By Swami Harshananda
Pādakṛcchra literally means kṛcchra of four aspects.
Man is often prone to committing sins due to the weaknesses. However, religions generally provide him with ways and means of redeeming himself. Religion prescribes two steps for such redemption:
- Paścāttāpa - repentance
- Prāyaścitta - expiation
Origin & Performance of Pādakṛcchra
The most general name for prāyaścittas is ‘kṛcchra’. Out of the several varieties of kṛcchra, the pādakṛcchra is also the one. In this expiation, the transgressor of dharma has to take food only once a day on the first day of expiation. On the second day he is supposed to take food once only by night. On the third day he can have food once any time if he gets the food unasked. He is expected to observe total fast on the fourth day. Even the quantity of food allowed on the first three days is restricted by the dharmaśāstras.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore