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Home Page > Articles (Oct 2009) > Anubhashya

IMPURITY CONVENTIONS and PROCEDURES


for PURIFICATION to be observed
as per SHASHTHRAS
Author: Shri D Prahaladacharya [Kannada Edition]
Transalated by: Shri NAPS Rao
TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1
o IMPURITY due to BIRTH

1.1 ABORTION

1.2 Delivery by a daughter

1.3 Janana sannipata Ashoucha

1.4 Ashoucha Tarathamya

CHAPTER 2
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

2.2.2.1 Married woman

2.2.2.2 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

2.3.1.1 Village

2.3.1.2 House

2.3.1.3 Things

o 2.4 Overlapping of Impurity due to Death


o 2.5 Athikrantha Ashoucha
o 2.6 Intended Unnatural Death (Suicide)
o 2.7 RECREMATION

CHAPTER 3
o ELIGIBILITY for performing KRIYA

CHAPTER 4
o Pollution due to MENSES

CHAPTER 5

o DUTIES during IMPURITY

5.1 PROHIBITIONS during Pollution

CHAPTER 6
o Immediate Purification

CHAPTER 7
o POST_DEATH DUTIES

7.1 Shaving

7.2 Sapindikarana

7.3 Asthi-Sanchayana

CHAPTER 8
o Purification at the end of Pollution

CHAPTER 1
IMPURITY due to BIRTH
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 relatives.
It is also enjoined that persons observing untouch-ability for different reasons will not
touch each other and should perform atonement (Prayaschittha), if they do so unwittingly.
The mother should also observe after the first 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 first 10 days. When twins are

born, all the above conventions observed by the mother for the first 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 fire) and GHRITHAPRASHANA (partaking of ghee).
Any one touching the mother after the first 10 days, should take a bath to become pure.
1.1 ABORTION:
Termination of conception within 4 months is SRAVA (abortion), in the fifth 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 first 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 fifth 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 first birth, the total impurity period ends with the
observance of the first 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.
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CHAPTER 2
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 sufficient. The
impurity prescribed for the father will also apply to his other wives.
If the death occurs after 6 months, but before Chuda karma (first 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 first 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.
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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.
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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 sufficient. 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.
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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 country.
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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 father

5. Father's sisters*

2. Mother's mother 6. Father-in-law


3. Mother's sisters

7. Mother-in-law

4. Mother's
brothers*

8. own sisters

9. Daughter

11. sister's male child

10. Daughter' son

12. sister's husband

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.


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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.
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2.2.2.1 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
father

19.@ Own brother

2.@ Mother's
mother

20. Son of 19

3. Maternal uncle

21. Daughter of 19

4. Son of 3

22. Son's daughter

5. wife of 3

23. Daughter's
Daughter

6. Daughter of 3

24. Father's father

7. Mother's sister

25. Father's mother

8. son of 7

26. Uncle's wife

9. Daughter of 7

27. Brother's wife

10. Maternal
uncle's wife

28.* Sister's son's wife

11. Son of 10

29.* Uncle's son's wife

12. sister of 10

30.* Brother's son's wife

13. Father's
brother

31.* Daughter's son's


wife

14. Son of 13

32. Paternal aunt's


son's wife

15. Daughter of 13

33. Maternal aunt's


son's wife

16. Own sister

34.* Maternal uncle's


son's wife

17. Son of 16
18. Daughter of 16

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.
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2.2.2.2 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
father

12. Real mother's


father

2. Real father's
mother

13. Real mother's


mother

3. Real father's
sister

14. Real mother's


brother

4. son of 3

15. son of 14

5. Daughter of 3

16. Daughter of 14

6. Real father's
brother

17. Real mother's


sister

7. son of 6

18. son of 17

8. Daughter of 6

19. Daughter of 17

9. Own brother

20. Real sister

10. Son of 9

21. Son of 20

11. daughter of 9

22. Daughter of 20

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 (Shishta).
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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

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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 fire, 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.

1.Brahmachari

2. Husband of a pregnant Lady

3.Persons suffering 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

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2.3.1 Impurity due to contact with Village or House in which death has occurred.
2.3.1.1 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.
2.3.1.2 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.
2.3.1.3 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
sanctification by Prokshana etc. when the owner himself becomes pure.
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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 first (on the 11 th day after the first
death). For the sons performing Kriya of their parents, overlapping due to death of an
uncle is not considered a constraint.
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 first
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 first 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 afresh.
When observing this 2 or 3 days impurity, another impurity of 3 days occurs, both are
terminated at the end of the first 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 first 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 first 2/3 days period. The impurity of 3
days will be terminated by the 10 days impurity, but not vice versa.

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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 first 4 days
(before Asthi sanchaya).
If the news is heard after this, the son should observe 10 days from the day the news
reaches him.
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 purified. If they had observed
the impurity earlier, but not offered udakadana, they should observe it for a day during the
kriya period.
There are specific statements in the Dharma shashtras that the relations who had
observed impurity and offered udakadana do not have any pollution during the kriya
period. But tradition is slightly different. 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 first 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 first 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 first view is
practised in this region.
Deshanthara means a place where a different 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 Deshanthara.
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2.6 Intended Unnatural Death (Suicide)
Death intentionally brought on himself by a person is considered differently. Examples
include the following:

Approaching animals like wild buffaloes, tigers etc

Associating with thieves, low caste people

Death due to thunderbolt, poison, or fire

Falling down from a high altitude

Drowning in water

Accidents

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 purification.
When a person dies accidentally, by wild animals, fire, 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 sufficient. 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 first 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 official 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.
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2.7 RECREMATION:
If the main performer of the kriya is in a different 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 sufficient. 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.
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CHAPTER 3
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 specific 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.
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CHAPTER 4
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 periods.
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 purified from any
other impurity like that of birth or death. This procedure is applicable to the ladies of all the
4 varnas.
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CHAPTER 5
DUTIES during IMPURITY
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 offer 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 day.
Sapindas can offer 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, offering gifts, pradakshina of the
deity (going round) and offering namaskara (prostration) etc and other noble deeds. They
can not undertake Paurohithya (officiating as a priest) for a Homa, enter a temple, worship
an Idol or receive Dana (Gifts).
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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 flowers

12. Wearing new clothes

Even after sapindikarana, till the first year is completed, the performer of kriya should not
marry or have intercourse with his wife. During the first 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 parents.
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 offering salutations.

5. Study of sacred texts

6. Performing sacrifices

7. Undertaking Paurohithya (Yaajana)

8. Offering 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 first 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

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CHAPTER 6
Immediate Purification:
In the case of the death of the following, all relatives such as Sapinda etc will be purified
by a bath:

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 etc)

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 sacrifices

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 affected by any news of
birth pollution. Similarly a brahmin taking food in a shraddha is not affected after samkalpa
and parvavarana. If the news is of death, a bath is sufficient. 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 first 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 finish 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 finish 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.

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CHAPTER 7
POST DEATH DUTIES
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 first 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
purification 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 first 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 offer Udakadana. Other relations and Sapinda-Sodakas having parents
should offer Dharmodaka. If during the performance of the kriya of the first 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.
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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 affect any karma ending with Ekoddista. If this
pollution continues even after Ekoddista, Sapindikarana must not be performed till
termination and purification 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 first 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.
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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, fifth or the seventh day can be used. This
karma should be done within the first 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 first 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 first 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 offer 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 purified. 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 first. Then only all the kriyas beginning with Udaka dana and ending with
sapindikarana are to be performed.
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 offer 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 affect 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 purified. On the other hand, if the
father's is first 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 different 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 first 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.
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CHAPTER 8
Purification 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 purified. Having offered
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 purified. The sodakas are required to
offer 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 purified.
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 first and taking another bath perform the shraddha.