Parṇakurca

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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Parnakurca, ParNakurca, Parnakurca


Parṇakurca literally means ‘an expiation in which leaves and dry grass are used’.

Significance of Parṇakṛcchra

The dharmaśāstras prescribe expiations for a variety of sins, both minor and major, committed by human beings knowingly or unknowingly. One group of such expiations is given the general name ‘kṛcchara’. The parṇakurca is also known as ‘parṇakṛcchra’. It is one of them.

Ritual of Parṇakṛcchra

The sinner for whom this expiation is prescribed has to give up food for five days and subsist only on the decoction of boiled leaves[1] for four days and then water in which a kurca[2] has been dipped.

Leaves for Parṇakṛcchra

The recommended leaves are:

  1. Palāśa - Butea frondosa
  2. Udumbara - Ficus glomerata
  3. Lotus
  4. Bilva - Aegle marmelos

Some works like the Viṣṇudharmasutras[3] give a longer duration of seven days adding the leaves of two more trees.


References

  1. Parṇa means leaf.
  2. Kurca means darbha or Poa cynosuroides.
  3. Viṣṇudharmasutras 46.23
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore