Sunday, November 16, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
'Pitru' sabda means protector or ancestor in general. Pitrus belong to different classes. Pitrus of brahmins are called somapas, those of kshatriyas are called havirbhuks, those of vaisyas are called aajyapas and those of sudras, sukaalis. Their status also depends on how they have lived their life on earth. Those who have performed yajna become somapas, those who have performed only haviryaga ( rituals where only rice is offered to Devas) beome barhishidas and those who have not performed any yajna become agnishwathas.
The immediate three generations of pitrus - father,grandfather and great grandfather are called asrumukha pitrus and the three generations above them are called naandimukha piturs. The yearly sraadhham, amavasya tarpanam etc. are meant for the immediate three generations above called asrumukhas. "Naandi" performed as part of upanayana etc. are meant for the naandimukha pitrus. There is yet another group called kaarunikapitrus which includes friends and relatives.
The lord of pitrus is yama. However the group of father exists in the from of vasus, that of grandafather exists in the form of rudras and that of greatgrandfather exists in the form of aadityas( sun). The vasus are eight in number, rudras eleven and aadityas twelve. The brahmin fed in pitrusthana during sraadha is nominated as vasu-rudra-aaditya swaroopee meaning of the form of vasu-rudra-aaditya. The second brahmin is of the form of viswedevah who is the protector and escort to the pitrus during their journey to earth to take part in the sraadha.
There are 96 sraadhas to be performed every year in addition to the tithi sraadha which is in fact the only one being obseved these days. There are still people who perform all the 96 sraadhaas at least in the form of tarpana as in amavasya. These sraadhas are amavasya(12),Samkramana or the first day of the solar month(12), Manvanthara (14), Yugadi(4), Mahalaya(16), Vyathipatha(13), Vaidhruthi(13), Ashtakanvashtaka(12). The details of these are available in standard panchangam. See the huge gap between what is ordained in the sastras and what is practised in reality.
The above concepts and practices are from the smrithis and are different from what used to be followed during vedic times. A yajna called pindapitruyajna is what is ordained in the srouta or vedic text intended for the pitrus.
The pitruloka exists on the invisible side of the moon. On amavasya or new moon day, the moon comes exactly between the earth and sun.The sunrays fall directly on this invisible half of moon called pitruloka. It is noon time there, time for lunch. One day of pitrus consists of 30 human days. By offering food to pitrus in the form of amavasya tarpana which repeats every 30 days is like feeding them every day.
In fact, the amavasya is also supposed to be obseved like the yearly sraadham in the annam - homam format. However, it has been simplified to suit the modern day situation. The rishis must have thought, if we insist on the elaborate version, people will altogether stop doing it.
One becomes eligible to perform Amavasya tarpanam only after the demise of one's father. Even if mother is alive, he can perform.
Every form of life, moving and nonmoving desires jala(water) from the hands of brahmin. The tarpana is also performed every day with just water as part of daily bath and brahmayajna. However, amavasya tarpana is performed using water mixed with til.
The three important requirements for tarpana are darbha,water and til. Darbha is considered as equal in purity to Agni and water. Devas reside on the tip of Darbha, middle portion is of manushyas and the base of pitrus. A pavitram worn during amavasya tarpanam should be made of 3 darbhas. Water is considered as praana, energy, essence of all plants, medicine, annam, amruta and somarasa. The oil or tailam in til(gingelly seeds) can satisfy hunger and remove heat.
If tarpanam is performed at home on sapthami/trayodash tithis or Sunday/Tuesday/Friday or Janmanakshatra, til should be mixed with akshata(rice). A silver or copper vessel should be used for tarpanam