From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sarvaprāyaścitta literally means ‘universal expiation’.

This is a special omnibus type of expiation prescribed for a dying person to ward off the effects of all the sins that might have been committed knowingly or unknowingly. It may be performed either by the person himself or his son or any other close relative. This rite includes the following steps:

  1. Shaving
  2. Bath
  3. Drinking pañcagavya
  4. Honoring a brāhmaṇa of pure life
  5. Gifting a cow or money after referring to the various types of sins he might have committed
  6. Other gifts known as daśādānas[1]
  7. Recitation of the Kāmastuti[2][3]

The whole procedure has been described in the work Antyakarmadīpikā of Haribhaṭṭadikṣita. If the person takes āturasamnyāsa, there is no need for any other expiation.


  1. Daśādānas means ten kinds of dānas or gifts.
  2. Atharvaveda 3.29.7
  3. Taittirlya Brāhmana
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore