Prayashcitta, Prāyaścitta: 21 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

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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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

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

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 (“lives of the 63 illustrious persons”): a Sanskrit epic poem narrating the history and legends of sixty-three important 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 mentioned in the Vividhatīrthakalpa by Jinaprabhasūri (13th century A.D.): an ancient text devoted to various Jaina holy places (tīrthas).

General definition book cover
context information

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) Ms.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.]

[Sanskrit to German] (Deutsch Wörterbuch)

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Böhtlingk and Roth Grosses Petersburger Wörterbuch

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त):—1. (prāyas + citta) n. [Pāṇini’s acht Bücher 6, 1, 157, Scholiast] Gutmachung, Genugthuung, Ersatz, Sühnung, Busse [The Śatapathabrāhmaṇa 12, 4, 1, 6.] [Śāṅkhāyana’s Brāhmaṇa 5, 9.] ttāhuti [6, 12.] [Ṣaḍviṃśabrāhmaṇa 1, 6.] [Aśvalāyana’s Śrautasūtrāni 1, 1.] tteṣṭi [3, 13. 6, 8. 8, 12.] [GṚHY. 1, 10.] [Kātyāyana’s Śrautasūtrāṇi 1, 2, 19. 8, 11. 4, 3, 15. 7, 5, 10. 25, 1, 10.] vidhyaparādhe prāyaścittam [Śāṅkhāyana’s Śrautasūtrāṇi 3, 19, 1.] [GOBH. 1, 9, 16. 2, 5, 2.] [Manu’s Gesetzbuch 1, 116. 2, 221. 9, 236. 240. 10, 131. 11, 45. fgg. 53. 129. 186. 192.] [Yājñavalkya’s Gesetzbuch 1, 315. 3, 220.] [Arjunasamāgama 5, 7.] [Rāmāyaṇa 1, 8, 14. 18, 23. 61, 8. 6, 82, 121.] [ŚĀṆḌ. 74.] [Suśruta 1, 10, 8. 21, 18.] [Spr. 2500. 2623.] [Raghuvaṃśa 12, 19.] [Rājataraṅgiṇī 5, 255.] [Bhāgavatapurāṇa] in [Viṣṇupurāṇa 42, Nalopākhyāna 21.] [Prabodhacandrodaja 18, 9.] masc. [Mahābhārata 5, 1086.] prāyo nāma tapaḥ proktaṃ cittaṃ niścaya ucyate . tapo niścayasaṃyuktaṃ prāyaścittamiti smṛtam .. [AṄGIRAS im Śabdakalpadruma] prāyaścittatattva ( [Bibliothecae sanskritae 470]), muktāvalī ( [HALL. 176]), pradīpa ( [HALL 192]), prāyaścittoddyota ( [HALL. 175]), prayoga [?(Weber’s Verzeichniss No. 1152. 1156. fgg.]), mayūkha ( [ebend. No. 1147]), vidhi (ebend. [No. 1149. fgg.]). viveka (ebend. [No. 1148]), vivekodaya (ebend. [No. 1403]) Titel von Schriften.

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Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त):—2. (vom vorherg.) adj. in der Sühnung inbegriffen, zur Sühnung gehörig: etāni sarvāṇīndradevatyānyadbhutāni prāyaścittāni [Ṣaḍviṃśabrāhmaṇa 5, 3.]

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Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त):—1. , dīpikā f. Titel einer Schrift [Oxforder Handschriften 370,a, No. 213.] ratna n. desgl. [277,b,25.]

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Sanskrit-Wörterbuch in kürzerer Fassung

Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त):—1. n.

1) Gutmachung , Genugthuung , Ersatz , Sühne , Busse , Einmal m. (metrisch). —

2) Titel eines Werkes [Private libraries (Gustav) 1.] Desgleichen grantha m. ([ebend.]

1925) , kāṇḍa ([ebend.]) , tattva n. , dīpikā f. , paddhati f. ([Private libraries (Gustav) 1]), pradīpa m. , prayoga m. , mayūkha m. , mādhavīya n. ([Private libraries (Gustav) 1]), muktāvalī f. , ratna n. , vidhi m. , viveka m. , vivekodaya m. , śatadvayī f. ([Private libraries (Gustav) 1]), saṃgraha m. ([ebend.]) , sārāvali f. ([ebend.]) , ttādhikāra m. ([ebend.]) , ttenduśekhara m. ([ebend.]) und ttoddyota m.

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Prāyaścitta (प्रायश्चित्त):—2. Adj. in der Sühne inbegriffen , zur S. gehörig.

context information

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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