""Let the ancestors residing on Earth attain an evolved region and ancestors living on a higher plane of existence 'in heaven' never degrade. Let the ones who are at a medium plane of existence, attain a higher plane. Let the ancestors who symbolise the Truth protect us." A prayer offered for deceased ancestors "
The famous epic Mahabharata says that a human soul has three types of debts to be cleared before leaving the mortal coil.
- Debt to Lord Vishnu – This is called Dev Rin. This debt can be cleared by doing charity and making donation.
- Debt to Lord Shiva – This is called Rishi Rin. This debt can be erased by seeking knowledge of the scriptures and sacred study.
- Debt to Lord Brahma- This is called Pitru Rin. This debt is cleared by doing tarpanam or Shraddha by children to their ancestors.
This New Moon in the Tamil month of Aadi is of great importance. To appease one`s forefather, Tarpanam is offered in holy places like Rameshwaram, Gaya, Allahabad and other sacred places. People take a dip in rivers and oceans to cleanse themselves of impurity and offer prayers to their ancestors for a good life. This New Moon is important as the Sun takes its direction towards the south also called Dakshinayana period- Sun`s journey towards the southern hemisphere from the northern hemisphere. This New Moon is very powerful to offer prayers to one`s ancestors. This year Aadi Amavasya falls on 14th August and most Hindus fast on this day with only one meal a day. Ancestors descend to the earth plane to partake in the food offerings of their descendants. Hence, it is very important to offer food to them and also donate food in charity. There are 96 days in a year when tarpanam can be performed to our departed ancestors. Generally, Hindus offer worship to their ancestors on New Moon days. There are 12 New Moon days in a year to offer worship to our departed ones.
Pitru Yagna or Ancestral Ritual
Manu Smriti says, out of five important rites of a householder, Pitru Yagna or worship of Ancestors forms an important duty of a householder.
Pitrus are our forefathers who inhabit the Pitru realm. They need to be propitiated with suitable oblations on important days of the year. Offering of Tarpanam brings salvation to our deceased ancestors
Aadi Amavasya Tarpanam
Pitru Tarpanam is a ritual where oblations of water and sesame are offered to the dead ancestors to elevate them to higher planes of existence. This ritual is offered to three generations of ancestors from the maternal and paternal side. Invoking the presiding Pitru deities, Vasu, Rudra and Aditya, chanting of Vedic mantras are done for the food to reach the ancestors. These deities carry the food to the ancestors and the food is called swadha. Garuda Purana says Shraddha (an ancestral ritual) is very important to every householder and those who fail to do this ritual to their ancestors earn demerit.
Aadi Amavasya Pooja
- Pooja to the ancestors at Rameshwaram or by the Ghats in Ganges are very powerful spots to offer Pind Daan or food offerings.
- It relieves the ancestors of their pain and provides a smooth journey to higher realms.
- Noon time is considered best to offer oblations.
- Food offerings should be done to poor people and other donations like clothing, utensils, sesame seeds, and money can be made on this day for immense merit.
- Cows are fed with green grass to appease the ancestors on this day.
- Other important places to offer tarpanam on this day are Kasi, Badrinath, Haridwar, and Gaya.
Benefits of offering ` Pitru Tarpanam`
Garuda Purana says that Pitrus live in Pitru Loka or Soma Loka, which is near the planet Moon. Offerings of water and til make them very happy and greatly pleased. They bless their descendants with good life in return. Pitrus bestow upon their blessings of fame, longevity, relief from debts, destruction of enemies, wealth, happiness and progeny. Read our related articles Importance of Aadi Amavasya