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From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Śuddhi literally means ‘purification’.

Śuddhi Topics[edit]

Śuddhi or purification, which is more ceremonial than physical, is a very vast subject. It covers the topics such as:

  1. Aśauca[1]
  2. Purification of a person after contact with an impure object or on certain occurrences
  3. Purification of food, vessels, ponds and other things after they are polluted

Literature on Śuddhi[edit]

The literature on śuddhi is very extensive. Śuddhi has been categorized in several ways, for instance:

  1. Bāhya - external, like bath
  2. Āntara - internal, like purity of emotions

Other Features of Śuddhi[edit]

According to another classification, śuddhi comprises purity of body, of speech, of mind and of financial dealings. A third one states śuddhi consists in avoiding forbidden food in associating only with sinless persons and in firmly abiding by one’s svadharma.[2] However, all dharmaśāstra treatises stress the importance of mental purity.

Śuddhi as per Āpastamba Śrautasutras[edit]

The Āpastamba Śrautasutras[3] declares that the performer of the Pavitresti[4] purifies himself and ten generations of his family. Various expiatory rites[5] also purify a person who might have committed sins or evil deeds, knowingly or unknowingly. The word śuddhi has also been used for the process of re-conversion to the religion.


  1. Aśauca means impurity that accrues to a person due to the birth or the death of a near relative.
  2. Svadharma means prescribed duties.
  3. Āpastamba Śrautasutras 2.12
  4. Pavitresti is the two more similar iṣṭis or sacrifices.
  5. Expiatory rites means prāyaścittas.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

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