Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Method of Tharpanam


  Part Tharpanam

The easy tharpanam method is made up of 2 parts. The first part is what is known as Pitru Tarpanam and the second part is known as Karunya Tharpanam.

What is Pitru Tharpanam?

There are many spiritual debts that each one of us needs to pay every day. One of these is our daily debt to our ancestral beings known as pitrus. To pay off this debt, what we need to do daily is the worship procedure known as pitru tharpanam. This worship procedure is quite easy. You can do it in about 10 minutes or so.  

Pitru = one's ancestors.
Tharpanam = to satisfy, to please.
So pitru tharpanam = pleasing one's ancestors.
In the pitru tharpanam procedure, we offer tharpanam to 12 of our most recently departed ancestors. These are our departed ancestors in our parental lines, i.e., departed parents, grandparents, great grandparents and so on.
Departed uncles, grand uncles, aunts, grand aunts and others not in the parental lines are not coverd in the pitru tharpanam process. They are covered in the Karunya Tharpanam process described below.
You can offer tharpanam for more than 12 of your departed ancestors, but that is more advanced and we don't cover that here in this easy tharpanam method.

What is Karunya Tharpanam?

Karunya Tharpanam is the second part of the tharpanam process. It is tharpanam offered to departed relatives, friends, strangers, pets, animals, birds, insects, creatures, plants, trees and other departed beings.

Six things you need for doing Tharpanam

1. A mat to sit on, preferably made of sacred Darbha grass (also known as Kusa grass). A wooden plank or clean cloth made of natural fibers such as cotton or wool can also be used as a mat. 2. A clean plate made of wood, copper, brass or silver. Glass and stainless steel are not appropriate. 3. Clean water in a wood, copper, brass or silver cup that is convenient to hold in your left hand. You may also want to have water in a separate bowl. Glass and stainless steel are not appropriate. 4. Black sesame seeds (ellu in Tamil, til in Hindi). If you are male, use black sesame seeds. If you are female, use white sesame seeds. Why so? The answer is in Sathguru Venkataraman's Siddha writings. 5. Dharba grass (also known as kusa grass and as dharbai). 6. Pavitram made of darbha grass (see image on this page) to be worn on the ring finger of the right hand.

2 Lists You Need to Create

Apart from the above, you also need to create two lists: (i) a list of beings for whom you will be doing the pitru tharpanam ceremony and (ii) a list of beings for whom you will be doing kaarunya tharpanam. You will also need the mantras for pitru and karunya tarpanam. All these are described below.

Creating the List of 12 Most Recently Departed Ancestors

How do you list your 12 most recently departed ancestors? You list them 3 each from 4 ancestral lines as described below.
  1. <span>Paternal male ancestors, i.e., the male ancestors on your father's side.</span> These are:
    • F (father)
    • FF (father's father)
    • FFF (father's father's father)
    • FFFF (father's father's father's father)
    • FFFFF (father's father's father's father's father)
    • and so on.
    Pick the 3 most recently <span>departed</span> from this ancestral line and note down the names and the relationships. For example, let us assume that the father(F) and father's father(FF) are alive. In this case, the three most recently departed ancestors in this line will be:
    <span>EXAMPLE:</span><span> 3 Most Recently Departed Paternal male ancestors</span>
  2. Which Relationship Name (if known)
    <span>1.</span> FFF Murugan
    <span>2.</span> FFFF Siva
    <span>3.</span> FFFFF -not known-
  3. <span>Paternal female ancestors, i.e., the female ancestors on your father's side.</span> These are:
    • M (mother)
    • FM (father's mother)
    • FFM (father's father's mother)
    • FFFM (father's father's father's mother)
    • FFFFM (father's father's father's father's mother)
    • and so on.
    Pick the 3 most recently <span>departed</span> from this ancestral line and note down the names and the relationships. For example, let us assume that the father's mother(FM) and father's father's father's mother(FFFM) are alive. In this case, the three most recently departed ancestors in this line will be:
    <span> </span>
  4. <span>EXAMPLE: </span><span>3 Most Recently Departed Paternal female ancestors</span>
    Which Relationship Name (if known)
    <span>4.</span> M Saraswati
    <span>5.</span> FFM Lakshmi
    <span>6.</span> FFFFM -not known-
  5. <span>Maternal male ancestors, i.e., the male ancestors on your mother's side.</span> These are:
    • MF (mother's father)
    • MFF (mother's father's father)
    • MFFF (mother's father's father's father)
    • MFFFF (mother's father's father's father's father)
    • MFFFFF (mother's father's father's father's father's father)
    • and so on.
    Pick the 3 most recently <span>departed</span> from this ancestral line and note down the names and the relationships. For example, let us assume that the mother's father's father(MFF) is alive. In this case, the three most recently departed ancestors in this line will be:
    <span>EXAMPLE: </span><span>3 Most Recently Departed Maternal male ancestors</span>
  6. Which Relationship Name (if known)
    <span>7.</span> MF Kumar
    <span>8.</span> MFFF Gopala
    <span>9.</span> MFFFF Narayana
  7. <span>Maternal female ancestors, i.e., the female ancestors on your mother's side.</span> These are:
    • MM (mother's mother)
    • MFM (mother's father's mother)
    • MFFM (mother's father's father's mother)
    • MFFFM (mother's father's father's father's mother)
    • MFFFFM (mother's father's father's father's father's mother)
    • and so on.
    Pick the 3 most recently <span>departed</span> from this ancestral line and note down the names and the relationships. For example, let us assume that no one is alive in this ancestral line. In this case, the three most recently departed ancestors in this line will be:
    EXAMPLE:  3 Most Recently Departed Paternal female ancestors
  8. Which Relationship Name (if known)
    10.  MM Valli
    11 MFM Jyoti
    12. MFFM Devi
To share with friends, please copy-paste only the link to this article (and not the text of the article). The link is as follows: http://www.Agasthiar.Org/a/tharpanam.htm</span>

Creating the List of Beings for Kaarunya Tharpanam

Having listed the 12 most recently departed ancestors, we should now list the departed souls for whom we should do karunya tharpanam, that is, departed friends, departed relatives (i.e., non-parental relatives), departed mentors and people you liked or respected, strangers, pets, animals, birds, insects, creatures, plants, trees, etc.

Sathguru Venkataraman was emphatic that we should do karunya tharpanam for the grains, vegetables, fruits, herbs and other plant products that we have consumed. For those who consume (or have consumed) meat products, karunya tharpanam is that much more important and they must ceratinly do karunya tharpanam for the animals, birds and other creatures that they have consumed.
EXAMPLE  List of Beings for Kaarunya Tarpanam

(1. Beings you have known or whose relationship to you is known)
Relationship Name (if known)
Uncle Ramesh
Best Friend in College Suresh
Algebra Teacher John Smith
Pet Dog Lassie


2. Beings you did not know or who were not connected to you as a relative, friend, mentor, etc.)
Kids who died in the Chennai Tsunami
People who died in 9/11 WTC
People who died in war
All plants, trees, vegetables, grains, etc. that died for the sake of feeding me

(For those who consume meat) All animals, birds and other creatures that died for the sake of feeding me

Mantra to be used for Pitru Tharpanam

as given by Sathguru Venkataraman

What we give below is the simplest mantra for use in the pitru tharpanam process. Actually, there are specific mantras for each of the 12 ancestors. Doing Pitru tharpanam with these 12 specific mantras is highly effective. For these mantras, refer to Sathguru Venkataraman's Siddha writings. Now, here is the easy pitru tharpana mantra.


meyyil vilangum jothi mei unarndha mel neethaar manam kulira vaartha el neer etru manam kulirveer, manam kulirveer, manam kulirveeré

This is the Pitru Tharpana Mantra given by Sathguru Venkataraman from the Neethaar Kadan Padalam(The Debt to Departed Ancestors Section) of the Agasthiar Moola Naadi, the foundational work of the Agasthiar Lineage, as taught to him by his Siddha teacher, Sri La Sri Idiyaappa Eesa Siddha.

AUDIO HELP: Listen to a slow recitation of the Pitru Tharpana mantra. Use this audio help to learn this mantra.
<span>The Pithru tharpana mantra in Tamil and Hindi script below.</span>

Mantra to be used for Karunya Tharpanam
as given by Sathguru Venkataraman

<span>neethaar nedungolam nindra vali neeldhaayam éthaar engolam engulathaar empooram kaathaar kaaranathaar karamevi el pulamé koothaar kuda-perumaal kondaange égidavé moothaar mudham védham mutraai malarndhidavé poothaar punal embum poomaraiyaai poonattum kaarunya aaranya karpoora tharpanamé kaarunya aaranya karpoora tharpanamé kaarunya aaranya karpoora tharpanamé

This is the Kaarunya Tharpana Mantra given by Sathguru Venkataraman from the Neethaar Kadan Padalam (The Debt to Departed Ancestors Section) of the Agasthiar Moola Naadi, the foundational work of the Agasthiar Lineage, as taught to him by his Siddha teacher, Sri La Sri Idiyaappa Eesa Siddha.

AUDIO HELP: Listen to a slow recitation of the Karunya Tharpana mantra. Use this audio help to learn this mantra.
The Kaarunya tharpana mantra in Tamil and Hindi script below.

The Pitru Tarpanam Grid of Dharbha Grass

12 tips for the 12 most recently departed ancestors

The Tharpanam Procedure Itself

Here are the steps for doing tharpanam:
1. Light at least two jyoti oil lamps or ghee lamps.
2. Spread the mat and sit facing east.
3. Pray to Lord Ganesh first and then to Lord Surya Narayana who is the Lord of the pitru ancestral beings. Request them to bless the tarpanam pooja that you are about to perform.
4. Place the plate in front of you and arrange the tharpanam grid (made of dharbha grass) as shown above . First place the 3 vertical strips of darbha grass and then the 3 horizontal strips. Each line shown above should have a minimum of 3 darbha grass strips. Since there are 6 lines in total, you need a minimum of 6 x 3 = 18 darbha grass strips.
Now you can see that there are 12 tips in total, 3 at the top, 3 at the bottom, 3 on the right and 3 on the left. The top 3 tips represent the 3 most recently departed male ancestors on the father's side. The bottom 3 tips represent the 3 most recently departed female ancestors on the father's side. The 3 tips on the right represent the 3 most recently departed male ancestors on the mother's side. The 3 tips on the left represent the 3 most recently departed female ancestors on the mother's side.
5. With all your heart, request exalted pitru ancestral beings to be present in this tharpanam grid and accept the humble offerings that you are about to give. Now you are ready to do the actual tharpanam ceremony.
6. This is the step where we actually offer tharpanam for the first departed ancestor on the tip marked 1 in the above diagram. In our example, the first departed ancestor is FFF (father's father's father, i.e., great grandfather) named Murugan. Place a pinch of sesame seeds on your right palm and chant the pitru tarpana mantra given above (meyyil vilangum jothi) and the name of the departed ancestor as follows: "meyyil vilangum jothi... kulirveeré Great Grandfather Murugan svadhaa namas tharpayami, Murugan swadha namas tharpayami, Murugan svada namas tharpayami." As you are chanting the mantra, pour water on the sesame seeds (that are in the palm of your hand) slowly while tilting your hand to the right so that the water and sesame seeds fall on the appropriate tip.  The water should flow down through the gap between your right thumb and right index finger  as shown in the figure above. Why? Refer to Sathguru Venkataraman's Siddha writings for the reason.

6b. Repeat this 2 more times for the same ancestor on the same tip. In other words, we do this 3 times per ancestor on the appropriate tip.

To share with friends, please copy-paste only the link to this article (and not the text of the article). The link is as follows http://www.Agasthiar.Org/a/tharpanam.htm 

7. Now move on to the 2-nd tip and do the tharpanam 3 times on that tip. In this way, repeat this process for all 12 ancestors, i.e., on all 12 tips. 3 times per tip and a total of 12 tips would mean that you make a minimum of 36 tharpanam offerings for your pitru ancestors each time you do tharpanam.

8. Next, do karunya tharpanam for relatives, friends, people you respect, strangers, pets, plants, trees, animals, birds, creatures and insects. Before you do this, pray to Lord Varadaraja of Seshambadi and request His blessings for the beings you are doing karunya tarpanam for. Then chant the "neethaar nedungolam" karunya tharpana mantra given above and the name of the person as follows: "neethaar nedungolam... tharpanamé Friend Suresh svadhaa namas tarpayami, Suresh svadha namas tarpayami, Suresh svada namas tarpayami". As you are chanting the mantra, pour water on the sesame seeds (that are in the palm of your hand) slowly while tilting your hand to the right so that the water and sesame seeds fall in the middle of the grid. Do this 3 times for each person or plant or animal you are doing karunya tharpanam for. Here too, the water should flow down through the gap between your right thumb and right index finger as shown in the figure above.

9. When your tharpanam is complete, remove the pavitram from your ring finger, unroll it and place it on top of the darbha grass used in the tharpanam.

10. Pray to Lord Narayana and the exalted pitrus and prostrate yourself (full body namaskar) towards the southern direction 12 times.

11. Dispose off the sesame seeds, water and darbha grass used in the ceremony respectfully by depositing them into a flowing river or ocean or a large pond or well. An alternate method is to separate the sesame seeds from the water, pour the water alone at the base of sacred trees and feed the sesame seeds to birds. The important thing here is that the sesame seeds should not sprout.Why? Refer to Sathguru Venkataraman's Siddha writings for the answer.

Clarifications
Tharpanam is done only for departed beings, that is, those who have passed on. Tharpanam is not done for those who are alive.
If you don't know the name of an ancestor, that is fine. Just state the relationship alone and offer tharpanam for that ancestor.

If you know the gotra lineage of a person, say it just before you mention the relationship, e.g., Sri Vatsa Gotra great grandfather Murugan or Vadhoola Gotra friend Suresh in the examples above. If you do not know the gotram of the person or you do not know what gotram is, just ignore this step.

For those who wear the sacred thread, change it to your right shoulder at the beginning of the tharpanam ceremony and back to the left shoulder at the end of the ceremony. There are special mantras for this step. If you don't wear the sacred thread, ignore this step.
Can one do tharpanam for more than 12 departed ancestors? The answer is yes. But that is a more advanced procedure and we are not going to cover that here.

There are special mantras for each specific ancestor. These special mantras will have their special effect for sure. Consult the Sathguru's books for these special mantras.

Sathguru Venkataraman gave us hundreds of unique tharpanam procedures. Refer to his Siddha writings for this information.

When to do Tharpanam?

Sathguru Venkataraman said that according to Maha Guru Agasthiar, tharpanam should be done at sunrise.
There is a tradition that says that tharpanam should be done at noon. If this is your tradition, please do follow that.

Where to do Tharpanam?

You can do tharpanam right in the comfort of your home.
But it is that much more effective to do it in temples and on the banks of sacred rivers.
If you can do tharpanam in the Pitru Moksha temples and sacred spots, that would be the best. More details in Sathguru Venkataraman's Siddha writings.

Can the son do tharpanam if the father is alive?

The most serious misconception regarding tharpanam is the idea that if the father is alive, the son should not do tharpanam. Sathguru Venkataraman taught that this idea is WRONG. Think of this key point: Are not the departed ancestors of the father the departed ancestors of the son too? Of course, they are. So why should the son not do pitru tharpanam? The son has a pitru debt just as the father does. So it is important to shed this misconception rightaway. The father can do pitru tharpanam and so can the son and the son's son. In fact, if all three do it together, the pitrus will be very pleased!

Can women do tharpanam?

Sathguru Venkataraman also gave us the revolutionary idea (in the 1980s) that women can do pitru tharpanam just as well as men. Think of this key point: If there are no sons in a family, does that mean the ancestors should be starved of tharpanam? The answer is NO. The daughters can certainly do tharpanam.

However, since women generally have a lot more family responsibilities than men, the males in a family should take the lead and do tharpanam and not let that responsibility fall on womenfolk too. But if the husband does not do tharpanam, the wife can make up for it by doing tharpanam. Women who have lost their husbands or who are separated from their husbands can do tharpanam. Women can do karunya tharpanam for those departed souls who cared for them.

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