Home Page > Articles (Oct 2009) > Anubhashya

for PURIFICATION to be observed

Author: Shri D Prahaladacharya [Kannada Edition]
Transalated by: Shri NAPS Rao




This is observed for 10 days from the date of delivery. The majority of the Dharma shashthrakaras enjoin that the father and stepmothers should also observe untouchability till they take bath, while the mother will observe it for the full 10 days. Other SAPINDA relations may not observe untouchability, but will not be eligible to perform religious duties. The author of Shathashloki says that untouchability should be observed for 10 days even by the father and 4 days by the sapinda relatives.

It is also enjoined that persons observing untouch-ability for different reasons will not touch each other and should perform atonement (Prayaschittha), if they do so unwittingly.
The mother should also observe after the first 10 days, impurity conventions for 20 days (for the birth of a male child) or 30 days (for a girl), when she should not take part in religious duties. During this period, the husband is forbidden to touch her. She should also not be seen or heard by others, while taking food, during the first 10 days. When twins are born, all the above conventions observed by the mother for the first 10 days should be observed by the father also. If any person other than a sapinda relation, inadvertently touches either of them, he should take SACHELA bath (with all the clothes on). If they are touched deliberately, the atonement is a sachela bath followed by AGNISPARSHA (touching fire) and GHRITHAPRASHANA (partaking of ghee).

Any one touching the mother after the first 10 days, should take a bath to become pure.


Termination of conception within 4 months is SRAVA (abortion), in the fifth and sixth month PATA (miscarriage) and later PRASAVA (delivery).   In the case of srava, the mother should observe Impurity for 3 days, as in the case of the menses. Some advise that for srava after the first 3 months she should observe it for 4 days. The father may take a bath to become pure.

In the case of pata, the mother should observe it for 5 or 6 days respectively, for the occurrence in the fifth or sixth month. The father should observe 3 days. The sapinda relation should also will take a purifying bath (according to Vaidyanatha for the occurrence in the sixth month, he should also observe it for 3 days). The month is taken as 30 days (Savana).

In the case of prasava (premature delivery) in the seventh month and onwards, the parents and sapinda relation should observe it for 10 days, SAMANODAKAS for 3 days, and SAGOTHRA JNATHIS for one day. If the delivery is still born or the baby dies in a short time after birth, the impurity is observed only on account of birth, and not for death of the child. If the child dies within 10 days, the impurity will end along with the impurity for birth (10 days). According to some authorities, if the child dies in the evening of the 10 th day, the impurity is observed for a further 2 days and if the time of death is the last Yama of the 10 th night, for 3 more days. The author of Shathashloki says that if the child dies within the 24 hours of the tenth day, the impurity will cease with the normal birth impurity. It is however recommended to follow the traditional practice.

1.2 Delivery by a daughter:

The parents and brothers should observe 3 days or 1 day depending on whether the birth takes place in their own house or in the husband's house. The paternal and maternal uncles may observe 1 day only if the birth is in their own house, otherwise none.

1.3 Janana sannipata Ashoucha
 (BIRTH IMPURITY-Overlapping periods):

If the news of another birth ( with impurity observance for 3 or 10 days) is received in the 10 day period being observed for the first birth, the total impurity period ends with the observance of the first period. If however, the information is received after the evening of the tenth day, and before the completion of the second yama of the 10 th night, a further 2 days period should be observed. If it is received in the fourth yama or before sunrise, the further period will be 3 days. If the news is received thereafter, the second impurity period should be observed for the remaining period of the second birth.

While observing the second impurity for the remaining 2-3 days, any other impurity of 3 days, which occurs, will be terminated with the observance of the former. How ever if the latter is for 10 days, it will not be so terminated but will be observed in full. If during this period, yet another impurity of 10 days is to be observed, the last will terminate with the earlier one.
A 3 days impurity period will terminate another over-lapping 3 days period, but not a ten days period. An impurity due to death will not terminate with the impurity due to birth. In the case of births, if the news is received after the period is already over, father and brothers have only to take a purifying bath.
While observing a 10 days period connected with a sapinda relation, if one's wife delivers a child, the latter impurity will not terminate with the former. Only for the sapinda relations, such as brothers, it will so terminate. Some scholars say that if the child is born between the 7 th and 10 th month and dies due to sickness or deformation, the sapinda relatives need observe only a 3 day impurity period.

It is considered that an impurity period of a longer duration is invariably heavier than the one of a shorter duration. The lighter impurity will be absorbed in the heavier one and NOT VICE VERSA. Impurity due to death is heavier than that due to birth. Even a 10 days birth impurity period will be absorbed and terminated with an impurity of 3 days only for death. In the case of overlapping impurities, the rule is that the earlier one will absorb the later ones, provided the news of the latter is heard in the stipulated time. Otherwise, the latter one will be observed DE NOVO. In the cases of impurity due to abortion or miscarriage for 5-6 days, a later birth impurity ,if any, for the mother will be absorbed by the former.

1.4 Ashoucha Tarathamya (Gradation of impurities)

In the case of sapinda relations, impurity due to death is twice as strong as that due to birth. For a lady in the menstrual period, the impurity is twice as strong as that of death impurity for sapinda relations. For a new mother, the impurity is twice as strong than that due to a lady in her period. The impurity for persons performing last rites, is twice as strong as that of the new mother.


Impurity due to DEATH

During the period of impurity due to death, untouchability and ineligibility to perform religious duties are observed both by the persons performing the last rites (Karthas) and other relatives.

2.1 Death of a CHILD:

If the death occurs after the Namakarana (after 10 days from birth) and before the appearance of teeth (6 months), the parents, own brothers and unmarried sisters should observe a 10 day period of impurity. For sapinda relations only a bath is sufficient. The impurity prescribed for the father will also apply to his other wives.

If the death occurs after 6 months, but before Chuda karma (first hair cut ceremony which has not been performed until 3 years), sapinda relations will should observe for a day, while for Sodaka Jnathis, a bath is enough.

If it occurs after 3 but before 7 years (Garbhashtama) or if the chuda karma has been performed before 3 years from that period and before the age of 7 years, or if the Upanayana has been performed before the 7 th year, the period for sapinda relations is 3 days and for sodaka jnathis, a bath will be enough.

2.1.1 Note:

A brief explanation of terms like sapinda etc is as follows:
Beginning with the Mula purusha (father), persons belonging to the family up to the 7 th generation are called Sapindas. The first 3 heads are called Antah-sapinda (Internal sapindas) and the others are known as Bahih-sapindas (External sapindas). Persons belonging to the 8 th generation onwards up to and inclusive of the 14 th head are called Sodakas. The persons belonging to the 15 th generation onwards up to the 21 st head are called Jnathis or Sagothras.

2.1.2 Ashoucha krama:

Dashahashoucha ( impurity for 10 days due to death)

From garbhashtama onwards (or even before if Upanayana has been performed), 10 days impurity should be observed fully by the parents or all sapinda relations. For sodakas, it is 3 days and for jnathis, 1 day.
2.1.3 Death of Female Child:

If the death occurs after 10 days from birth but before 3 years, the impurity period is 10 days for parents, brothers and unmarried sisters. For sapindas, a bath is enough.
If it is after 3 years but before betrothal,  sapindas should observe 1 day and sodaka, a bath will be enough.If it is after betrothal and before 10 years, sapindas will observe 3 days if the girl is married. For sodaka and jnathis, a bath is sufficient. The husband-to-be and his sapindas should also observe 3 days, for a betrothed girl.

For a married girl, the husband's family should observe impurity for 10 days and parents and brothers for 3 days. For a girl above 10 and unmarried, parents and all sapinda relations will observe 10 days.
Some Smrithis say that impurity due to death or birth of an unmarried girl will apply only to sapindas belonging to 3 generations. This practice is not followed by us.
2.1.4 Burial or Cremation:

In the case of the death of a child:
If a child, male or female dies before namakarana ceremony, burial should be performed. If the death is between namakarana and before 6 months of it's birth, either burial or cremation can be performed. For a male child after 6 months and female child after 3 years, only cremation should be performed. For a male child dying after 3 years Udaka dana should be performed.

If a child dying within 6 months after birth is buried, only a bath is enough for sapindas. If cremated, one day impurity should be observed. If the child dies after 6 months and before 3 years and the body is buried, 3 days should be observed. Abandoning the body is also allowed in the shashthras along with burial and cremation, though it is not practised in this part of the country.
2.2 Impurity due to Death of RELATIVES :

2.2.1 IMPURITY of 3 Days

A person who has undergone Upanayana samskara has to observe 3 days impurity for the deaths of the following 14 relations:

1. Mother's father 
5. Father's sisters*
2. Mother's mother 
6. Father-in-law
3. Mother's sisters
7. Mother-in-law
4. Mother's brothers*  
8. own sisters
9. Daughter 11. sister's male child
10. Daughter' son  
12. sister's husband
13. wives of 4*
14. Male children of 4* & 5*

Reciprocally in the case of the death of a person who has undergone Upanayana, all the above 14 relatives are required to observe 3 days impurity.

The shashtras prescribe the same practice in the case of death of the following:
  1. Own Guru/Acharya who taught the vedas and shashtras.
  2. Wife of the Guru/Acharya
  3. Son of the Guru/Acharya
  4. A benevolent shrothriya, who dies in one's house.
  5. Priest of the family
The above practice is not in vogue in this part of the country.
2.2.2 Impurity of Pakshini:

A period of one and a half day is called Pakshini.
If the death occurs before sunset, the whole day time of that day, the following night and the next day time is considered as pakshini. If the death occurs during the night before sunrise, that night, next day and night are called pakshini.

The impurity of pakshini has to be observed in case of death of the following:

Reciprocally, the above relations of a person who dies should also observe a pakshini.
Top Married woman

A married woman has to observe a pakshini in the case of death of any of the following relations of her husband or her self:

1.@ Mother's father 19.@ Own brother
2.@ Mother's mother 20. Son of 19
3. Maternal uncle 21. Daughter of 19
4. Son of 3 22. Son's daughter
5. wife of 3 23. Daughter's Daughter
6. Daughter of 3 24. Father's father
7. Mother's sister 25. Father's mother
8. son of 7 26. Uncle's wife
9. Daughter of 7 27. Brother's wife
10. Maternal uncle's wife 28.* Sister's son's wife
11. Son of 10 29.* Uncle's son's wife
12. sister of 10 30.* Brother's son's wife
13. Father's brother 31.* Daughter's son's wife
14. Son of 13 32. Paternal aunt's son's wife
15. Daughter of 13 33. Maternal aunt's son's wife
16. Own sister 34.* Maternal uncle's son's wife
17. Son of 16
18. Daughter of 16

In the case of the death of a persons 1,2,19 (marked @) occurring in the house or in the presence of a daughter's son who has had upanayana samskara, 3 days impurity should be observed. The reciprocal is also to be followed. If the death of persons 28,29,30,31, and 34 (marked *) occurs elsewhere, a married lady need take only a purifying bath. The above relatives should also reciprocally observe the same in the event of the death of a married person.
Top Adopted son

An adopted son will observe 3 days impurity for the following deaths in the family:

1. Mother who gave him birth
2. Father who gave him birth
3. Brother
4. Step Brother An adopted son will observe pakshini in case of the following deaths:

1. Real father's father 12. Real mother's father
2. Real father's mother 13. Real mother's mother
3. Real father's sister 14. Real mother's brother
4. son of 3 15. son of 14
5. Daughter of 3 16. Daughter of 14
6. Real father's brother 17. Real mother's sister
7. son of 6 18. son of 17
8. Daughter of 6 19. Daughter of 17
9. Own brother 20. Real sister
10. Son of 9 21. Son of 20
11. daughter of 9 22. Daughter of 20

Reciprocally, in the case of death of an adopted person, the above relations should observe pakshini. In this respect, it is recommended to follow the practice of the noble and learned people (Shishta).
2.2.3 Impurity for a DAY

This should be observed in case of the death of the following persons:
Reciprocally, the above 20 relations will also observe 1 day impurity in case of a death of the adopted person. For the death of any of the above, in addition to the adopted person, his wife and her brother (Shyala) will also observe 1 day.

A lady is required to observe 1 day's impurity for the death of the following 20 relations:
In the case of the death of a lady, all her relations mentioned above except her stepmother should also reciprocally observe one day. The step mother and her husband (father of the deceased lady) are required to observe 3 days.

An adopted person will observe 1 day in case of death of the following relations:

2.3 Impurity due to CONTACT

Sodakas performing the last rites or performing actions such as decorating, carrying, cremating the body and touching the bones etc. will observe the impurity for 10 days just like sapindas. Other relatives performing the same functions will only observe their natural periods of impurity. If these functions are performed by persons other than Jnathis or Sodakas, they may observe the impurity till they see the stars or sunrise depending on whether these actions are performed during day or night.   If persons other than Jnathis receive a honorarium or gift for performing any act from the sons of the deceased, they too should observe 3 days. If they live in the same house and take food etc, they will observe 10 days and perform Vrathas like Chandrayana and Kricchra.

If a person touches a dead body without knowing, he has to fast for a part of the day. If he touches an impure person often it is enough if he observes impurity only for the days he comes in contact. If the contact is by mistake, a bath is enough. If a person follows a dead body to the cremation ground, he should not take food in Shraddha and perform Japa, Homa and such activities. If the body followed is that of a Brahmin, he can purify himself by taking bath, touching fire, sipping a drop of ghee and again taking another bath, before he is eligible to perform his normal duties.

If a dead body is seen accidentally, an Achamana is adequate. If seen intentionally, a Sachela snana is required (taking bath with all the clothes he was wearing).

A woman whose parent dies elsewhere while she is living in her husband's house, will observe impurity for 3 days. If she is in the house where death has occurred or if she is staying with her brothers taking food with them then, she should also observe 10 days.

Any person who performs various acts in connection with the ceremonial disposal of the dead body without receiving any rewards, particularly for the bodies of persons of their own caste, who have none to take care of them, will acquire immense merit (Punya).

The following persons are prohibited in acts such as decorating a dead body, etc.


2.3.1 Impurity due to contact with Village or House in which death has occurred. Village:  If a person belonging to the same caste dies, the whole village becomes impure till the body is removed. If a big road comes between the house and the rest of the village or if the house is away at least from the houses of 400 brahmins or a great river reaching the ocean ultimately comes in between, the whole village need not observe the impurity. House: If a person belonging to the same caste, but not a Jnathi or any other relation dies in a house, the house is treated as impure till the body is removed. If a Sodaka or Jnathi or Daughter or any other relative of 3 days impurity relationship dies in the house, the house becomes impure for 10 days. If any other relative dies in the house the house is impure for 3 days. If a daughter delivers in the house, the house is treated as impure for 10 days. Things: All things in a house, where a death has occurred and the house itself will have impurity of the same strength as long as the owner has impurity. It is forbidden to receive things from that house as Dana or Bhojana. The things will become pure by sanctification by Prokshana etc. when the owner himself becomes pure.


2.4 Overlapping of Impurity due to Death.

The occurrence of one impurity during the period of another is known as Sannipata or Sampata.  If during a 10 day period of impurity due to death, another one of 10 days or 3 days due to death or birth occurs, the latter gets terminated with the former. An impurity of birth can never cause the termination of an overlapping impurity due to death and only an impurity of death can cause the termination of both kinds of overlapping impurities.

The author of Shathaka however says that an impurity of 10 days due to birth can cause the termination of an overlapping impurity of death for 3 days. He also says that an overlapping impurity of birth of 10 days can be terminated by an impurity of death for 3 days. Some scholars do not agree with this view. One can follow the practice prevalent in the region.

The impurity associated with the death of the parents will be observed by the sons till the completion of Sapindikarana. The observance by the other sapindas will end with the completion of Ekoddista.

If the mother's death occurs within 10 days of the death of father or vice-versa, the period will be observed till the sapindikarana of both parents. For the other sapindas, the period will end with the Ekoddista of the parent who died first (on the 11 th day after the first death). For the sons performing Kriya of their parents, overlapping due to death of an uncle is not considered a constraint.

Impurity due to death of parents is considered as stronger than any other impurity. If one is already in an impurity period for the death of an paternal uncle etc. and performing the kriyas, and his parent passes away, he should get engaged in the Kriya of the parent first every day and then only perform the kriya of his uncle etc.
Just as in the case of overlapping of impurity due to birth, if one hears of a death before the evening of the tenth day, the completion of the earlier impurity will terminate the later one also. There after, if the news is heard within the first 3 Yamas of the tenth night, impurity will be observed for 2 more days. If heard afterwards, but before sunrise, the period will be for 3 more days. If the matter is only known after sunrise of the 11 th day, the next impurity will be observed afresh.

When observing this 2 or 3 days impurity, another impurity of 3 days occurs, both are terminated at the end of the first 3 day impurity. IF another impurity of 10 days occurs instead of 2/3 days the period will still be terminated by the end of the first 3 day period. If the person's wife or wife of any sapinda relative delivers a child the impurity due to birth for 10 days will not be terminated by the end of the first 2/3 days period. The impurity of 3 days will be terminated by the 10 days impurity, but not vice versa.


2.5 Athikrantha Ashoucha
(Impurity which has lapsed)

 If a son is in a distant place from the place where a parent dies, and kriya is being performed in the parent's place by another son, the distant son should observe 10 days impurity beginning with the date of death, if the news reaches him within the first 4 days (before Asthi sanchaya).

If the news is heard after this, the son should observe 10 days from the day the news reaches him.

If the news of the death of paternal uncle etc, sapindas, whose kriya is already performed, is heard after 10 days but before 3 months, a 3 days impurity will be observed.

If heard after 3 months, but before 6 months, one and half days will be observed. If between 6 months and 1 year , 1 day will be observed. If heard after 1 year, a bath is enough according to Shathashloki. Vaidyanatha says that if the news reaches after 6 months and before 9 months, 1 day impurity will be observed, and thereafter and before the completion of the year, a bath is enough. The directions of Shathashloki is being practised in South Canara.
For a lapsed impurity, all the other relatives will need to take a bath only.

In case the Kriya of parents is not performed after 10 days and till a year, the sons should observe the impurity for 10 days after they hear the news and also perform the kriya. If the son has started the kriya of the parent after 10 days by cremating the bones (Asthidaha) or a portrait, the jnathis who had not observed the pollution earlier should observe it for the entire period of the kriya and after making udakadana will be purified. If they had observed the impurity earlier, but not offered udakadana, they should observe it for a day during the kriya period.

There are specific statements in the Dharma shashtras that the relations who had observed impurity and offered udakadana do not have any pollution during the kriya period. But tradition is slightly different. According to the latter, since Ekoddista is yet to be performed, pollution will continue and has to be observed till it is performed.

If a sapinda other than the son performs the kriya after the first 10 days and before the year end, then, even if he has already observed the impurity, he will have to observe it again for 3 days during the period of the kriya according to Vaidyanatha. According to Shathashloki, if Asthi samskara is made  10 days impurity will be observed.

For an Athikrantha Ashoucha for a boy not having Upanayana samskara or an unmarried girl, sapindas need not observe the Impurity. Only Parents and brothers observe it for 3 nights. According to tradition of this region, the step brothers also observe 3 nights.

For samanodaka relation the 3 days impurity will be reduced to one and half days (pakshini)if the news is heard after the first 10 days but before the year. If heard after the period of impurity but before 10 days, the impurity will be observed as follows:
If the news is heard after 10 days, a bath is enough according to Shathakakara. If the stipulated time is over, a bath is enough according to Vaidyanatha. The first view is practised in this region.

Deshanthara means a place where a different language is spoken or a Gavuda (30 miles) from the living place. According to some, a place separated by a great river or mountain is also Deshanthara.


