By Swami Harshananda
Parṇakurca literally means ‘an expiation in which leaves and dry grass are used’.
Significance of Parṇakṛcchra
The dharmaśāstras prescribe expiations for a variety of sins, both minor and major, committed by human beings knowingly or unknowingly. One group of such expiations is given the general name ‘kṛcchara’. The parṇakurca is also known as ‘parṇakṛcchra’. It is one of them.
Ritual of Parṇakṛcchra
The sinner for whom this expiation is prescribed has to give up food for five days and subsist only on the decoction of boiled leaves for four days and then water in which a kurca has been dipped.
Leaves for Parṇakṛcchra
The recommended leaves are:
- Palāśa - Butea frondosa
- Udumbara - Ficus glomerata
- Bilva - Aegle marmelos
Some works like the Viṣṇudharmasutras give a longer duration of seven days adding the leaves of two more trees.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore