[Advaita-l] Prayascitta question

bagirathi ma ramanathan bagirathi123 at rediffmail.com
Wed Aug 4 07:28:15 CDT 2010

dated 4th August,2010

dear sir,
one collegue family of my late father made a deleberate attack on the innocent persons by house breaking and removing all the hosuehols materials for want of the premises to be occupaid by them earlier, ( it is all government quarters which should be vacated on transfer of the officials) , and created a panic and threat to us. This had happend some 25 years back but the pain is still remains in our mind.
The entire family stood on the gate without any food for threedays and no one could help us at this juncture. We did not suspect anybody or  this act as the successors deleberate attitude.
Any prayachitham to this act of the perpetrators  on the innocent persons will reduce their sin? 
please enlighten me in this area. 
Mrs.Bagirathi Ramanathan 

On Wed, 04 Aug 2010 17:36:59 +0530  wrote
>Yes. Prayascitta is mentioned in various scriptures. But it is important

to know who needs to do Prayascitta. If our goal is tied to the material

world and still haven't developed strong urge to spiritual path and / or

still have attachment and aversion towards external objects then Prayascitta

needs to be performed. Because with Prayascitta, we are trying to protect

ourselves (body and mind) from bad karmas.

If our goal is only one and that is to find "Who am I", then Prayascitta

doesn't matter, as Prayascitta is related to body and mind.  Ultimately,

all the Sadhana that we are performing towards attaining this goal is to be

free from all. In other words, we are performing Sadhana to become still

(abide in the inner stillness - absence of chitta vrittis), even in the

midst of actions.

In some cases, there is a strong urge to do Prayascittam even though we are

clear in our spiritual goal. We feel guilty of our acts in the past and

wants to perform Prayascitta. That shows there are still attachments and

aversions with the false "I". There is a story to illustrate this.

Parashurama axed his mother as per the order of his father Jamadagni. He

later regret it even after his mother "Renukha" was brought back to life.

Parashurama felt that he had done an sinful act and he had to perform

"Prayascittam". So, he went to Rishis and asked what should I do to be free

from the bad deed that I have committed. Rishis looked at his state of mind

and said, performed the following Prayascittam. For the next 365 days, you

have to perform puja, with the following conditions. Each day you have to

choose a unique flower, unique mantra, unique offering to God, unique

incense stick, etc., Whatever items used on one day shouldn't be repeated

on any of the other 364 days. For example, if apple is used on the first

day, then it shouldn't be used as an offering for the rest of the year.

Parashurama gladly accepted and after practicing a month or so, he got tired

of it. He had tough time to find unique items each day. Somehow, with

great difficulty he was able to complete his Prayachittam. He came back to

Rishis and said in a tiring voice, it was one tough Prayachittam and glad

that I was able to complete and I don't want to d anymore of this type of

actions, please guide me something else. Rishis preached Atma Vidhya and

asked to perform Sadhana to become still. Parashurama questioned, why you

didn't tell me an year ago, I could haven't suffered a lot and wasted my

time. Rishis replied, you weren't in the state of mind to accept in

whatever we have said now. Even if we had asked you to perform Sadhana, you

could have still asked for Prayachittam, as the guilty (aversion) was very

strong. Now, by doing this Prayascitta you understand by experience that it

is not taking you anywhere and you are eligible for spiritual enquiry.

Thus performing Prayascittam or not is purely depends on the state of the

mind of that individual. But ultimately Prayascitta doesn't matter if our

goal is to realize the True "I" and we have a strong Vairagya. Why? Body

belongs to Prakriti and let it go through whatever it has to go through in

this birth, based on my previous karma. Atma is not affected by these

proceedings. Of course, it is easier said than done. But Sadhana takes us

there slowly and steadily.




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