Here is what the Manusmriti 11.41 says:

If a Brāhmaṇa who has set up the fires neglects them wilfully, he shall perform the ‘Cāndrāyaṇa’ penance for a month; as his offence is equal to the offence of killing a hero.—(41)

Here is the verse in Sanskrit:

agnihotryapavidhyāgnīn brāhmaṇaḥ kāmakārataḥ | cāndrāyaṇaṃ caren māsaṃ vīrahatyāsamaṃ hi tat

Now, vira means 'hero', and hatya means 'killing', so virahatya means 'killing of a hero'.

But my question is, what does 'hero' mean in the context of this sin?


1 Answer 1


One of the meanings of vīra is son. It also mean warrior or Kshatriya.

And, one of the meanings of vīrahatyā is murder of son.

Also, other translation of Manu Smriti 11.41 verse is as below

  1. A Brahmana who, being an Agnihotrin, voluntarily neglects the sacred fires, shall perform a lunar penance during one month; for that (offence) is equal to the slaughter of a son.

Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha on the verse have the following:

‘Vīra’—‘Son’ (Govindarāja, Kullūka, Nārāyaṇa and Rāghavānanda);—‘a Kṣatriya’ (Nandana);—‘a deity’ (suggested by Rāghavānanda).

  • 'slaughter of a son' doesn't make sense. Every man is somebody else's son. Slaughter of a young person/boy or Kṣatriya makes more sense. Medhātithi’s commentary - "he who allows the fires to become extinguished is regarded by the gods as the slayer of a hero." - is totally different; maybe this is what it really means. Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 21:08
  • @sv. It might be talking about your own son.
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Jan 20, 2020 at 15:36

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