The Shiva Purana (English translation)

by J. L. Shastri | 1970 | 616,585 words

This page relates “different types of sins (papa)” as found in the Shiva-purana, which, in Hinduism, represents one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. This work eulogizes Lord Shiva as the supreme deity, besides topics such as cosmology and philosophy. It is written in Sanskrit and claims to be a redaction of an original text consisting of 100,000 metrical verses.

Chapter 6 - Different types of sins (pāpa)

Note: For the comparison of the Principal and subsidiary sins as mentioned in the previous and present chapters, see Manu Ch. 11. The treatment of the subject in ŚP is more elaborate.

Sanatkumāra said:—

1. Removal of a brahmin’s money, transgressor of the rules of inheritance, too much of arrogance, great fury, false prestige, ingratitude.

2. Debauchery, miserliness, malice towards good men illicit approach to another man’s wife, defiling the virgins of good men.

3 Parivitti (the elder brother who is not married but who has allowed the younger brother to marry); Parivettṛ (the younger brother who marries thus); Giving daughters to these two or allowing them to officiate in sacrifices.

4. The spoilation of flowers and trees around the temple of Śiva; even the slightest injury to the people in the hermitage.

5. The theft of cattle, grain, wealth etc. of the family of servants, theft of base metals, food-grains and milch cattle, dirtying of waters.

6. Selling of sacrificial parks and ponds, wives and children, pilgrimages and fasts, sacred rites and investiture with sacred thread.

7. Dependence on dowry, servitude to women, nonprotection of the womenfolk, carrying on affairs with women through fraudulent means.

8. Non-return of time-barred debts, taking grain as interest, acceptance of monetary gift from a despicable person, deceitful life through merchandise.

9. Using bullock constantly as a vehicle through wild jungles, Uccātana (exorcising) and Abhicāra (black magic) acceptance of grains as gift, working as a physician.

10. Engagement in sacred rites to satisfy the palate or the sexual urge, teaching only the text of the Vedas (not the meaning).

11. Eschewing of Brahma and other Vratas and adoption of the modes and customs, learning of spurious holy lore, engagement in hair-splitting arguments.

12. Censuring gods, fire-god, preceptors and virtuous men openly and the kings and his officers indirectly.

13. Those who have ceased to perform sacrifices to the gods and the manes, those who have abandoned their duties and rites, persons of evil conduct, atheists, sinners, and habitual liars.

14. He who indulges in sexual intercourse during new moon and Tull moon days during day time, or in the vaginal passages of animals, or through other passages or emits semen in water, or cohabits with a woman in her monthly course.

15. Those who shatter the hopes of obtaining wives, sons and friends; those who speak displeasing words; ruthless persons and those who break agreements.

16. Those who damage or demolish lakes, wells or water causeways; he who serves different kinds of food among persons sitting in the same row.

17. The foregoing are some of the minor sins. Men or women guilty of the same are minor sinners, I shall mention some others also. Listen.

18. Those who cause injury to cows, brahmins, virgins, master, friends or ascetics are sure to go to hell.

19. Those who undergo agony due to another man’s wife; those who have an eye on another man’s wealth; those who steal that and those who make use of false weights.

20. Those who cause misery to brahmins by means of kicks and blows; the brahmins who serve Śūdra women and drink wine due to passion.

21. Those who are cruel and engaged in sinful acts; those who are fond of violence and those who perform Dāna, Yajña and other rites as a profession for livelihood.

22. Those who evacuate their bowels in cowpens, streets, near water and fire, shades of trees, mountains, parks and temples.

23. Those who are engaged in drinking bouts in hermitages and palaces; those who are in search of weak points in others; those who are in association with others.

24. Those who block roads by means of bamboos, bricks, logs of wood, horns or poles and those who violate the boundaries of others’ fields.

25. Those who make counterfeit documents, those who are engaged in fraudulent activities, those who indulge in fraud in dealing in food and clothing and in law suits.

26. The maker, buyer and seller of bows, weapons and darts, he who is merciless to servants and he who ill-treats animals.

