Lalitopakhyana (Lalita Mahatmya)

by G.V. Tagare | 1958 | 103,924 words | ISBN-10: 8120838246 | ISBN-13: 9788120838246

This page describes narration of sexual crimes (agamyagamana) which is Chapter 8 of the Lalitopakhyana (or Lalita-Mahatmya), an important scripture within Shaktism embedded as the final part in the Brahmanda-Purana. It is presented in the form of a dialogue between sage Agastya and Hayagriva, which is incarnation of Vishnu and also includes the Lalita Sahasranama.

Chapter 8 - Narration of sexual crimes (agamyāgamana)

Note: This is chapter 3 in N.

Indra said:

1. What is Agamyāgamana? (carnally approaching a forbidden woman). What is its defect? What is the means of expiation? O noble sage, it behoves you to explain this in detail to me.

Bṛhaspati said:

2. One’s own mother, sister, wife of the preçeptor and the wife of one’s maternal uncle—if one carnally approaches any of these, there is no means of expiation (for this sin).

3. The sin in carnally approaching one’s sister is the same as in the case of contact with one’s mother. The same is the result in contacting the wife of the preceptor. And the preceptors are of various types.

4. Beginning with Brahmopadeśa. (i.e. imparting the Gāyatrī Mantra) and ending with (the exposition) of the Vedanta philosophy, if everything is taught by one person alone, he is called Mahāguru (Great preceptor).

5. If Brahmopadeśa is imparted by one and the Vedas and Śāstras arc imparted by another or a number of other persons, the former should be known as Ācārya and each of the latter a Deśika.

6. If one carnally approaches the Guru’s wife, it is the ruin of his soul. If the wife of Ācārya is defiled, one should perform Kṛcchra and Atikṛcchra rites for twelve years, each of them lasting for six years.

7-8. If a beloved of the maternal uncle is approached, one should perform Kṛcchra rite for six years. If a Brāhmaṇa ap proaches a young woman of his own caste, he should observe fast for three nights and perform a hundred Prāṇāyāmas. If the woman of his caste is a harlot he becomes pure (by observing fast) for three nights.[1]

9-10. (He becomes pure) in five days after the contact with a Kṣatriya woman and in seven days after the contact with a Vaiśya woman. If one approaches any of the women of oilmongers, Kirātas, fishermen, labourers etc., the purity can be regained in twelve days or by worshipping Dharāśakti (the Śakti of Earth). If a Brāhmaṇa approaches a Śūdra or a Cāṇḍāla woman by mistake, he can become pure in a year.

11. Dāsī (a slave, harlot) is of four types: Devadāsī, Brahmadāsī, Svatantrā[2] (independent) and Śūdradāsikā. The first two are on a par with a Kṣatriya woman.

12. The other woman is equal to a prostitute and the next one like a woman of the lowest caste. If a Brāhmaṇa, out of delusion approaches his woman-slave, he shall acquire sin in the matter under reference.

13-14. If any one indulges in sexual contact with his own wife during the period of menstruation, he should perform the Prājāpatya rite. If she is another man’s wife, the observance of the rite shall be twice as much. If she is a Kṣatriya woman, it shall be four times as much. If she is a Vaiśya woman, it shall be eight times. If she is a Śūdra woman, it shall be sixteen times as much. If she is of a mixed caste, it (the expiation) shall be thirty-two times. If she is a harlot, the expiation is the same as in the case of a Śūdra woman.

15. If a person, out of delusion, desires to cohabit with his wife during her monthly course, he shall become purified (after the act) only by taking bath, wearing new clothes and performing expiatory rites mentioned before.

16. After fasting for the remaining part of the day, he should take bath and perform religious rites. In the case of sexual contact with other women also, everything should be performed similarly.

17. If a person cohabits with a virgin without the legitimate marital rites, but with the permission of her parents, he shall become purified by observing fast for three nights. Further, he must marry only that girl.

18. If any one cohabits with a virgin given in marriage to another, he becomes purified after a quarter of the day.[3] If anyone carnally approaches a virgin with the permission of her parents he becomes purified in half a day.[4]

19. If a person with the knowledge of his parents cohabits with a girl for a month even when she is a virgin, he should be known as a Vṛṣala (Śūdra) excommunicated in all religious rites.

20. If a woman is married by one but another man cohabits with her with the knowledge of the parents, and if the second man dies, the woman does not become a widow. She can go over to the first man.

21. But she must get blessings of Brāhmaṇas and perform marital rites. Rites of renunciation[5] (?) should be performed So also the rites laid down in Śrutis, Smṛtis etc.

22. If a woman is at first married to a person but she is given to another by her father on the death of that man, she then becomes a mere tool in the hands of that man desirous of enjoyment of pleasures. She is not worthy of taking part in any holy rite.

23. The entire universe consisting of the mobile and immobile beings, beginning with Brahmā and ending with an ant, is said to be evolved out of the five elements and is endowed with four instincts.

24-27. They (the instincts) are concerned with food, copulation, sleep and fear. They exist for ever. (Partially defective text). Without food the creature cannot exist but food incites passion. Hence, passion is difficult to avoid, in the case of living beings. The creator of the universe made it in the forms of man and woman and through Cupid (God of love and passion) caused the activity of the nature of creation, sustenance and destruction. If Cupid is active, the whole universe is active and if he recedes it gets dissolved.

Listen, I shall now mention the secret means whereby those who are not endowed with knowledge and intellect can attain salvation by means of activity alone.

28-32. (Mantra)—“Vāsudeva is identical with every thing. He is the ancient Puruṣa. This Lakṣmī is the original Prakṛti, the mother of the entire universe. For the satisfaction of five elements in each churning sexual intercourse is being carried out.” If the sexual indulgence is after repeating this Mantra, both of them become persons of holy rites. There is no sin in their case.

This is in regard to those who have the power of penance. In the case of ordinary persons, downfall alone is in store. Further, this is in the case of one’s own wife. Since fate is more powerful than they (?)

If the hearts of both have mutual identity, since the-minds of both melt with devotion to the goddess, there is no sin in their case too, if the act is not committed on prohibited days.

33-34. (Mantra)—“This is Ambā, the mother of the universe. This man is Sadāśiva. For the pleasure of twenty-five principles, it is being churned now”. If the churning is carried out with this Mantra, both of them become meritorious in their deeds, due to the power of this Mantra. There is no-sin in their case.

35. Listen to this, O Devendra. This is the greatest secret. It is the destroyer of all sins simultaneously.

36. One should be endowed with devotion and faith. After taking bath he should stand under water. Thereafter, he shall repeat Pañcadaśākṣarī[6] Mantra a thousand and eight times.

37. By propitiating Parāśakti, one gets liberated from all sins. Thereby the sins committed in the course of ten million Kalpas perish. He gets rid of all calamities and obtains all ambitions.”

Discussion about prohibited things:

Indra requested:[7]

38. “O Holy lord, conversant with all holy rites and pious activities, O holy sage, engaged in the welfare of all livings beings, it behoves you to recount the special features of the sin due to contact.

Bṛhaspati said:

39. “The sin due to contact is mentioned to be of four kinds: Kartā (the perpetrator) is the most important one. The others in due order are Sahokṛt (collaborator), Nimitta (instigator) and Anumata (abettor).

40. The sin of these shall be thus: that of the latter is one-tenth of the preceding one. One’s purity is in accordance with the manner mentioned before.

41-43a. The sin of the people selling the following things[8] becomes reduced to the tenth from the earlier to the later in the order in which they are mentioned:—

Liquor, the flesh of an animal killed with a poisoned weapon, gum resin, mushroom, onion, garlic, wrightia antidysenteria, a gourd called Mahākauśītakī, fruit of Momordica monadelpha, fungus (Mushroom of coloured variety), a drug called Hastinī, a plant called Śiśulambikā Ficus Religiasa, the egg plant (the fruit of), the clearing nut plant, the wood apple, jasmine.

43b-45. The sin of taking food supplied by these people becomes reduced to the tenth from the earlier to the later in the order in which they are mentioned, viz.: One who sells (plots or buildings) forming part of a city or a village, the (implements etc.) of a Vaiśya, the articles presented to prostitutes, a servant, a citizen, a person staying in a remote village, a person of bad repute, a physician, a forest dweller, a Śaivite, a pimp, a person who sells cooked food, a person who maintains himself by dealing in weapons, a recluse and a person who censures Vedic conduct of life.

46-49. If one independently takes in an edible fried in oil, one shall point out the sin mentioned therein. He shall point out that the thing seen by them alone and eaten by them is free from sin.[9]

If one eats without being seen by others edibles fried in oil and cooked food belonging to Brāhmaṇas, Kṣatriyas, Vaiśyas and Śūdras the sin shall be one-fourth (?)

If a Brāhmaṇa eats the food prepared by his female slave and seen by her, the sin is half. If the cooked food is seen by a Veśyā (harlot) the sin is three-fourths. The cooked food of a cowherd, except the four milk products, shall be on a par with that of a Śūdra woman. The cooked food prepared in oil or ghee or mixed with jaggery taken from a Vaiśya does not become defiled.

50-52. A fallen Brāhmaṇa woman is on a par with a Vaiśya woman. There is no harm if the food is seen by her. If a Brāhmaṇa eats the food of a Bruva (Brāhmaṇa-impostor, a pretender) he shall perform a hundred Prāṇāyāmas. Or he shall repeat Drupadād Mantra (AV. 6.115.2-3) three times under water. Or he shall repeat Idaṃ Viṣṇu etc. (RV. 1-22-17) or Tryambakam etc. (RV. 7-59-12) under water. By observing fast for a night, he shall become free from sin.

53-54. Or he shall repeat the Annasūkta or the Mantra Bhṛgurvai vāruṇi. (Tait Up. III-1.1) and sprinkle water over the food repeating the Pāvamānika Mantras. He shall then repeat the verse Brahmārpaṇam etc. (Bhagavad Gītā IV. 24) observing holy rites. By observing fast for a night, he shall become pure.

55. If a woman eats the food of a Bruva etc., she shall feed Brāhmaṇas for a day. If a Brāhmaṇa takes their food in an emergency, he is not defiled thereby.

56. If a person takes food inspired seven times by the mantra Idaṃ Viṣṇu etc. (RV. 1-22-17) and meditates over it with the idea “I am He”, he shall not become defiled.

57. Or he shall meditate on Śaṅkara, repeat the Mantra Tryambakam etc. (RV. 7-59-12) and meditate over it with the idea “I am He”, he does not become defiled.

58-59. Listen, O Devendra, to these secret words of mine. One shall meditate upon goddess Parā Śakti, repeat Pañcadaśākṣarī Mantra and take food after dedicating the same to her. If he repeats this everyday, that Brāhmaṇa will never have the sin from the defect of food. He need not be afraid of poverty.

60-61. He need not fear sickness nor enemies. If he repeats the Mantra, he shall attain salvation. Everywhere and at all times he shall meet with auspiciousness.

Thus, O Śakra, the details regarding sins have been explained to you. So also means of atonement for them. What else do you wish to hear?

Footnotes and references:


N. reads dvirātrāt ‘for two nights.’


svadāsī—‘personal Dāsī’ in N.


The Text N. shows that our text has mixed up some lines. The N. text reads differently:

Kanyāgantā pitroranujñayā sārdhaṃ tridinena viśudhyati /

“A person going to a girl given to another but with the permission of the parents, becomes purified in three days”.


In N. this line is preceded by the line: ekena saṅgatām jñātvā yo’nyasmai pratiyacchati

The person who has full knowledge that his daughter goes with a certain person and still gives her in marriage to another should be known as a Vṛṣala (Śūdra) and be excommunicated in all religious rites.


N. reads: tayā karmāṇi “she should be made to perform rites prescribed in. Śrutis and Smṛtis.


The esoteric fifteen-lettered mantra of Parāśakti is: Ha Sa Ka La Hrīm Ha Sa Ka Ha La Hrim Sa Ka La Hrī.


The remaining chapter discusses the last Mahāpātaka viz association with those who have committed one of the Mahāpātakas. As in the case of incest, Smṛtis like Manu XI. 181, Yāj III 261 etc. have prescribed different penances for such sinners but there is no unanimity among them.


VV. 41-45. list the prohibited things for sale.


VV. 46-59 throw light on complex social situation in ancient India and the superstition of pollution by sight.

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