform Prajapatya Kricchra vratha. If he takes food, when he
is ignorant of the impurity, he has to observe it till the food is digested. If the food is heavy, a
period of 7 days will have to be observed, while if it is light, 3 days is prescribed. If both the host
and the guest are ignorant of the same, there is no sin. Jnathis taking food in the house of other
jnathis observing pollution is not considered a sin.
The husband of a woman who is in her monthly period, should not take part in the following:
1. Undertaking Paurohithya
2. Receiving Dana (gifts)
3. Taking food in a Shraddha
4. Worshipping Idols in a temple
5. Performing Anantha vratha etc (Occasional vrathas)
6. Mahalaya etc (Occasional shraddhas)
After the frst 6 months of pregnancy, the husband of a pregnant lady should not:
1. Take bath in sacred waters
2. Pilgrimage
3. Mounting a hill
4. Worshipping in a temple
5. Taking food in a shraddha
6. Paurohithya
7. Receiving Dana
8. Shaving
Immediate Purifcation:
In the case of the death of the following, all relatives such as Sapinda etc will be purifed by a
1. Eunuch
2. Outcast
3. Hater of God and preceptors
4. Person cursed by Brahmanas
5. Suicide
6. Panchamahapathaki (guilt of killing a Brahmana, cow,or drinking liquors, or
stealing gold, or illicit intercourse with the wife of the Guru (teacher)
7. Person who has forsaken the Ashrama dharmas (Brahmacharya, Garhasthya
8. Person who has killed a foetus
9. Person who has killed her husband
If women like the above, deliver a child, there is no need to observe pollution due to birth.
Relations need take only a bath. If the sons of the above perform Prayaschittha and the Kriyas,
Sapindas are required to observe 3 days Impurity.
Either in the case of the birth of a child to or death of the people who have forsaken their Gothra,
or for whom Ghatasphota has been performed as per the shastras, no pollution is to be
observed. If a sannyasi dies, the sapindas and other relations will take bath along with clothes
(sachela snana). Reciprocally when the relation dies, the sannyasi should also do the same.
Pollution due to birth need not be observed when:
1. Festival of Gods is being celebrated
2. One is engaged in War.
3. Performing sacrifces
4. Performing Kricchra and Chandrayana vrathas
5. Marriage or other auspicious activity is on
6. Kankanabandha, Madhuparka, Naandi Shraaddhas are being performed.
Similarly after the Rithvik and Gajanana has been chosen and till the completion of Avabhritha
snana, they will not observe pollution due to birth. Similarly the bride and groom in a marriage
and the vatu in an Upanayana. If the pollution is due to death, they will become pure just by taking
bath. The person giving away a girl need not observe any pollution till the Kanya dana is over.
A performer of Shraddha after the preparation of the Havis is not afected by any news of birth
pollution. Similarly a brahmin taking food in a shraddha is not afected after samkalpa and
parvavarana. If the news is of death, a bath is sufcient. If it is known only after the Bhojana has
started, they are required to take the bath after completion of the shraddha.
In the case of Chaulas, Upanayana, Vivaha etc. if the news is heard after preparation of food, the
same can be served to Brahmanas etc by unpolluted relatives. The Brahmanas who take the food
will perform Achamana after the Bhojana with water from another house.
If an eldest son is performing an auspicious ceremony like Upanayana or Vivaha etc which are yet
to be completed, and there is a death of a parent, the performer has to complete the started
karma frst and then proceed to do the last rituals making use of the necessary manthras. If the
performer is not the eldest son, he should take a bath and fnish the karma started and then take
part in the last rituals along with the eldest son as per the tradition prevalent in other parts of the
country. But in this part of the country, all the sons have equal authority in performing the last
rituals of the parents. Hence if he is the bride groom himself, he should fnish the remaining
Homas. If he is the Vatu in the Upanayana samskara, he should complete the karma till
Medhajanana and perform the last rituals of the deceased. Similarly if he is the father of the bride,
he should complete the Kanya dana and start the last rituals.
If he is the father of the Vatu, he should complete the Gayathri upadesha and then perform the
last rituals.
7.1 Shaving:
Before starting the Kriyas, except on Ekadashi, sons of the deceased should have their heads
shaved. If the death occurs during the day time, this should be done in daytime itself. If for
unavoidable reasons, it could not be done during the day time, it must be done within the frst
yama (4 hours of the night). This is applicable only in the case of death of the parents and also for
the wife of the deceased . If the death is in the night, next day, before commencing the kriya, the
shaving should be done. If the wife is in menstruation, she has to have her head shaved after
taking bath. If she is pregnant, after delivery and purifcation after the impurity of birth, this should
be done. Although the performer of the kriya of parents has taken garbha diksha due to the
pregnancy of the wife, he should still get his head shaved at the time of his parent's death. After
the kriya, he should again observe the diksha.
After the frst shaving, the performers should not have their heads shaved during the performance
of the kriya, till the completion of the sapindikarana, even if the latter is performed at the end of
the year. The rule of getting the heads shaved applies even to other performers of the kriya who
are not the sons of the deceased. All sapindas, who are younger than the deceased should have
their heads shaved on the 10 th day, even though they are not performing the kriya. Among them,
the Sapinda-Sodakas who have no parents should ofer Udakadana. Other relations and
Sapinda-Sodakas having parents should ofer Dharmodaka. If during the performance of the kriya
of the frst parent before sapindikarana, the other parent also dies, the person performing the
kriya should still have his head shaved again, though he is observing the Diksha of not shaving.
7.2 Sapindikarana:
While performing the kriya of the father or mother, if the wife of the performer delivers a baby, the
pollution due to birth does not afect any karma ending with Ekoddista. If this pollution continues
even after Ekoddista, Sapindikarana must not be performed till termination and purifcation of this
impurity. He should then make Panchagavya prashana, and Punyahavachana along with his wife
and then perform sapindikarana.
Similarly, if the wife of the eldest son performing the kriya menstruates, sapindikarana should not
be performed till she takes her bath. If it is her frst menstruation, the performer and his wife
should take Panchagavya Prashana and Punyahavachana and then perform sapindikarana.
After Ekoddista, if pollution due to birth or death occurs, the sapindas should perform
sapindikarana only after the Impurity is terminated.
If the eldest son of the deceased is far away, the kriyas can be continued by the younger sons till
Ekoddista is completed. Thereafter, they must wait for him, and perform the sapindikarana along
with him. Only if he informs them that he is unable to join them and will perform sapindikarana
separately, and permits them to perform the same separately, the younger sons can perform it in
the stipulated time. When the sons are living in the same country, even if the property is divided, it
is obligatory to perform the kriya ending with sapindikarana together. However, after
sapindikarana, they must perform masika and other shraddhas separately and not together, if
they have already separated along with division of property.
7.3 Asthi-Sanchayana:
Collecting the Bones
The forenoon of the fourth day is the best time for the Asthi-Sanchayana. It is prohibited on the
days of Dhanishta-Panchaka, Bharani and Krittika and also on sunday, Tuesday and saturday. If
the 4 th day is prohibited, this karma can be done on the second, sixth or eighth day. If these are
also prohibited, third, ffth or the seventh day can be used. This karma should be done within the
frst 9 days.
If there are many sons of the deceased, all of them should do it together. If one or more is at a
distant place it is better to wait. If their arrival is impossible within the frst 9 days, those who are
present should do the karma.
All the sons should perform the daily kriyas for all the 10 days together. If one of them is in a
distant place and hears the news within the fourth day, and manages to come at least before the
commencement of the kriya of the tenth day, he should have Prayaschittha, shaving, bath etc, do
separately the kriyas for the 9 days, and join his brothers for the tenth day Kriya onwards. If the
tenth day is Ekadashi or fasting, all the Kriyas to be performed that day should be done on the on
Dashami (Ninth day). If the son who lives at a distance, reaches only before the commencement
of the kriyas of the eleventh day, he should have Prayaschittha etc, do all the kriyas of the 10 days
separately and join his brothers for the eleventh day kriyas.
If the news of the bereavement reached the distant son after the frst 4 days, and he reaches
before the tenth day, he should have his head shave, bath etc and do all the kriyas for the
previous days separately. The remaining kriyas up to Ekoddista should be performed together
with all the brothers. There after, for 10 days beginning with the day when the news reached him,
he should take bath and ofer Udaka dana regularly. Only after this, sapindikarana should be
done within the stipulated time.
If a person is an only son and he hears the news of the death of his father, he should observe
pollution for 10 days after he actually heard the news and perform the kriya without interruption. It
is immaterial whether he comes before Asthi-Sanchaya or later etc. He should do sapindikarana
in the stipulated time.
According to local tradition in this country, sapindas should observe pollution till the son performs
Ekoddista. If the son is at a distance and is not able come within 10 days, the sapindas are
required to wait for him for a month. If he is still unable to come, the kriyas up to Ekoddista can be
performed by them and they can get purifed. But the performers of the kriyas should continue to
observe the Pollution till the son reaches the place and performs all the kriyas beginning with
Udakadana and ending with sapindikarana No auspicious ceremonies should be held in the
families of sapinda heads.
If one of the sapindas has performed the cremation with manthras and is performing all the daily
kriyas, the son or sons who join later on, should do all the daily kriyas separately. The sapinda
should however arrange Brahmana bhojana etc separately for the sake of his own purity.
If the cremation etc was performed with manthras, the sons who come later should immediately
perform Asthi-samskara and the subsequent daily kriyas. If the cremation was done without
manthras or by a person other than sapindas, it is obligatory for the sons to perform all the kriyas
beginning with the cremation with manthras.
When the wife of the deceased happens to be the main performer of the kriya, and she
menstruates in the kriya period and the kriya will be useless. Hence, even though the wife may
have the eligibility, one of the sapindas should be authorised by her and perform all the kriyas.
The same principle applies if the son has not had Upanayana samskara.
If a brahmachari below 12 years of age dies Narayanabali should be performed, even if the death
is due to an accident. If he is more than 12 years of age, Arkavivaha should be performed frst.
Then only all the kriyas beginning with Udaka dana and ending with sapindikarana are to be
If at the time of death of a husband, the wife is menstruating, after bath she should abandon
Mangalya with the kriya and the sons will perform it.
According to tradition prevalent in this country, the married daughters also, who have kindness
and devotion to their parents, will have bath and ofer Udaka dana daily along with their brothers
during the period of the kriya. The daughters who thus participate in the kriya should observe
pollution for 10 days. Otherwise only 3 days should be observed.
While doing kriya of parents, if Sankramana or Amavasya occurs, it does not afect the daily kriya.
If performer is not a son, and if within 4 days Sankramana or Amavasya occurs kriya should be
begun later. If they occur after the 4 th day and before the tenth day, the kriya for all the days
should be completed before it occurs. If the performers are not sons, they should see to it that the
kriya is performed for not less than 3 days.
If kriyas are being performed for the mother and the death of the father also occurs within the 10
day pollution period, the sons have to observe the pollution period for only the remaining days of
the mother's death pollution and get purifed. On the other hand, if the father's is frst followed by
the mother, the sons should observe an additional one and half days after the pollution of the
father's death.
If the death of both the parents occurs within 10 days at diferent times, kriya will be performed
separately. But if it occurs at the same time, or the mother performs sahagamana or the
circumstances are such that both of them will have to be cremated at the same pyre, all the kriyas
will be performed with the same Barhis (Darbha).
While doing the kriya of one of the parents, if the shraddha of the other occurs, it should be
performed on the next day to the sapindikarana. If it occurs during the kriya of other relatives or
on the 11 th day of their death, the performer has to do Ekoddista and Shodasha masika on the
11 th day itself. On the 12 th day he should perform the shraddha of the parents and on the same
day or on the 13 th day, he should perform sapindikarana.
If the shraddha of both the parents occur on the same day, the shraddha of the father has to be
performed frst and with the remaining Havis, the mother's shraddha can be performed. If the
shraddha of other relatives occur on the same day, for each shraddha separate Havis must be
prepared and the shraddha performed in the order of their death
If a person who has gone to a distant place, and whose death is wrongly assumed due to
incorrect information, and all kriyas are performed, returns back the following Samskaras must be
performed: He must be immersed in a pot of ghee, and after bath all samskaras with Jathakarma
and ending with Vivaha must be performed. If his wife is alive, he must marry the lady again. If he
does not have a wife, he must marry another woman.
In case the news of such a person is not heard for 12 years and he returns later, even then all the
samskaras mentioned above must be performed. If even after 12 years, no news is heard of such
a person his sons and relatives should perform all the kriyas and observe pollution etc.
Purifcation at the end of Pollution
After Sapindikarana, the main performers of the kriya should abandon the things connected with
the kriya and by Punyahavachana he will be purifed. Having ofered Udaka dana on the tenth and
the eleventh day, during the Sangava period (normally between 8.30 am to 11.00 am), having a
bath, sipping Panchagavya and wearing a new Yajnopavitha (sacred thread), the sapindas will be
purifed. The sodakas are required to ofer udaka dana on 3 days and on the fourth day, during
the Sangava period, by sipping Panchagavya and wearing a new sacred thread, they will be
The other relatives and the Jnathis of the same gothra will become pure after observing the
Pollution for the period prescribed and thereafter sipping Panchagavya and wearing a new sacred
thread. If on the terminating day of the pollution, a shraddha or a past shraddha occurs, the
performers of the same should sip Panchagavya and wear another sacred thread frst and taking
another bath perform the shraddha.