Sutak-Patak : Science behind the Ancient Tradition

Untouchability is a universal and ancient truth, which later came to be misinterpreted. Medical facilities were not so much in ancient times as compared to the present. In such a situation, when a disease or epidemic spread, people used their experience. On the basis of this experience, ancient scholars made some rules of religion to protect people from disease or to prevent the spread of infection. One of those many rules is Sutak and Patak in our sanatana dharma.

Quarantine (Sutak)

No one even touches the person or family in whose house the sutak-patak lives, that person and all the members of the family. He doesn’t even take food or water there. That family also does not go to anyone’s house including the temple and stays in their house for that number of days following the rules of Sutak-Patak. Family members are asked to stay away from public places.

When the Sutak takes place

The time of birth, eclipse period, the period of a woman’s menstrual cycle and the time of death are considered for Sutak and Patak. The determination of the day and time of Sutak is different in everyone’s time.

sutak and patak explained

What is Sutak and Patak

Sutak is related to the impurity caused by birth and death. The umbilical cord which is cut on the occasion of birth and the violence that takes place during the process of birth, the fault or sin involved in it is considered as atonement. In this way, sutak from the impurity spread by death and the sins of violence caused by cremation or atonement for sins are considered as Patak.

sutak definition

Just as a sutak is applied after the birth of a child in the house, similarly, according to Garuda Purana, the sutak applied on the death of a member of the family is called ‘Pataka’. The language of Sutak and Patak is also different from this. As after the death of a person, the Gotraja and the family get impurity and impurity for a specific period, it is called Sutak. The opposite of impure and pure is impurity.

From birth to death, Sutak and Patak are considered. Sutak is related to the impurity caused by birth. The umbilical cord which is cut at the time of birth and other types of violence in the process of being born, the fault or sin involved in it is considered a sutak as atonement. Patak is related to the impurity caused by death. On the occasion of death, the guilt or sin of the violence caused by cremation is considered to be a form of atonement.

Time Span and Occasions Expained

The family of the deceased person has to follow the Sutak strictly for 10 days and the person who performs the rituals for 12 to 13 days (up to Sapindization). Basically this Sutak period lasts for one and a half months. No one goes to anyone’s house for a month and a half. One and a half month means 37 to 40 days. One period of the constellation is completed in 40 days. If there is any Sutak (child is born) or Patak (somebody dies) in the house, up to 40 Sutak or Patak takes place.

It is also said that after seven generations there is a three-day sutak, but it is difficult to determine. For how many days the other relatives of the deceased (uncle, nephew, aunt etc.) should follow the Sutak, it depends on the relationship and its information is given in the Panchang and Dharmashastras. But the one who is related by blood has to follow the rules mentioned above.

Sutak On the occasion of birth

After birth the impurity in the newborn generations is counted as 10 days for 3 generations, 10 days for 4 generations, 6 days for 5 generations. Generations of people who dine in a kitchen are not counted. There is a complete Sutak up to 10 days. The mother of a maternity newborn lives for 45 days.

The birth place is considered impure for 1 month. That’s why many people come home from the hospital and take a bath. If a daughter is born in Pehar, it is 3 days in the birth of a child, if she gives birth in her in-laws’ house, then she has a Sutak for 10 days.

Patak On the occasion of death

There is violence in cremation etc. It is considered as a form of atonement for the sins or sins involved in it. The days of Patak are counted from the day the cremation is performed. not from the day of death. If a member of a household is outside, then till the day he gets the information, he feels guilty. If the information is received after 12 days, then the purification is done by just taking a bath.

Now, If a woman in the family has had an abortion, then the number of days of the month she has been in will be considered as Patak. Any member of the house is a sage, a sadhvi, he does not feel the sutak of birth and death. But when he dies, it takes a day for him.

Sutak-Patak for Non Family Members

One day to go to someone’s funeral procession, 3 days to touch the dead and 8 days to shoulder the dead is considered to be an inaccuracy. If someone commits suicide in the house, then it is considered as a Patak for 6 months. Food and water cannot be taken there for six months. He does not go to the temple, nor is the money of that house offered in the temple.

Similarly, if the domesticated cow, buffalo, mare, goat etc. of the house have a child in the house, there is no sutak for one day, but if born outside the house, there is no sutak. The milk of a baby cow, buffalo and goat remains impure for 15 days, 10 days and 8 days respectively.

Rules of Sutak-Patak

Always follow these instructions. Do not touch other persons in Sutak and Patak, Do not do any religious work or Manglik work and also do not participate in social work, Do not eat food in the company of others, Do not go to anyone’s house or do any kind of tour. Follow the rules by staying at home.

If someone is born then worship God keeping in mind the purification and if someone has died then spend time listening to Garuda Purana. At the end of the Sutak or Patak period, one should be purified by taking bath and taking Panchagavya (a mixture of cow’s milk, curd, ghee, cow urine and cow dung). During the period of Sutak Patak, religious activities like Dev Shastra Guru, worship Prakshaal, diet etc. are prohibited.

Sutak of eclipse

If food has been prepared before eclipse and sutak, then by adding basil leaves to the food and drink, the food material can be saved from getting polluted. The doors of the temples are kept closed during the eclipse. The deity idols are also kept covered. Worship or touch is prohibited during the eclipse. There is only the law of chanting mantras. During the eclipse, it is forbidden to perform all kinds of fire activities including yagya. It is believed that this angered the god Agni.

Scientific Basis of Sutak-Patak

‘Sutak’ and ‘Patak’ are not just religious rituals. When a child is born or a member dies in the family, the chances of spreading the infection are very high. In such a situation, the rules of Sutak and Patak are followed only to prevent infection in the house after the arrival of a new member in the hospital or crematorium or the last departure of a member.

The purification of the house and body is done by these rules. When the period of ‘Sutak’ and ‘Patak’ is over, the atmosphere is purified by performing Havan in the house. After that a prayer is made to the Supreme Father, the Supreme Soul, for a new beginning.

After the birth of the child, the immune system in the woman’s body decreases. Also, the chances of coming under the ambit of infection of other diseases increase. Therefore, for 10-40 days, the woman is kept away from outsiders. As soon as the child comes into the environment of the world, some children catch diseases. Physical weakness starts increasing and sometimes the doctors keep the children on the incubator so that they can be saved from the external polluted environment.

Scientific Explanation

Similarly, if you have gone to someone’s funeral, then it is definitely necessary to take a bath. There can be many reasons behind someone’s death, such as a long respiratory illness or sugar problem or death due to an accident. The list of reasons is not short, but the issue is that all these reasons can come through infection in your body and can also make you sick.

Sometimes it has been seen that a man falls ill after cremation because the germs from there make their way to his house so always children, old people and women are advised to take extra precautions. That is why all the members of the house get their shaven done.

Sometimes when all the procedures are followed in the family, the chances of infection remain intact, so Havan is performed as the last weapon. After the Havan, the atmosphere of the house becomes pure and the duration of the process of Patak is also completed.

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6 thoughts on “Sutak-Patak : Science behind the Ancient Tradition”

  1. hi,
    Just a query, why only 12 days ? I want to understand the significance for considering this specific number for Sutak and Patak.
    Please share your thoughts.

    1. I guess you can understand the answer better now in the current Covid Era!
      We have 14 days quarantine in Covid ! Having 12 to 13 days Sutak is similar to this , In ancient era there was not sure method or equipment to detect the cause of death and no one know about the cause of death, so if it was any microorganism & it’s contagious , so other people can’t be affected by this ! This is the reason for near and dear ones to strictly follow the 13 day quarantine or (sutak) period! I hope my answer will Satisfy your query.

  2. Revathi Pallikonda

    I want to know many things, I wanna read Garuda purana, but elders say not to keep that book should not be there in the house.
    Pls suggest books to enlighten about the correct ways, not manipulated by some Brahmin guru in his side.

    1. Hare Krishna,
      I don’t know why elders keep saying that don’t read Garuda Purana, but I am sure they have their own reason but one thing I can say is I read Garuda Purana (digital version) on a very genuine app called Vedic library.

      I am alive and doing good.
      The reason behind why our elders warn us to read Garuda purana is due to Stockholm syndrome. You know we were ruled for almost 1000 years and I assume that this thought were planted by them or translators of that time. Well it’s an assumption or I can be wrong. In our culture we are allowed to read any book or granth so I think you can read too. Don’t afraid and chant “hare Krishna” before and after reading it and Yogeshwar Shri Krishna will save you from any obstacle. You can read the digital version of Garuda Purana by Vedic Library app it’s not a promotion but as you said you are not allowed to keep the book version so you can read the Garuda Purana by this app.

      Watch this video for more clarity.

  3. people have wrong perceptions on many religious activities and believes.
    theirs nothing wrong in reading or keeping that holy scriptura at home. why would it had been created by god, if it was not meant for keeping or reading.
    its basically, their are many truths mentioned about sins of people and its consequences to be faced. it will open up many eyes and it also discloses my dhongi baba and pundits who pretend to be pure but do wrong things and not based on the proper rituals ect which also becomes the reasons why todays death rituals, pooja rituals are not done properly.
    I suggest everyone to read it and no harm to keep it either. you will definitely learn many things and also realize things which aren’t supposed to be practiced now, also will realise how we have amended our religious doings in shortcut to save time and money.
    it will teach you what happens after one dies and life after death, it will make you realise that death is not the end.
    I have this great holy granth with me, and i have kept it near my pooja place, i do read it often.
    for my understanding, this purana will keep you on track if you follow the principals.

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