By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Sapatha, Zapatha, shapatha
Śapatha literally means ‘special oath’.
In the ancient days, when a king could not decide whether a person brought before him as guilty was really guilty or not, due to lack of direct or circumstantial evidence, he could take to two methods:
- Divya - divine proof through ordeals
- Śapatha - oath
This is a śapatha. The king in such cases of śapathas had to wait for a week or the stipulated period, whichever is less, to know the results.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore