In India, this Krishnapaksh/dark fortnight of Bhadrapad month is the Pitru paksh or the Mahalaya paksh. In these 15 days we remember our dead ancestors with gratitude and offer them energy in the form of water and food energised with mantras. This is a duty for every household and exclusive to the males. The women help by preparing the food but the actual exercise with the mantras and tarpan is done by the males.
Tarpan is the ritual performed to gain access to the dead ancestors/Pitru. A Puja is the ritual for accessing the Gods/Devata and the Dhyan is the practice done to access One’s own self.
During these 15 days the energies are such that the Pitrus who generally inhabit the “Pitru Lok” can enter and move quite freely in our “Martya Lok”. The Pitrus exist in the Pitru Lok until such a time that they have to come for another birth. If you can see auras or are sensitive to energies, for these 15 days evening twilight time can be quite heavy and oppressive. Avoid taking very young children out of the house during these few hours as they can sense energies and may get scared by what they may see.
There is a tradition of calling the 7 generations of ancestors on the father’s side by name and the rest as “everyone else”. The Y chromosome is all important and this process of Tarpan is somehow linked to maleness. The Tarpan has 2 benefits, the male who is offering the energies benefits if his intention is clear and of course the ancestors benefit and take the tarpan energies if given with gratitude.
We are our ancestors. I am 50% my mom and 50% my dad, 25% of each of my 4 grandparents and so on. At the 7th ancestor level the contribution of each individual ancestor goes below 1%.
I have seen modern feminist women trying to show off by doing the rituals related to funeral rites and dead ancestors but there is no energy generated around them. It may be a plus to feminism but of no use to the dead for which it is being done and may actually harm the women who are doing it and their children.
If you wish to offer gratitude to your dead ancestors during this period, the easiest way is through a coconut. On Sarvapitri Amavasya, in the morning, in your puja room or outside or terrace, if you prefer, facing the south, take a coconut, shake it to feel the water sloshing inside, it should have water in it. Remove the fibrous material around it leaving only a tuft at the side of the 3 “eyes”. Hold it on your hands, offer some kumkum, turmeric, unbroken raw rice, flowers, etc on it. If you are married, ask your wife to also pray with intention touching the coconut. Intend that you are grateful to your dead ancestors and pray for their wellbeing. Keep it simple. And in one sharp movement dash the coconut on the ground and ensure that it breaks. Fold your hands and again repeat your intention. That is it! The broken pieces of coconut etc can be put in running water, or sea or if not possible under a tree somewhere. If you are a woman and want to show gratitude to your dead ancestors, do everything as above but ask your husband to dash the coconut on the ground to break it.
Ignored ancestors cause problems too, as during these 15days they have access to this world. Most commonly pitru related problems manifest as delays in marraige and delay or denial of progeny. In the horoscopes placement of Rahu/Ketu in the 9th house, or connected to the 9th house lord indicate pitru related problems. For these there are specific mantras and tarpans for which your pujari/pandit will scare you then charge you. But as I have always said Intention is everything and a coconut broken with intention also works fine.
Show gratitude, it will make you feel lighter. Our ancestors are linked to us by our blood and our DNA. They are us and we are them.
Everything and everyone resonates.
What happens to the souls of people who die in accidents. Do they attain peace. Will the person doing last rites of the one who died in accident suffer adversely or is it fine.
people dying in accidents will have family members who do the necessary rituals after death. so its not a special thing.
Accidental death is a routine type of death and their family members are required to perform the mantras etc.
performing these rituals always helps the soul of the departed person and also helps the person who is performing them. No harm comes to either of them.
in some very rare cases the soul does not realise that it has left the body, in this case either the family will visit a tantrik who will counsel it. Or most often the souls of the previously deceased family members will guide it.
there is nothing called ‘rest in peace’. every soul will take another birth as per its desire, there is no heaven/hell, there is no stasis,
There is always continual movement in the manifested creation..
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Out of interest, could you kindly expand if known, on why no energy is generated and why it may do more harm than good if females try to perform Pitri Tarpanam?
This is not from a feminist viewpoint but rather from
a) intention being so important
b) when there is no male in the family
I have read elsewhere that any gender can perform and if wishes to, should perform, although I have never come across this in practice.
Is there something else do you know of that females can perform to thank the dearly loved departed?
i dont believe in feminism, both men and women are different and have different roles etc to perform .
they are not comparable to each other , both are necessary..
i have written about men/women ancestors, etc in several of my posts, do use the search bar or the index page to locate these posts if you wish to read..
for women there is no compulsion to perform the tarpan rituals.
the men are compelled to perform the tarpan as they do not have an option in this matter, they have the Y chromosome, which is the weakest and most unstable of the DNA we carry. somehow doing tarpan with the mantra etc ensures their own health and the health of the children they have, in some cryptic manner..
Some modern women are seen doing the actual anteyshti .. but the karmic consequences are terrible for her as the person who has died does not get the power of the anteyshti mantras to push him into the pitralok.. This soul curses the woman..
in my opinion women should avoid entering into smashan areas.. what they actually do is as per their own conscience..
females should not do the actual tarpan ritual either, there is no point, the closest male relative should do it..
if there are absolutely no males in the family then any other male from the same extended family can do it or if thts not available then the son-in-law can do for his in-laws (if one of his own parents has passed away)
the women of the family prepare the food offerings which are then given by the men to the pitra. Making the food, requires the same purity of mind, grateful feelings etc, which is the responsibility of the woman. if the food is not prepared properly then the actual tarpan ritual is also affected..
most women feel cooking is a burden.. Cooking esp for rituals is in fact the most important thing! The success of the entire ritual depends on this one item!
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Thank you for clarifying.
I appreciate your time taken to explain further as it has been bothering me, feeling that I should be doing something, but not understanding why instinctively I haven’t.
It seems ( in my personal arena) then all I can do is offer thanks for those who have passed.
(Apologies for missing your prompt reply)
Thank you Again.
Hi, And I forgot to say – thank you for the coconut tip.
That at least I can do with help for dashing it.
Ease my conscience.