Brahmahatya by definition is ब्रह्मणो हननम् - killing of Brahma.

As per shastra, those who are well versed in Vedas are called Brahmanas.

Brahma means the Vedas.

ब्राह्मणः - ब्रह्म वेदस्तमधीते वा सः

Someone who learns Brahma (Vedas) is Brahmana.

All the Devatas reside in their bodies in the form of Mantras.

So the killing of a Brahmana is a grave sin equal to destroying the Vedas.

This sin is called Brahmahatya.

Brahmahatya is one among the Pancha Mahapatakas.

Hatya could also mean harassing and causing harm.

Sins equal to Brahmahatya

  • Lying about one’s varna.
  • Giving false statements as a witness causing punishment to someone.
  • False accusation about Guru.
  • To discriminate between a God and his idol.
  • Not performing noble deeds during parvas such Janmashtami, Rama Navami, etc.
  • Insulting Gods.
  • Not taking care of parents and dependents.
  • Excretion in water such as rivers and ponds.
  • Not worshiping Gods.
  • Not performing Sandhya vandana.
  • To disturb someone's sleep.
  • To disturb the intimacy of a husband and wife.
  • To separate a child from its mother.

Form of Brahmahatya

Brahmahatya is personified as a demoness in the Puranas.

She is very fierce.

She roars and laughs out loudly.

The whole world trembles when she laughs.

She wears black dress and her hair is red.

The pupils of her eyes are yellow.

She is old in age and her mouth is always dry.

She is as tall as seven palm trees.

Her protruding teeth are as long as the flag post of a chariot.

She has three heads and her hands are smoky in color.

She has the sword, scissors, and a pot as her weapons.

One of her legs stretches up to the sky and she is constantly drinking blood.

Brahmahatya doesn’t spare even the Devas

Vishwarupa, son of Tvashta was appointed as the purohita of Devas.

His mother was a Daitya woman.

Indra suspected his allegiance and beheaded him.

Brahmahatya caught hold of Indra and started following him.

Finally, Indra exchanged his sin with the trees, earth , and women in periods for some privileges and got rid of it.

Lord Shiva incurred Brahmahatya after he plucked Brahma’s fifth head.

The Lord had to go around begging until someone gave him a bowl full of food.

He begged for a long time.

Brahmahatya was following him throughout.

Finally, Devi Parvathy as Annapurna gave him a bowl full of food and got him released from the curse.

Lord Rama incurred Brahmahatya after he killed Ravana.

Ravana was a Brahmana.

The Lord did tapas in the Himalayas, propitiated Lord Shiva, and got rid of it.

The Pandavas incurred Brahmahatya during the Kurukshetra war.

They propitiated Lord Shiva and got rid of it.

The Panch Kedar Temples were built by the Pandavas in gratitude for this.

Balarama incurred Brahmahatya when he killed the Suta (Lomaharshana) in Naimisharanya.

Janamejaya incurred Brahmahatya when he killed Gargya and he later performed Ahwamedha to eliminate it.

The bodies of both Balarama and Janamejaya emanated the smell of Iron during the periods they were affected.

According to Shiva Purana, a cow accidentally killed a Brahman boy and incurred Brahmahatya.

Her skin turned from white to black.

She took a dip three times in Narmada and got relief.

This place is called Nandikeshwara.

King Kalmashapada was cursed by Vasishta and he became a Rakshasa.

He then killed a Brahmana.

He got relief after he undertook a pilgrimage to Gokarna.


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