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By Swami Harshananda

Atipātaka literally means ‘grave sin’.

Pāpas or pātakas sins in general arising out of the transgressions of the rules of conduct given in the scriptures, are classified into several categories as follows :

  1. Upapātaka - minor sin
  2. mahāpātaka - mortal Sin
  3. Atipātaka - grave Sin

Incest with one’s mother, daughter or daughter-in-law is classified as atipātaka and the only expiation is to die by entering into fire.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore