I have come across the term Panch Maha Paap (5 great sins) in colloquial usage and in astrology. What are the Panch Maha Paapas, their astrological indicators and what are the parihara(remedies) for the same?

  • I'm editing your question so it just focuses on the five great sins, rather than all the sins of Hinduism and their expiations. You can ask a separate question on the different categories of sins. Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 0:27
  • Ok. I'll create a new question for that.
    – Naveen
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 0:48
  • @KeshavSrinivasan Even this question is covered in this question What are different types of sins? Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 10:29

2 Answers 2


The Manu Smriti lists only 4 great sins or mahApatakas.

Manu Smriti 9.235. The slayer of a Brahmana, (A twice-born man) who drinks (the spirituous liquor called) Sura, he who steals (the gold of a Brahmana), and he who violates a Guru’s bed, must each and all be considered as men who committed mortal sins (mahapataka).

But the Usana Smriti adds another one to the list as follows:

THE destroyer of a Brahmanas, one who drinks spirituous liquors, a thief, and the violator of the preceptor's bed, and the one who associates with them, are the great sinners,
Usana Smriti, Chapter 8, Verse 1.

So, we know what are the five great sins. However, there are many other sins which are considered as equivalent to one or the other of the above five sins. This is also to be noted.

For example:

Manu Smriti 11.56. Forgetting the Veda, reviling the Vedas, giving false evidence, slaying a friend, eating forbidden food, or (swallowing substances) unfit for food, are six (offences) equal to drinking Sura.

Manu Smriti 11.58. Carnal intercourse with sisters by the same mother, with (unmarried) maidens, with females of the lowest castes, with the wives of a friend, or of a son, they declare to be equal to the violation of a Guru’s bed.

Apart from the ones given above, we can find more references to these 5 great sins throughout Hindu scriptures. Here is one such reference from an Agama Shastra.

SriprAsAdaparAmantram Satamashtottaram Jaapet |
MuchyatebrahmahatyAdimahApApaischa Panchabhihi ||


..Whoever does Japa of the Sri Paraprasadamantram 108 times dissolves his Brahmahatyadi five great sins (mahApApaishcha panchabhihi).

KulArnava Tantram 3.102.

The commentator then explains, as given below, what these five mahApApas are:

The five great sins are - BrahmahatyA (brahminicide), Nishiddha surApAna (drinking prohibited alcoholic drinks), Chaurya (theft), VimAtrigamana (cohabiting with Guru's wife, one's own mother, elder sister and other such motherly relatives/figures) and associating with those people who have committed one or the other above-mentioned sins.


The ChAndogya Upanishad also mentions about these five kinds of sins/sinners in a verse:

Steno hiranyasya surAm pivamshacha gurostalpamAvasan brahmahA |
Chaite patanti chatvArah panchamashchAcharamstaih ||

One who steals gold, who drinks Sura, who cohabits with the Guru's wife and one who slays a Brahmin - these four and the the fifth who associates with these four - all of these five become fallen.

ChAndogya Upanishad 5.10.9

  • The Fifth one is having a Friend who does the above 4 pathkas Source Note:This Video is in Telugu may be @the-destroyer could explain more I guess he knows telugu
    – Eduru
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 5:35
  • 2
    @Eduru Yes that is what the Usana Smriti says- the one who associates with them is the 5th one.
    – Rickross
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 5:39
  • Sorry I overlooked your answer regarding the one who associates with them
    – Eduru
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 6:00
  • 2
    @Rickross Kularnava 5 sins ... you can add Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 6:37
  • 1
    Okay thanks 😊 really appreciate your efforts
    – Pe Dro
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 8:03

The five major sins or mahapatakas are;

  • killing brahmana

  • drinking wine for Brahmin

  • sexual intercourse with guru's wife

  • stealing gold

  • having relationship with above mentioned people

Manusmriti 11:54. Brāhmaṇa -slaying, wine-drinking, theft, intercourse with the Preceptor’s wife,—are called the ‘heinous offences,’ as also association with these.

Yājñavalkya (3.227).—‘Brāhmaṇa-slayer, wine-drinker, stealer (of gold), violators of Guru’s bed; these are the Mahāpātakins, as also one who associates with these for one year.’

Viṣṇu (35.1-2).—‘Killing a Brāhmaṇa, drinking wine, stealing Brāhmaṇa’s gold, and sexual connection with a Guru’s wives are Mahāpātakas; also social intercourse with such criminals.’

Vaśiṣṭha (1.19-21).—‘They state that there are five Mahāpātakas: stealing gold, the violation of Guru’s bed, drinking Surā, slaying a learned Brāhmaṇa, and associating with outcasts, either spiritually or matrimonially.’

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