2.6 Intended Unnatural Death (Suicide)

Death intentionally brought on himself by a person is considered differently. Examples include the following:
In such cases sapindas observe impurity only until cremation. The person who performs the kriya should observe it for 3 fortnights, 6 months or a year. All rites ending with sapindikarana, preceded by Prayaschittha should be performed for purification.

When a person dies accidentally, by wild animals, fire, weapons, poison etc, pollution should be observed and kriya performed till the normal stipulated time. For deaths due to diseases like Cholera, Typhoid, smallpox, and Leprosy etc. the body must be buried without recitation of the manthras. Then as per prayaschittha rules, the kriya will have to wait for a year, 6 months, 3 months, or 3 fortnights (41 days). The cremation rites will be performed afterwards with manthras along with the prescribed kriyas, observing full impurity till sapindikarana is performed.

Whether the death is intended or otherwise, the sapindas and sodakas who have observed pollution from the date of death and performed udaka dana need not observe it again during the kriya period. Only a bath is sufficient. If they have observed only the impurity but not  udaka dana, they should again observe 3 days for sapindas and 1 day for sodakas.
For an unnatural death, since there may be delay in performing the kriya, it is considered in our region that impurity of sapindas will continue  after the first 10 days until the Ekoddista is performed. The performers of kriya will also have it till it is completed. However the period beyond the ten day period is not considered as strong. Thus, other impurities would not stand terminated, if they occur during this period. The view that when a body is buried, pollution will continue till the body is absorbed by the earth is not supported by evidence. For example, when the bodies of children are buried, it is clearly stated that pollution is less with burial than with cremation.

In case of unnatural death, shashthras do not prohibit cremation. However due to fear of supernatural causes or official interference , the practice of burial is usually followed in this region. The reason for the delay in performing the kriyas is the unnatural death and not the burial. The buried body can also be cremated after a few days, prayaschittha performed, and all kriya ending with sapindikarana done without waiting for the 3 fortnights etc. Thus in the case of unnatural death, tradition can be followed regarding the cremation or burial, the period of the kriyas etc.



If the main performer of the kriya is in a different place and could not commence it within 10 days, he has to begin by doing recremation etc (samskaras), even in the case of death due to unnatural causes. This can be done on a piece of bone if available, replica by a Palasa Danda etc. This kriya will be performed for 10 days by the son. If a sapinda or relation is doing it, 4 days kriya is sufficient. If during such performance, the relative comes to know of any other pollution due to death of a sapinda, the kriya is to be stopped immediately. If he is a sapinda, the kriya will be stopped only on account of the death of his own parent. The pollution due to the death of other sapindas can not come in the way of completing this kind of kriya.

If a maternal grand father or grand mother who has brought up their daughter's son who is the sole successor of their property dies, their kriya can be performed by the grandson. If his own parents are alive, their permission should be taken and the full kriya performed. Other pollution due to any other sapindas can not obstruct the kriya. If such a person is already adopted by his maternal grandfather, he need not observe pollution on account of birth or death of sapindas.



ELIGIBILITY for performing KRIYA

Own sons and grandsons are mainly eligible to perform kriya. If there are no such persons, brothers can do so provided the partition of the property has not taken place. If even brothers are not there, their sons become eligible. If the partition of property has taken place, the wife of the deceased will be eligible. If she too is not there, the brothers or their sons will be eligible even after partition.

After partition of property, persons who have no sons can adopt the son of a daughter. After performing his Upanayanam and other samskaras etc, he may be made the heir apparent for the entire property and will be eligible to perform the kriya etc as if he is a son, even if his real parents are still alive.

For a maternal grandfather who dies without nominating a specific person as his successor with the necessary samskara, all the sons of the daughters will become eligible for the kriya of the maternal grand father or grand mother. It is enough if one of them who has no parents performs the kriya. In the kriya of such a grandfather's wife, the daughter is the main eligible person. The kriya should be performed either by her husband. if alive or her son.

For a childless elder brother who performs the Upanayana of a younger brother, the latter will be eligible for the kriyas as if he is the son, both for the elder brother and his wife. If the elder brother has not performed the upanayana of his younger brother, all the younger brothers will be eligible to perform mutually the Kriyas of the other brothers. If one of them is childless and has adopted the son of another brother, the adopted son will be mainly eligible. If no such adoption has taken place. all the sons of all the other brothers are equally eligible, any of them who is able to perform the kriya being entitled to do it. Similarly in the succeeding generations of children, who ever is the closest relative has the eligibility. The order of Dayada is also taken into consideration for deciding the eligibility.

If a childless person adopts the son of a sapinda jnathi, the adopted son will be mainly eligible. Even if the adopted boy is not the son of a sapinda Jnathi, he will continue to be mainly eligible.

A Brahmacharin can perform the kriyas of only the father, mother, stepmother, maternal grand parents. He is not eligible to perform the kriyas of the others . If he does so or stays with people who are performing such kriyas and takes his food etc with them, he will have to undergo Upanayana samskara again.

For a woman who has no son,step sons will perform the kriyas, on par with their own parents and will have to observe the impurity etc accordingly. Normally her son would have been eligible. When the father is alive and a childless stepmother dies, the stepsons will perform the kriyas only if their own mother is not alive. otherwise the father will have to perform the same.



Pollution due to MENSES

Beginning with the day the lady menstruates, she will be ineligible for any religious act and untouchable for 3 days. On the fourth day, even after bath, she will still be ineligible for a day, except to serve her husband. If the period starts within 20 ghatikas of the night (before 2 pm), it is considered as belonging to the previous day, otherwise the next day.

If the period starts within 16 days of the previous period, a bath is enough otherwise the pollution will be observed as laid down. No other type of impurity is terminated by the impurity due to the periods.

Ladies in their monthly periods are forbidden to touch or speak to other persons and should not see other men. Taking food twice or thrice a day, travelling by a vehicle or crossing a river etc are also forbidden. During this period the lady is not purified from any other impurity like that of birth or death. This procedure is applicable to the ladies of all the 4 varnas.




In the case of death of parents, sons have eligibility only for the posthumous rites beginning with cremation and ending with sapindikarana. During Sandhya vandana 3 times a day, they have to offer Arghya reciting the Gayathri manthra. Other manthras like marjana etc which are recited daily are to be remembered mentally. Until Ekoddista, Gayathri japa should be performed by reciting Gayathri in a low voice. On the day of Ekoddista, Sandhyavandana can be performed normally. After that day and till Sapindikarana, the performer of the kriya can recite other vedic or smrithi manthras connected with the rites.

During birth pollution, the father of the child immediately after delivery should perform sachela snana (with the clothes he is wearing). He is eligible only for certain rituals to be performed before cutting the navel cord, and giving gifts. Deva pooja can be performed on the 6 th, 7 th and 10 th day.

Sapindas can offer Arghyas in all the 3 Sandhyas and can recollect the manthras mentally, either during birth or death pollution. Sapindas with a gap of 3 heads (generations) can perform all the daily, and occasional rituals after the Ekoddista.

If within the impurity period, an eclipse of the sun or moon occurs, the persons can perform japa, tharpana, and Janma nakshatra shanthi, offering gifts, pradakshina of the deity (going round) and offering namaskara (prostration) etc and other noble deeds. They can not undertake Paurohithya (officiating as a priest) for a Homa, enter a temple, worship an Idol or receive Dana (Gifts).


5.1 PROHIBITIONS during Pollution 
The performers of the kriya must not do the following till sapindikarana is over:

Even after sapindikarana, till the first year is completed, the performer of kriya should not marry or have intercourse with his wife. During the first year of death, if Nandi shraaddha has to be performed, it should be done after having done the remaining Masikas. There is a tradition according to which the masikas will be performed once again on the due dates only in the case of parents.

Persons observing pollution of any kind should not do the following:

During the period of death pollution, one must not:
In between Ekoddista and sapindikarana, performance of auspicious ceremonies like marriage, Upanayana etc is prohibited.

If a person intentionally takes food in a house where impurity is being observed, he too should observe it for the entire period, and perform Prajapatya Kricchra vratha. If he takes food, when he is ignorant of the impurity, he has to observe it till the food is digested. If the food is heavy, a period of 7 days will have to be observed, while if it is light, 3 days is prescribed. If both the host and the guest are ignorant of the same, there is no sin. Jnathis taking food in the house of other jnathis observing pollution is not considered  a sin.

The husband of a woman who is in her monthly period, should not take part in the following:

After the first 6 months of pregnancy, the husband of a pregnant lady should not:



Immediate Purification:

In the case of the death of the following, all relatives such as Sapinda etc will be purified by a bath:
If women like the above, deliver a child, there is no need to observe pollution due to birth. Relations need take only a bath. If the sons of the above perform Prayaschittha and the Kriyas, Sapindas are required to observe 3 days Impurity.

Either in the case of the birth of a child to or death of the people who have forsaken their Gothra, or for whom Ghatasphota has been performed as per the shastras, no pollution is to be observed. If a sannyasi dies, the sapindas and other relations will take bath along with clothes (sachela snana). Reciprocally when the relation dies, the sannyasi should also do the same.

Pollution due to birth need not be observed when:
Similarly after the Rithvik and Gajanana has been chosen and till the completion of Avabhritha snana, they will not observe pollution due to birth. Similarly the bride and groom in a marriage and the vatu in an Upanayana. If the pollution is due to death, they will become pure just by taking bath. The person giving away a girl need not observe any pollution till the Kanya dana is over.

A performer of Shraddha after the preparation of the Havis is not affected by any news of birth pollution. Similarly a brahmin taking food in a shraddha is not affected after samkalpa and parvavarana. If the news is of death, a bath is sufficient. If it is known only after the Bhojana has started, they are required to take the bath after completion of the shraddha.
In the case of Chaulas, Upanayana, Vivaha etc. if the news is heard after preparation of food, the same can be served to Brahmanas etc by unpolluted relatives. The Brahmanas who take the food will perform Achamana after the Bhojana with water from another house.

