Episode # 460 – Why should we perform our “Tarpanam” & yearly “Shraadham” without fail? A discussion!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the significance of “Gaya-Shraadham” and how it is important for all of us to perform this procedure once in our lifetime for our ancestors (“Pitru-Devatas”). However, having said thus, it is imperative that we perform our regular monthly “Tarpanam” and our yearly “Shraadham” for our ancestors without fail, even though we’ve performed the “Gaya-Shraadham”. It is a myth in the present day that if we’ve performed the “Gaya-Shraadham”, nothing else needs to be done. It is totally wrong and baseless. Our “Sanaatana Dharma” literature clearly says that of course, the “Gaya-Shraadham” is mandatory and is extremely important, however, this cannot be an excuse for forgoing the other regular “Tarpanams” and annual “Shraadham”. We’ve to continue performing our regular duties, and if some of our readers might have been misled by this above-mentioned myth, we request you to henceforth recommence your regular routines. Also, in the previous episode, we had answered a few other myths as well – Why at all should we perform the “Tarpanam” or “Shraadham” for our departed parents, if they’ve already attained “Moksha” or “Svarga Lokha” or whatever, depending upon their past “Karma-Phalam”? What is the use of us doing all these procedures if these have no connections with our parents reaching wherever they’ve to reach? The answer is very simple – At the end of this birth, tomorrow we should attain “Moksha”, isn’t it? It is for this reason we’re performing all these procedures. If we perform these duties stipulated by Bhagawan, He is going to get happy and with His happiness, we’re going to attain “Moksha”. We’ve to understand this point very clearly. 

Moreover, another question might come here – We’re performing these duties with water, “Thila”, “Pindams” (Rice balls), etc., aren’t we? Are these going to straightaway feed the “Pitru Devatas”? Of course, the answer is “No”! Whatever we offer as water or Thila or Pindams, or whatever, aren’t going to straightaway feed anybody! In fact, we’re disposing off everything once the procedure is over. Then why are we offering all these? The answer is very simple – Whatever we offer in terms of physical entities like water, etc. get combined with the “Mantras” that we chant and transform into food / drink that the “Pitru Devatas” in the “Pitru Lokham” would eat! Sitting on this earth, none of us know what is the type of food that the “Pitru Devatas” consume. It is for this reason, we offer whatever we consume in this earth, along with the “Mantras” that we chant. These “Mantras”, along with our offerings, would transform into the requisite food that the “Pitru-Devatas” consume. For instance, if we go to a bank and transfer some money to a friend or a relative, does the same currency notes go to the other person who is living far away? Only the amount gets transferred and the currency notes that the other person would withdraw from his / her place would be different from what we deposit here, isn’t it? Similarly here also, whatever we offer in the form of water, “Pindams”, etc. as physical entities get transferred into the food items that is edible for the “Pitru-Devatas”. This is what we’ve to understand here. 

Hence, the point is very simple – No matter whatever false narratives float and circulate amidst all of us, the fact remains simple – We should never compromise on our fundamental duties towards our “Pitru-Devatas”, in the form of “Shraadham” or “Tarpanam”. Moreover, many people might even have this myth – “Oh! We’re chanting so many slokas and “Mantras”! We’re already on the spiritual path, with the advice of our Guru / Spiritual Master! We’ve already ascended to a very high level in spirituality! Hence, we’re no more in the “state” wherein we need to perform these kinds of “Shraadhams” and “Tarpanams”!” All these are heights of stupidity! We should first of all realize that we’ve not ascended to any higher levels of spirituality. We’re all normal ordinary human beings, aspiring to walk the path of spiritual growth. We should of course have confidence in us, but over-confidence can be dangerous! Moreover, no “Guru” or “Spiritual Master” in this world would ever advise their disciples that they should forgo their “Tarpanam” and “Shraadham” and walk the spiritual path. This can never happen, and all these narratives are highly misleading! We should not get carried away by all this. 

Of course, obtaining a “Mantra-Updadesha” from a “Sadguru” or a “Spiritual Master” and chanting it constantly is extremely significant. In fact, I’ve written multiple episodes on the importance of obtaining a “Mantra” from a “Sadguru” on multiple occasions and we should consider ourselves extremely fortunate if we’re getting this opportunity. However, this doesn’t mean that we sacrifice our regular spiritual practices and focus on “Mantra-Chanting” only. The inner meaning is very simple – “Mantra-Chanting” on a constant basis will drive us towards “Moksha”, however, this practice would not be able to remove our “Karma” that would be a stumbling block in the middle, which would prevent us from going forward. Our duties like “Shraadham” and “Tarpanam” when performed regularly, would keep washing our “Karma” away, and if we keep chanting our “Mantra” along with this, we would be able to ascend towards “Moksha” easily. It is like this – Imagine there is a plant that produces beautiful flowers or fruits. Of course, we water the plant everyday and ensure that the plant is well-nourished. However, along with the nourishment, we should also keep plucking off all the weeds / poisonous shrubs that might grow near this plant, which would infect this plant and drain all the water / nourishment from it! Our “Karma” is like these weeds and poisonous plants. The procedure of plucking these weeds and poisonous plants is like performing our “Tarpanam” and “Shraadham” regularly. Thus, performing the “Tarpanam” and “Shraadham” would keep plucking away all the weed-like “Karma” and ensure that our “Mantra-chanting” which is like nourishment to the plant in terms of water would gain fruits and flowers, which is like transcending towards the ultimate “Moksha”! 

So for today, let us understand this point very clearly, and let us wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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