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       =======  Understanding Hinduism  =======


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Duties part 1

General Duties and Special Duties of
the four orders of men

Nine duties that are eternal
Duties that belong exclusively to Brahmanas
Duties of Kshatriyas
Duties of Vaisyas
Duties of Sudras
Sacrifice as a Duty
Mental sacrifices are laid down for all the orders

Duties Part 2
Special protection of Brahmanas
None of these is competent to pour libations on the sacrificial fire
These five kinds of falsehood in speech are not sinful.

Expiation of sins
Eternal injunctions laid down for the expiation of sin
The five grave sins
Minor sins

Duties part 1

General Duties and Special Duties
of the four orders of men

From The Mahabharata,
Santi Parva, section LX
Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli

Vaisampayana said: After this, Yudhishthira, saluted his grandsire, viz., the son of Ganga, and with joined hands and concentrated attention, once more asked him, saying:

What are the general duties of the four orders of men, and what the special duties of each order?

[Note: The four orders of men are Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra. See Page ‘Caste System’]

What mode of life should be adopted by which order? What duties are especially called the duties of kings? By what means does a kingdom grow, and what are those means by which the king himself grows? How also, o bull of Bharata’s race, do the citizens and the servants of the king grow? What sorts of treasuries, punishments, forts, allies, counsellors, priests, and preceptors, should a king avoid?

[Note: The difference between a Ritwija and a Purohita is that the former priest is engaged on special occasions, while the services of the latter are permanent and constant.]

Whom should the king trust in what kinds of distress and danger? From what evils should the king guard himself firmly? Tell me all this, O grandsire!

Bhishma said: I bow down to Dharma who is great, and to Krishna who is Brahman (the Supreme Reality). Having bowed down also unto the Brahmanas (assembled here), I shall discourse on duties that are eternal.

Nine duties that are eternal

The suppression of wrath, truthfulness of speech, justice, forgiveness, begetting children upon one’s wedded wives, purity of conduct, avoidance of quarrel, simplicity, and maintenance of dependants, these nine duties belong to all the four orders (equally)

.Duties that belong exclusively to Brahmanas

Those duties, however, which belong exclusively to Brahmanas, I shall now tell thee. Self-restraint, O king, has been declared to be the first duty of Brahmanas. Study of the Vedas, and patience in undergoing austerities (are also their other duties). By practising these two, all their acts are accomplished.

If while engaged in the observance of his own duties, without doing any improper act, wealth comes to a peaceful Brahmana possessed of knowledge, he should then marry and seek to beget children and should also practise charity and perform sacrifices. It has been declared by the wise that wealth thus obtained should be enjoyed by distributing it (among deserving persons and relatives). By his study of the Vedas all the pious acts (laid down for the Brahmana) are accomplished. Whether he does or does not achieve anything else, if he devotes himself to the study of the Vedas, he becomes by that known as a Brahmana or the friend of all creatures.

Duties of Kshatriyas

I shall also tell thee, O Bharata, what the duties are of a Kshatriya. A Kshatriya, O king, should give but not beg, should himself perform sacrifices but not officiate as a priest in the sacrifices of others. He should never teach (the Vedas) but study (them with a Brahmana preceptor). He should protect the people. Always exerting himself for the destruction of robbers and wicked people, he should put forth his prowess in battle. Those among Kshatriya rulers who perform great sacrifices, who are possessed of a knowledge of the Vedas, and who gain victories in battle, become foremost of those that acquire many blessed regions hereafter by their merit. Persons conversant with the old scriptures do not applaud that Kshatriya who returns unwounded from battle.

This has been declared to be the conduct of a wretched Kshatriya (viz., returning unwounded from battle).There is no higher duty for him (Kshatriya) than the suppression of robbers. Gifts, study, and sacrifices, bring prosperity to kings. Therefore, a king who desires to acquire religious merit should engage in battle.

[Note: For without battle, he cannot extend his kingdom and acquire wealth to give away and meet the expenses of sacrifices.]

Establishing all his subjects in the observance of their respective duties, a king should cause all of them to do everything according to the dictates of righteousness. Whether he does or does not do any other act, if only he protects his subjects, he is regarded to accomplish all religious acts and is called a Kshatriya and the foremost of men

.Duties of Vaisyas

I shall now tell thee, O Yudhishthira, what the eternal duties of the Vaisyas are. A Vaisya should make gifts, study the Vedas, perform sacrifices, and acquire wealth by fair means. With proper attention he should also protect and rear all (domestic) animals as a sire protecting his sons. Anything else that he will do will be regarded as improper for him. By protecting the (domestic) animals, he would obtain great happiness. The Creator, having created the (domestic) animals, bestowed their care upon the Vaisya. Upon the Brahmana and the Kshatriya, he conferred (the care of) all creatures.

I shall tell thee what the Vaisya’s profession is and how he is to earn the means of his sustenance. If he keeps (for others) six kine (cows), he may take the milk of one cow as his remuneration; and if he keeps (for others) a hundred kine, he may take a single pair as such fee. If he trades with other’s wealth, he may take a seventh part of the profits (as his share). A seventh also is his share in the profits arising from the trade in horns, but he should take a sixteenth if the trade were in hoofs. If he engages in cultivation with seeds supplied by others, he may take a seventh part of the yield. This should be his annual remuneration. A Vaisya should never desire that he should not tend cattle. If a Vaisya desires to tend cattle, no one else should be employed in that task

Duties of Sudras

I shall tell thee, O Bharata, what the duties of a Sudra are. The Creator intended the Sudra to become the servant of the other three orders. For this, the service of the three other classes is the duty of Sudra. By such service of the other three, a Sudra may obtain great happiness. He should wait upon the three other classes according to their order of seniority. A Sudra should never amass wealth, lest, by his wealth, he makes the members of the three superior classes obedient to him. By this he would incur sin. With the king’s permission, however, a Sudra, for performing religious acts, may earn wealth.

I shall now tell thee the profession he (Sudra) should follow and the means by which he may earn his livelihood. It is said that Sudras should certainly be maintained by the (three) other orders. Worn-out umbrellas, turbans, beds and seats, shoes and fans, should be given to the Sudra servants

.[Note: A Beshtana is literally a cloth tied round (the head); hence, a turban or Pagree. The word Ousira is applied to both beds and seats. The Hindu Upanaha had wooden soles.]

Torn clothes that are no longer fit for wear, should be given away by the regenerate classes unto the Sudra. These are the latter’s lawful acquisitions.Men conversant with morality say that if the Sudra approaches any one belonging to the three regenerate orders from desire of doing menial service, the latter should assign him proper work. Unto the sonless Sudra his master should offer the funeral cake. The weak and the old amongst them should be maintained. The Sudra should never abandon his master, whatever the nature or degree of the distress into which the latter may fall. If the master loses his wealth, he should with excessive zeal be supported by the Sudra servant. A Sudra cannot have any wealth that is his own. Whatever he possesses belongs lawfully to his master.

Sacrifice as a Duty

Sacrifice has been laid down as a duty of the three other orders (Brahmana, Kshatriya and Vaisya). A Sudra, however, is not competent to utter Swaha and Swadha or any other Vedic Mantras. For this reason, the Sudra, without observing the vows laid down in the Vedas, should worship the gods in minor sacrifices called Paka-Yajnas. The gift called Purna-Patra is declared to be the Dakshina (gift) of such sacrifices.

[Note: A Paka-Yajna is a minor sacrifice, such as the propitiation of a planet foreboding evil, or worship offered to the inferior deities called Viswadevas. A Purnapatra is literally a large dish or basket full of rice. It should consist of 256 handfuls. Beyond a Purnapatra, the Sudra should not give any other Dakshina in any sacrifice of his.]

It has been heard by us that in days of old a Sudra of the name of Paijavana gave a Dakshina (in one of his sacrifices) consisting of a hundred thousand Purnapatras, according to the ordinance called Aindragni.

[Note: This ordinance lays down that the Dakshina should be a hundred thousand animals such as cows or horses. In the case of this particular Sudra, that ordinance (without its Mantras) was followed, and a hundred thousand Purnapatras were substituted for cows or horses of that number.]

Sacrifice (as has been already said), is as much laid down for the Sudras as for the three other classes. Of all sacrifices, devotion has been laid down to be the foremost.

[Note: Hence the Sudra, by devotion to the members of the three other classes, may earn the merit of sacrifices though he is not competent to utter Mantras.]

Devotion is a high deity. It cleanses all sacrificers. Then again Brahmanas are the foremost of gods unto their respective Sudra attendants. They worship the gods in sacrifices, for obtaining the fruition of various wishes. The members of the three other classes have all sprung from the Brahmanas.

[Note: For this reason the Sudra earns the merit of the sacrifices performed by their Brahmana masters and progenitors].The Brahmanas are the gods of the very gods. Whatever they would say would be for thy great good. Therefore, all kinds of sacrifices naturally appertain to all the four orders. The obligation is not one whose discharge is optional. The Brahmana, who is conversant with Richs, Yajuses, and Samans, should always be worshipped as a god. The Sudra who is without Riks and Yajuses and Samans, has Prajapati for his god.

Mental sacrifices are laid down for all the orders

Mental sacrifices, O sire, are laid down for all the orders, O Bharata! It is not true that the gods and other (superior) persons do not manifest a desire to share the offerings in such sacrifices of even the Sudra

.[Note: Sacrifices are performed by the body, by words, and by the mind. The Brahmana can perform sacrifices by all the three. The Kshatriya and the Vaisya cannot perform sacrifices by means of their bodies. They must employ Brahmanas in their sacrifices. These two orders, however, can utter Mantras and perform mental sacrifices. The Sudra alone cannot employ his body or utter Mantras in sacrifices. The holy sacrifice in his case is the mental sacrifice. A mental sacrifice is a resolve to give away in honour of the gods or unto the gods without the aid of the Vedic ritual. The resolve must be followed by actual gifts.]

For this reason, the sacrifice that consists in devotion is laid down for all the classes (i.e., for the Sudras also). The Brahmana is the foremost of gods. It is not true that they that belong to that order, do not perform the sacrifices of the other orders. The fire called Vitana, though procured from Vaisyas and inspired with Mantras, is still inferior

.[Note: All sacrificial fires, as a rule, are procured from the houses of Vaisyas. The sacrificial fire of the Sudra is called Vitana.]

The Brahmana is the performer of the sacrifices of the three other orders. For this reason all the four orders are holy. All the orders bear towards one another to relation of consanguinity, through the intermediate classes. They have all sprung from Brahmanas. In ascertaining (the priority or subsequence of men in respect of their creation) it will appear that amongst all the orders the Brahmana was created first. Originally Saman was one; Yajus was one, and Rich was one.

[Note: Though originally one, the Vedas have become diverse. Similarly, from the Brahmana, who was created first, all the rest have sprung.]

In this connection, persons conversant with ancient histories cite a verse, O king, sung in praise of sacrifice by the Vaikhanas Munis on the occasion of performing a sacrifice of theirs. Before or after sunrise a person of subdued senses, with heart filed with devotion, pours libations on the sacrificial fire according to the ordinance. Devotion is a mighty agent. With regard to Homas (sacred fire ceremonies) again, that variety which is called Skanna is the initial one, while that which is called Askanna is the last (but foremost in point of merit). Sacrifices are multifarious. Their rites and fruits again are multifarious. The Brahmana possessed of devotion who, endued with scriptural learning, who is acquainted with them all, is competent to perform sacrifices. That person who desires to perform a sacrifice is regarded as righteous even if he happens to be a thief, a sinner, or the worst of sinners. The Rishis applaud such a man. Without doubt they are right. This then is the conclusion that all the orders should always and by every means in their power perform sacrifices. There is nothing in the three worlds equal to sacrifice. Therefore, it has been said that every one, with heart free from malice, should perform sacrifices, aided by devotion which is sacred, to the best of his power and according as he pleases.

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Duties Part 2

Santi Parva, Section CLXV
Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli

Special protection of Brahmanas

Bhishma said: For enabling such pious and impoverished Brahmanas as have been robbed of their wealth (by robbers and thieves), as are engaged in the performance of sacrifices, as are well conversant with all the Vedas, and as are desirous of acquiring the merit of righteousness, to discharge their obligations to preceptors and the Pitris, and pass their days in reciting and studying the scriptures, wealth and knowledge, O Bharata, should be given.

[Note: In India, from the remotest times, preceptors are excluded from charging their pupils any fees for the instructions they give. No doubt, a final fee, called Gurudakshina, is demandable, but that is demandable after the pupil has completed his studies. To sell knowledge for money is a great sin. To this day in all the indigenous schools of the country, instruction is imparted free of all charges. In addition to this, the pupils are fed by their preceptors. The latter, in their turn, are supported by the charity of the whole country.]

Unto those Brahmanas that are not poor, only the Dakshina (gift or present made in sacrifice), O best of the Bharatas, should be given. As regards those that have fallen away (in consequence of their sinful deeds) from the status of Brahmana, uncooked food should be given to them outside the limits of the sacrificial altar.

The Brahmanas are the Vedas themselves and all the Sacrifices with large presents. Desirous of excelling one another, they always perform sacrifices, impelled by their virtuous inclinations. The king should, therefore, make presents of diverse kinds of valuable wealth unto them. That Brahmana who hath the sufficiency of stores for feeding his family for three or more years, deserves to drink the Soma (i.e., such a person may perform a grand sacrifice in which Soma is offered to the gods and drunk by the sacrificer and the priests). If notwithstanding the presence of a virtuous king on the throne, the sacrifice begun by anybody, especially by a Brahmana, cannot be completed for want of only a fourth part of the estimated expenses, then the king should, for the completion of that sacrifice, take away from his kinsmen the wealth of a Vaisya that is possessed of a large flock of cattle but that is averse from sacrifices and abstains from quaffing Soma.

The Sudra has no competence for performing a sacrifice. The king should, therefore, take away (wealth for such purpose i.e., performing a sacrifice) from a Sudra house of ours.

That Brahmana who has been forced by want to go without six meals (i.e. who has fasted for three whole days), may take away without permission, according to the rule of a person that cares for today without any thought of the morrow, only what is necessary for a single meal, from the husking tub or the field or the garden or any other place of even a man of low pursuits. He should however, whether asked or unasked, inform the king of his act.

[Note: ‘Asvastanavidhana’ is the rule of providing only for today without thinking of the morrow]

If the king be conversant with duty he should not inflict any punishment upon such a Brahmana. He should remember that a Brahmana becomes afflicted with hunger only through the fault of the Kshatriya.

[Note: The sense, of course, is that if a Brahmana starves, that is due to the king having neglected his duty of providing for him.]

Having ascertained a Brahmana’s learning and behaviour, the king should make a provision for him, and protect him as a father protects the son of his own loins.

On the expiry of each year one should perform the Vaisvanara sacrifice (if he is unable to perform any animal or Soma sacrifice). They who are conversant with religion say that the practice of an act laid down in the alternative, is not destructive of virtue. The Viswedevas, the Sadhyas, the Brahmanas, and great Rishis, fearing death in seasons of distress, do not scruple to have recourse to such provisions in the scriptures as have been laid down in the alternative. That man. However, who while able to live according to the primary provision, betakes himself to the alternative, comes to be regarded as a wicked person and never succeeds in winning any felicity in heaven. A Brahmana conversant with the Vedas should never speak of his energy and knowledge to the king. (It is the duty of the king to ascertain it himself). Comparing again the energy of a Brahmana with that of the king, the former will always be found to be superior to the latter. For this reason the energy of the Brahmanas can scarcely be borne or resisted by a king.

The Brahmana is said to be creator, ruler, ordainer, and god. No word of abuse, no dry speeches, should be addressed to a Brahmana. The Kshatriya should cross all his difficulties by the aid of the might of his arms. The Vaisya and the Sudra should conquer their difficulties by wealth; the Brahmana should do so by Mantra and Homa (sacred fire ceremony).

None of these is competent to pour
libations on the sacrificial fire

None of these, viz., a maiden, a youthful woman, a person unacquainted with Mantras, an ignorant guy, or one that is impure, is competent to pour libations on the sacrificial fire. If any of these do so, he or she is sure to fall into hell, with him for whom they act. For this reason, none but a Brahmana conversant with the Vedas and skilled in all sacrifices should become the pourer of sacrificial libations. They who are conversant with the scriptures say that the man who, having kindled the sacrificial fire, does not give away the dedicated food as Dakshina (gift of food, money, clothes etc.) is not the kindler of a sacrificial fire. A person should, with his senses under control, and with proper devotion, do all the acts of merit (indicated in the scriptures). One should never worship the deities in sacrifices in which no Dakshina is given. A sacrifice not complete with Dakshina (instead of producing merit) brings about the destruction of one’s children, animals, and heaven. Such a sacrifice destroys also the senses, the fame, the achievements and the very span of life that one has.

Those Brahmanas that lie with women in their season, or who never perform sacrifices, or whose families have no members conversant with the Vedas, are regarded as Sudras in act. That Brahmana who, having married a Sudra girl, resides for twelve continuous years in a village that has only a well for its water supply, becomes a Sudra in act. That Brahmana who summons to his bed an unmarried maiden, or suffers a Sudra, thinking him worthy of respect, to sit upon the same carpet with him, should sit on a bed of dry grass behind some Kshatriya or Vaisya and give him respect in that fashion. (It may also mean: ‘regarding himself to be a fallen Brahmana, for the time being'). It is in this manner that he can be cleansed.

Listen, O king, to my words on this subject. The sin that a Brahmana commits in a single night by respectfully serving a member of a lower order or by sporting with him in the same spot or on the same bed, is cleansed by observing the practice of sitting behind a Kshatriya or a Vaisya on a bed of dry grass for three continuous years.

These five kinds of falsehood in speech are not sinful.

A falsehood spoken in jest is not sinful; nor one that is spoken to a woman. O king, nor one that is spoken on an occasion of marriage; nor one spoken for benefiting one’s preceptor; nor one spoken for saving one’s own life. These five kinds of falsehood in speech, it has been said, are not sinful.

One may acquire useful knowledge from even a person of low pursuits, with devotion and reverence. One may take up gold, without any scruple, from even an unclean place. A woman that is the ornament of her sex may be taken (for wife) from even a vile race. Amrita (drink that confers immortality), if extracted from poison, may be quaffed; women, jewels and other valuables, and water, can never, according to the scriptures, be impure or unclean.

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Expiation of sins

Eternal injunctions laid down for the expiation of sin

The five grave sins

For the benefit of Brahmanas and kine (Cows), and on occasions of transfusion of castes, even a Vaisya may take up weapons for his own safety. Drinking alcoholic liquors, killing a Brahmana, and the violation of the preceptor’s bed, are sins that, if committed consciously, have no expiation. The only expiation laid down for them is death. The same may be said of stealing gold and the theft of a Brahmana’s property. By drinking alcoholic liquors, by having congress with one with whom congress is prohibited, by mingling with a fallen person, and (a person of any of the other three orders) by having congress with a Brahmani (Brahmana woman), one becomes inevitably fallen. By mixing with a fallen person for one whole year in such matters as officiation in sacrifices and teaching sexual congress, one becomes fallen. One, however, does not become so by mixing with a fallen person in such matters as riding on the same vehicle, sitting on the same seat, and eating in the same line.

Excluding the five grave sins that have been mentioned above, all other sins have expiations provided for them. Expiating those sins according to the ordinances laid down for them, one should not again indulge in them. In the case of those who have been guilty of the first three of these five sins, (viz., drinking alcoholic liquors, killing a Brahmana, and violation of the preceptor'’ bed), there is no restriction for their (surviving) kinsmen about taking food and wearing ornaments, even if their funeral rites remain unperformed when they die. The surviving kinsmen should make no scruple about such things on such occasions. A virtuous man should, in the observance of his duties, discard his very friends and reverend seniors. In fact, until they perform expiation, they that are virtuous should not even talk with those sinners. A man that has acted sinfully destroys his sin by acting virtuously afterwards and by penances.

By calling a thief a thief, one incurs the sin of theft. By calling a person a thief who, however, is not a thief, one incurs a sin just double the sin of theft. The maiden who suffers her virginity to be deflowered incurs three-fourths of the sin of Brahmanicide (killing of Brahmana), while the man that deflowers her incurs a sin equal to a fourth part of that of Brahmanicide. By slandering Brahmanas or by striking them, one sinks in infamy for a hundred years. By killing a Brahmana one sinks into hell for a thousand years. No one, therefore, should speak ill of a Brahmana or slay him. If a person strikes a Brahmana with a weapon, he will have to live in hell for as many years as the grains of dust that are soaked by the blood flowing from the wounded. One guilty of foeticide (abortion) becomes cleansed if he dies of wounds received in battle fought for the sake of kine (cows) and Brahmanas. He may also be cleansed by casting his person on a blazing fire.

[Note: It should be noted that the word ‘foeticide’ used in such texts frequently means all sins that are regarded as equivalent to foeticide. Hence, killing a Brahmana is foeticide, etc.).

A drinker of alcoholic liquors becomes cleansed by drinking hot alcohol. His body being burnt with that hot drink, he is cleansed through death in the other world. A Brahmana stained by such a sin obtains regions of felicity by such a course and not by any other. For violating the bed of a preceptor, the wicked-souled and sinful wretch becomes cleansed by the death that results from embracing a heated female figure of iron. Or, cutting off his organ and testicles and bearing them in his hands, he should go on in a straight course towards the southwest and then cast off his life. Or, by meeting with death for the sake of benefiting a Brahmana, he may wash off his sin. Or, after performing a horse-sacrifice or a cow-sacrifice or an Agnishtoma, he may regain esteem both here and hereafter. The slayer of a Brahmana should practice the vow of Brahmacharya (celibacy) for twelve years and devoting himself to penances, wander, holding in his hands the skull of the slain all the time and proclaiming his sin unto all. He should even adopt such a course, devoted to penances and leading the life of an ascetic.

Even such is the expiation provided for one who slays a woman quick with child, knowing her condition. The man who knowingly slays such a woman incurs double the sin that follows from Brahmanicide. A drinker of alcoholic liquor should live on frugal fare, practising Brahmacharya (celibacy) vows, and sleep on the bare ground, and perform, for more than three years the sacrifice next to the Agnishtoma. He should then make a present of a thousand kine (cows) with one bull (unto a good Brahmana). Doing all this, he should regain his purity. Having slain a Vaisya one should perform such a sacrifice for two years and make a present of a hundred kine with one bull. Having slain a Sudra, one should perform such a sacrifice for one year and make a present of a hundred kine with one bull. Having slain a dog or bear or camel, one should perform the same penance that is laid down for the slaughter of a Sudra. For slaying a cat, a chasa, a frog, a crow, a reptile, or a rat, it has been said, one incurs the sin of animal slaughter, O king!

Minor sins

I shall now tell thee of other kinds of expiations in their order. For all minor sins one should repent or practise some vow for one year. For congress with the wife of a Brahmana conversant with the Vedas, one should for three years practise the vow of Brahmacharya (celibacy), taking a little food at the fourth part of the day. For congress with any other woman (who is not one’s wife), one should practise similar penance for two years. For taking delight in a woman’s company by sitting with her on the same spot or on the same seat, one should live only on water for three days. By doing this he may cleanse himself of his sin. The same is laid down for one who befouls a blazing fire (by throwing impure things on it).


He who without adequate cause, casts off his sire or mother or preceptor, surely becomes fallen, O thou of Kuru’s race, as the conclusion is of the scriptures. Only food and clothes should be given, as the injunction is, unto a wife guilty of adultery or one confined in a prison. Indeed, the vows that are laid down for a male person guilty of adultery should be caused to be observed by also a woman who is guilty of the same. That woman who abandoning a husband of a superior caste, has congress with a vile person (of a lower order), should be caused by the king to be devoured by dogs in a public place in the midst of a large concourse of spectators. A wise king should cause the male person committing adultery under such circumstances to be placed upon a heated bed of iron and then, placing faggots underneath, burn the sinner thereon. The same punishment, O king, is provided for the woman that is guilty of adultery.

The wicked sinner who does not perform expiation within a year of the commission of the sin incurs demerit that is double of what attaches to the original sin. One who associates with such a person for two years must wander over the earth, devoting himself to penances and living upon eleemosynary charity. One associated with a sinner for four years should adopt such a mode of life for five years.

If a younger brother weds before his elder brother, then the younger brother, the elder brother and the woman that is married, all three, in consequence of such wedding, become fallen. All of them should observe the vows prescribed for a person who has neglected his sacrificial fire, or practise the vow of Chandrayana for a month, or some other painful vow, for cleansing themselves of their sin. The younger brother, wedding, should give his wife unto his unmarried elder brother. Afterwards, having obtained the permission of the elder brother, the younger brother may take back his wife. By such means may all three be cleansed of their sin.

By slaying animals save a cow, the slayer is not stained. The learned know that man has dominion over all the lower animals. A sinner, holding in hand a yak-tail and an earthen pot, should go about, proclaiming his sin. He should every day beg of only seven families, and live upon what may be thus obtained. By doing this for twelve days he may be cleansed of his sin. He who becomes unable to bear in his hand the yak-tail while practising this vow, should observe the vow of mendicancy (as stated above) for one whole year. Amongst men such expiation is the best. For those that are able to practise charity, the practise of charity has been laid down in all such cases. Those who have faith and virtue may cleanse themselves by giving away only one cow.

One who eats or drinks the flesh, ordure, or urine, of a dog, a boar, a man, a cock, or a camel must have his investiture of the sacred thread re-performed. If a Soma-drinking Brahmana inhales the scent of alcohol from the mouth of one that has drunk it, he should drink warm water for three days, or warm milk for the same period. Or, drinking warm water for three days he should live for that period upon air alone. These are the eternal injunctions laid down for the expiation of sin, especially for a Brahmana who has committed these sins through ignorance and want of judgment.

Related articles: =

Foremost of all duties
Caste System
Celibacy (Brahmacharya)

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