By Swami Harshananda
Ghaṭasphoṭa literally means ‘the rite of breaking a pot’.
Though it is human to err and divine to forgive, there are human beings who are addicted to commit heinous sins. But they are reluctant to repent or perform expiations. Ghaṭasphoṭa is the ritual method of excommunicating such incorrigible people from the society.
In this rite, a ghaṭa or an earthen pot, filled with dirty water is kept on a bed of darbha grass. A slave girl or man is made to kick it with her or his left foot so that it is overturned spilling all the water.
By this ritual, the sinner is considered to have become dead for the society. After this ghaṭasphoṭa, his relatives observe aśauca. They also offer piṇḍas (rice-balls) in his name as to a dead person.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore