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?
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.
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