Vratyastoma is a ritual performed by Vratyas (people who have failed to perform Upanayana in time) to readmit themselves to the fold of Varnashrama Dharma. Many Westerners who convert into Hinduism perform this ritual. However, Sri Sri Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati MahaSwamiji in his book "Hindu Dharma" says:

If the Gayatri has not been chanted for three generations in the family of a Brahmin, its members lose caste (they cease to be Brahmins). The quarter where such Brahmins live cannot be called an "agrahara". It is perhaps not yet three generations since Brahmins gave up the Gayatri. So they still may be called Brahmins.

In the same way if the Brahmin family has not performed sacrifices for three generations its members will be called "Durbrahmanas", degenerate Brahmins. Even though degenerate the label "Brahmin" sticks to them. There are prayascittas (expiatory rites) by means of which the corrupted Brahmins will be remade true Brahmins. But there is no such hope for a Brahmin in whose family Gayatri has not been chanted for three generations. A member of such a family ceases altogether to be a Brahmin and cannot be made one again. He is just a "Brahmana- bandhu", a kin or a friend of Brahmins. The same rule applies to Ksatriyas and Vaisyas with regard to the Gayatri mantra; they become "ksatriya-bandhus" and "Vaisya-bandhus" respectively.

Do any scriptures validate MahaSwamiji's claim that families where the Gayatri Mantra has not being chanted for 3 generations cannot return to the fold of Varnashrama Dharma?

  • Too many questions in one quesiton. You will only get multiple partial answers but not one complete answer if the question is like this. Focus on one particular question whether it is validation in the scriptures or performance of the ritual and age limitations to this ritual. Regarding age limit on upanayanam and Gayatri mantra, there is already a question I think. Feb 8, 2018 at 8:42
  • @Sarvabhouma No no, not age limit for Upanayana or Gayatri Mantra. I meant the age limit of performing the Vratyasoma ritual (not Upanayana).
    – user9969
    Feb 8, 2018 at 9:05
  • @Sarvabhouma Question has been edited :)
    – user9969
    Feb 8, 2018 at 12:02

1 Answer 1


It's given what the Vratya has to do to remedy the affliction that he got for not getting initiation at the right time.

A man who is excluded from the Savitri should perform the Uddalaka penance: for two months he should live on barley gruel, for one month on milk, for a fortnight on curd, for eight days on ghee, for six days on food received unasked, and for three days on water; and he should fast for a day and night. Alternatively, he may participate in the ritual bath that concludes a horse sacrifice; or he may perform the Vratyastoma sacrifice.

Vashishta Dharmasutras 11.79

Now, the following verse says that sons of uninitiated father are Vratyas. So, the above rule should apply to them as well irrespective of how many generations had elapsed?

Sons fathered by an uninitiated man are Vratyas, excluded from initiation––so state the wise with equal reference to the three classes.

Baudhayana Dharma Sutras 1.16.10


Sons of Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, and Vaishyas, not invested with the holy thread, after having respectively attained the ages of fifteen years and, two, months,, twenty-one years and two months, and, twenty-three years and two months, become deprived, of the right of investure and, studying the Vedas. They are called, Vratyas. Such children should expiate their guilt by performing a Vratyastoma sacrifice. (20,)

Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, and Vaishyas are called the. twice-born. Their first births take place when they are delivered of their mother's womb ; their second when they duly accept the Gayatri Mantra from their preceptors.

Vyasa Smriti 1.

IMO even this verse is not clearly saying something about the non performance of Gayatri for many generations..

  • My grand father, father both didn't learn Vedas and perform sacrifices. But they did sandhiyavandhanam. They had upanayana Samskara. Am I eligible for vedic studies?(I don't know about my great grandfather from father side whether he studied Vedas or not)
    – user9554
    Feb 8, 2018 at 15:50
  • Yes that's enough AFAIK.. I probably read that in Sankha Smriti, that even if one does not perform the prescribed sacrifices, if he is doing the Gayatri without fail, then he is not considered as downgraded.. @Parikshitha
    – Rickross
    Feb 9, 2018 at 5:58
  • @Rickross Uddalaka penance can be done instead of Vratyasoma?
    – user9969
    Feb 9, 2018 at 12:25
  • Yes that can be done.. BTW i have also read about DUrbrahamins in the Vedas.. I am not finding the exact page/book now.. Probably they have given another sacrifice as the remedy there but that is exclusive to the Brahmins ..@SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury
    – Rickross
    Feb 9, 2018 at 12:28

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