Is bribery a sin according to Hindu scripture?

If yes, what is the punishment? For example, the Indian Government's Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 has prescribed the following.


7. Public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act

Whoever, being, or expecting to be a public servant, accepts or obtains or agrees to accept or attempts to obtain from any person, for himself or for any other person, any gratification whatever, other than legal remuneration, as a motive or reward for doing or forbearing to do any official act or for showing or forbearing to show, in the exercise of his official functions, favour or disfavour to any person or for rendering or attempting to render any service or disservice to any person, with the Central Government or any State Government or Parliament or the Legislature of any State or with any local authority, corporation or Government company referred to in clause (c) of section 2, or with any public servant, whether named or otherwise, shall be punishable with imprisonment which shall be not less than six months but which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine.

Are there any examples from Ramayana and Mahabharata that touch upon this issue and how the kings in those epics dealt with this malady?

P.S: If you just want to state your opinion just leave a comment under the question. Please don't answer citing blogs or Wikipedia. I'm mainly looking for answers backed by scripture. Answers can also be opinions of an āchārya or a guru.

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    In Virata-Parava, Pandavas seek advice from sage Dhaumya on how to live incognito as a household and not be discovered. Here's his stand on bribery "Commissioned to a task, one should not touch bribes for by such appropriation one becometh liable to fetters or death." This may be more inclined towards how to be a loyal household.
    – WeShall
    Sep 22, 2016 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


Yes bribery is considered as sin in Hinduism.

According to Vishnu Purana, Book 2, Chapter 6:

He who takes unlawful gifts goes to the Adhomukha (or head-inverted) hell

According to Mahabharata, Virata Parva:

Commissioned to a task, one should not touch bribes for by such appropriation one becometh liable to fetters or death.

According to Manu Smriti, Chapter 9, a King should always be alert with those who take bribe.

  1. Those who take bribes, cheats and rogues, gamblers, those who live by teaching (the performance of) auspicious ceremonies, sanctimonious hypocrites, and fortune-tellers,

Padma Purana, Bhoomi Khanda, Chapter 67 also say the same thing as:

That king whose subjects are harassed by officials receiving bribes, by thieves in his kingdom, is roasted in hells.

Also from this verse from Vaman Purana (Chapter 12 verse 37) ,we come to know that accepting bribe is a sin & those who accept the bribe are thrown to hell.

पृष्ठमांसाशिनो मूढास्तथैवोत्तकीव जीवन:। 
  क्षिप्यन्ते वृकभक्षे ते नरके रजनीचर॥३७॥

PrusthaManSaShiNo MudhaStaThaiVoTtaKiva Jivanah Kshpyate VrukBhakshe Te Narake RanajiChara

Meaning - O monster ! The sneaking and bribe accepting rudes are thrown into the hell called "Vrakbhaksa".


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