What is the penance for a Brahmana who will get his Yagnopaveeta Samskara done after the prescribed time?

I am actually not getting it done too late, like I am not getting in my late 20s or early 30s. I will still be a teenager, but I will be older than the prescribed age limit of 16 years for Brahmanas. (Apastamba Dharmasutra, Prasna 1)

I heard about Vratyastoma, but nowadays it is expensive and impossible. It is not my parents fault either, unexplainable circumstances happened, and there was practically no way I could have got it done. But I want to do the required and prescribed Prayaschitta.

But I don't really have a clue on what the Prayaschitta is, but I did find this:

Failure to be Initiated: If his time for initiation has lapsed, a man should live observing the rules of a student of the three Vedas for one season (ideally 2-3 months) and then undergo initiation. For a year thereafter he should take a daily bath, after which time he may receive vedic instruction.

(Apastamba Dharmasutra, Prasna 1)

(If you are wondering why I am quoting Apastamba, basically the Apastamba Dharmasutra, is the Dharmasutra prescribed to my ancestral Shakha.)

Now I must admit that I am no sanskrit scholar, I found this from Patrick Olivelle's Translation of the Dharmasutras of Apastamba, Gautama, Baudhayana and Vasishta. I am generally suspicious of western scholars, but this was my only source of information.

I don't really understand what the rules of a student of the three vedas are. I am guessing it must be Brahmacharya rules.

Thanks in advance.

  • 1
    Vratas can remove Vratyahood, see here: wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book/… .. 3 krichha vrata are recommended here.. to find the method of doing you can see here: hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/30282/… similarly 3 prajapatya fasting can also remove vratyahood.. or 1 Uddalaka also..but Uddalaka penance might be difficult to perform..
    – Tezz
    Commented May 23, 2022 at 15:00
  • 1
    These are for vratyas also: Viṣṇu (54-26).—‘Those twice-born men by whom the Gāyatrī has not been repeated, nor the other ceremonies performed, as the law directs, must be made to perform three Prājāpatya penances and then initiated according to custom.’ here twice born means that he is born from twice born.. but he has become vratya.. for exact rules you should contact Pundits/Guru who know it... Manusmriti is applicable for all regardless of Shakha bheda also..
    – Tezz
    Commented May 23, 2022 at 15:54
  • 1
    also while doing vratas sankalpas etc.. would be needed.. so do not do it on your own.. you should consult one who knows vidhi of these vratas.. @Apastamba_01
    – Tezz
    Commented May 23, 2022 at 15:55
  • 1
    Generally only Nama Japa is preferred till then like japa of Arunachala Shiva, Narayana, Samba SadhaShiva etc.. or another thing Is various rituals can be started after taking initiation in Tantra also... Puri Shankaracharya says Hare Krishna Mahamantra can also remove vratyahood.. not sure from where he cites this.. you can also see here might be needed if someone is attending some rituals for pre-purification: hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/17299/…
    – Tezz
    Commented May 23, 2022 at 16:10
  • 1
    Any nama japa should work.. but as you see from above Veda source 'Shiva' nama has special purificatory effect that even when Chandalas pronounce "Shiva", Brahmanas can eat together with him.. but it might be more fruitful to do nama japa of Ishta.. another thing you can do is.. prepare your body for fasting.. you can do water fasting for 1 day.. 2 day.. etc so that your body is prepared for later
    – Tezz
    Commented May 23, 2022 at 16:41

1 Answer 1


Āpastamba is referring to the brahma-charya-vidhíḥ that he described later on in Praśna I, Paṭala 1, Khaṇḍa 2.

  1. Now (follow) the rules for the studentship.

  2. He shall obey his teacher, except (when ordered to commit) crimes which cause loss of caste.[7]

  3. He shall do what is serviceable to his teacher, he shall not contradict him.[8]

  4. He shall always occupy a couch or seat lower (than that of his teacher).[9]

  5. He shall not eat food offered (at a sacrifice to the gods or the Manes),

  6. Nor pungent condiments, salt, honey, or meat.[10]

  7. He shall not sleep in the day-time.

  8. He shall not use perfumes.[11]

  9. He shall preserve chastity.[12]

  10. He shall not embellish himself (by using ointments and the like).[13]

  11. He shall not wash his body (with hot water for pleasure).

  12. But, if it is soiled by unclean things, he shall clean it (with earth or water), in a place where he is not seen by a Guru.[14]

  13. Let him not sport in the water whilst bathing; let him swim (motionless) like a stick.[15]

  14. He shall wear all his hair tied in one braid.[16]

  15. Or let him make a braid of the lock on the crown of the head, and shave the rest of the hair

There are more rules too, the list extends till Praśna I, Paṭala 3, Khaṇḍa 11, Sū́tra 18. Note that some of them are exclusive to initiates only. For example 33 discusses about the girdle (the ancient equivalent of the Yajna-Upavīta) that a student should wear after initiation.

Now for the "Brahman-Killers", they should follow the above procedure too, but then after the upa-nayana, they should recite the seven Pāvamānīs (Şākala-saṁhitā́ 9.57.21-9.57.27) along with the Yajuṣpavitra (Tāittirīya-saṁhitā́, Sāmapavitra (Kāuthuma-saṁhitā́ I, 2, 2, 3, 5), and the Āṅgirasapavitra (Şākala-saṁhitā́ 4.40.5), daily during their bath. The Vyāhṛtis may also be recited. This should continue for as many years as there are uninitiated members in your family. Then they can receive vedic education.

  1. For as many years as there are uninitiated persons, reckoning (one year) for each ancestor (and the person to be initiated himself),

  2. (They should bathe daily reciting) the seven[1] Pāvamānīs, beginning with 'If near or far,' the Yajuṣpavitra, ('May the waters, the mothers purify us,' &c.) the Sāmapavitra, ('With what help assists,' &c.), and the Āṅgirasapavitra ('A swan, dwelling in purity'),

  3. Or also reciting the Vyāhṛtis (om, bhūḥ, bhuvaḥ, suvaḥ).

  4. After that (such a person) may be taught (the Veda).

But if your great-grandfather's (grandfather's and father's) initiation is not remembered (the 'burial ground' case) you have to follow the brahma-charya-vidhíḥ for 12 years. Once those 12 years are over, then you can be instructed in the Gṛhya-mantras. Once that is over, he has to follow the brahma-charya-vidhíḥ for 2 months, and then he can be normally initiated.

  1. But those whose great-grandfather's (grandfather's and father's) initiation is not remembered, are called 'burial->grounds.'

  2. Intercourse, dining, and intermarriage with them should be avoided. For them, if they like, the (following) penance (is prescribed). (Such a man) shall keep for twelve years the rules prescribed for a student who is studying the three Vedas. Afterwards he may be initiated. Then he shall bathe, reciting the Pāvamānīs and the other (texts mentioned above, I, 1, 2, 2).

  3. Then he may be instructed in the duties of a householder.

  4. He shall not be taught (the whole Veda), but only the sacred formulas required for the domestic ceremonies.

  5. When he has finished this (study of the Gṛhya-mantras), he may be initiated (after having performed the penance prescribed) for the first neglect (I, 1, 1, 28).

  6. Afterwards (everything is performed) as in the case of a regular initiation.[2] He who has been initiated shall dwell as a religious student in the house of his teacher,[3]

As we can see, Āpastamba discusses many possible situations of failing to initiate, hinting that maybe the Upa-nayana was also delayed by some back then too.

Reference: Āpastamba-dharma-sūtrá https://www.wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book/apastamba-dharma-sutra/d/doc116234.html#note-t-61804


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