CANDRASHARMAN – A sinner who had killed his teacher

Candrasharman’s story was told along with that of three other sinners in the Padma Purana. These four had committed that period’s four most terrible sins: killing a cow (go-hatya), killing one’s teacher (guru-hatya), killing a brahmin (brahma-hatya), and sleeping with the wife of one’s guru (agamyagamana). The outcaste Vidura, a Pancala desa [Pancama jana—an outcaste], had killed a brah­min and had visited all the pilgrimage sites (tirthas) to no avail. Before commit­ting the greatest of all sins, he had been a ks’atriya. Candrasharman, a brahmin, had killed his teacher (who might have been a brahmin, but in any case Can- drasharman’s sin was considered less, perhaps because he was himself a brah­min). Vedasharman, another brahmin, slept with his teacher’s wife. The final sinner was a vaisya (merchant caste) named Vanjula who had killed a cow. Although they gathered in the same place to share their stories, the myth made it clear that they did not add a further sin: that of breaking caste law. They did not have food together, sit on the same seat, or lie on the same bed sheet. And the three who had not become outcastes did not touch the outcaste. Then an evolved soul, a siddha, instructed them to wash in the Ganga. When they did, all were absolved of their sins.

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