Monday, August 09, 2010




Indebtness to Devas, Rishees, and Manes are the three types of indebtness each
one is acquiring at the time of one’s birth. This is apart from three thaapathrya- sins of aadhi deivika, aadiboudhika, aadhyathmika.

Of the above Devas indebtness can be mitigated by performing Veda parayana. Indebtness to Rishees can be cleared can be pleased by offering of tharpanam. The third one to manes can be pleased by proper conducting of Annual Sraadham and by offering of tharpanam/libations to them on important occasions as ordained in our scriptures. Performing of Sraadham; Tharpanam should be with utmost devotion and offering of Dakshina should be in compatible with one’s financial status.

“Curse” is the only instrument the “Asrumukha” manes are capable of using when they are displeased with their offsprings. So we should not earn the wrath of our ancestors. There is a saying in Tamil that “ Pithrusapamum Pitha Vattayum

Hence to please the manes giving tharpanam to them on important occasions are very essential. The important occasions are: AMAVASYA UTTARAYANAM,

On every Amavaasya day one has to perform the ritual of Darsa Sraadham apart from offering of Thila Tharpanam. The amavaasya tharpanam matter under discussion here is as ordained in Krishna Yajurveda-Taittareeya Saakha- related to Aapasthamba sutra. Though there may not be much differences in the important aspects of this ritual- as per other sutras- some variations are observed and as practiced according to their Desa-kaala-anushtanam etc.

A gruhatha has to perform 96 sraadham rituals in a year. They are amavaasya day 12,sankramanam( new month beginning) 12, Manwantharam 14, Ugaadi- 4, Mahalayam-16, Vyaatheepatham 13, Vaidruthi 13, Anwashtaka12. It may practically not possible for one to conduct all the above in the present day situation. On the above occasions each one has to perform sraadham to manes and offer libations - water mixed with seasame seeds ( Black Thila seeds) with appropriate mantras.

The “ Pithru” Sabdha means protector or Samrakshaka. Apart from the birth giving father; Guru, Eldest brother, one who provides food, one who protect a person etc are also coming under classification as father. In sruthi and smrithi one’s forefathers i.e Manes have been classified as “para” “Madhyama” “Avara”. They are also respectively called as Somapar, Barhishadar, Agnishwathar. Persons who have left this world after performing Soma Yaaga are called “ Somapar” One who has performed only Havir Yaaga and attained pitru loka is called “ Barhishadar” .Ordinary mortals, who have not performed any Yaaga ( sacrifice) are called “ Agnishwathars” after their death.

Our scriptures state that the manes are in contact with our Manushya Loka based on the “Rithus” ( Seasons- 6 in Nos).The loka of manes is reported to be in the back side of moon- which is never visible to us. After death jeevathma is taking up a different form/sareera/Roopa. The praana of jeevathma take up the form “ Athi Vaahikam” which is very minute form and moves away from the Parthiva Sareera. This Sookshma Sareera by accepting the offerings of “Pinda” “ Thilodhakam” “ Vaasodhakam” etc .for the first 10 days after death become a body by name “Bhogadeha”. This Bhoga Sareera after traveling 12 months reaches Chandra Mandala. By performing “ Sapindee Karanam” at the end of the 12th month, the Jeeva in the Preetha Roopa attains Bhoota Roopa - and become eligible to receive the offerings of the food in the Sraadha rituals. In practice the “ Sapindee Karanam” ritual is performed on the 12th day itself- by considering each day as one month.

Sraadha means ritualistic and symbolic propitiation of the manes. This should be conducted at a proper place, in a proper time, by giving “Dhaanam” (Gifts) with full devotion- to deserving Brahmins. Conducting Sraadha ritual was first ordained by “Manu”. Sraadha Ritual are classified as Nithyam , Naimithikam, and Kaamyam. Sraadha performed every year for the manes, and on Amavaasya, Mahalayam are examples of Nithya Sraadham. Preetha Sraadham, Ekothishta Sraadham, Sapindeekaranam, Grahana Sraadham etc are examples for Namithikam. Conducting of Sraadha on a specified day or thithi by praying for “ Puthra Prapthi” “ Vivaha Prapthi” “ Swarga Prapthi” etc would come under Kaamya Sraadham.

After death the deceased attains Pitru loka and become devathas like Vasu, Rudra, or Aaditha according to sthana of the individual- as Pitru, Pithamaha, Prapithamaha, Pituprapithamaha or Mata, pithamahi, Piturpithamahi, Piturprapithamahi etc.

We believe in the rebirth of the deceased Jeeva- according to one’s praarabdha Karma. According to the Papa Punya each individual is taking rebirth as on of the 84 lacs types of Jeeva rasi in the earth. While conducting rituals we invoke the manes by their respective Roopa, Gothra and name with appropriate mantras- and offer “Havis” in the Homa, and also offer “Pinda” and “Thilodhakam”. All these offerings are carried by the devathas like Ashta Vasus (8)—Ekadasa Rudras (11) Dwaadasa Aadithyas (12) to the respective pitru loka and delivered to them as appropriate “energy” required to the respective Sareera one has taken after rebirth..(The above 31 lords along with two aswini devathas become the pivotal 33 devathas- each one has one crore updevathas thus forming group of 33 crores devathas- Mupathi Mukkodi Devaganas).

In Darsa Sraadham the word “Darsa” means “ to Meet”. When the Sun is visible in the other part of the moon that is the meeting day of the sun and the moon. .This day is called by the name as “darsam” or amavaasya. The word “Ama” means together and Vaasya means to live. Hence live together is the meaning of Amavaasya. Living together of the sun and the moon. This happens once in lunar month. Therefore one lunar month is considered as one day in the pitru loka. Offering libation to the manes ( after Sangava Kaala- i.e after 10.00am) on this day as ordained in our sruthi/smrithi is considered as very auspicious. Conducting of Darsa Sraadham and offering of Tharpanam along with blades of darba (Kusa) grass and with water and Thil seeds is considered as providing of food and water to the departed souls. Thereby every day food is ensured to the manes. Manes in turn would be pleased with their offsprings and Bless them with all good things.

We worship manes upto 7 past generations. The manes beyond last three generation of manes are called “Naandhi Muka Manes”. The word “Nand” means happiness,Abyudayam, Unnathi etc. Hence Naandi Muka Sobhana Manes would always bless their great great grand children- when they are remembered and worship them on all important occasions. For them we never offer separate “Pindam” in the rituals of Sraadham etc. They are pleased with the small portion of “annam” sticking in the hand of the Karta- at the time of “Pinda Pradhanam” This portion of the annam is called “Lepa” annam.

During Mahalaya Period we invoke “Karunika Manes” They include all manes in the father side and in the mother side, Guru, friends, etc.

The word Tharpanam is derivative of Sanskrit word called “ THRIP” which means “ to please “ .We understand that all “Sthavara” & “Jangama” Jeevas expect offering of water from the Brahmins, who pray for the welfare and wish for the well being of the entire world. Tharpanam without sesame seeds and Kusa grass done daily after Brahma yagnam is also equally important as the same provide food to all manes. The word ”Swadha” is used in the mantra while offering libations. Strength” “food” “Dravya” “water” etc are the meaning attributed to this word. ( Swaaha is the wife of Agni Lord while Swadha is the wife of Manes).

Sraadha Karma should be performed with utmost devotion and by offering of food, Dravya, Dakshina etc. If one cannot perform the “Paarvana Sraadha”-one can perform the same as “Aaama Sraadha”. In this Sraadha one is providing only Dravya and Dakshina for the Brahmins. No food is offered here. Hiranya Sraadha is the third method to perform the sraadha.Here one is providing only Dakshina to the Brahmins. After conducting the ritual of Darsa Sraadha one has to complete the same by conducting of Sraadha anga tharpanam. Now a days as we may not be able to get a purohit to conduct the Darsa Sraadham according to one financial capacity and because of time constrains- on every Ama Vaasya day – mostly the present day generation conduct the ritual of Tharpanam only.

The brief meaning of the Amavaasya mantras are as under:-

AAVAHANAM: Mantra starting with” Aayatha pitara: Souwmyo ‘….

Here we invoke the manes in the koorcha/s. Mantra addresses Manes as under:
After conducting Soma Yaga and obtaining the title of “ Barhishad” “O” Manes come to earth through the prestigious path and Bless us with children, wealth, Long life etc.

AASANAM: Offering of Seat to the Manes. Mantra: “ sakrutha chinnam barhi…”

Cut only once “O” the Darba Grass- please become very soft and appropriate Aasanam /seat for our manes. We also offer you archana by Sesame Seeds.


Mantra starting with : “Udheeratham Avara Uthparasa”(First Rik)…….

By not performing any of the samskaras- for purification of the body-soul- some of the manes would not reach the Pitur Loka. Some of them after conducting Sroutha karmas properly reach the upper world reserved for them after their death. They are called “uttamas”.

Some of them, who have conducted only Smaartha Karmas reach the middle Loka. They are called “ Madhyamas”: Let all of them accept this “Havis” offered and shower their blessings . Let them protect us and not do any harm to us and our children.

I offer this “Tila udhaka “as “annam” to manes. Let Swadha Devathas carry them to our manes in the Vasu loka.

Mantra:”Angiraso na: pitharo…… ( Second Rik)

Vasu Loka manes are also called by names known as Angiras, Adharvas, Bhuk, etc. Let all of them become eligible to get soma rasas . By becoming Yagna Bhuk - let them bless us. Let us also become eligible to get all good things by the blessings of the soft hearted “Vasus”

Mantra: “Aayanthu na: pithara: Somyaasa: agnishwathaa:…..( Third Rik):--

Let the manes “Agnishwathaa”: , who have become eligible to obtain Soma Rasa come to earth through the path travelled by “ Devas”. We offer this “Swadha- Annam” in the form of water with sesame seeds ( Thila udhakam). Let them get happiness by this food and bless us with all good things in life.

RUDRA ROOPI MANES: Mantra: “Oorjam Vahanthi Amrutham…(Rik No. 4)

Prayer to the relative devathas to carry and supply to the manes the food we offer- in the form of energy required to them, in the appropriate form. The same may be in the form of Amrutham, Ghee, Milk, Soma rasa, or intoxicating drink.

Mantra: “Pithrubya: Swathavibha: Swadhanama” :….( Rik No: 5)

Let the Thila theertha offered with “ Swathakara” become “annam” or energy as required by the manes. Our namaskarams to them.

Mantra:” Ye cheha Pithara: Ye Cha neha” :……( Rik No.6)

“O” Agni Lord, You know all the manes, who are here , who are not here, who are far away from here. We pray to you to carry the food “Havis” to manes wherever they are so that they would be pleased with us.

AADHITHYA ROOPI MANES Mantra: “Madhu Vaata Rithayathe :( Rik No.7 to 9)

Here we pray to the entire prakruthi. Let Vayu Lord, Rivers, Plants, do all good to us. Let Day and night give us happiness. Let earth give us good and sweet fruits. Let Aakasa become friendly and good to us. Let trees give us good fruits. Let Sun God be cool and give to us good health. Let cows give us plenty of milk.

Known and unknown Manes: Here we offer tharpanam to the known manes and unknown manes, who have no one to give libations to them , with full respects.

UDHWASANAM: Prayer to the manes to go to their respective world and with a request to them to come again whenever invited, to shower their blessings for a happy and peaceful life.

SARVA THARPANAM:- Here we offer Tila Tharpanam to all such manes, who are not having any one to give libations/ Tharpanams to them.

OM TAT SAT BRAHMA ARPANAM ASTHU: By chanting this mantra and offering of water in the end, even though the karma performed has some defects, would become fully conducted and completely performed, because of the efficacy of this mantra.

Note: In desa - kaala- Aacharam - anushtanam many differences are found while ritual of the Pitru Tharpanam is being performed.. When in doubt one has to adhere to the practice their ancestors were following.

Some people perform tharpanam with marking of pundarika in their forehead, some do not follow this practice.

In some places only one koorcham is used for conduct of the tharpanam, for ubhaya vamsa Manes. While two koorchams are used by some others. Without koorcham- by spreading of Darba grass are also followed by some others

Before the ritual of tharpanam- one has to take bath for the second time.

Odd number of Darba grass – three or above are used to make koorcham/ pavithram for the rituals of sraadha / tharpanam etc.

Black sesame seeds (Ellu/ Tila) only should be used for all functions relating to Manes. If the tharpanam falls on the following weekdays -thithis- star etc. one has to use/add “ akshadha” also along with Tila seeds, because it is considered as not auspicious to use Tila only on these days at home. Week days are Sunday, Tuesday and Friday. Thithis are Sapthami, Ashtami, and sukla Thrayodasi. On the birth star of the kartha. While doing tharpanam in the night and in the two sandya kaalam.

Index finger should never be used while picking Tila seeds. Index finger along with thumb is called “Raakshasa Mudra”.

One can do tharpanam facing south also. But Aachamanam- Sankalpam- Aavahanam etc. Should be done facing east only.

Tharpanam should be after daily ritual of Madhyaagneekam is performed. (Exception Grahana Tharpanam)

When Nithya and Naimithika Tharpanam happens to come on the same day conducting of naimithika tharpanam would be sufficient. On any given day two tharpanam should not be performed.

Uttarayana Tharpanam after the Sun God enter the Makara Rasi and Dahkinayana Tharpanam before the Sun God reaching the Kataka rasi should be performed.

Even while the kartha is having asoucham he has to perform the Grahana Tharpanam. For the Chandra Grahanam one has to perform tharpanam at the ending stage, while for Soorya Grahanam the same should be performed at the beginning stage.

(The above given notes are not exhaustive but are only indication)

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