From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Snātaka literally means ‘one who has taken the ceremonial bath after student-hood’.

Snātaka, Definition[edit]

A brahmacārin[1] was expected to take a ceremonial bath at the end of his student-period and seek the permission of his guru to return home after paying the gurudakṣiṇā.[2] Such an one was called ‘snātaka’.

Types of Snātaka[edit]

Snātakas were of three types:

  1. Vidyāsnātaka - one who had finished the course of Vedic studies but had not kept the Vedavratas or Vedic vows
  2. Vrata-snātaka - one who had kept the vows but could not complete the course in the stipulated period
  3. Vidyāvratasnātaka - one who had finished both

The last one was considered as the best of the three and was highly respected.

Attributes of Snātaka[edit]

  • He could then return home and settle down as a gṛhastha or householder.
  • A snātaka could be introduced to an assemblage of learned men by his guru.
  • The dharmaśāstras give innumerable rules for a snātaka to observe.
  • Most of them are concerned with his physical safety and maintenance of the purity of his life.


  1. Brahmacārin means a Vedic student living in the house of his guru.
  2. Gurudakṣiṇā means fees.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore