Prayashcitta, Prāyaścitta: 31 definitions


Prayashcitta means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit term Prāyaścitta can be transliterated into English as Prayascitta or Prayashcitta, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

Alternative spellings of this word include Prayashchitta.

In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous next»] — Prayashcitta in Purana glossary
Source: Puranic Encyclopedia

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त).—In ancient Bhārata sacred injunctions existed about religious rites to be performed for the atonement of sins committed. The following are a few of them. (See full article at Story of Prāyaścitta from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

Source: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त) refers to “atonement (for sin)”, according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.2.20. Accordingly as Brahmā narrated to Nārada:—“[...] ashamed that I was, I repeatedly bowed to Him [Śiva] and after offering prayers spoke to Him again: ‘I may be excused. I may be excused’. ‘O lord, tell me the mode of atonement (prāyaścitta) for my sin. Even killing is justifiable. May my sin be removed thereby’”

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त).—Expiation: of no use to one not devoted to Nārāyaṇa.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 1. 11, 18.
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Dharmashastra (religious law)

Source: Shodhganga: The saurapurana - a critical study (dharma)

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त, “expiation”) represents an aspect of Dharmaśāstra, according to the 10th century Saurapurāṇa: one of the various Upapurāṇas depicting Śaivism.—The Upanisadic theory is that one must bear the consequences of all actions, good or evil. But sometimes an evil action is done without any previous thought; as for example when a man’s gun goes off by accident and somebody is killed or seriously injured. This led to a discussion in dharmaśāstras; as a result of which the doctrine of prāyaścitta (expiation) for sins was developed . In the Gautama-dharmasūtra (19.3-10) there is a discussion on this, which is probably the earliest clear exposition on expiations for sins.

Chapter-fifty two of Saurapurāṇa describes the prāyaścittas for various offences. [...] Rites concering the prāyaścittas proclaim the fact that all sins are pardonable if repented. The Saurapurāṇa states categorically that the cause of all prāyaścittas is repentance:—“Repentance is a virtue for it leads to the higher virtue of not committing a wrong again. The performance of expiatory rites relieves a person of the depressing thought that he is dammed for ever and makes him feel at ease to turn over a new life as if””.

Dharmashastra book cover
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Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

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Nirukta (Sanskrit etymology)

[«previous next»] — Prayashcitta in Nirukta glossary
Source: Shodhganga: The saurapurana - a critical study (nirukta)

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त) refers to “expiation” (viz., of sins or pātaka).—Most digest and commentaries derive the word prāyaścitta relying on a verse attributed to Aṅgiras , from prāya meaning “tapas” and citta meaning “resolve” or “firm belief”. The idea being that prāyaścittas are so called because of their association with or emergence from a resolve to undergo tapas or because of the firm belief that it will be a means of the removal of sin.

Hemādri refers to an unnamed Bhāṣyakāra’s explanation viz. prāya means “destruction” and citta means “joining together” and hence prāyaścitta means the “making good what is lost” and that the word denotes a naimittika action on sin.

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Nirukta (निरुक्त) or “etymology” refers to the linguistic analysis of the Sanskrit language. This branch studies the interpretation of common and ancient words and explains them in their proper context. Nirukta is one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas.

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Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

[«previous next»] — Prayashcitta in Vaishnavism glossary
Source: Pure Bhakti: Brhad Bhagavatamrtam

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त) refers to:—Atonement. (cf. Glossary page from Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta).

Vaishnavism book cover
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Vaishnava (वैष्णव, vaiṣṇava) or vaishnavism (vaiṣṇavism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Vishnu as the supreme Lord. Similar to the Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, Vaishnavism also developed as an individual movement, famous for its exposition of the dashavatara (‘ten avatars of Vishnu’).

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

[«previous next»] — Prayashcitta in Shaktism glossary
Source: Google Books: Manthanabhairavatantram

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त) refers to the “atonement for sin”, according to Tantric texts such as the Kubjikāmata-tantra, the earliest popular and most authoritative Tantra of the Kubjikā cult.—Accordingly, “Just as the atonement (prāyaścitta) (for sin) is said (to take place) in the Kula tradition (by means of) Trikhaṇḍā, in the same way, those who know the truth should do (the same) by means of (Kubjikā’s Vidyā consisting of) thirty-two syllables”.

Source: Addaiyan Journal of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences: Tantra Literature of Kerala- Special Reference to Mātṛsadbhāva

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त) refers to one of the topics dealt with in the Mātṛsadbhāva, one of the earliest Śākta Tantras from Kerala.—Mātṛsadbhāva is a Kerala Tantric ritual manual dealing with the worship of Goddess Bhadrakālī (also known as Rurujit) along with sapta-mātṛs or Seven mothers. The text is believed to be the first Śākta worship text from Kerala. The text is a summary of Southern Brahmayāmala texts and it systematizes and organizes the Yāmala cult of mothers in twenty-eight chapters. The text includes the topics such as [e.g., prāyaścitta, ...] The Mātṛsadbhāva was written based on the South Indian version of Brahmayālatantra. [...]

Shaktism book cover
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Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

[«previous next»] — Prayashcitta in Shaivism glossary
Source: Google books: Genesis and Development of Tantra

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त) refers to “ expiation of ritual defects” and represents one of the various objectives expected of the Kāmyeṣṭis (“Vedic rituals following the basic pattern of the new and full-moon sacrifice”).—There is a certain group of Vedic rituals which are referred to as “kāmya”. Those which are performed following the basic pattern of the new and full-moon sacrifice are called kāmyeṣṭi. [...] According to the analysis of W. Caland, the objectives expected of the kāmyeṣṭis are: [e.g., expiation of ritual defects (prāyaścitta)] [...], etc. (Cf. Caland 1908: VI–VII). Although Vedic rituals were a reliable way for the people of ancient India to fulfill their objectives, Tantric rites too claim to bring about the attainment of wishes.

Source: Open Editions: The architectural teachings of Ajitagama and Rauravagama

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त) or Prāyaścittavidhi [=prāyaścittavidhiḥ] is the name of chapter 73 of the Kriyāpāda of the Ajitāgama, an important Śaiva Siddhānta treatises dealing with detailed descriptions of the architecture of Śiva temples.

Source: eScholarship: The descent of scripture: a history of the Kamikagama

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त) refers to “expiation rites” (for all manner of transgressions), according to the Kāmikāgama: an ancient Śaiva Āgama scripture in 12,000 Sanskrit verses dating to at least the 5th century and represented as an encyclopedic account of ritual instructions (kriyāpāda).—In modern print editions, the Kāmika-āgama is structured in two major parts. The Uttarabhāga consists of 98 chapters (paṭalas) [...] The content of Chapters 30 to 34 is somewhat more heterogeneous. In Chapter 30, the longest chapter of the Uttarabhāga, we find a detailed treatment of expiation rites (prāyaścitta) for all manner of transgressions. Chapter 31 describes pacificatory rites to avert evil effects of supernatural or extraordinary occurences.

Shaivism book cover
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Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

[«previous next»] — Prayashcitta in Hinduism glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त) is a Sanskrit word referring to “atonement for sinful acts”.

Source: Vedic index of Names and Subjects

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त) or Prāyaścitti denotes a ‘penance’ or ‘expiation’, both words occurring frequently in the later Saṃhitās and the Brāhmaṇas. The penances are prescribed for every conceivable sort of ritual, social or moral; a complete list of them is included in the Sāmavidhāna-brāhmaṇa.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त) is the Sanskrit word which means “atonement, penance, expiation”. It refers to one of the corrective measures in dharmaśāstra as an alternative to incarceration or other forms of daṇḍa (punishment) when someone is convicted of certain categories of crimes. The word is also used in Hindu texts to refer to actions to expiate one’s errors or sins, such as adultery by a married person.

In Jainism

Jain philosophy

Source: Anekanta Jaya Pataka of Haribhadra Suri

Prayaścitta (प्रयश्चित्त) refers to the “ expiation of sin”, as mentioned in the Anekāntajayapatākā-prakaraṇa, a Śvetāmbara Jain philosophical work written by Haribhadra Sūri.—[Cf. Vol. II, P. 225, l. 6]

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General definition (in Jainism)

[«previous next»] — Prayashcitta in Jainism glossary
Source: Trisastisalakapurusacaritra

Prayaścitta (प्रयश्चित्त) refers to “confession and penance” and represents a characteristic of six-fold inner penance: one of the two kinds of tapas, according to chapter 1.1 [ādīśvara-caritra] of Hemacandra’s 11th century Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacaritra: an ancient Sanskrit epic poem narrating the history and legends of sixty-three illustrious persons in Jainism. Accordingly, in the sermon of Sūri Dharmaghoṣa:—“[...] that is called penance (tapas) that burns away karma. Outer penance is fasting, etc., and inner is confession and penance, etc. [...] Confession and penance (prayaścitta), service to others (vaiyāvṛtta), study of sacred texts (svādhyāya), reverence (vinaya), indifference to the body (vyutsarga), good meditation (śubhadhyāna) are the sixfold inner penance”.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 6: Influx of karmas

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त).—The word prāya means ‘flaw /error/ transmigression’ and citta means ‘purification’. Therefore the word repentance (prāyascitta) means purification from the flaws / transmigressions.

How many types of expiation (prāyaścitta) are there? Expiation is of nine types namely;

  1. criticise (ālocanā),
  2. repentance (pratikramaṇa),
  3. twofold (tadubhaya),
  4. discrimination (viveka),
  5. giving up attachment to the body (vyutsarga),
  6. penance (tapas),
  7. suspension (cheda),
  8. expulsion (parihāra),
  9. re-initiation (upasthāpanā).
Source: OpenEdition books: Vividhatīrthakalpaḥ

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त) refers to “expiation”, and represents a Jaina technical term mentioned in the Vividhatīrthakalpa by Jinaprabhasūri (13th century A.D.): an ancient text devoted to various Jaina holy places (tīrthas).

Source: The University of Sydney: A study of the Twelve Reflections

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त) refers to “atonement”, according to the 11th century Jñānārṇava, a treatise on Jain Yoga in roughly 2200 Sanskrit verses composed by Śubhacandra.—Accordingly, “In that regard, external asceticism is declared to be of six kinds beginning with fasting while internal [asceticism] is also of [six] kinds on account of the divisions beginning with atonement (prāyaścitta). Hardship of the limbs of the body is excellent in respect of the divisions beginning with fasting. Internal [asceticism] in the form of meditation is excellent in respect of the divisions beginning with atonement”.

General definition book cover
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit dictionary

[«previous next»] — Prayashcitta in Sanskrit glossary
Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त).—f.

1) Atonement, expiation, indemnification, a religious act to atone for sin; न संसर्गं व्रजेत् सद्भिः प्रायश्चित्तेऽकृते द्विजः (na saṃsargaṃ vrajet sadbhiḥ prāyaścitte'kṛte dvijaḥ) Manusmṛti 11.47; मातुः पापस्य भरतः प्रायश्चित्तमिवाकरोत् (mātuḥ pāpasya bharataḥ prāyaścittamivākarot) R.12.19. (prāyo nāma tapaḥ proktaṃ cittaṃ niścaya ucyate | taponiścayasaṃyogāt prāyaścittamitīryate || Hemādri).

2) Satisfaction, amends (in general).

Derivable forms: prāyaścittam (प्रायश्चित्तम्).

See also (synonyms): prāyaścitti.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त).—m.

(-ttaḥ) Expiation, penance. E. prāya sin, citta or citti reflection, and suṭ aug.; hence also prāyaścitti f. (-tiḥ) .

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त).—i. e. prāyas -citta, n. 1. Penance, [Mānavadharmaśāstra] 2, 221; [Pañcatantra] i. [distich] 307. 2. Expiation, [Mānavadharmaśāstra] 9, 236; [Pañcatantra] 207, 17. 3. Punishment, [Hitopadeśa] ii. [distich] 172.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त).—[neuter] tti [feminine] expiation, atonement, amends.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Aufrecht Catalogus Catalogorum

1) Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त) as mentioned in Aufrecht’s Catalogus Catalogorum:—See Agnihotraprāyaścitta, Yajñaprāyaścitta, Śrautaprāyaścitta.
—Āpast. Bp. 290 (sāmānya).
—Āśval. L. 1576.
—Baudh. Proceed. Asb. 1869, 139.
—Hiraṇyak. B. 1, 196.
—[commentary] by Gaṇeśa Somayājin. Bp. 290.
—[commentary] by Mahādeva Somayājin. Bp. 290.

2) Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त):—Āśval. by Ananta. B. 1, 156.
—Āśval. by Govinda. B. 1, 156.

3) Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त):—L.. 585.
—Av. Tb. 213.
—Āśval. by Ananta. Cs 2, 197.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त):—[=prāyaś-citta] [from prāyaś > prāya] n. (prāyaś-; ‘predominant thought’ or ‘thought of death’ cf. [Pāṇini 6-1, 157 [Scholiast or Commentator]]) atonement, expiation, amends, satisfaction, [Śatapatha-brāhmaṇa; Gṛhya-sūtra and śrauta-sūtra; Manu-smṛti; Mahābhārata] ([v, 1086] as m.) etc.

2) [v.s. ...] Name of sub voce works.

3) [v.s. ...] mfn. relating to atonement or expiation, expiatory, [ṢaḍvBr.]

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Yates Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त):—[prāya-ścitta] (ttaḥ) 1. m. Expiation.

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary (S)

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit word: Pāyacchitta.

[Sanskrit to German]

Prayashcitta in German

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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Kannada-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Prayashcitta in Kannada glossary
Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Prāyaścitta (ಪ್ರಾಯಶ್ಚಿತ್ತ):—[noun] a making amends or reparation (for a sin, wrongdoing etc.); atonement.

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Kannada is a Dravidian language (as opposed to the Indo-European language family) mainly spoken in the southwestern region of India.

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