By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Panktipavanas, PaGktipAvanas, Panktipaavanas
Paṅktipāvanas literally means ‘those who purify the entire line of persons’.
Feeding the brāhmaṇas, especially at the time of śrāddhas or obsequial rites, was considered a holy act earning a lot of merit for the host. However, only the pañktipāvana-types of brāhmaṇas had to be invited. A paṅktipāvana is one who purifies the entire line in which he sits. Being a person of great self-control, pure character and also high spiritual attainments, his power of personality is so potent that it can effect the purification of all the persons sitting in the same line. The epics and the purāṇas give the descriptions of such paṅktipāvanas.
- Purifies means pāvana.
- Line means paṅkti.
- Mahābhārata, Anuśāsanaparva 90.25 to 38
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore