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From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Pratinidhi literally means ‘one who represents another’.

In general, the word means a person who can act on behalf of someone else or as a substitute in the rite. The Purvamīmānsā system, while dealing with Vedic sacrifices, is very definite that a pratinidhi or substitute is not allowed with regard to the devatā,[1] the five Vedic fires, the particular mantra to be chanted on a particular occasion, certain specially prescribed rites as also the svāmin.[2]

The Atrismrti[3] permits a person to perform Gaṅgāsnāna[4] vicariously by requesting another who is actually going on a pilgrimage, in case he himself is unable to do so due to old-age, disease or any other valid reason. This second person has to do it by immersing a doll made of kuśa grass in the river with appropriate mantras. This doll then becomes a ‘pratinidhi’ of the first person who is unable to perform the pilgrimage.


  1. Devatā means the deity.
  2. Svāmin is the sacrificer.
  3. Atrismrti verses 50 and 51
  4. Gaṅgāsnāna means bath in the river Gaṅgā.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

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