By Swami Harshananda
Prāyaścitta literally means ‘expiation’.
Sin and its expiation is one of the important subjects discussed by the scriptures, especially the dharmaśāstras and the purāṇas. The general name for an expiation is ‘prāyaścitta’. It is defined in various ways:
- A firm resolve to undergo tapas or austerity.
- Purification of citta from the effects of sins.
- Destruction of sins and regaining the original pure state of citta.
- Resolve means citta.
- Austerity means prāya.
- Sins means prāya.
- Destruction means prāya.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore