Total Pageviews

Saturday, February 22, 2014

DO's & DON'Ts, JNATIs (Dayadees), AASOUCHA (theettu),

Some frequently asked questions (FAQs) on Apara Karma:

(This "Excerpts' is taken from the section titled APARA KARMA from book THE GREAT HINDU TRADITION authored by Sarma Sastrigal in English)

** Are there any do’s and don’ts, on enquiring of a person 

who is bereaved?

Answer: Yes. Some basic rules are still valid, though a lot 

has changed now. These are:

• We should not “dress for the occasion”.

• We should not touch the ‘karta’, the person who is doing 

‘karma’ for the departed soul.

• Once karma has commenced, it is not advisable to leave

 the place till the body has been taken out for cremation. Of 

course, one can leave the place before the karma starts.

• During the first ten days starting with the day of death, it 

is better for non-jnatis to avoid eating or drinking in the 

house in which the death has taken place.

• It would be most appropriate to visit the bereaved person 

on the day of the demise itself, and ask if he needs any help.

 If you are knowledgeable about the karmas and rituals to 

be observed, you can advise the karta. 

But imposing your views on the priests or interfering in their 

methods should be avoided. You should show sensitivity to 

the persons involved and their feelings.

While on the subject, some visitors advise the karta to do a 

simplified version of the karma to keep the effort and the 

costs down. This practice is condenmable, and apart form 

confusing the karta who would have done the karma 

properly, this accumulates as a sin for the adviser. We 

should encourage the Karta to do it as prescribed, to the 

extent possible; or just keep quiet.

** Who are the Jnatis?

Answer: Jnatis can be divided into two kinds: Sapindas and 

Samanodakas. Sapindas are 10-day daayaadis, and 

Samanodas 3-day dayadis.

** What is ‘Aasaucha’?

Answer: Aasaucha is the Sanskrit word for the Tamil word ‘

theettu’. This can be roughly translated as an impurity or a 

taint and arises at the time of death (or birth) that happens 

in a family to the relatives of the person dying or being born. 

This impurity is temporary and its period has been

determined for different relations. On completion of the 

period fixed, the taint goes with a bath. If the asocuchi - the 

person concerned - is not well and cannot take bath, 

someone else can take bath ten times, on his 

behalf, touching him each time. With Punyahavachana the 

impurity gets cleared completely.

** What are the observances associated with aasaucha?


a. Aasauchis, viz. people affected by the impurity or 

aasoucha, cannot go to a temple.

b. They cannot make obeisance (namaskara) to or accept 

obeisance from an unaffected person.

c. If the taint is because of a death in the family, they 

should bathe daily in the morning, sleep on the floor and 

avoid cohabitation.

d. If there is an eclipse midway through aasaucha, the 

theettu does not apply during that period i.e. till the eclipse 

is over for jnatis. The japas, danas and tarpanas to be done 

can however be done during the eclipse.

e. The aasaucha applies to a person’s house and other 


f. People who observe Ekadasi vrata should not observe the 

vrata if they are asauchis.

g. Aasaucha does not affect brahmacharis.

h. Aasaucha does not affect Sandhyavandana, which has to 

be performed. But Veda Adhyayana should not be done during aasucha.

i. Aasauchis cannot make or accept dana.

j. Deva puja, sraaddha and tarpana are also to be avoided 

during aasaucha.

** How does one keep count of the period of asaucha?

Answer: If the birth or death occurs at night before 1:30 

a.m. (18¾ nazhigai) it is considered as the same day (even 

though in common parlance the day ends at midnight). 

Some Purohits keep count of the time from sunrise and 

decide the starting day. Both the methods are acceptable – 

it depends upon the custom of the concerned family.

No comments:

Post a Comment