27. He who listens slowly to the words of liars, who is traitor to masters, friends and teachers, a cheat, a fickle-minded and a rogue

28. Those who leave their wives, sons, friends, children, the aged, lean and sick persons, servants, guests and kinsmen hungry but take food themselves.

29. He who sumptuously feeds himself on delicacies but does not give anything to brahmins, shall be known as Vṛthāpāka (a man of fruitless cooking). He is despised by those who propound Brahman.

30. Those who voluntarily decide to perform certain rites with self-imposed checks and restraints but leave them off because they have not conquered their sense-organs; those who renounce but again come back to householder’s life; breakers of the idols of Śiva.

31. Cruel persons who beat cows and bulls; suppress them; do not feed them properly and let them alone weak and feeble.

32. Those who ill-treat bullocks with weighty burden; those who make them draw heavily-laden carts; those who do not let them off free for leisure.

33. Those who do not rear cows and bullocks properly, let them starve; ill treat them with heavy burdens; do not treat their wounds and bruises are called the killers of cows. They are sure to fall into hell.

34. The most sinful persons who castrate bulls by squeezing out their scrotum and those who make heifers draw carts are great sinners sure to fall into hell.

35-36. Those fools who do not take pity oft guests, helpless persons, independent casual guests, children, old men, emaciated and sick persons overwhelmed by hunger, thirst and weariness and desirous of food surely go to hell.

37. The assets of a man take leave of him at the house itself as the kinsmen do at the cremation ground but his merits and sins follow wherever he goes.

38. The base brahmin who rears goats, sheep and buffaloes and who marries a Śūdra woman and who lives on fishing etc. is a Śudra. If he follows the occupation of a Kṣattriya he is sure to go to hell.

39. Sculptors, blacksmiths, physicians, goldsmiths and royal pretenders and deceitful servants are sure to go to hell.

40. The king who imposes improper taxes out of his own will and takes undue delight in punishment is tortured in hell.

41. The king whose subjects are harassed in the following way is tortured in hell. The way they are harassed may be due to bribery, favouritism of the officers and robbery.

42. There is no doubt that the brahmins who take monetary gifts from an unjust king fall into terrible hells.

43. The king who confiscates the properties of brahmins unjustly and passes them on to others certainly falls into hell.

44. Sin accrues to the fierce robbers ānd to those cohabiting with other men’s wives. It accrues to the king who indulges in amorous sports with other’s women.

45. If the king does not discriminate between a nonthief and a thief and kills the wrong person he is sure to fall in hell.

46-49. If people steal even a small quantity of these things they will fall into hell—ghee, oil, food and drink, honey, flesh, wine, toddy, jaggery, sugarcane, vegetables, milk, curds, roots, fruits, grass, firewood, leaves, flowers, medicine, shoes, umbrella, cart, seat, water-pot, copper, tin, lead, weapon, conch, and aquatic products, medicinal concoctions, bamboo, household articles, etc. Those who steal coarse or fine clothes out of greed fall into hell.

50. There are other similar things the stealing of which even in small quantities causes fall into hell.

51. There is no doubt that stealing another man’s possession, whatever it is, be it of the size of mustard seed, causes fall into hell.

52. By these sins the man after his death is born as a serpent for suffering the tortures.

53. At the behest of Yama the sinners go to the world of Yama in their bodies, which are dragged by Yama’s terrible emissaries and are subjected to grief.

54. Yama is the chastiser of all gods, human beings and animals engaged in evil practices. He chastises them by inflicting diverse terrible punishments.

55. For those who regularly observe restraints and disciplined life but who err slightly due to oversight, the preceptor is the chastiser through expiatory rites and not Yama as explained by learned men.

56. The king is the chastiser for outragers of others’ wives and thieves and unjust persons. But for those who are hidden Yama is the chastiser.

57. Hence one should perform expiatory rites for the commission of sins. If the sin is not consumed it will not perish even in hundreds of crores of Kalpas.

58. If the action is by oneself or through one’s incitement or instigation or if it is applauded by one later, physically, mentally or verbally he reaps the fruit of the sin.