If an eldest son is performing an auspicious ceremony like Upanayana or Vivaha etc which are yet to be completed, and there is a death of a parent, the performer has to complete the started karma first and then proceed to do the last rituals making  use of the necessary manthras. If the performer is not the eldest son, he should take a bath and finish the karma started and then take part in the last rituals along with the eldest son as per the tradition prevalent in other parts of the country. But in this part of the country, all the sons have equal authority in performing the last rituals of the parents. Hence if he is the bride groom himself, he should finish the remaining Homas. If he is the Vatu in the Upanayana samskara, he should complete the karma till Medhajanana and perform the last rituals of the deceased. Similarly if he is the father of the bride, he should complete the Kanya dana and start the last rituals.

If he is the father of the Vatu, he should complete the Gayathri upadesha and then perform the last rituals.




7.1 Shaving:
 Before starting the Kriyas, except on Ekadashi, sons of the deceased should have their heads shaved. If the death occurs during the day time, this should be done in daytime itself. If for unavoidable reasons, it could not be done during the day time, it must be done within the first yama (4 hours of the night). This is applicable only in the case of death of the parents and also for the wife of the deceased . If the death is in the night, next day, before commencing the kriya, the shaving should be done. If the wife is in menstruation, she has to have her head shaved after taking bath. If she is pregnant, after delivery and purification after the impurity of birth, this should be done. Although the performer of the kriya of parents has taken garbha diksha due to the pregnancy of the wife, he should still get his head shaved at the time of his parent's death. After the kriya, he should again observe the diksha.

After the first shaving, the performers should not have their heads shaved during the performance of the kriya, till the completion of the sapindikarana, even if the latter is performed at the end of the year. The rule of getting the heads shaved applies even to other performers of the kriya who are not the sons of the deceased. All sapindas, who are younger than the deceased should have their heads shaved on the 10 th day, even though they are not performing the kriya. Among them, the Sapinda-Sodakas who have no parents should offer Udakadana. Other relations and Sapinda-Sodakas having parents should offer Dharmodaka. If during the performance of the kriya of the first parent before sapindikarana, the other parent also dies, the person performing the kriya should still have his head shaved again, though he is observing the Diksha of not shaving.


7.2 Sapindikarana:

While performing the kriya of the father or mother, if the wife of the performer delivers a baby, the pollution due to birth does not affect any karma ending with Ekoddista. If this pollution continues even after Ekoddista, Sapindikarana must not be performed till termination and purification of this impurity. He should then make Panchagavya prashana, and Punyahavachana along with his wife and then perform sapindikarana.

Similarly, if the wife of the eldest son performing the kriya menstruates, sapindikarana should not be performed till she takes her bath. If it is her first menstruation, the performer and his wife should take Panchagavya Prashana and Punyahavachana and then perform sapindikarana.
After Ekoddista, if pollution due to birth or death occurs, the sapindas should perform sapindikarana only after the Impurity is terminated.

If the eldest son of the deceased is far away, the kriyas can be continued by the younger sons till Ekoddista is completed. Thereafter, they must wait for him, and perform the sapindikarana along with him. Only if he informs them that he is unable to join them and will perform sapindikarana separately, and permits them to perform the same separately, the younger sons can perform it in the stipulated time. When the sons are living in the same country, even if the property is divided, it is obligatory to perform the kriya ending with sapindikarana together. However, after sapindikarana, they must perform masika and other shraddhas separately and not together, if they have already separated along with division of property.


7.3 Asthi-Sanchayana:
Collecting the Bones

The forenoon of the fourth day is the best time for the Asthi-Sanchayana. It is prohibited on the days of Dhanishta-Panchaka, Bharani and Krittika and also on sunday, Tuesday and saturday. If the 4 th day is prohibited, this karma can be done on the second, sixth or eighth day. If these are also prohibited, third, fifth or the seventh day can be used. This karma should be done within the first 9 days.

If there are many sons of the deceased, all of them should do it together. If one or more is at a distant place it is better to wait. If their arrival is impossible within the first 9 days, those who are present should do the karma.

All the sons should perform the daily kriyas for all the 10 days together. If one of them is in a distant place and hears the news within the fourth day, and manages to come at least before the commencement of the kriya of the tenth day, he should have Prayaschittha, shaving, bath etc, do separately the kriyas for the 9 days, and join his brothers for the tenth day Kriya onwards. If the tenth day is Ekadashi or fasting, all the Kriyas to be performed that day should be done on the on Dashami (Ninth day). If the son who lives at a distance, reaches only before the commencement of the kriyas of the eleventh day, he should have Prayaschittha etc, do all the kriyas of the 10 days separately and join his brothers for the eleventh day kriyas.

If the news of the bereavement reached the distant son after the first 4 days, and he reaches before the tenth day, he should have his head shave, bath etc and do all the kriyas for the previous days separately. The remaining kriyas up to Ekoddista should be performed together with all the brothers. There after, for 10 days beginning with the day when the news reached him, he should take bath and offer Udaka dana regularly. Only after this, sapindikarana should be done within the stipulated time.

 If a person is an only son and he hears the news of the death of his father, he should observe pollution for 10 days after he actually heard the news and perform the kriya without interruption. It is immaterial whether he comes before Asthi-Sanchaya or later etc. He should do sapindikarana in the stipulated time.

According to local tradition in this country, sapindas should observe pollution till the son performs Ekoddista. If the son is at a distance and is not able come within 10 days, the sapindas are required to wait for him for a month. If he is still unable to come, the kriyas up to Ekoddista can be performed by them and they can get purified. But the performers of the kriyas should continue to observe the Pollution till the son reaches the place and performs all the kriyas beginning with Udakadana and ending with sapindikarana No auspicious ceremonies should be held in the families of sapinda heads.

If one of the sapindas has performed the cremation with manthras and is performing all the daily kriyas, the son or sons who join later on, should do all the daily kriyas separately. The sapinda should however arrange Brahmana bhojana etc separately for the sake of his own purity.

If the cremation etc was performed with manthras, the sons who come later should immediately perform Asthi-samskara and the subsequent daily kriyas. If the cremation was done without manthras or by a person other than sapindas, it is obligatory for the sons to perform all the kriyas beginning with the cremation with manthras.

When the wife of the deceased happens to be the main performer of the kriya, and she menstruates in the kriya period and the kriya will be useless. Hence, even though the wife may have the eligibility, one of the sapindas should be authorised by her and perform all the kriyas. The same principle applies if the son has not had Upanayana samskara.
If a brahmachari below 12 years of age dies Narayanabali should be performed, even if the death is due to an accident. If he is more than 12 years of age, Arkavivaha should be performed first. Then only all the kriyas beginning with Udaka dana and ending with sapindikarana are to be performed.

If at the time of death of a husband, the wife is menstruating, after bath she should abandon Mangalya with the kriya and the sons will perform it.

According to tradition prevalent in this country, the married daughters also, who have kindness and devotion to their parents, will have bath and offer Udaka dana daily along with their brothers during the period of the kriya. The daughters who thus participate in the kriya should observe pollution for 10 days. Otherwise only 3 days should be observed.

While doing kriya of parents, if Sankramana or Amavasya occurs, it does not affect the daily kriya. If performer is not a son, and if within 4 days Sankramana or Amavasya occurs kriya should be begun later. If they occur after the 4 th day and before the tenth day, the kriya for all the days should be completed before it occurs. If the performers are not sons, they should see to it that the kriya is performed for not less than 3 days.

If kriyas are being performed for the mother and the death of the father also occurs within the 10 day pollution period, the sons have to observe the pollution period for only the remaining days of the mother's death pollution and get purified.  On the other hand, if the father's is first followed by the mother, the sons should observe an additional one and half days after the pollution of the father's death.

If the death of both the parents occurs within 10 days at different times, kriya will be performed separately. But if it occurs at the same time, or the mother performs sahagamana or the circumstances are such that both of them will have to be cremated at the same pyre, all the kriyas will be performed with the same Barhis (Darbha).

While doing the kriya of one of the parents, if the shraddha of the other occurs, it should be performed on the next day to the sapindikarana. If it occurs during the kriya of other relatives or on the 11 th day of their death, the performer has to do Ekoddista and Shodasha masika on the 11 th day itself. On the 12 th day he should perform the shraddha of the parents and on the same day or on the 13 th day, he should perform sapindikarana.

If the shraddha of both the parents occur on the same day, the shraddha of the father has to be performed first and with the remaining Havis, the mother's shraddha can be performed. If the shraddha of other relatives occur on the same day, for each shraddha separate Havis must be prepared and the shraddha performed in the order of their death

If a person who has gone to a distant place, and whose death is wrongly assumed due to incorrect information, and all kriyas are performed, returns back the following Samskaras must be performed: He must be immersed in a pot of ghee, and after bath all samskaras with Jathakarma and ending with Vivaha must be performed. If his wife is alive, he must marry the lady again. If he does not have a wife, he must marry another woman.

In case the news of such a person is not heard for 12 years and he returns later, even then all the samskaras mentioned above must be performed. If even after 12 years, no news is heard of such a person his sons and relatives should perform all the kriyas and observe pollution etc.



Purification at the end of Pollution

After Sapindikarana, the main performers of the kriya should abandon the things connected with the kriya and by Punyahavachana he will be purified. Having offered Udaka dana on the tenth and the eleventh day, during the Sangava period (normally between 8.30 am to 11.00 am), having a bath, sipping Panchagavya and wearing a new Yajnopavitha (sacred thread), the sapindas will be purified. The sodakas are required to offer udaka dana on 3 days and on the fourth day, during the Sangava period, by sipping Panchagavya and wearing a new sacred thread, they will be purified.

The other relatives and the Jnathis of the same gothra will become pure after observing the Pollution for the period prescribed and thereafter sipping Panchagavya and wearing a new sacred thread.
If on the terminating day of the pollution, a shraddha or a past shraddha occurs, the performers of the same should sip Panchagavya and wear another sacred thread first and taking another bath perform the shraddha.