ablation to get free from the sin. This gives pleasure to the soul and Loka. As per Vigyaneshwar, this word - ablation is a well definined and conventional word in our rituals and in the distruction or the sins. The people, who are not performing ablation and indulge constantly in the sinful acts are sure to be consigned to hell. Thus, the sinners, not undergoing ablation, are consigned to the hell in accordance to Smriti. Bharat also says that the sin should not be hided by any means: 'With this purpose, the sin should not be hided, as those increase on hiding it, sins are destroyed, if those are disclosed before a saint'.
Smritis have said, "The sins committed out of ignorance may be removed on performing ablation." Then how the sins committed with full knowledge of it, may be destroyed by the ablation ? To remove the doubts like this, he says that, it is not applicable equally everywhere. The sin which may be committed unintentionally, if committed with complete knowledge or intention, the sin of such act becomes two fold. Thus, by these sentences indicates the atonement for the sins committed with absolute co- operation between knowledge and action. There is no atonement for the sin of killing a brahmin. There may be an atonement for an intended killing of a brahmin, but there is no atonement for killing a brahmin with full knowledge. For more details on this, please refer Mitakshara.
Katyayan classifies these sins in five categories : great sin, big sin, sin, miscellaneous sin and minor sin. Killing a brahmin, drinking wine, stealing gold from a brahmin, sexual relation with Guru's wife and companionship with a sinner are five great sins. Sexual relation with the mother, sexual relation with the sister and sexual relation with the daughter - in - law are big sins. These big sins stand equal to the great sins in their negative power. In other words big-sin is the second or another name of the great sins. The sins like insulting a Guru, atheist criticism of the Vedas, killing a friend and forgetting memorized vedas just due to lazyness have been treated equal to the sin of killing a brahmin. The sinful act of eating garlic and other non- eatables with knowledge of such act, conspiring against a Guru, speaking about such act, conspiring against a Guru, speaking lies before the royal family for the self esteem and kissing a women in her menstruation attracts the sin equal to the sin of drinking wine. The act of stealing a horse, diamond, cow, land or security deposit of a brahmin, stand equal to the sin of stealing gold from a brahmin. The act of copulating with a friends wife, a disciples wife, a virgin girl, or with a woman of one's own clan attracts the sin of a copulation with the Guru's wife. The are the miscellaneous sins: to disown personal religion, copulation in day time with a woman, naked bathing and riding a donkey or camel knowingly. These are minor sins : to kill a cow, the act of not giving sacred threads (upavita) untill the age of sixteen years, stealing from brahmin his wealth in the form other than gold, not to maintain his wealth in the form other than gold, not to maintain Agnihotra despite his right and duty to do so, to be married as an younger brother without seeking permission from the existing elder brother and to become Agnihotra as an younger brother, to copulate with a woman like a Guru's wife, to kill a women, to become atheist, to sell wife and son, to remove parents from the family who are not fallen, to read atheist books, to discontinue a vratta, to hunt an animal or bird, to gamble and to sleep in day time. Manu Maharaj has listed some other sins namely Jatibharanshakara, Sankarikarana, Apatrikarana and Malinikarana, sexual intercourse with a man and smelling wine are Jatibhranshakar sins. To kill horses and sheep's is called a Sankarikaran sin. To serve under a shudras (lowest caste), to tell lies etc are Apatrikaran sins. To kill small insects and to consume alcoholic food are called Malinikaran sins.
Now he says about atonement. The Vratta of the twelve years should be performed in the case of great sins. The big sins are the giver of hellish pain. And some have said that there is no atonement excepting the death during the course of atonement. The atonement for a sin is half in comparison to the atonement of a great sin. And in miscellaneous sin one should perform Padakruchha fasting etc, and three month vratta should be observed in the case minor sinful acts. One should perform Santapana Kruchhra Vratta in the event of Jatibhranshakara sin, and should perform Kruchhratikruchhra Vrata in the Sankarikaran sin. Atonement in Apatrikaran sin requires Taptakruchhra Vrata, and in Malinikaran sin also it is Taptakruchhra Vrata. The details about all these may be referred in Mitakshara. The atonement of twelve years and others mentioned above applies only when the sin under the reference has been committed by man himself. The others who are involved in the sin as a giver of the permission for such sin, the organizer of such sinful act and by other means are required to undergo a quarter part less in the atonement, and also in proportion to their extent in such sin. In like manner Paithinas Muni says: Atonement has been prescribed as compulsory for the one who kills, one who allows such killing, one who teaches or preaches for such act of the killer, one who consumes such prey, one who excites the killer for a killing, one who co-operates in such sinful act, one who shows a way to kill, one who shelters such killer, one who gives weapons to such a killer, one who provides food or nourishment to such a killer, one who is capable to stop such killer from such an act but does not act so and ignores such act of the killer and one who supports a fault finder. These atonements depend on the capacity and, extent of the involvement and the nature of the drawback in relation to such sinners. The children and the aged people should be given a half of the atonement despite their personal commitment of such sin. Those people who have exceeded eighty year in their age, the children who are below sixteen years in age, ailing people, and women should be given a half of the prescribed atonement. It has been suggested by Angira Rishi in his scripture of Smriti. Further to this, Shankh Rishi says: The atonement on the behalf of a child below eleven years and above the age of five, should be performed by his brother, father or other relative. This is the reason why an offence committed by an innocent child is not considered as a fault and does not attract a sin. Kings are not punishing them and atonements are not prescribed for them.
All those atonements are for openly committed sins, but for the hidden sins, Vasishta Muni says that one who performs Japa, performes holy fire, meditates on Lord Vishnu, visits religious shrines and performs penance by holding a burning stove on his head becomes free of such sins. Yagyavalkya says that the sinner who has committed an open sin should undergo an atonement prescribed by a committee of the scholars on scriptures, but for the sins which are not open but secret the atonement should be performed secretly. The secret sin means such sin about which others are not knowing and the sinner himself only knows about it. The Japa and home should be performed secretively as an atonement for such secret sins.
You may pose the doubt that it is alright if the atonement is performed due to the fear of Yama, but who says to Yama about the hidden sins of a sinner ? In removal of such doubt, it is said that Yama is the divine form of God and therefore Yama is all knower. Moreover, sun and others are witnesses to such sins. Bhagwat has said, 'Sun, fire, space, air, cows, moon, dusk, day, dawn, directions, water, earth, time and Lord Dharm are the witnesses to the acts of the man.' Mahabharat has said, 'Sun, moon, fire, wind, space, earth, water, one's own heart, Yama, day, night, dawn, dusk and Lord Dharma know about all the acts of man.' Brihaspati has said, 'Earth, wind, space, water, light, mind, time, intellect and soul see the acts of the man constantly.' Manu Maharaj says, 'Space, earth, water, heart, moon, sun, fire, Yama, wind, night, down, dusk and Lord Dharma know about the acts of the man. Therefore it is just to perform atonement in the case of secret sins committed by a sinner. And in the cases like this, if the sinner himself is a scholar of the religious scriptures, he should undergo such appropriate atonement without disclosing his sin to others. But if he is not knowledgeable in regard to the scriptural recommendations pertaining to the atonement of his sin, should contact a learned brahmin and inquire about the atonement on pretext of others by asking such as - what would be the atonement if some one had committed so and so ? and should undergo an atonement according to the advice from that brahmin. But, such atonement should be in accordance to the place and time. It has been said that one should think carefully in accordance to time, place, age, strength and the enormity of the sin and should undergo an atonement where such sin has become inescapable. It prescribes to attain an atonement at the earliest as the human body is fragile-perishable. Shukdevji has said that the sins committed by speech, mind and actions are not destroyed from this Loka. Such sins definitely gives the pains of hell to the sinner after his death. As a good Vaidya (medicine man)who knows the science of diagnosis, treats a patient to remove his ailment, in the like manner, man should perform the atonement for his purification from a committed sin, well before the death of his body. Such atonement should be performed with the devotion of God. An atonement though performed but without devotion or the name of Lord Narayana, is not a fruitful atonement. Oh king ! as the rivers are incapable of purifying a pot filled with alcohol, in similar way the people are not getting purity without devotion and name of Lord Narayan. Above are the words of the great sage Shukdevji.
The atonement, particularly of the disclosed or open sins must be carried out as per the recommendation from the committee of the learned scholars. Angira Rishi has said, 'The sinner should undergo bathing in his clothes and then with wet cloth on his body and politeness in his speech, such a sinner should take permission from the committee of the scholars and submit before them the details of his sin and than should accept the atonement Vrata from the committee. Thereafter again the sinner should take bath to undergo Vrata for the atonement.' Now, who should be called a committee of the scholars. Laghu Parashar has defined such committee in Prayashchit Mayukha : Three or four learned brahmin of Veda and Vedang are called a committee. Yagyavalkya has said that the four or three brahmins knowing Vedic religion or one learned and enlightened scholar in theology, whatsoever say is the religion or ethical duty. Thus, the committee may be consisted of four scholars who are expert on four different Vedas. Those who are learned in three branches of knowledge and forms a committee are called 'Traividya' (knowers of three branches). But they are required to be knowledgable in Dharmashastra. These people may be called a committee. Mitakshara has said that even a single scholar who is expert in Adhyatmagyan and Dharmshastra may be called a committee. Such single member committee should suggest and prescribe the atonement in light of the interpretation of Dharmashastra and by following the prevalent time, place, etc. , but should not prescribe by following other principles. That is the observation passed by Vasishta Muni. But the one, who prescribes an atonement without knowing Dharmashastra draws a drawback for himself, and the sinner who practises on the words of such a person, becomes pure of his sins. Manusmriti has said: Those who prescribes an atonement, a treatment, an astrological prediction or a decision on Dharmashastra without the knowledge of scriptures are the killers of a brahmin.