Tamil Brahmin Death Rituals

cremation

 

This write-up is based on the procedure laid down by Sage Apastamba which is followed by the majority of Yajurvedi Tamil Brahmins. 

The mantras and some parts of the procedure could vary in other Grihya Sutras.

Throughout this write-up, the rituals will be narrated as the eldest son would do for his father. 

There could be some changes in the case of another relationship.

SECTION 1

What is in store after death?

The path after death is not the same for all souls. 

Some of the paths are:

  • Those who have exhausted their karma attain moksha. They don't take rebirth.
  • Those who have lived a religious life and performed yajnas ordained in the Shrutis and Smritis take the path called Devayana and reach Devaloka. After enjoying themselves there for some time they take rebirth.
  • An average religious person who has lived a righteous life goes to Pitruloka. He takes rebirth after someone from his seventh generation downwards dies and reaches Pitruloka.
  • Those who have committed sins are sent to Narakam for suffering. Once their sins are exhausted through suffering, they take rebirth.
  • Those who have done a mix of good deeds and evil deeds enjoy in good worlds and also suffer in bad worlds in that proportion.
  • Those whose death rites are not performed continue to roam around on earth as Pretas and suffer. They also harass others.

Leaving aside those who attain moksha or go to Devaloka, all others go to Yamaloka.

In Yamaloka, based on their karma on earth, Yamaraja decides whether to send them to Pitruloka, a good world to enjoy, or a bad world to suffer.

It takes one year for the soul to reach Yamaloka from the time of death.

The path to Yamalokam can be full of dangers and suffering for those who have lived a bad life.

The same path shall be smooth for those who have lived a good life.

The purpose of death rites

The descendants of the deceased person support his journey to Yamaloka by providing food and water along the way.

After invoking Yamaraja, Devas, and forefathers they are propitiated so that there is a good afterlife (sadgati) for the deceased person.

The power Veda Mantras and danam are roped in for this.

Classification of the Pitrus

Based on merit

The Pitrus are classified as -

  1. Parasaha (परासः) - great ones who have performed yajnas including Somayaga.
  2. Madhyamaha (मध्यमाः) - those who have performed rituals ordained in the Smritis.
  3. Avare (अवरे) - those who are Brahmins for name sake having fully or partially been purified by the sixteen samskaras. 

It is obvious that the treatment received in Pitruloka will depend on their merit

Based on relationship

There are six generations of the Pitrus in the Pitruloka. 

1.Ashrumukhas (अश्रुमुखाः) - the immediate three generations ie:- father, grandfather, and great grandfather are called Ashrumukha Pitrus.

They are propitiated through yearly shraddha and the 96 tarpanas and also tarpana during grahana.

2.Nandimukhas (नान्दीमुखाः) - the three generations above them are Nandimukha Pitrus.

They are propitiated through Nandi shraadha performed during events such as upanayana, and wedding.

3.Karunikas (कारुणिकाः) - stepmother, paternal uncles, brothers, maternal uncles, mother's sisters, own sisters, nephews, daughters, wife, father-in-law, sister's husband, daughter-in-law, wife's brother, guru, acharya, and friends if they are no more are called Karunikas.

They are propitiated through shraddha and tarpana during Mahalayam and also during Gaya shraddha.

How long do they have to stay in Pitruloka?

As later generations arrive at Pitruloka, the earlier ones move out on a first in first out basis. 

Even after this, if some intense karma (both good and evil) is left, they may undergo experiences in Swarga or Naraka before taking another birth on earth. 

The new birth will be according to the past karma.

SECTION 2

More on Pitrus

The word Pitru means protector. 

The scriptures classify the worlds as - Manushyaloka, Devaloka, and Pitruloka. 

Most of the forefathers live in Pitruloka.

The stay in Pitruloka is temporary.

It is obtained only by the merit of their own karma. 

Someone can also attain Devaloka or Lokas such as Kailasa or Vaikuntha by the merit of their own karma. 

These are all easier said than done. 

Pitruloka is something that an average householder can aspire for.

Forms of the Pitrus

In Pitruloka, the forefathers exist as Vasus, Rudras, and Adityas.

The father's form will be of Vasu, the grandfather's Rudra, and the great-grandfather's Aditya. 

Vasus, Rudras, and Adityas are three groups of divinities.

The Vasus are eight in number- Dhara, Dhruva, Soma, Vishnu, Agni, Vayu, Pratyusha, and Prabhasa.

The Rudras are eleven in number - Ajaikapat, Ahirbudhnya, Virupaksha, Sureshvara, Jayanta, Bahurupa, Tryambaka, Aparajita, Vaivasvata, Savitra, and Hara.

The Adityas are twelve in number - Dhata, Mitra, Aryama, Rudra, Varuna, Surya, Bhaga, Vivasvan, Pusha, Savita, Tvashta, and Vishnu.

SECTION 3

Preparing for the inevitable

The wise man sensing that his death is fast approaching should perform some prayaschittas (penances).

In case he is physically unfit, someone such as his son can do it on his behalf. 

The prayaschittas are:

  1. Taking a ritual bath

There are different types of baths - 

  • Varuna snanam - taking a dip in a holy river.
  • Mantra snanam - sprinkling with mantras if his health condition does not permit he can do mantra snanam.
  • Bhauma snanam - with soil.
  • Agneya snanam - with bhasma.
  • Vayavya snanam - with the dust raised by the feet of cows.
  • Divya snanam - with rainwater that pours during sunlight.
  • Manasa snanam - imagining that one has taken a bath.
  • Yaugika snanam - thinking about Lord Vishnu.
  1. Wearing bhasma or urdhva pundra

Skanda Puranam says that a man who wears bhasma, and rudraksha at the time of death will become Rudra himself.

Vaishnavas wear urdhva pundra.

Urdhva pundra enables a person to enjoy comforts in Pitruloka.

  1. Prashanam - sipping of Tulasi teertham, Vishnu pada teertham, and Ganga jalam.
  2. Observing a penance called Prajapatya Krichram

First 3 days - take only one meal in the morning.

Next 3 days - take only one meal in the evening.

Next 3 days - take only one meal if it comes to you without asking for it; otherwise nothing.

Godanam or danam of a minimum of 2 grams of gold can be done in the place of Prajapatya Krichram.

  1. Chanting stotras of Vishnu and Shiva
  2. Danam

Mahabharata says: Knowledge is the friend while traveling, wife is the friend at home, medicine is the friend of the sick, and danam is the friend of one going to die. 

86,000 yojanas is the distance from here to Yamalokam.

There are no lakes, rivers, shadow trees, villages, resting places, or gardens on the way. 

It is blazing hot sand and thorns. 

Such will be the path for someone who does not perform danam at the time of death.

Dashadanam ( ten types of danam ) are prescribed:

 

  1. Land

How much land should be given?

Sufficient to cultivate food for oneself.

By doing this, one is released from great sins such as brahmahatya.

 It is seen sometimes that a piece of Chandana wood is given in its place in case of financial inability.

Why can Chandana be given in the place of land?

The smell is the faculty linked with the element earth and Chandana has fragrance as its characteristic.

  1. Tilam - This removes the sins in thought, speech, and action.
  2. Gold - This propitiates all Gods and protects from torture in Naraka.
  3. Ghee - To please the Devas.
  4. Vastram - If this is done, Yama Dutas do not harass the soul.
  5. Dhanyam (seven grains) - If this is done, gatekeepers of Yamaloka do not harass the soul.
  6. Jaggery - By doing this, a good Loka is attained.
  7. Silver - Someone who performs danam of silver is released from sins and enjoys in Swarga.
  8. Salt - For someone who performs this danam, there is nothing to fear from Yama.
  9. Cow - Godanam keeps the soul away from Naraka and gives mukti.

Danam of lamp, bell, book, jalapatram, salagrama, and Shiva Linga are also done. 

Danam of iron is done to please Yama.

Iron represents the weapons in Yama's hands.

The recipients should be householder brahmins who have learned the Vedas.

Children should make sure that all danams are performed.

If they don't do it, they acquire sin equivalent to brahmahatya.

Children who perform these danams for their parents will never have to go to Naraka.

SECTION 4

Preparing for the exit of prana

There are 10 vital forces in the body called the Pranas.

Out of these, five are Mukhya pranas and the rest are Upa Pranas.

Mukhya Pranasa are Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana, and Samana.

They are responsible for breathing, excretion, blood circulation, food and energy circulation, etc. in the body.

At the time of death, the Pranas leave the body.

Karna mantra japa

This is to be done when the Pranas are actually leaving the body. 

The son places the dying person's head on his right knee and chants the following mantra in his right ear.

However, since this is difficult, it is done as the first step of the rituals post-death. 

The person should be lying on the floor on top of strewn darbha while prana is leaving the body.

Karna mantra japa is done to release the ten Pranas from the body in a smooth manner.

Mantra - Ayushaha pranam santanu ....

Mantra - Let Prana not be separated from longevity.

Let Apana not be separated from Prana. 

Let vyana not be separated from Apana.

Let eyes not be separated from Vyana.

Let ears not be separated from the eyes.

Let the mind not be separated from the ears.

Let speech not be separated from the mind.

Let atma not be separated from speech.

Let earth not be separated from atma.

Let Antariksha not be separated from the earth.

Let Swarga not be separated from Antariksha.

Let Sun not be separated from Swarga.

 

Note: The flow of creation from the Sun (Paramatma) to the individual (Jivatma) is mentioned here. 

They all have to remain together as a unit because the soul has to assume another body to start its journey towards Yamaloka.

This new body is called Ativahika Sharira.

Ativahika Sharira is created out of the pindas provided during the first ten days of the rites.

They all have to stay together and enter the new body.

Only the physical body comprising the five elements is going to be destroyed.

 

In case the dying person is learned in the Vedas, the two anuvakas ' brahmavid apnoti param ' and 'bhrigurvai vaaruni' are chanted.

This is followed by the japa of the Ashtakshari mantra (Om Namo Narayanaya) and the Panchakshari mantra (Om Namasshivaya ) in the ear.

After the prana leaves the body, it is to be laid on the floor on darbha grass with its head towards the south.

Some doshas associated with timing/conditions of death

 

  1. The five nakshatras - Dhanishta ( 3rd and 4th padas - Avittam ), Satabhishak (Sathayam), Purva Proshtapada (Poorattathi), Uttara Proshtapada (Uttirattati), and Revati are collectively called Dhanishta Panchakam / Vasu Panchakam.

Death in one of these nakshatras causes easy emancipation for the soul. But it is harmful to the kin, especially spouse, children, and grandchildren. Shastra says there is danger ahead at every step for them.

Special procedure is followed in such cases. 

Five human forms made of kusha grass are placed on the body at specified places and ahutis are offered on them.

Gold and silver are placed on the body before submitting it to Agni.

On the 13th day, special shanti homa is performed for the safety of the kin.

If a person dies on a previous nakshatra and dahanam is done during Panchakam, then also the special procedure should be followed, but shanti on the thirteenth day need not be done. 

If the death takes place during Panchakam and dahanam after Panchakam is over, then the special vidhi procedure need not be followed. 

Only the shanti on the 13th day should be performed.

Some people do the shanti on the 12th day.

The following combinations are even more dangerous - 

  1. Dhanista +Tuesday + Ekadashi + Vrischika lagna
  2. Satabhishak + Wednesday + Dwadashi + Dhanu Lagna
  3. Purva Proshtapada + Thursday + Trayodashi + Makara lagna
  4. Uttara Proshtapada + Friday + Chaturdashi + Kumbha lagna
  5. Revati + Saturday + Purnima / Amavasya + Meena lagna.

The shanti homa on the 13th day is an elaborate procedure including Mrityunjaya homa and danam.

  1. Death during Tripada nakshatras - Krittika, Punarvasu, U.Phalguni, Vishakha, Uttarashada, Purva Proshtapada calls for a special procedure and danam of gold.
  2. For death on Dwitiya, Shashti, and Dwadashi tithis, Bhudanam should be performed,
  3. Death on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday are not considered to be good.

The following danams are prescribed:

  • Tuesday - 2 bulls
  • Thursday - vastram
  • Friday - silver

The varadevata (devata of the day) should also be worshiped.

Death during Uttarayana is considered to be good.

Death in the Shuklapaksha is good.

Death on Ekadashi is good.

Death at mid-noon is also auspicious.

  1. Three krichra prayashchittas are performed in case of ( 1 ) vomiting ( 2 ) passing of urine, stool (3 ) death lying on the bed ( 4 ) death during ashoucha (impurity due to death/birth in the family).
  2. Special shanti is required for a woman who dies during labor and also while in periods.
  3. Special shanti required for death inside temple, etc.
  4. If a body remains without cremation for more than 10 hrs it becomes impure. 

Special purificatory procedures and prayashchittas are prescribed in such cases.

Note: With the availability of a portable morgue it has become very common to keep the body till the son arrives from abroad.

This is not good for the deceased person. 

The cremation should be performed as early as possible by someone next in the order.

The son can take over the subsequent rites after he arrives. 

What is of utmost importance here is the welfare of the deceased and not the sentiments of the absentee relatives.

  1. Special prayashchittas are ordained for death in the night. 

Cremation can be performed up to 3 hrs. and 36 mins post sunset. Otherwise, it should be done in the morning. 

In such cases, the rule of 10 hrs. does not apply. 

  1. Special ahutis are to be offered for death during the night, Dakshinayana and Krishna paksha. 

Likewise, there are special ahutis to be offered for death due to drowning, snakebite, lightning, or attack by animals.

SECTION 5

The cremation

Order of precedence of right to perform cremation for men

  1. Aurasaputra - son born out of a customary marriage in the same varna.
  2. Son's son
  3. Son's son's son
  4. Adopted son
  5. Adopted son's son
  6. Son given away in adoption
  7. Daughter's son who will inherit wealth
  8. Daughter's son
  9. Wife
  10. Daughter
  11. Younger brother
  12. Eldest among brother's sons
  13. Stepbrother ( same father, different mothers )
  14. Son of stepbrother
  15. Father
  16. Elder brother
  17. Mother
  18. Daughter in law
  19. Son's daughter
  20. Daughter's daughter
  21. Wife of son's son
  22. Daughter of son's son
  23. Wife of the adopted son or one given away in adoption.
  24. Sister
  25. Sister's son
  26. Sapinda
  27. Samanodaka
  28. Mother's sapinda
  29. Mother's samanodaka
  30. Student
  31. Son in law
  32. Friend.

For women

  1. Aurasaputra - son born out of a customary marriage in the same varna.
  2. Son's son
  3. Son's son's son
  4. Adopted son
  5. Adopted son's son
  6. Son given away in adoption
  7. Daughter's son who will inherit wealth
  8. Daughter's son
  9. Son of co-wife where partition has not taken place
  10. Husband
  11. Son of co-wife where partition has taken place
  12. Daughter
  13. Husband's younger brother
  14. Eldest among the sons of husband's brothers
  15. Husband's stepbrother
  16. Son of husband's stepbrother
  17. Husband's father
  18. Husband's elder brother
  19. Husband's mother
  20. Daughter in law
  21. Son's daughter
  22. Daughter's daughter
  23. Wife of son's son
  24. Daughter of son's son
  25. Wife of the adopted son or one given away in adoption.
  26. Sister
  27. Husband's sister's son, own sister's son, own brother's son
  28. Sapinda
  29. Samanodaka
  30. Mother's sapinda
  31. Mother's samanodaka
  32. Student
  33. Son in law
  34. Friend.

When a son is present, nobody else has the right to perform dahanam and among sons the eldest.

Some clarifications in case dahanam, etc. is done by someone other than the eldest son 

  1. If the son arrives before sanchayanam, he should gather the bones, perform dahana samskara once again, repeat whatever has been done until then in one go and continue further rituals.
  2. If he comes after sanchayanam. everything except dahanam and sanchayanam is repeated and continued then onwards.
  3. Even if the upanayana of the son has not been performed, he can do the death rites.

Among husband and wife, for the one who dies first, the dahanam is done with Oupasanagni and for the other, an Agni called Uttapanagni is generated. 

Darbha is lit with Agni, then transferred to another bunch, and then onto a third bunch - this is called Uttapanagni.

Pretagni sandhanam (igniting Agni for the cremation)

Agni for performing the dahanam of the preta is called pretagni. 

Preta denotes the deceased person. 

This state of being preta exists till he reaches Pitruloka and joins the forefathers there on completion of one year. 

However, after the sapindeekarana on the 12th day, in the remaining rites, it is assumed that he has lost his preta state.

All preta rituals are performed wearing wet clothes. 

The yajnopavita is worn on the right shoulder and under the left hand. The tips of darbhas face south and also the karma is performed facing south, 

The darbhas used in pitru karya are one or three in number.

For someone (the deceased) not performing Oupasana on a daily basis, three prayaschitta krichras ( often in the form of danam ) are offered before preparing the pretagni.

Permission from Brahmins is sought for igniting pretagni.

In the absence of the wife of the deceased, knotted darbha is placed near the body to represent the wife. 

The funeral is performed in one's own ( of the deceased ) Oupasanagni. The son here is doing it on behalf of the father. 

Since the unextinguished Oupasanagni is not there in most households, it is generated in this manner by the son for the father. 

A rope is placed stretching from the dead body to the son who is igniting the Oupasanagni of the father thus establishing a connection.

Sankalpa for pretagni sandhanam is done and danam to take care of any inauspiciousness of tithi, nakshatra at the time of preparing the Agni is performed. 

Agni is installed. The main ladle is filled with the smaller one twelve times and in this manner, ahutis are offered 6 times as follows.

  • The first one to Prajapati
  • Second also to Prajapati
  • The next four to Agni as prayaschitta.
  • Once again for Prajapati
  • Two Oupasanas are performed (of the previous evening and the day's morning). 

Then the son performs sankalpa that he is going to perform samskara of the preta of his father using the Pitru Medha vidhi with Oupasanagni.

He seeks permission from brahmins for this.

Danam to take care of any inauspiciousness of tithi, nakshatra is performed.

The body is placed to the west of Agni with head towards the south on darbha grass with tips towards the south. 

Then the following mantra is recited -

Mantra - Sarvasya pratisheevari ....

Meaning - Oh! Bhumi, you lie favorably facing all living beings. 

Provide comfort to this body.

The Oupasanagni previously generated is installed (at a place of convenience) and the following ahuti is offered by touching the preta.

Mantra - Pareyuvamsam ....

Meaning - Oh! performers of pitru medha, propitiate Yama the king of the Pitrus with oblations.

He does not obstruct paths to Swarga for those who have performed noble deeds here on earth.

He leads the sinners to Naraka.

Prayashchitha ahuti to Prajapati is offered.

The preta is bathed adorned with Chandana and garland and placed on a stretcher made of Udumbara wood.

It is then covered with new clothing starting from feet upwards saying -

Mantra - Idam tva vastram ....

This is your first cloth.

The clothes worn earlier by the preta is given away to an elderly wise person saying -

Mantra - Apetaduha ….

Meaning - Oh! Preta, the cloth you were wearing is removed. 

Remember all your good deeds as prescribed in Vedas and Smritis, all dakshina that you gave to noble Brahmins, and all wealth you have distributed among your needy relatives. 

Attain a good world accordingly.

Rice is washed and cooked in the same Oupasanagni,

It is taken out in a clay vessel when ready.

The following materials are arranged - Tila, rice, cooked rice, a branch of Palasha tree, pieces of gold, ghee, vessels, darbha, stones, sand, grass, firewood, tools for digging, etc.

The son takes out the entire Agni in a pot and goes out first.

The preta is taken out following him.

Those who are carrying the materials after that.

Then the relatives as per seniority and then the others. 

Other than the son no one should walk ahead of or by the side of the preta. 

This can affect their life.

When Brahmins are present, others should not carry the body or the materials meant for the dahanam.

If it happens, the preta will remain as a preta.

Those lifting the preta should be wearing their yajnopavita as niveeti (like a garland).

While the body is being lifted the son should chant -

Mantra - Imau yunajmi ....

I am tying these bulls to this cart which will carry your body. You will go to the abode of Yama attained by men of noble deeds.

Note: It is depicted here that the body is being taken to the shmashana on a bullock cart.

The son looks at the preta and says -

Mantra - Pusha tva….

Meaning - Oh! Preta, let Pusha (Deva), the knower of all paths take you ahead on a path harmless to the carriers and the bulls.

Let him hand you over to the Pitrus who have gone before.

Let Agni who is going to burn you, hand you over to Devas who know their respective roles.

After the body is taken out, the wife and other ladies should untie their hair and put dust on the head and shoulders.

The distance from the house to the shmashana is divided into four parts. 

Upon completing the first part, Agni is kept down. 

Darbha is strewn to the north of Agni with tips to the south and the preta is laid down with head towards south chanting -

Mantra - sarvasya pratisheevari ....

Meaning - Oh! Bhumi, you lie favorably facing all living beings. 

Provide comfort to this body.

Small clods are dug out for keeping the rice pot, placing bali, etc. 

The rice pot is kept on these to the south of the body. 

The son and other close relatives after keeping aside their uthareeyam, parting their hair into two, tying the right half and leaving the left half untied, patting their right thighs with their right hands circumambulate the body and the cooked rice three times in the anti-clockwise direction fanning the preta with the lower end of the veshti they are wearing.

The younger ones go in the front. 

Mantra - Apa nasshoshudat....

Meaning - Just as water removes sin. 

Oh! Agni, burn our sins and purify our wealth.

Now the circumambulation is done again three times, this time in the clockwise direction and changing over to the other side such as tying the left half of the hair, etc. 

The mantra is the same and the younger ones need not be in the front.

The son sits by the side of the head facing south. 

Darbha is strewn with tips pointed towards the south. 

Three clods are placed with the last one in the south. 

Supporting himself on his left knee, the son pours water mixed with til on them. 

One-third of the cooked rice is taken out divided into three parts and placed on the three pieces of mud saying -

Mantra - Pathi vasibhyo ....

Meaning - I am giving this bali to bhutas who live on the way.

 

Note: Bali means offering. Bhutas are spirits.

 

Again, water mixed with tila is poured over them and the three are mixed together with the ladle of the cooked rice.

The son while the preta is being lifted again looks at it and chants -

Mantra - Pushema asha ....

Meaning - May Pusha, the knower of all directions and provider of auspiciousness lead us from the front through the harmless path.

Upon covering the second quarter of the distance, the Agni and body are kept down and the circumambulation and bali are repeated like before.

Upon lifting the preta, the following mantra is chanted looking at it -

Mantra - Ayurvishvayu....

Mantra - Agni is waiting for you, 

Pusha is leading and protecting you.

Savita (Surya) will take you through the path taken by those of noble deeds in the past and you may also join them.

Upon covering the third quarter of the distance the above procedure is repeated. 

The entire cooked rice is used up. 

The vessel is broken.

Here onwards, the body is taken silently. 

Upon reaching the shmashana, the body is kept to the south of where the pyre is and the Agni carried from home is kept to the east of it. 

The son and the carriers move a little towards and north and come back.

The son now sweeps the place where the pyre is to be made with the branch of Palasha tree saying -

Mantra - Apeta veeta ....

Meaning - Those attendants of Yama who are here, the old ones and the new ones, may they go away and may Yama accord us this place designated by the Pitrus for performing the rites.

The branch is thrown away to the south. 

The pieces of gold are sprinkled with water and one of them is placed where the pyre is to be made. 

Darbha is placed with tips facing south and on top of that, the pyre is made with firewood.

The Agni is placed to the east of the pyre and installed as per vidhi.

The preta is removed from the stretcher after untying the ropes and laid on the ground with head towards south. 

The stretcher is destroyed.

The hands and legs of the preta are untied.

The palms of the preta are touched with gold chanting -

Mantra - Suvarnam hastat....

Meaning - By taking gold off the hands of the deceased, may we live with wealth, strength, and glory. 

May we also live comfortably defeating our rivals.

Now, the body is placed on the pyre along with the ropes used for tying it. Pieces of gold are kept on the mouth, eyes, ears, and nostrils of the preta ( in the absence of gold, drops of ghee ). 

The son and other relatives put rice and tilam in the mouth of the preta,

The son takes Agni and standing at the east of the pyre and facing west puts it down on the chest of the preta chanting -

Mantra - Mainamagne ….

Meaning - Oh! Agni Don't overburn this preta.

Don't cause pain to it.

Don't make the skin peel off or the body burst.

Burn it in the right way and take it to the Pitrus.

 

Note: Not to overburn means that there should be pieces of bones left to be collected at sanchayanam. 

The bones have a specific role to play which will be explained later.

 

Now, standing to the north of the pyre and facing south the son prays -

Mantra - Suryam te ....

Meaning - Oh! Preta, may your eyes go to Surya, atma go to Vayu, You attain Swarga, earth, water, plants, etc. depending on the merit of your deeds.

 

Note: By saying " may your eyes go to Surya " it means dissolution of all the senses in the respective elements of the universe. 

Atma here means prana and represents all the pranas in the body. 

The purport here is that eyes, prana, etc. may go to the respective Devas and stay there until ready to assume a new body.

 

Now, standing to the west of the pyre and facing east the son offers nine ahutis of ghee -

Mantra - Ya etasya ....

Meaning - The guardians of the path of the preta are of three groups - Goptas, Rakshitas, and Abhirakshitas.

  1. To Goptas.
  2. To Rakshitas.
  3. To Abhirakshitas.
  4. To Khyata - who would spread the fame of the deceased in Paraloka
  5. To Apakhyata - who would spread information about the misdeeds of the deceased. This ahuti is to appease them so that they would refrain from doing so.
  6. To Abhilalapati - who would again an again show the right directions
  7. To Apalalapati - who would, again and again, prevent going in the wrong direction.

All the above seven are forms of Agni only.

  1. To Agni who is the performer of this karma
  2. To Agni whose any other aspect is not mentioned here.

Then the prayashchitta ahuti is offered and the ladle is put in the Agni itself.

Now, the son sits to the west of the pyre and chants nine mantras looking at the preta as it is consumed by flames. These mantras are chanted in a special way. The first half of the mantra is chanted normally, then Omkara with three matra length is said and the second half is chanted without svara.

The mantras are -

Mantra - Praketuna ....

Meaning - Agni shines forth with great brilliance and he roars like a bull in both Swarga and Bhumi.

He covers the Antariksha as well. 

He who has his abode even above Swarga has kindly alighted and engrossed this body. 

Oh! Preta, by the assimilation of the three Vedic Agnis, may you attain Swarga. 

By such assimilation, Oh! Preta, may you attain a divine body and dwell with the Devas and become their favorite.

I am seeing you rising to Swarga with beautiful wings as desired. 

I see you enjoying yourself in the abode of Yama.

Leave behind the two dogs with four eyes who are the creators of obstacles in your path. 

Reach where the Pitrus enjoy with Yama.

Oh! Yama, entrust the protection of this preta to your two dogs who are acclaimed to be the protectors of the path and provide comfort to him.

Let the two long-nosed strong Yamadutas take the prana away for granting it the darshana of Surya Deva.

 

Note: The messengers of Yama are two dogs called Sarameyas. 

They are cruel to the sinners and kind to the righteous.

 

Let the preta attain the world of those who have performed Somayaga and known Madhuvidya.

Let the preta attain the world of those who attained veera mrityu in battle and those who have performed yajnas with an abundance of dakshina.

Let the preta attain the world of those who have observed stringent tapasya in this world.

To the west of the funeral pyre, three north-facing furrows are dug and filled with stones, sand, and water. 

This mantra is addressed to the relatives who have gathered -

Mantra - Ashmanvati ....

Meaning - Let us cross over these three streams leaving behind all our sorrow.

Two branches or Palasha or shami are placed to the west of these furrows and a torana of darbha is tied between them 

The relatives pass between them chanting -

Mantra - Yadvai devasya ....

Meaning - Just as how Surya purified Indra with his thousand rays, I am being purified.

The branches are disposed of in the south chanting -

Mantra - Ya rashtra ....

Meaning - Those forefathers who have gone before desiring the abode of Yama have disposed of branches of a purifying nature. 

Similarly, let these branches confer wealth, children, and strength on us.

Now, Surya is prayed to -

Mantra - Udvayam ....

Meaning - We have attained Surya Deva, the greatest among Devas who removes darkness.

 

Note: It is important to understand here that dahanam is not for disposing of the dead body. 

Here the body is considered as a havis (offering) itself. 

The word used is Pitru medha as in Ashva medha yaga. 

It is like having lived a noble and religious life at the end of it, submitting the body to the divinity.

All leave the shmashana without looking back and take bath chanting -

Mantra - Dhata punatu .....

Meaning - Let Dhata and Savita purify us with the brilliance of Agni and the power of Surya.

The son prostrates towards the south with his hair untied.

The son seeks blessing from Brahmins that they pronounce that any inauspiciousness of timing is remedied and also that the karma is well performed. 

They are offered dakshina.

Upon reaching the door of the house, all sip ghee, touch Agni, eat leaves of neem, etc.

Shaving of head

This shaving of the head is an absolutely essential part of the rituals. 

In fact, shaving is prescribed for all jnatis (those who have to observe a period of impurity in the same gotra). 

This shaving should not be done at night or on Fridays.

Scriptures say that the seat of all the sins in the human body is the hair.

That is why hair is removed.

Nagna prachadana shraadha

This is done to take care of the nakedness of the preta. 

A needy noble Brahmin is invited. 

Sankalpa is done.

He is offered raw rice, ghee, tilam, urad, green gram, salt, raw vegetables, a pot with water, vastram, lamp, and dakshina saying that this is for removal of the nakedness of the preta. 

The quantity of rice should be sufficient for ten days and the other items half of that.

Coming back from the cremation ground

The son takes bath and enters the house with a lighted lamp along with relatives.

The death rites are divided into three parts -

  1. From dahanam to the tenth day.
  2. 11th and 12th days including Sapindeekaranam.
  3. After Sapindeekarana.

SECTION 6

Rites of the first nine days

Installing stones for udaka danam

The preta will suffer from thirst because of burning and hunger during the next ten days.

Vasodaka (water dripped through cloth) and tilodaka ( water mixed with tila ) should be offered every day up to the tenth day.

This is done at two places - near a water body and outside the house. 

For this, stones are installed at both places and the preta is invoked in them with the appropriate procedure.

The son does sankalpa.

By the side of a nearby river or waterbody, a small pit is dug, three stones are placed in it, and the preta is invoked onto them after sankalpa chanting -

Mantra - ayahi preta .....

Meaning - Oh! preta of father, come through the noble paths of our predecessors. 

Accord children, wealth, and long life to us.

The name of father along with relation and gotra is pronounced for invocation.

He and the relatives (younger ones first) take dips in the water.

While doing so, they also dip a new cloth folded into three in the water.

The cloth is brought to the stones onto which the preta has been invoked.

The cloth is squeezed three times and the water is offered to the preta.

This is vasodaka.

After this, water mixed with tilam is also offered three times.

The above are offered by sitting on the left knee.

Then a potful of water is offered ( poured ) saying -

Oh! Preta ( pronouncing relation, name, and gotra ) accept the vasodaka, tilodaka, and drink this water from the pot.

The number of tilodaka is increased by one on every succeeding day - four on the second day, five on the third day, and so forth up to the tenth day. 

These are provided at noon time.

Water is collected in the pot and the son and relatives return home. 

At the entrance of the house, another small pit is dug and three stones are installed.

Permission from Brahmins is sought and in the sankalpa it is mentioned that the installation of stones is being done for - 1. Providing vasodaka every day to take care of thirst and hunger arising out of the burning of the body. 2. To provide pindas for the formation of the new body. 3. For providing prabhutabli ( the great bali on the tenth day ) to take care of the great hunger.

Three stones are installed chanting -

Mantra - Ayahi ....

Meaning - Oh! preta of father, come through the noble paths of our predecessors. 

Accord children, wealth, and long life to us.

The name of father along with relation and gotra is pronounced for invocation.

Here, vasodaka and pinda are offered by the son alone.

Every day a sankalpa is done for providing vasodaka and pinda and then they are offered. 

The pinda is to be offered twice a day morning and evening but often they are combined into one. 

In some variations, cooked loose rice is offered as evening bali and some offer two pindas at the same time. 

Some people also offer curd and ginger on top of the pinda. 

There should not be any change in the way the pinda is prepared and offered throughout the ten days. 

After offering, they should be immersed in water and at the same place every day without fail. 

The pinda is thrown over the head backwards while facing south and the son should take a dip in the river facing the flow after immersing the pinda. 

The purpose of throwing it above the head is that it is not actually immersed, but aimed at the sky.

The purpose of the offering of these pindas is for the formation of the new body of the preta for its further journey. 

This new body is called Athivahika shareera or Bhoga shareera. 

The organs are formed as follows -

Day 1 - creation of head.

Day 2 - creation of eyes, ears, and nose.

Day 3 - creation of neck, shoulder, and hands.

Day 4 - creation of back, sides, stomach, hips, and private parts.

Day 5 - creation of thighs, knees, and shin.

Day 6 - creation of ankles, feet, fingers, marmas (vulnerable nerve centers), and skin.

Day 7 - creation of bones, skull marrow, and blood vessels.

Day 8 - creation of nails and hair.

Day 9 - creation of strength and energy.

Day 10 - to take care of its hunger.

 

Note: These days the busy sons and the busier priests have made it a norm to start the rites from the ninth day doing pinda pradanam for all the previous days together. 

This is completely wrong and unacceptable. 

It takes, say, six months to build a house - what if you try to do the same in a week? 

It will collapse and fall soon. 

Is the body of the child in the womb of the mother formed overnight? Everything takes its own time. 

By trying to create a new body for the deceased in a day, you are rendering it weak and defective. 

Moreover, with the stones not installed, the deceased will be still wandering in the cremation ground uncertain about his future, sad, and wondering whether his son will ever perform his rites. 

Is this the farewell that he deserves? 

A person who has probably toiled his entire life to bring up his children, and educate them, doesn't his son have ten days to give back to him?

 If the pindas are not offered in time, the preta of the deceased will remain in the custody of the ferocious deities of the shmashana.

 

The cloth used for vasodaka, the water pot, the vessel used for cooking rice - all these should not be changed during the ten days. 

The installed stones should not be moved. 

The pindas should not be eaten by crows, dogs, etc., or touched by anyone else.

There are prayashchittas to be performed if this happens.

Water and Milk should be kept every day in hanging earthen pots so that they are not touched by cats, dogs, etc. 

This is to take care of the fatigue of the preta. 

The water is kept saying - " take bath " and milk kept saying - "drink milk". Tender coconut is also kept saying - " drink coconut water."

Ekottarara vriddhi shraadha

These are to be offered increasing by one every day from the first day ie:- one on the first day, two on the second day and so on. 

The purpose is to take care of the hunger and thirst of the preta. 

The Raw rice given to three brahmins should be sufficient for a day.

Nava shraadha

This is done for removing the pretatva of the deceased. 

This is done on the first, third, fifth, seventh, ninth, and eleventh days. 

This is also done with raw rice only and offered to a single Brahmin.

In this manner, the rituals from the first day to the tenth day are -

  1. Vasodaka pradanam at kunda near the water body every day.
  2. Tilodaka pradanam increasing by one every day at kunda near the waterbody every day.
  3. Vasodaka pradnam outside the house every day.
  4. Pinda pradanam and providing water, milk, and tender coconut water every day.
  5. Ekottara vriddhi shraadha every day.
  6. Navasraadham on odd days.

SECTION 7

Collecting the bones

This is called asthi sanchayanam. 

It is done on the second or fourth day and before noon. 

The son goes back to the shmashana with the relatives. 

Krichra prayaschitta (danam)is performed for removing impurity in case the pyre is touched by dogs, etc.

If the Agni in the pyre has extinguished there is a prayaschitta homa to be done. 

Krichra prayaschitta is performed before this.

The Agni is to be rekindled. 

For this, the bhasma in the pyre is sprinkled with water chanting -

Mantra - Apahata ....

Meaning - Asuras, Raskshas, and Pisachas who live here may move out from here, to wherever they feel like.

Mantra - Shanno devi....

Meaning - May the waters accord comfort and auspiciousness to us and also make us free of diseases.

The bhasma from the pyre is taken out chanting -

Mantra - ayam te yonih ….

Oh! Agni, knowing this is to be your place of origin, enter it and increase our wealth. 

The bhasma is deposited on samidha (the sick used in homa). 

Agni is freshly installed to the south of the pyre and the samidha with the bhasma is placed in it chanting -

Mantras - Ajuhavanaha ....

Udbudhyasvagne ....

Meaning - Oh! Agni, come and occupy your place in front of those who are keen to worship you with oblations. 

May the Visvedevas and the yajamana also occupy their own noble seats.

O ! Agni, be with this yajamana. 

May the yajamana achieving his youth again fulfill this yajna.

Ahuti is offered to Prajapati.

Prayashchitta ahutis are offered.

This Agni is placed on the pyre.

Permission is sought from Brahmins for eligibility to perform sanchayanam. 

Sankalpa is done and danam performed to take care of any inauspiciousness of timing.

Water is mixed with milk and standing at the feet side of the pyre it is sprinkled with the branch of Udumbara tree in the fire slowly so that it doesn't make a crackling sound. 

This is done with five mantras.

Mantra - yanme agni ....

Meaning - The Agni enkindled for burning the body of the preta is being pacified with this milk and water.

Oh! Agni, as you have accomplished your task very well, you may leave now. Let plants such as durva grow here.

May the body of the preta reach water where frogs swim, in a place cool and pleasant. Let Agni be pacified.

Let waters of various kinds such as sea and rains become pleasant to the body of the preta,

Let waters of various kinds such as pond and snow become pleasant to the body of the preta,

Some embers are taken out and placed to the south of the pyre. 

Ahuti is offered in them chanting -

The preta offered in the Agni will now move along with water. 

Oh! Agni, prompt him to the abode of the Pitrus. Let him have a body.

Oh! Preta, join the Pitrus, attain Swarga, go elsewhere on earth, wherever you desire. May Lord Savita place you there.

May Agni protect the body of the preta from birds, ants, etc.

Prayshchitta ahutis are offered.

The ladle is placed in the Agni itself.

With potfuls of water, the Agni in the pyre is put out. 

The son then ties the fruit of brihati in his left hand with black and red threads. 

Facing west and keeping the left foot on a stone he takes bones from the head and teeth without looking at the pyre chanting -

Mantra - uthishtatastanuvam ….

Meaning - Oh! Preta, get up. 

Get together your body. 

Don't leave it here. 

Go elsewhere on earth wherever you desire. 

May Lord Savita place you there.

Eyes are opened and the bones are placed either on cloth or a pot.

Now the bones from the hands are taken, right first chanting -

Mantra - idam ta ekam .....

Meaning - This one bone.

Now the bones from the sides and hip are taken chanting -

Mantra - Para uta ekam .....

Meaning - Now the next one.

Now the bones from the thighs and calf bones are taken chanting -

 Mantra - Triteeyena ….

Meaning - With this third one, you attain light.

Now the bones from the feet are taken chanting -

Mantra - Samveshana ....

Meaning - Let the bones join together for the formation of the body. 

May you dwell in a noble place pleased by the Devas.

All remaining bones are gathered together.

At the time of keeping the body on the pyre, it is prayed to Agni that he may not overburn the body. 

Now, the reason is clear. 

He should not burn so much that even the bones are not available. 

The bones and bhasma gathered together and immersed in water form the basis for the new body of the deceased.

It is this together with the pindas provided by the son that becomes the bhoga shareeram for the deceased.

The bhasma of the pyre is gathered together and a human form with head to the south is made. 

On that are offered - puffed paddy, green grams, apupa, shashkuli and tender coconut water saying -

Mantra - Pretaya ....

Meaning - May the preta of my father and divinities in shmashana receive these.

Son covers the pot filled with bones with a cloth and gets up chanting -

Mantra - Uthishta prehi ....

Meaning - Oh! Preta, getup, go fast.

Join Yama and Yami and attain heaven.

The son goes to the place where the bones are to be immersed. Permission from brahmins is sought. 

Sankalpa is done. 

Danam is performed to take care of any inauspiciousness of timing.

The asthi kalasha is immersed in a sacred river. 

This is done after purifying it by chanting Aghamarshana suktam. Abhisheka of the kumbha is performed with milk, ghee, gandhodaka (chandana mixed water) and panchagavya. 

It is said in the shastra that as long as the bones stay in holy water such as the Ganges the deceased would stay in heaven.

Dharma shastra also talks about burying the asthi kalasha under a Shami tree / Palasha tree which is not in vogue now.

Three north-facing furrows are dug and filled with stones, sand, and water. 

This mantra is addressed to the relatives who have gathered -

Mantra - Ashmanvati ….

Meaning - Let us cross over these three streams leaving behind all our sorrow.

Two branches of Palasha or Shami are placed to the west of these ditches and a torana of darbha is tied between them The relatives pass between them chanting -

Mantra - yadvai devasya ....

Meaning - Just as how Surya purified Indra with his thousand rays, I am being purified.

The branches are disposed of in the south chanting -

Mantra - Ya rashtra ....

Those forefathers who have gone before desiring the abode of Yama had disposed of branches of a purifying nature. 

Similarly, let these branches confer wealth, children, and strength on us.

Now, the Sun is prayed to -

Mantra - Udvayam ....

Meaning - we have attained Surya Deva, the greatest among the Devas, the remover of darkness.

All leave the place without looking back and take bath chanting -

Mantra - Dhata punatu ....

Meaning - Let Dhata and Savita purify us with the brilliance of Agni and the power of Surya.

SECTION 8

The rites of the tenth day

This is the last day of the first part of the death rites.

All the male members of the family of the same gotra (jnatis) do whole body shaving, take bath, wear a single wet cloth, and facing south perform tarpanam at the kunda near the water body.

Vasodaka - 3 X 10 days - 30

Tilodaka - 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10 + 11 + 12 = 75

The son offers three vasodakas, and twelve tilodakas at the kunda near the water body since he is already supposed to have completed those of earlier days on time.

He offers vasodaka and pinda at the installed stones outside the house and also performs ekottaravriddhi shraadha of the day.

 

Note : In cities, the daily tarpana near the waterbody is not to be seen anymore. 

Everyone offers the kunda tarpanam (known as kuzhi tarpana) together on this day.

 

Now the new body of the preta is fully formed. 

It suffers from terrible hunger. 

Prabhuta bali ( bali in abundance ) is offered to take care of this hunger.

Permission from Brahmins is sought. 

Sankalpa is done. 

Danam is performed to take care of any inauspiciousness of timing.

Rangavalli ( kolam ) is drawn, cloth with the edge towards the south is spread on top of it and darbha with tips towards the south is strewn on top of it. 

Bali of apupa, modaka, mudga, ladduka, shashkuli, and other edibles is offered in abundance, and also ghee, curd, and honey.

Progress of the clan is prayed for and everyone prostrates towards the south.

Now the stones on which the preta is invoked are to be removed. 

Women move away. 

Son seeks permission from Brahmins and performs sankalpa. 

Danam to take care of any inauspiciousness of timing is performed.

Tila is sprinkled on the stones chanting -

Mantra - Aayahi ....

Meaning - Oh! preta of father, come through the noble paths of our predecessors. Accord children, wealth, and long life to us.

Gotra, name, and relationship are pronounced - 

Oh! Preta, may you go from these stones to where you belong. 

Go from here.

The stones are taken with eyes closed, eyes are opened, kept in a cloth and covered with it and praying that - 

Let our clan progress.

They are put in a pit and covered with mud.

The removal of stones by the side of the water body is also done in the same way.

Then the son comes back home and after collecting the pindas and those offered as prabhutabali goes back and immerses them at the same spot where pindas were immersed on previous days.

Blessings from Brahmins are sought in the form of pronunciation that all rites took place well.

The son performs whole body shaving chanting -

Mantra - Merumandara ....

Meaning - Sins as bulky as mountains Meru and Mandara stay on the hairs. Hence I am shaving off my hair.

It is also mentioned in the shastras that the impurity of ashoucha ( ten days of impurity ) for the jnatis ( relatives of the same gotra ) will continue unless they also do the whole body shaving.

The son takes bath after the shaving, takes bath again, and then does his madhyahnikam.

Shanti homa

Permission is sought from Brahmins, sankalpa is done saying that this is being done for removal of sins of mine and the jnatis.

Danam to take care of any inauspiciousness of timing is performed.

Agni is installed following standard procedure.

A bull skin is spread to the west of Agni. with its neck to the east and hair side facing up. 

The jnatis wearing garlands made of Vetasa are made to mount it, younger ones first chanting -

Mantra - Arohata ....

Meaning - Oh! Jnatis, may you mount this skin in the proper order praying for long life. 

May Lord Tvashta grant you a long life.

Now, the son chants the following mantra and makes them sit on it -

Mantra - Yathaa ....

Meaning - Just as days from Prathama onwards follow an order, just as the seasons follow an order, just as the son does not abandon his father, Oh! Prajapati, make these jnatis long-lived.

Homa is started. 

The following ahutis are offered -

Mantra - Na hi te agne ….

Meaning - Oh! Agni, man has never been violent while lighting you up. 

He is always protective just as a cow would protect her fetus with the placenta. - Offered to Agni.

Mantra - Apanaha ....

Meaning - Oh! Agni, burn our sins so that they are removed. 

Purify our wealth. 

Again burn our sins, oblations to Mrityu. - Offered to Agni.

Further, ten ahutis are offered and sampata (a drop of ghee from the ladle after the ahuti is offered) is taken after each ahuti chanting -

Mantra - apanaha ....

Oh! Agni, burn our sins so that they are removed. 

Purify our wealth. 

Again burn our sins. - Offered to Agni

We are worshiping you with this ahuti in an auspicious place, in an auspicious way for abundance. 

May our sins be burnt. - Offered to Agni.

May we and the scholars achieve purusharthas. 

May our sins be burnt. - Offered to Agni.

 

Note : The four purusharthas are dharma, artha, kama, and moksha ( righteousness, wealth, desires, and liberation )

 

May we and the scholars achieve your fame. 

May our sins be burnt. - Offered to Agni.

May we have offspring by your grace. 

May our sins be burnt. - Offered to Agni.

Brilliant all around and defeater of foes. 

Oh! Agni, may our sins be burnt. - Offered to Agni.

Oh! Agni, take our foes away from us. 

May our sins be burnt. - Offered to Agni.

Oh! Agni, take us across grief like a boat. 

May our sins be burnt. - Offered to Agni.

Just as water flows towards a lower place, let our sins flow away.

May our sins be burnt. - Offered to Agni.

Just as a stream flows out of the forest towards a lower place let our sins go away.

May our sins be burnt. - Offered to Agni.

Prayashchitta ahuti is offered. 

The ladles are put in the agni itself.

A bull is made to stand to the north of Agni before the commencement of the homa and the relatives including women touch it now while chanting -

Mantra - Anadvahamanvarabhamahe ….

Meaning - We are touching this bull for welfare and prosperity. 

Like Indra for Devas, may this bull take us across.

The relatives proceed towards the east with the bull in front while chanting -

Mantra - Ime jeeva ….

Meaning - We, the relatives separated from the deceased, after invoking Devas and welcoming joy back into our life are moving ahead towards the east by accepting a long life.

The son follows everyone with the branch of Vetasa and Avaka (both plants) in his hand and removes the footprints of the bull, relative,s and himself chanting -

Mantra - Mrityo padam ....

Meaning - We are proceeding by removing the footprints of death towards a long life. wealth and progeny being eligible to perform yajnas pure in body and pure in materials.

After the relatives are sent ahead a stone is installed to their south, assigning it as a boundary between the living and the dead. 

The son chants -

Mantra - Imam jeevebhyaha ....Meaning - I am installing this as the boundary between the living and the gone. 

May none of us cross over to the other side.

Let us live for a hundred years. 

May this stone stand like a mountain.

The sampata ghee from the homa is dripped into the anjali (palms held together) of ladies with husbands while the son chants -

Mantra - Ima naaree ....

Meaning - May the ladies ward off widowhood and for a good marital life apply this ghee upon their eyes.

May they become devoid of tears and diseases and well served to get back to their own places.

All men (relatives) apply anjanam (collyrium )in their eyes while chanting -

Mantra - Yadanjanam....

Meaning - This anjanam originates from Trikakut mountain in the Himalayas. 

With its pleasantness, we are eliminating our foes.

A tree is planted either in the shmashana or elsewhere by the son chanting -

Mantra - Yatha tvam ....

Meaning - Just as you take birth on earth, may fame and brahmavarchas take birth.

Ananda Homa

This is done for the removal of the sins of the son and the relatives and also for the attainment of happiness (ananda).

Permission is sought from Brahmins, and sankalpa is done.

Danam to take care of any inauspiciousness of timing is performed.

Agni is installed as per the procedure. 

Two ahutis are offered in this homa.

Mantra - Anandaya ....

Meaning - I am bringing back this home to happiness and merriment. 

May our sins be burned. - Offered to Agni.

Mantra - Na vai tatra prameeyate ....

Meaning - The place protected by the above mantra will not see the death of men or quadrupeds. 

May our sins be burned. - Offered to Agni.

Prayashchitta ahuti is offered to Prajapati.

Yava (barley) is cooked and the son along with relatives consumes it. chanting -

Mantra - Yavosi ....

Meaning - You, barley, remove our sins and foes,

Punyaha vachanam is performed. 

Everyone sips the punyaha teertha.

Since these homas are done outside, the Agni is brought inside the house.

SECTION 9

Rites of the eleventh day

On the eleventh day, cow dung is applied to the floor of the house, clothes are given to the washerman for washing.

The son should take bath within 144 minutes from sunrise.

Punyaha vachanam is performed for purifying oneself and house. The teertha is sprinkled all over the house.

Vrishotsarjanam (releasing a bull)

This is performed for getting the deceased out of pretatva (the preta state).

The pretatva is a miserable state. 

The preta's form is described as -

Disheveled hair, unclean, tired, agitated by hunger and thirst always, reduced to skin and bones and of a horrifying form.

Isn't it obvious why ashoucha of ten days is observed? 

The preta is supposed to be around the relatives during these ten days. 

With this kind of impure presence around, it is not right to perform puja, etc.

It is the duty of the son to get the deceased out of this miserable state.

For that, all prescribed rituals should be performed with dedication and sincerity.

By performing vrishotsarjanam, the sins accrued during the entire lifetime are mitigated.

Permission is sought from Brahmins, and sankalpa is done saying that this is being done for the removal of pretatva of the deceased after pronouncing his gotra, name, and relation. 

Danam to take care of any inauspiciousness of timing is performed.

Agni is installed in the cow shed in the middle of the cows. 

To the north of Agni, Rudra is invoked on a pratima placed on top of a kalasha and worshiped.

The homa dravya is flour. 

Pavitra is placed inside the homa dravya.

It is touched saying -

This is assigned to Pusha.

 

Note: Pusha is the nourishing aspect of Surya Deva.

 

It is sprinkled with water thrice saying -

This is well sprinkled for Pusha.

Two ahutis are offered chanting - 

Mantra - Pusha ga anvetu ....

Meaning - May Pusha follow our cows and horses and protect them. 

May he also provide us with wealth. 

Oh! Pusha, you are of various forms and worshiped severally. 

Still, you are of the same nature and impartial like the sky. 

You guard the activities of the mind. 

May you make this task successful. - Offered to Pusha.

Again the havis is taken in the ladle and kept inside the paridhi. 

Then, ahutis with ghee is offered.

Mantra - Iha dhriti ....

Meaning - Let there be contentment here, let there be descendants here, let there be cattle folk here, let there be enjoyment here.

Mantra - Upasrujanmatre ....

Meaning - The calf being led away, let there be prosperity, wealth and food with us.' Offered to Pushtipathi.

Mantra - A gavo agman ....

Meaning - May the cows come here. 

Do good to us, stay in our shed, and give us enjoyment.

Let there be many calves of various colors, let them be ready for milking for Indra before dawn. - Offered to cows.

Mantra - Indro yajvane ....

Meaning - The cow provides the yajamana with milk for offering to Devas again and again without hesitation and thereby increasing his wealth. 

She stays this way ever favorable to him. - Offered to cows.

Mantra Nata na shanti ....

Meaning - The cows put to use in yajnas are never destroyed, nor can bandits harm them.

The enemies won't be able to cause harm to them.

The yajamana stays along with the cows in Swarga forever. - Offered to cows.

Mantra - Na va arvarenuka ....

Meaning - These cows are faster than horses. 

The shepherd does not carry a staff meant for them. 

The cows of the yajamana graze fearlessly. - Offered to cows.

Mantra - Gavo bhago ....

Meaning - Cows are a fortune. 

They only take care of us.

They are the first approach of Soma, they are inseparable from Indra. -Offered to cows.

Mantra - Yuyam gavo ....

Meaning - Oh! Cows, you turn the unhealthy into healthy, the ugly into handsome. 

The house brightens up because of you. 

Your milk etc. are praised in yajnasalas. - Offered to cows.

Mantra - Prajavati ....

Meaning - Oh ! Cows, may you graze gracefully eating grass as you want and drinking water off lakes.

May you be untouched by thieves and wild animals.

May you be away from Rudras's weapons. - Offered to cows.

Mantra - Upedamupaparchanam ....

Meaning - Let there be sufficient grass for the cows, let them be fertile, and let Indra be their protector. - Offered to cows.

The next ahutis are from the first anuvaka of Rudraprasna.

Mantra - Namaste rudra ....

Meaning - Salutations to your wrath, Oh! Rudra, also to your bow, arrows, and arms. - Offered to Rudra.

Mantra - Ya ta ishu ....

Meaning - With your auspicious bow and arrows, protect us. - Offered to Rudra.

Mantra - Ya te rudra ....

Meaning - May your body be auspicious and harmless to us. 

Oh! dweller of the mountains, shower light on us, and give us comfort. - Offered to Rudra.

Mantra - Yamishum ....

Mantra - Oh! protector of Kailasa, the arrows in your hands are meant for the foes. protect us and our animals. - Offered to Rudra.

Mantra - Shivena vachasa ....

Meaning - Oh! dweller of Kailasa, we are praising you with auspicious words. 

Make us and our animals disease free. - Offered to Rudra.

Mantra - Adhyavochat ....

Meaning - By your blessing alone we shall become the greatest. 

The foremost among the Devas, the healer, may he destroy harmful snakes and evil spirits. - Offered to Rudra.

Mantra - Asau yastamro ....

Meaning - Rudra of the form Surya.

He is red at dawn and less red afterwards, of various colors.

He and also thousands of his forms stationed in all directions, through prayer we are pacifying his wrath. - Offered to Rudra.

Mantra - Asau yovasarpati ....

Meaning - Oh! Neelakantha, your original form is known only to those well versed in Vedas. 

You, the cause of day and night, have assumed the form of Surya so that you are visible even to shepherds, women, and animals. 

Give comfort to us. - Offered to Rudra.

Mantra - Namo astu neelagreevaya ....

Meaning - You alone are Indra and Parjanya. 

Salutations to you and your attendants. - Offered to Rudra.

Mantra - Pramuncha ....

Meaning - May you untie your bowstring, may you put aside the arrows. - Offered to Rudra.

Mantra - Avatatya ....

Meaning - Oh! one with thousand eyes and hundred arrows, put aside your bow, may your arrows no longer be sharp, be pacified. - Offered to Rudra.

Mantra - Vijyam dhanu ....

Meaning - May your bow be devoid of string, may your arrows rest in the quiver, may your sword also rest in its sheath. - Offered to Rudra.

Mantra - Ya te heti....

Meaning - Oh! great provider of blessings, may your bow and sword be only for protecting us. - Offered to Rudra.

Mantra - Namaste astvayudhaya ....

Meaning - Salutations to your powerful yet unmounted arrows, to your arms, and also to your bow. - Offered to Rudra.

Mantra - Pari te ....

Meaning - May your sharp arrows stay away from us, may your bow be put aside. - Offered to Rudra.

Homa is completed, udvasana of Rudra from the kalasha is also done.

The bull is bathed and worshiped with shodashopachara during which Rudra japa by eleven brahmins is performed.

Kalashabhisheka of the bull is also done. 

The bull is adorned with a golden flower, golden horn, and silver hoofs.

The bull is made to circumambulate Agni chanting -

Mantra - Iyam naryupabrute ....

Meaning - By offering ahutis of laja, this woman is praying that my husband may live for a hundred years.

The brahmins chant the anuvaka starting with -

Mantra - Richam prachee ....

Meaning - The East is of the richas ( Rigveda mantras), the South is of Yajurveda mantras, the West is of Atharva Veda mantras and the North is of the Samas. 

The cardinal directions acquire their greatness and the mantras acquire their power from this relationship.

At the time of sunrise, Surya derives his strength from Rigveda, at noon from Yajurveda, and at sunset from Samaveda. 

Surya is the preraka (prompt ) behind the whole creation.

The universe is born from Rigveda mantras, it stays in Samaveda mantras and its destination is Yajurveda mantras.

Brahma created the universe out of the Vedas.

The Vaisyas are born from Rigveda mantras, Kshatriyas from Yajurveda mantras, and Brahmins from Samaveda mantras.

These are the words of the Rishis.

By kindling the sacred Agni and performing yajnas they lived for thousands of years.

 

Note: What is being described below are various roles and functions in a yajna - Yajamana, Brahma, Hota, Udgata, Prastota, Adhvaryu, Pratiprastota, Upagata, Sadasya, Chamasadhvaryu, Brahmanachhamsi, Acchavakas, Somavikrayi, Dhruvagopa, Gravastut, Potru, Neshtru, Agnidhra, Subrahmanya, etc. 

 

The Rishis themselves became the yajna and produced Brahma who created the universe.

Their penance became the Yajamana, Paramatma himself became Brahma and truth became Hota.

Their immortality became Udgata, and past and future became Prastota.

Their prana became Adhvaryu, apana became Pratiprastota.

Artavas became Upagatas. 

Ritus became Sadasyas.

Ardhamasas and masas became Chamasadhvaryus.

Their brilliance became Brahmanchhamsi.

Fame became Acchavakas. 

As these Rishis, the creators of the universe performed yajna, Mitra and Varuna became ritam (order of truth).

Their strength became the Somavikrayi, their power to defeat became Dhruvagopa. 

Their light became Gravastut.

Their worship performed the yajna related to Potru.

Their brilliance performed the yajna related to Neshtru. 

Their devotion performed the yajna of the Agnidhra.

Rains became their wife. 

Sankalpa became the pounder of grains. 

Hunger and thirst brought in the fuel.

Speech (Saraswati) became Subrahmanya.

Muhurtas became the workers. 

Dhata became the organizer and lord of the directions the controller.

In this manner, the Rishis performed a yajna lasting a thousand years before the creation of the gross universe. 

From this yajna was produced Brahma.

Brahma exists as karya and karana, as father and son, as brilliant as Surya known only by the knower of Vedas.

Being one with Brahma, the knower of the Vedas has no distinction between good and evil deeds and he doesn't get bound by them.

The performers of this yajna, those who talk about it or listen to it - they all attain great states such as sayuja and salokya. 

 

Note: The above is a section of the Veda extolling the greatness of the Vedas, Rishis, and the knowers of Vedas. 

It is established here that Brahma himself was born out of a thousand-year-long yajna performed by Rishis and then the creation happened.

 

The bull is provided with tilodaka to drink.

A sign of sankha or lingam is marked at the right foot of the bull. 

The following mantra is chanted in the right ear of the bull -

Mantra - Pishangarupaaha ....

Meaning - Tvashta, of tawny color, immortal, and bound to truth.

By his grace, valorous children are born.

May he bestow children and grandchildren upon us.

May we attain the divine path.

The following mantra is chanted in the left ear of the bull -

Mantra - Tannastureepamadha ....

Meaning - Oh! Tvashta, charity is your nature. 

Provide us wealth fast. 

Provide us with children who are skillful in both Vedic and worldly matters, whom even the Devas will desire to be at their service.

The bull is left in the middle of the cows -

Mantra - Etam yuvanam ....

Meaning - Oh! Cows, I am giving this bull to you. 

Play around and graze with him.

May you not curse us. 

May you bless with 'crossing over'. 

With your blessings may we be rich and happy.

Oh! Prajapati, salutations to your greatness. 

Salutations to your all-watching eyes. 

May this bull be dear to the gods.

Devas were attached to the bull. 

Sacrificed in Agni.

He attained Surya and pulled up water from the earth and became the pregnancy of the clouds. 

Then reached the plants as rain.

The bull is the father of the calves, lord of the cows, and father of great roaring bulls. 

He is the fetus inside the cows. 

He himself is butter, ghee, etc.

Oh! Bull, the cows accept you as their lord.

The Devas desire you in sacrifice. 

You are the symbol of the power of the kings. 

Snatch the wealth of our foes.

Oh! Rudra, may the blowing breeze be comfortable for the cows.

Let water give them health. 

May you protect them.

Oh! Parjanya, these cows of various colors but of uniform lineage, whom the Devas know by their names and sanctified by the tapas of Angiras, may you give comfort to them.

Oh! Indra, these cows who have dedicated themselves to the service of the Devas, whose various forms are known by Soma, who satisfy everyone with milk, etc., may they be led to our sheds.

It is Prajapati along with Vishvedevas and ancestors who created cows and handed them over to us. 

May they occupy our sheds. 

May we be always united with them and their offspring.

Now, the bull is released saying -

Oh! Bull, Go towards the east, eat grass as you may please, drink water as you may please, and move around in the land of Devas and Brahmins as you may please.

Oh! Bull, Go towards the south, eat grass as you may please, drink water as you may please, and move around in the land of Devas and Brahmins as you may please.

Oh! Bull, Go towards the west, eat grass as you may please, drink water as you may please, and move around in the land of Devas and Brahmins as you may please.

Oh! Bull, Go towards the north, eat grass as you may please, drink water as you may please, and move around in the land of Devas and Brahmins as you may please.

The bull is prayed to - 

Prajapati has created you as dharma personified. 

By releasing you, get us across the ocean of existence.

Gotra, name, and relation of the deceased are pronounced, and it is declared that the bull is being released for the removal of his pretatva.

Danam of tila, vastra, water-filled pot, gold, and godanam is also performed along with this.

Bali is offered to Rudra (cooked rice).

Mahat Ekoddishta Shraadha

This is called ekoddishta shraadha because it is offered to only the deceased person.

In all other shraadhas, ancestors of three generations are invoked. 

There is also no invocation of Visvedevas in ekoddishta srhaadha. Conventionally, two shraadhas are performed - one in Agni and one by invoking the preta onto a single Brahmin. 

This is done at noon time on the eleventh day.

This is also called Adya masika shraadha being the first in the series of monthly shraadhas to be performed till the completion of the first year.

The son takes bath, performs madhyahnikam, and takes bath again.

Permission is sought from Brahmins. 

Sankalpa is done declaring that this is being performed for the removal of the pretatva of the deceased and that due to the non-availability of a suitable Brahmin, it is being done in Agni after pronouncing his gotra, name, and relation. 

Danam to take care of any inauspiciousness of timing is performed.

Agni is installed and this Agni is visualized as the preta of the deceased person itself.

To the west of this Agni, asanam (sea ), kshana (invitation), washing of feet, achamanam, etc. are offered considering the Agni to be the preta as mentioned before. 

Invocation of the preta in the Agni is done after seeking permission from Agni for doing so.

Arghyam is prepared to the north of Agni and it is offered in the west of Agni.

Upacharas - yajnopaveeta, abharana, and gandha are offered.

Another Agni is installed to the north of arghya patram. 

Embers from it along with bhasma are taken from this and placed to the south.

One ahuti of rice with vegetable (raw banana) is offered in this chanting -

 ....gotraya ....sharmane pretaya mama pitre yamaya cha svaha - Offered to the preta and Yama.

Again to the west of the Agni representing the Brahmin, the ground is cleaned and tila and sand sprinkled chanting -

Mantra - Apeta veeta ....

Meaning - The evil spirits who are here - the old ones and the new ones -may they go away and may Yama give us this place designated by the Pitrus for performing the rites.

Mantra - Apahata ....

Dismissed are the Asuras and Rakshasas, may they go wherever they please.

The further procedure is similar to shraadha such as placing the bhojanapatram, serving food, etc.

In the place of bhojanam by Brahmin 32 ahutis of payasam mixed with tila and ghee are offered in Agni chanting -

Mantra - Yamaya somam ....

Meaning - Prepare soma and havis for Yama. 

This yajna, presided by Agni as the messenger of Devas, may it be abundant for Yama. - Offered to Yama.

It is completed with the usual enquiry of satisfaction, dakshina, etc.

A single pinda is offered to the south of homagni.

This is repeated as mentioned above by bhojanam of a Brahmin. Conventionally the cooking is done outside the house by the Brahmin himself.

Remnants of havis and pinda, etc. are immersed in water.

SECTION 10

The rites of the twelfth day 

Sapindeekarana which is done on the twelfth day is the process of joining the deceased with the ancestors in Pitruloka. 

This is performed either at the end of the year or as is in vogue now, on the twelfth day. 

It may also be performed on the forty-fifth day. 

If it is done on the twelfth day, the sixteen shraadhas ( the twelve masika shraadhas and the four una sraddhas) should be drawn backwards (ahead of time) and performed before performing the sapindeekarana.

In spite of this, the above sixteen shraadhas should be done again as and when their scheduled times come. 

The una sraadhas are performed before the completion of the first month, before 45 days, before 6 months, and before the completion of the year.

It is done in the Oupasanagni of the son or Samidadhanagni in case he is a bachelor.

The son performs madhyahnikam.

After four hours and forty-eight minutes (12 ghatika ) from sunrise, the Brahmins are prayed to - 

May you, the calm and pure ones constantly chanting mantras accompany me in this shraadha karma.

Their feet are washed.

Krisara ( laddu made of tila), tamboolam, and oil are offered to them and they take bath.

The son also takes bath, wears a fresh pair of dry clothes, washes his feet, and performs achamanam.

He says swagatham to the Brahmins individually and offers water for washing feet and achamanam.

The shraadha is started at six hours from sunrise.

Permission from Brahmins is sought declaring that the sapindeekarana shraadha is going to be performed on the twelfth day for the release of the deceased from pretatva and for obtaining him Pitrutva starting with Vasu and samanodakatva and sapindatva with grandfather etc.

 

Note: Sapindata is enabling the sharing of pinda with them and samanodakata is enabling sharing of water etc. with them.

The immediate generation of the Pitrus exist as Vasus, the one above that as Rudras, and the one above that as Adityas, ie:-

  • Father and his generation - Vasus
  • Grandfather and his generation - Rudras
  • Great grandfather and his generation - Adityas

Vasus, Rudras, and Adityas are three groups of Vedic Gods. Attainment of Pitrutva is attainment of divinity.

The deceased would first belong to the realm of Vasus and when the next generation reaches Pitruloka the realm of Rudras and then that of Adityas. 

In sapindeekarana shraadha, four Brahmins are involved representing -

  • Vishvedevas
  • Three generations of the father's ancestors
  • Vishnu, the protector of shraadha
  • The deceased

Traditionally, the most learned among the four is chosen to represent Vishvedevas who are Devas worshiped in shraadha. 

They are escorts and protectors of the Pitrus. 

The ten Vishvedevas are - Kratu, Daksha, Vasu, Satya, Kama, Kala, Dhuri, Rochana, Ardrava, and Pururava. 

They are always invoked in pairs and which pair depends on the type of shraadha.

The Vishvedevas in the yearly shraadha are Pururava and Ardrava. 

The Vishvedevas in the sapindeekarana shraadha are Kala and Kama.

The Brahmins representing Vishvedevas, Pitrus, Vishnu, and the deceased are offered seats.

It is to be noted that the upaveeta is worn over the right shoulder whenever anything pertaining to Pitrus or preta is performed and over the left shoulder at other times.

Sankalpa is performed. 

The Brahmins are offered darbha asanas and water and it is declared that Vishvedevas, Pitrus, Vishnu, and preta are respectively being invited through them for the shraadha.

Places are prepared for washing their feet. 

The mantras used while washing feet are -

Mantra - Shanno devirabhishtaya ....

Meaning - Let waters be wish-granting to us. 

Let them give us comfort and freedom from diseases.

After washing the feet, the invocation is done onto the bodies of the Brahmins.

Before invoking, each Brahmin is told who is going to be invoked onto his body and he gives permission to do so.

I am going to invoke the Vishvedevas called Kala and Kama into your body.

Reply - OK, go ahead and invoke.

Mantra - Vishve deva ....

Aagachantu mahabhaga ....

Meaning - Oh! Vishvedevas, listen to this call of mine, whether you belong to Bhumi, Antariksha, or Swarga, whether you receive offerings through Agni or otherwise, come forth and occupy the seat of darbha here.

Welcome, you holy ones, most powerful, those ordained in this rite, may you be attentive.

I am invoking Vishvedevas called Kala and Kama into your body for the sake of this sapindeekarana shraadha.

Akshata is sprinkled on the right foot, left foot, right knee, left knee, right shoulder, left shoulder, and head, in that order.

The Brahmin says - 

They have been invoked.

Next, the ancestors, ie:- father's father, father's grandfather, and father's great grandfather.

I am going to invoke father's - father, grandfather, and great grandfather onto your body.

Reply - OK, go ahead and invoke.

Mantra - Aayata pitaraha ....

Meaning - Oh! Pitrus, come through the noble paths of our predecessors. Give children, wealth, and long life to us.

I am invoking in this shraadha onto your body, my father's father, grandfather, and great grandfather belonging to the gotra ....... and of the forms of Vasus, Rudras and Adityas.

Tila is sprinkled on the head, left shoulder, right shoulder, left knee, right knee, left foot, and right foot.

Brahmin says - They have been invoked.

Next, the preta of father -

I am going to invoke the preta of my father onto your body.

Reply - OK, go ahead and invoke.

Mantra - Aayahi ....

Meaning - Oh! preta of father, come through the noble paths of our predecessors. 

Give children, wealth, and long life to us.

I am invoking in this shraadha into your body, the preta of my father belonging to the gotra .... and named ....

Tila is sprinkled on the head, left shoulder, right shoulder, left knee, right knee, left foot, and right foot.

Brahmin says - He has been invoked.

Next, Vishnu -

I am going to invoke Vishnu, the protector of shraadha onto your body.

Reply - OK, go ahead and invoke.

Mantra - Sahasra sheersha ....

Meaning - The purusha of thousand heads, thousand eyes, and thousand feet - he encompassed the universe and exceeded it by three angulas.

I am invoking in this shraadha onto your body, Mahavishnu the protector of shraadha.

Akshata is sprinkled on the right foot, left foot, right knee, left knee, right shoulder, left shoulder, and head, in that order.

Brahmin says - He has been invoked.

Tilodaka is offered in front of the Pitrus and preta.

Mantra - Urjam vahanti ....

Being the carrier of the energy, and immortality, ghee, and milk may you ( water ) be pleasing to the Pitrus.

Being the carrier of the energy, and immortality, ghee, and milk may you ( water ) be pleasing to the preta of my father.

Now, arghya is prepared.

An arghya is a drink offered in the honor of a guest. 

The combination varies according to the situation.

Four arghyas are prepared separately, one each for Vishvedevas, Pitrus, preta, and Vishnu.

They are prepared to the south of the Oupasanagni.

 First, for the arghya of Vishvedevas, darbha is strewn with tips towards the north.

Yava (barley) is sprinkled upon them.

The cup for arghya is placed.

A pavitram of two darbhas is kept on top of it.

It is filled with water mixed with Chandana.

Mantra - Shanno devirabhishtaya ....

Meaning - Let waters be wish-granting to us. 

Let them give us comfort and freedom from diseases.

In this shraadha, I am receiving you (water) for the sake of Vishvedevas.

Yava is put in the cup saying -

You are yava, king of grains, belonging to Varuna, sweet, remover of sins, and pure as proclaimed by Rishis.

The arghya patra is worshiped with Chandana and flowers and covered with darbha.

In front of that darbha is strewn with tips towards the south, tila is sprinkled on them and a cup is placed with a pavitram of three darbhas on top.

It is filled with water mixed with Chandana saying -

Mantra - Shanno devirabhishtaya ....

Meaning - Let waters be wish-granting to us. 

Let them give us comfort and freedom from diseases.

In this shraadha, I am receiving you (water) for the sake of my father's father, grandfather, and great grandfather.

Tila is put in the cup saying - 

You are tila, belonging to Soma, created by Devas during Gosava (a kind of yajna), provided by the ancients, and come to us in abundance.

It is worshiped with chandana and flowers and covered with darbha.

In front of that, again darbha is strewn with tips towards the south, tila is sprinkled on them and a cup is placed with a pavitram of three darbhas on top.

It is filled with water mixed with Chandana saying -

Mantra - Shanno devirabhishtaya ....

Meaning - Let waters be wish-granting to us. 

Let them give us comfort and freedom from diseases.

In this shraadha I am receiving you (water) for the sake of the preta of my father.

Tila is put in it saying -

You are tila, belonging to Soma, created by Devas during Gosava (a kind of yajna), provided by the ancients, and come to us in abundance.

It is worshiped with Chandana and flowers and covered with darbha.

Lastly, for Mahavishnu -

In front of the above, towards the east, darbha is strewn with tips towards the north, yava (barley) sprinkled upon them, the cup for arghya placed upon it.

After keeping a pavitram of two darbhas on top, it is filled with water mixed with Chandana.Mantra - Shanno devirabhishtaya ....

Meaning - Let waters be wish-granting to us. 

Let them give us comfort and freedom from diseases.

Yava is put in the cup saying -

You are yava, king of grains, belonging to Varuna, sweet, remover of sins, and pure as proclaimed by Rishis.

The arghya patra is worshiped with Chandana and flowers and covered with darbha.

Out of the four arghyas prepared the ones for Vishvedevas and Mahavishnu are mixed with yava and the ones for Pitrus and preta with tila. 

The darbhas are strewn pointing to the north for Vishvedevas and Mahavishnu and pointing to the south for the other two. 

The pavitram used is of two darbhas for Vishwedevas and Mahavishnu and three for the other two.

Offering of arghya

First, water is offered in the right hand of the Brahmin representing Vishvedevas. 

The pavitram from his arghyapatram is placed on his palm with the tip towards the east. 

The arghyam is poured on his palm saying -

Mantra - Ya divya aapah....

Mantra - The waters born along with milk in Swarga, Antariksha, and Bhumi, golden colored, suitable for yajnas, let those waters be of comfort to us.

In this sapindeekarana shraadha , Oh! Vishvedevas, Kala, and Kama, here is your arghyam.

Again water is offered and pavitram is placed back in the cup.

Next, water is offered in the right hand of the Brahmin representing ancestors. 

The pavitram from his arghyapatram is placed on his palm with the tip towards the south. 

The arghyam is poured on his palm saying -

Mantra - Ya divya aapah....

Mantra - The waters born along with milk in Swarga, Antariksha, and Bhumi, golden colored, suitable for yajnas, let those waters be of comfort to us.

In this sapindeekarana shraadha , Oh! father's father, grandfather, and great grandfather of Vasu - Rudra - Aditya forms belonging to,,,,,, gotra and named ................, here is your arghyam.

Again water is offered and pavitram is placed back in the cup.

Similarly, arghyas for the preta and Mahavishnu are also given from their own respective cups.

Vastra is offered in the same order chanting -

Mantra - Yuvasu vasaah....

Meaning - Just as a youngster arrives in bright clothes, this cloth is adorned, as the wise ones attain heights in pursuit of Devas.

Then the uthareeyam is offered in the same order.

Ornaments are offered symbolically.

Chandana is offered saying -

Mantra - Gandhadvaram ....

Meaning - 

I am invoking Lakshmi here.

She is the source of all fragrances, difficult to approach, always abundant, provider of prosperity, and ruler of all beings.

Flowers are offered in the same order.

Dhoopa is offered chanting -

Mantra - Dhoorasi ....

Meaning - Oh! Agni, put your fierce nature to use by destroying those who want to interrupt the yajna and cause harm to us.

Deepam is offered chanting -

Mantra - Uddeepyasva ....

Meaning - Oh! Agni, flare up, destroying evils, may you give wealth to us, may you not cause harm to our animals and men, may you protect us.

Karpoora neerajanam is offered chanting -

Mantra - Somo va....

Meaning - To the king performing Somayaga, Soma himself gives the kingdom and all prosperity.

Devas make him remain a king.

The ancestors and the preta are separately asked to get up for the homa to be performed saying -

Mantra - Udhriyatam ....

Havis (cooked rice) not containing salt is taken in one vessel.

Vegetables containing salt etc. are taken in separate vessels and kept to the west of Agni. 

Here achara is that the cooking for the preta is done separately even though sastra is silent about this. 

In this case, the rice cooked for the preta is also brought in and kept.

Seven ahutis are offered in Agni with the havis meant for ancestors.

Mantra - Yanme pitamahi....

Meaning - Even if my grandmother has ever desired another person, may my grandfather cut it off (such relation) and take hold of his seed. 

May this offering go only to my grandfather. - Offered to grandfather. 

His name and gotra are pronounced.

 

Note: The relationship with the grandfather is through the grandmother.

She may be the noblest among women.

But still, there is a remote possibility that she could have desired another man even for a moment.

If this has ever happened, then the exclusivity of the grandfather is gone.

The other person also becomes eligible for a share of the havis being offered.

This should not happen.

The offering should go only to the real grandfather.

This mantra prevents any such "other" person from partaking in the havis.

 

Mantra - Yasthishtanti ....

Meaning - With waters still, flowing, and enveloping from all around, with those rulers of the universe, I am assigning this havis to my grandfather. -Offered to grandfather. 

His name and gotra are declared.

Mantra - Yanme pituh pitamahi....

Meaning - Even if my father's grandmother has ever desired another person, may my father's grandfather cut it off (such relation) and take hold of his seed. 

May this offering go only to my father's grandfather.

Offered to father's grandfather. 

His name and gotra are declared.

Mantra - Antardadhe ....

Mantra - With the great mountains such as Meru, with the great earth, with the directions endless, I am assigning this havis to my father's grandfather. - Offered to my great grandfather. 

His name and gotra are declared.

Mantra - Yanme pituh prapitamahi ....

Meaning - Even if my father's great grandmother has ever desired another person, may my father's great grandfather cut it off (such relation) and take hold of his seed. 

May this offering go only to my father's great grandfather. - Offered to father's grandfather. 

His name and gotra are pronounced.

Mantra - Antardadha ....

Meaning - With the seasons, the days and nights, their junctions, fortnights, and months, I am assigning this havis to my father's great grandfather. - Offered to father's great grandfather. 

His name and gotra are declared.

Mantra - Ye cheha ....

Meaning - Those Pitrus who are here and not here, known and unknown, Oh! Agni, if you know them, provide for them as they deserve so that they are satisfied. - Offered to known and unknown Pitrus.

Seven ahutis of ghee are offered.

Svaha pitre ....

Pitre svaha ....

Svaha pitre....

Pitre svaha ....

Svaha pitre ....

Pitre svaha ....

Agnaye kavyavahanaya svadha svaha. - Offered to Agni, the carrier of offering to Pitrus.

In the south, bhasma and embers from the Agni are taken out and kept. On this havis from the rice cooked for the preta is offered chanting -

Mantra - Asmin ....

Meaning - In this sapindeekarana shraadha, this is for my father, the preta belonging to ........... gotra and named ........... and Yama. - Offered to preta and Yama.

The hot bhasma is moved to the north and the cooked vegetable is offered in it chanting svaha.

The homa is completed with prayashchitta ahutis etc.

The cooked rice to be served in bhojanam is touched chanting -

Mantra - Esha te pitamaha ....

Meaning - This is yours, grandfather, coming in waves (again and again), mixed with honey, an ocean of satisfaction.

This is as much as Agni and the earth, so much I am giving to you. 

As Agni is never less and it is undecaying may you (the food) become full for my grandfather.

Oh! grandfather, may this become abundantly satisfying to you and you live with divinities such as Agni, and may the Rigveda mantras be your greatness.

Mantra - Esha te prapitamaha ....

Meaning - This is yours, great grandfather, coming in waves (again and again ), mixed with honey, an ocean of satisfaction.

This is as much as Vayu and Antariksha, so much I am giving to you. 

As Vayu is never less and it is undecaying, may you (the food) become full for my great grandfather.

Oh! great grandfather, may this become abundantly satisfying to you and you live with divinities such as Vayu, and may the Samaveda mantras be your greatness.

Mantra - Esha te pituh prapitamaha ....

Meaning - This is yours, father's great grandfather, coming in waves (again and again), mixed with honey, an ocean of satisfaction.

This is as much as Surya and Swarga, so much I am giving to you. 

As Surya is never less and it is undecaying may you (the food) become full for my father's great grandfather.

Oh! father's great grandfather, may this become abundantly satisfying to you and you live with divinities such as Surya, and may the Yajurveda mantras be your greatness.

 

Note: The presiding deities of the three planes are being spoken about here. Agni is the presiding deity of the earthly plane, Vayu of Antariksha, and Surya of Swarga plane.

 

The place where bhojana is to be served is cleansed with a branch of Palasha chanting -

Mantra - Apeta veeta ....

Meaning - The evil spirits who are here - the old ones and the new ones - may they go away and may Yama give us this place designated by the Pitrus for performing the rites.

Mantra - Apahata ....

Meaning - "Dismissed are the Asuras and Rakshasas, may they go wherever they please.

Saying this, the places of Vishvedevas and Mahavishnu are sprinkled with yava and sand and the places of Pitrus and preta are sprinkled with tila and sand.

All the four places are sprinkled with water chanting -

Mantra - Udeeratam ....

Meaning - May you attain heights, Oh! Pitrus, the greatest ones, the middle ones and the lower ones, the non-obstructing ones, the knowers of truth, may you be pleased by our yajnas.

Rectangles are drawn where the bhojanapatrams (plantain leaves) are to be placed. 

The leaves are cleansed after sprinkling water on them. 

The leaves are kept in their respective places by declaring -

Vishvedevas, this is your bhojanapatram.

Father's - father, grandfather, and great grandfather, this is your bhojana patram.

Preta of father, this is your bhojana patram.

Mahavishnu, this is your bhojana patram.

A little ghee remaining from the homa is poured on the leaves. 

This is called abhighara. 

Seats are formally offered to the four brahmins in the earlier order.

A little rice remaining from the homa is placed in the leaves of the ancestors and the preta.

The following mantras are chanted -

Mantra - Saha vai ....

Rakshamsi hava ....

Meaning - Once Devas and Asuras started yajna simultaneously ( but not together) to attain lordship over Swarga. 

The Asuras entirely depended on their muscle power.

The Devas performed yajna with brahmacharya and tapas (brahmacharya here means vows and wearing of yajnopavita). 

The Asuras, not observing the vow, did not know what to do and what not to do and their endeavor failed. 

They could not go to Swarga.

By observing the prescribed path, the Devas attained Swarga and by not doing so the Asuras failed.

The yajnas of those wearing yajnopaveeta are rightful and hence will be successful and those not wearing yajnopaveeta are not rightful and hence unsuccessful. 

Only those wearing yajnopaveeta are eligible to learn Vedas, perform yajnas and perform them for others (as priests).

While worshiping Devas the yajnopaveeta is worn on the left shoulder and under the right hand, this is called upaveetam. 

While worshiping the Pitrus, this is worn on the right shoulder and under the left hand, this is called pracheenaveeta.

And the third way of wearing it around the neck (like a garland) is called samveetam and is done during worldly acts.

Once upon a time, the Rakshasas observed rigorous tapas. 

They were given a boon by Prajapati. 

They wanted to take up a fight with Surya. 

Prajapati permitted. 

Encouraged by the boon, they engaged the rising Surya in a fight. 

These Rakshasas can be warded off by throwing up water energized by the Gayatri mantra. 

That is why knowers of mantra (brahmins) throw up water at sunrise chanting the Gayatri mantra. 

Those waters like lightning throw those Rakshasas called Mandeha back to their island called Aruna. 

One who performs pradakshina removes the sin in himself. 

One who meditates upon the rising and setting Surya by means of the mantra "asavadityo brahma, brahmaivahamasmi" attains oneness with Surya.

 

Note: The above mantras extol the significance of wearing yajnopaveetam and sandhya vandanam.

 

The food is served.

First, the bhojanapatra of Vishvedevas is touched saying -

Mantra - Prithivi te patram ....

Meaning - Earth is the vessel, Swarga is its lid. 

I am making this offering in the mouth of the Brahmin, In the prana and apana of the Brahmins. 

Oh! food, you are limitless. 

Satisfy both the Brahmins and those for whom this offering is meant.

The right thumb of the Brahmin is held and the food is touched with it chanting -

Mantra - idam vishnurvichakrame ....

Meaning - Vishnu divided the universe into three with his three footsteps. The worlds are thus well placed like the dust at his feet.

Further, it is chanted -

Vishno havyam rakshasva - 

Oh! Vishnu, protect this offering to the Devas.

Mantra Annam cha brahma ....

Meaning - This food Brahma, I am Brahma, the consuming Brahmin is Vishnu the Gadadhara, this bhojanapatram is made of gold.

Water and akshata are taken and poured near the bhojana patram of Vishvedevas saying -

In this sapindeekarana shraadha of ....(name) belonging to .... gotra, my father, this food of various kinds and of sufficient quantity is dedicated to Vishvedevas along with dakshina.

It is prayed -

May it be as if provided under the shadow of the Vata vriksha at Gaya, at the various spots such as Vishnu pada. 

May this food satisfy those for whom it is meant. 

May this please Gadadhara (Vishnu).

May everything be complete.

The above procedure is repeated for the Brahmin representing the father's ancestors.

The only difference is instead of "Vishno havyam rakshasva" it is said -

Vishno kavyam rakshasva -

Oh! Vishnu, protect this offering to the Pitrus. 

and this bhojanapatram is made of silver (it was gold for the Vishvedevas).

Water and tila are taken and poured near the bhojana patram of father's ancestors saying -

In this sapindeekarana shraadha of ....(name) belonging to .... gotra, my father, this food of various kinds and of sufficient quantity is dedicated to the father, grandfather, and great grandfather of my father ..... (names) of .... (gotra) and of the form of Vasu, Rudra and Aditya along with dakshina.

It is prayed -

May it be as if provided under the shadow of the Vata vriksha at Gaya, at the various spots such as Vishnu pada. 

May this food satisfy those for whom it is meant. 

May this please Gadadhara (Vishnu).

May everything be complete.

Next, the procedure is repeated for the Brahmin representing the preta.

Water and tila are taken and poured near the bhojana patram of the preta saying -

In this sapindeekarana shraadha of ....(name) belonging to .... gotra, my father, this food of various kinds and of sufficient quantity is dedicated to the preta of my father .... of .... gotra along with dakshina.

It is prayed -

May it be as if provided under the shadow of the Vata vriksha at Gaya, at the various spots such as Vishnu pada. 

May this food satisfy those for whom it is meant. 

May this please Gadadhara (Vishnu).

May everything be complete.

Next, the procedure is repeated for the Brahmin representing Vishnu.

The only difference is "Vishno havyam rakshasva and the bhojanapatram is made of gold.

Water and akshata are taken and poured near the bhojana patram of Vishvedevas saying -

In this sapindeekarana shraadha of ....(name) belonging to .... gotra, my father, this food of various kinds and of sufficient quantity is dedicated to Vishnu the protector of shraadha with dakshina.

It is prayed -

May it be as if provided under the shadow of the Vata vriksha at Gaya, at the various spots such as Vishnu pada. 

May this food satisfy those for whom it is meant. 

May this please Gadadhara (Vishnu).

May everything be complete.

It is chanted -

Mantra - Eko vishnurmahadbhutam ....

Vishnu alone is the principal element along with elements manyfold. 

By encompassing the three worlds, he the imperishable alone consumes.

The son prostrates chanting -

Mantra - Yajneshvaro ....

Ishanvishnu ....

Eko vishnurmahadbhutam ....

Meaning - Hari the imperishable is Yajneshvara here, the consumer of havya and kavya.

With his presence are eliminated the evil spirits and Asuras.

Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Kartikeya, Agni, Surya, Chandra, Ganapathi, Indra, Agasthya, and Kashyapa - I prostrate at the feet of all of them for the emancipation of the deceased.

Vishnu alone is the principal element along with elements manyfold. 

By encompassing the three worlds he the imperishable alone consumes.

All are offered water for ceremonial sipping before taking the food saying -

Mantra - Shraddhayam ....

Oh! food, be auspicious to me.

Enter me so that I am not troubled by hunger and thirst, 

This offering with faith is for my prana.

Oh! food, be auspicious to me.

Enter me so that I am not troubled by hunger and thirst, 

This offering with faith is for my apana.

Oh! food, be auspicious to me.

Enter me so that I am not troubled by hunger and thirst, 

This offering with faith is for my vyana.

Oh! food, be auspicious to me.

Enter me so that I am not troubled by hunger and thirst, 

This offering with faith is for my udana.

Oh! food, be auspicious to me.

Enter me so that I am not troubled by hunger and thirst, 

This offering with faith is for my samana.

Brahmane svaha - offered to Brahmana residing in oneself.

The son chants vyahriti and Gayatri thrice and then chants -

Mantra - Madhu vata ....

Meaning - The winds blow honey, the rivers flow honey, the plants are filled with honey for us, honey is in the night and at dawn, the dust of the earth is like honey, Swarga is honey, Surya has honey for us, the cows have honey for us.

Svaminaha ....

Your excellencies, may you have the food as you please, it has got late. You all have come here like Sage Vasishta and Vamadeva.

I have not been able to arrange a grand feast for you.

Out of whatever I have managed to arrange, please take whatever you desire, have them to your satisfaction in silence so that you don't become hungry again at night.

From the time the son holds the thumb and touches the food, the Brahmins should always keep touching the bhojanapatra with their left hands. 

Even if the hand is to be taken out for something, the patra should be touched with the right hand without break. 

Asking for any particular item or denying should be done by hand gestures only. 

Even when asked, should not comment on the merit or otherwise of the food items. 

The son should also not compel the Brahmins to take more and more.

During the course of this, abhisravana mantras other than the Pitru suktam are chanted. 

In the end, vyahriti and Gayatri are chanted three times, and then the mantra Madhu vata .... is repeated.

The brahmins are enquired about their satisfaction -

Kalakama ....?

"Oh! Vishvedevas named Kala and Kama, how were the food and drink?

He replies - Sarvam sampurnam.

Everything was sufficient.

Sampannam?

Is it complete?

He replies - Susampannam.

Yes, complete.

Triptaha stha?

Are you satisfied?

He replies - Triptaha smaha.

Yes, we are satisfied.

In the same manner, the satisfaction of the other three Brahmins is also enquired.

Darbha with tip towards the north is strewn in front of the bhojanapatra of Vishvedevas. 

Cooked rice is sprinkled on them chanting -

Mantra - Asomapashcha ....

Mantra - This is for those Devas who do not drink soma and who do not have a share in the offerings in yajna.

Water is sprinkled on top.

Darbha is strewn with tip towards the west in front of the Brahmin representing the ancestors. 

Cooked rice is sprinkled on them saying -

Mantra - Asamskrita ....

Meaning - This is for those great men and women of charitable nature who have not received the proper death rites.

Water is sprinkled on top.

This is not done in front of the brahmin representing the deceased.

Darbha is strewn in front of the Brahmin representing Mahavishnu. 

Cooked rice is sprinkled on top chanting -

Mantra - Asamshayo ....

Meaning - Vishnu the imperishable is doubtlessly the means for emancipation. 

This rice of Vaishnava nature is great for the Pitrus.

Water is sprinkled on top.

The son performs achamanam.

A pinda is prepared from the remaining cooked rice mixed with tila. 

At the place between Vishvedevas and ancestors, the ground is sprinkled with water, south-facing darbha is strewn and tila is sprinkled upon them.

The pinda is placed chanting-

Mantra - Ye agnidagdha ....

Meaning - Those born in our clan, those whose rites have been performed with sacred fire, and also those whose rites have been performed with ordinary fire, may they all be satisfied with this pinda being offered on the ground and achieve emancipation.

Tilodaka is sprinkled on top of it.

The brahmins are offered the ceremonial sipping of water saying -Amritapidhanamasi.

 

Note: Here, when water for sipping is offered before consuming food it is said 'Amritopastaranamasi' - it should act as a nectarine base for the food to be consumed. After food is taken, it is said 'Amritapidhanamasi' meaning it should act as a nectarine cover for the food consumed.

 

The pinda offered on the ground is kept for crows.

First, the Brahmin representing preta washes his hands and performs achamanam.

Then the one representing ancestors, then Vishvedevas, and finally Vishnu.

A spoonful of water is poured into the hand of Vishvedevas saying -

Vishvedevaha rochate?

Oh! Vishvedas, did you like it?

Reply -Surochate.

Yes, well-liked.

Iyam vastriptih

This is your contentment.

In the same manner, it is done for ancestors, preta, and Mahavishnu.

In the same order dakshina and tamboolam are offered to all four.

Pradakshinam is done chanting -

Mantra - Devatabhyaha ....

Meaning - Salutations to Devas, Pitrus, Mahayogis, Svaha, and Svadha.

Mantra - Amavajasya ....

Meaning - Let abundance of food come to me along with also earthly and heavenly comforts, blessings of fathers and mothers, and soma for my immortality.

Mantra - Namo vah pitaro ....

Meaning Oh! Pitrus, salutations to you for essence, for strength, for food, for anger and ferocity whenever required. 

May you lead in Pitruloka, may I lead in Manushyaloka.

May you be the greatest in Pitruloka, may I be the greatest in Manushyaloka.

With folded hands, the son prays to the Brahmins for blessing -

Svaminaha ....

Your excellencies, the sapindeekarana shraadha performed by me today for the preta of my father please proclaim that it was done as per shastra yielding result as great as Gaya shraadha and immensely satisfying to the Pitrus.,

The Brahmins say - 

Tathastu.

May it be so.

Keeping aside rice required for making pindas, the son asks the Brahmins -

Annasheshaih ....?

What should be done with the remaining food?

Brahmins answer -

Ishtaih ....

Have it with the ones you like.

The place is cleared.

With folded hands, the son chants - 

Mantra - Dataro ....

Meaning - May our providers, Vedas, and progeny increase. 

May we have steady faith. 

May we be able to give a lot. 

Let there be abundance of food and a lot of guests. 

May there be people to ask of us.

May we not become needy of anything.

The Brahmins bless -

Mantra - Dataro vah....

Meaning - May your providers, Vedas, and progeny increase. 

May you have steady faith. 

May you be able to give a lot. 

Let there be abundance of food and a lot of guests. 

May there be people to ask of you

May you not become needy of anything.

The son chants -

Mantra - Svadusham ....

Meaning - Our Pitrus, satisfied by these offerings, providers of longevity, protectors in times of trouble, strong ones, wise, with manyfold army, powerful with their arrows, unbeatable, valorous than the most famous, rich in wealth and army, capable of bearing the onslaught of enemies, knowers of Brahma, benevolent, may they bless us always. 

May Pusha protect us, and may we not be punished. 

May their arrows be directed towards our enemies.

May they give comfort to us.

Mantra - Ashtavashtavanyeshu ....

May the Pitrus and Devas be pleased.

Brahmins give blessings, the son wears his uthareeyam on his left shoulder and spreads it out to receive the akshata from Brahmins -

Mantra - Agnirayushman ....

Meaning - Agni is long-lived on account of the vanaspati.

With him, I am making you long-lived.

Soma is long-lived on account of the oshadhis.

With him, I am making you long-lived.

Yajna is long-lived on account of dakshina

With him, I am making you long-lived.

Brahma is long-lived on account of mantras

With him, I am making you long-lived.

Devas are long-lived on account of amrita.

With them, I am making you long-lived.

Pitrus are long-lived on account of svadha

With them, I am making you long-lived.

Mantra - Sarvasyaptyai ....

Meaning - With this (mantra/ritual) meant for attaining everything and winning all, everything is attained and all is won.

Mantra - Ridhyasma ....

Meaning - With the offerings and salutations may we be enriched, let Mitra be our friend, may we live a hundred years with wives.

Mantra - Navo navo ....

Meaning - May Surya, the creator of Chandra, whom the nights follow, cause of days, whose share is being offered, make us long-lived.

Mantra - Sumangaleeriyam ....

Meaning - May all sumangalis wish this woman to have a long-lived husband.

May Indra give her good children, let there be ten sons for her, and let her husband be the eleventh.

Mantra - Shatamanam bhavati ....

May you live with full strength, full longevity, and senses fully strong.

The son says -

Mantra - Maya kritena ....

Meaning - Please proclaim that with this sapindeekarana sraadha that I have performed, may the father, grandfather, and great grandfather of my father of the form Vasu, Rudra, and Aditya have become fully satisfied.

Brahmins proclaim so.

The son chants -

Mantra - Vaje vaje ....

Mantra - May our food and wealth be protected. 

Oh! immortal truth-knowing ones. depart after being satisfied with these delicious offerings following the beautiful path of Devas.

Mantra - Uthishtata preta pitaha ....

Meaning - Get up, father of the preta form.

Mantra - Uthishtata asmat ....

Get up, father's father grandfather, and great grandfather.

Mantra - Vaje vaje ....

Mantra - May our food and wealth be protected. 

Oh! immortal truth-knowing ones. depart after being satisfied with these delicious offerings following the beautiful path of Devas.

Mantra - Uthishtata ....

Meaning Get up, Vishvedevas named Kala and Kama.

Mantra - Vaje vaje ....

Mantra - May our food and wealth be protected. 

Oh! immortal truth-knowing ones. depart after being satisfied with these delicious offerings following the beautiful path of Devas.

Mantra - Uthishta ....

Meaning - Get up, Mahavishnu, the protector of shraadha.

They are followed to the boundary of the house.

Pradakshinam is performed and prayed to -

You have been troubled by this entire ritual, please excuse and pardon me for troubling you.

Pinda pradanam

Sankalpa is done for pindapradanam and hiranyadanam performed.

Darbha with tip towards the south is strewn in three rows to the south of Agni.

Facing the south and supporting himself on the left knee, the son sprinkles water on them.

First, in the middle row -

Mantra - Marjayantam ....

Meaning - May the fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers of my father be cleansed.

Then the row to the west of it -

Mantra - Marjayantam ....

Meaning - May the mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers of my father be cleansed.

 

Note: If the mother of the karta is no more, the above is modified accordingly.

 

From the cooked rice remaining, six pindas and one measuring 12 angulas ( about 24 cms. ) are made.

The six pindas are kept pronouncing the relation and name -

Mantra - Etatte pitamaha ....

Meaning - This is for you, grandfather ..............(name), and those who follow you.

While saying 'ye cha tvamanu' the rice sticking to the hand after keeping the pinda is sprinkled on the darbha.

In the same manner for father's grandfather and great grandfather, and also for grandmother, father's grandmother and father's great grandmother.

Water is sprinkled on the row of darbha to the east -

Mantra - marjayatam ....

Meaning - May the preta of my father be cleansed.

The long pinda is kept on it saying -

In the sapindeekarana shraadha of .... of ..... gotra this is for you, the preta of my father.

Mantra .... (name of father) sharman idam pindamupatishta.

Meaning - Occupy this pinda.

The next two steps called arghya samyojanam and pinda samyojanam are through which the preta loses its pretatva and joins the ancestors in the Pitruloka. 

Arghya samyojanam obtains samanodakatva and pinda samyojanam obtains sapindatva for the preta.

Arghya samyojanam

Permission of the Brahmins is sought and sankalpa is done declaring that this is for procuring samanodakatva for the preta with grandfather, etc., and for this, the arghya of preta is being joined with the arghya of the ancestors.

Hiranyadanam is performed.

The arghya previously prepared for the preta is taken and poured into the arghya prepared for father's ancestors chanting -

Mantra - Samano mantraha ....

Meaning - May you think alike, may your meetings be together, may your minds be alike, may you perceive alike, may you venture together, may you be worshiped together.

Mantra - Samanee va akutih ....

May your resolve be the same, may your determination be the same, and may your acts be together and the same for achieving comforts.

Dividing the preta pinda into three

Permission from Brahmins is sought for dividing the preta pinda into three parts and hiranyadanam is performed.

With a golden tube /wire the pinda is divided into three parts. 

The first part is placed in front of the pinda offered to grandfather, the second part in front of that of father's grandfather, and the third part in front of that of father's great grandfather.

Vaitarani dhenu danam is performed now. 

Vaitarani is a terrible river that flows at the gate of Yamaloka. 

The current is impetuous and it is foul smelling, filled with blood, bones, puss, and infested with horrible crocodiles and other water animals. 

It is boiling and needs to be crossed over. 

Only if this godanam is properly performed, it can be crossed over, Otherwise, the deceased sinks in it. 

The sinners will never be able to cross it.

A black cow with calf is given in danam and while giving away it is said -

At the time of joining of the pindas of .... of ....gotra, on the way to Pitruloka for crossing over the river Vaitarani, this black cow with calf is being given to a Brahmin of the form of Mahavishnu.

The following danas are also performed at this time - Nauka ( boat made of sugar cane ), Bhumi, Tila, Gold, Ghee, Vastram, Dhanyam, Jaggery, Silver, salt, Cow, Lamp, Bell, Book, Jalapatram, Salagrama, Sivalingam, Rudraksha, Bhasma, Umbrella, Footwear, Asanam, Walking stick, Hand fan, Bed, Blanket, Curd, Honey, Fruit, Tamboolam, and Patheyam (food packed for way).

Danam as per one's own capacity ( usually a vessel filled with raw rice ) is also performed for propitiating the twelve Shravanas in the court of Yama. Their names are - Dharmadhipa, Dhanadhyaksha, Dharmaraja, Dhananjaya, Dharmagupta, Dharmajiva, Dharmajna, Dharmanandana, Nitimarga, Arthapada, Satyavan, and Jnanalochana. 

Their wives are called Shravanis. 

They are capable of hearing and seeing from far away. 

They roam around in all the worlds and report deeds of beings both open and secret to Chitragupta, the bookkeeper of Yamaraja. 

Nothing can escape their eyes and ears. 

While Shravanas keep track of the deeds of men, Shravanis do so for women.

Pinda samyojanam

Permission from Brahmins is sought and sankalpa is done declaring that to obtain sapindatva for the deceased, his pinda divided into three is being joined with the pindas of grandfather, etc.

Hiranyadanam is done.

Sitting on the left knee, the preta pinda divided into three earlier is joined with the three pindas of grandfather, father's grandfather, and father's great grandfather simultaneously by chanting the following mantras -

Mantra - Madhu vata ritayate ....

Sangachadhvam ....

Meaning - The winds blow honey, the rivers flow honey, the plants are filled with honey for us, honey is in the night and at dawn, the dust of the earth is like honey, Swarga is honey, Surya has honey for us, the cows have honey for us.

May you join together, speak together, and get one another's agreement just as the Devas used to do. 

May you think alike, may your meetings be together, may your minds be alike, may you perceive alike, may you venture together, may you be worshiped together. 

May your resolve be the same, may your determination be the same, may your acts be together and the same for achieving comforts.

Facing the south with folded hands, the son prays -

Mantra - Ye samana ....

Mantra - May Yamaloka where my like-minded Pitrus live be my abode. May the wealth of my clan living in this world remain under my protection.

With the arghya of preta and Pitrus earlier joined together they are cleansed -

Mantra - Marjayantam ....

Meaning - May my fathers be cleansed, may my grandfathers be cleansed, may my great grandfathers be cleansed.

 

Note: It may be noted that at this point, the preta of the deceased has lost its pretatva and joined the Pitrus.

It is important here to understand that this loss of pretatva and joining the Pitrus actually takes place only at the end of one year. 

There is a long way for the deceased to travel before it reaches Yamaloka. To use a modern analogy, what is being done on the twelfth day is like issuing a post-dated cheque. 

The acts of the twelfth day will come into effect only at the end of the year. 

Scholars opine that being Kaliyuga, the longevity of humans is uncertain. If sapindeekaranam is scheduled for the end of the year and something happens to the karta in between, then the whole process is stalled and lost forever affecting the entire lineage of Pitrus and generations to follow. 

With this in mind, the acharyas have mercifully modified the procedure.

 

Further, the son prays -

Mantra - Ye cha votra ....

Meaning -Those fathers present here and those blessing us, those mothers present here and those blessing us, may they take these offerings, may they be pleased.

Parishechana of the six pindas is performed with the arghya water chanting -

Mantra - Putran poutran ....

Meaning - The waters pleasing to sons and grandsons, sweet and nectarine, may they satisfy these two groups of Pitrus.

The arghya cup is kept face downwards, water sprinkled on it and taken up.

Naivedyam such as apupa is offered to the Pitrus present in the pindas along with tamboolam.

A little from all the cooked food is brought and the son consumes it saying -

Mantra - Prane nivishta ....

Meaning - I, supported by the five pranas, am making this offering to the Brahma in myself for immortality.

The son performs achamanam.

First the two pindas in the middle, then the two to the south, and then the two to the north are removed.

The son performs achamanam.

The darbhas where the pindas were placed are removed saying -

Mantra - Yesham na mata ....

Meaning - Those who do not have mother, father, or relatives, may they obtain satisfaction from these darbhas.

Brahmarapanam ( offering the results of the karma to Brahma ) is done.

The pindas are gathered and immersed in a river. 

The son takes bath and returns home. 

Punyaha vachanam is done and yajnopaveeta changed.

A sodakumbha shraadha is performed subsequently. 

This is the first in the series of sodakumbha shraadhas to be performed every day till the completion of one year. 

Udakumbha means water pot. 

It is offering a pot of water every day for the deceased. 

It has become a practice these days to do the sodakumbha shraadha only on days before masika shraadhas and una shraadhas. 

It should be noted that there are still devoted sons who perform these daily shraadhas religiously.

SECTION 11

The thirteenth day

Udaka shanti japa and Navagraha homa are performed.

Blessings of brahmins and elders are received. 

New clothes received as blessings from relatives are worn.

The acharya hands over chandana, kumkuma, flowers, tamboolam, and other mangala dravyas to the yajamana . 

He along with his family wears chandana and kumkumam.

The virtues of the deceased are spoken about and shloka written for the purpose is read.

Yajamana chants - 

Mantra - Sampshyami ....

Meaning - I am seeing cows, etc., and humans. 

May they be there prosperity at our house.

The acharya and Brahmins bless saying -

Mantra - Sam va sinchami ....

Meaning - With mantras, I am blessing you with progeny, longevity, and wealth. 

Let there be auspiciousness and joy all around. 

May Indra drink soma. 

May there be welfare for us.

SECTION 12

The journey to Yamaloka

It is a very tough one, but again not identical for everyone. 

One's own good deeds and the quality of the rites performed by the son will decide how this journey is going to be. 

The journey is really horrible for the sinner whereas the righteous ones always get reprieve as they go.

In the pathway to Yamaloka, not one but twelve Suryas blaze with extreme heat. 

There is not a single tree for shade and shelter. 

There is no food or water available on the way.

During this journey, the sinful 

  • is pierced by extremely cold gusts of wind at some place
  • gets stung by thorns at another
  • gets attacked by snakes, lions, dogs, and scorpions
  • is burnt by fire
  • has to pass through a forest with leaves like swords
  • falls into a well and falls from a mountaintop
  • has to walk through sharp edges and spear points
  • falls into water
  • falls into marshes infested with leeches
  • falls into hot lime
  • has to walk through blazing sand
  • walks through mounds of embers
  • has to suffer rains of hot charcoal, boiling water, blood, sharp weapons, and thunderbolts 
  • has to cross lakes filled with blood, puss, and excrement 

Then Vaitarani river as described before comes.

Any punishment meted out in any of the prisons around the world is nothing compared to this torture on the way to Yamaloka for the sinner. The intensity of the suffering will depend on the intensity of the sin committed and behold! these sins are not just the crimes described in the Indian Penal Code.

Some of the sins as described in the Dharma shastra

Sins are committed in three ways - 

  • Manasaa - with the mind
  • Vaachaa - with words
  • Kaayena - with the body

The manasika papas are - to think about taking away another's property, to think about performing bad deeds, and not to believe in paraloka or life after death, etc.

The vaachika papas are - cruel and harsh words, telling lies, gossip-mongering, blabbering, etc.

The Shaareerika papas are - stealing, physical violence, relationship with another's wife, etc.

A checklist to find out whether you have committed a sin (only indicative, not exhaustive)

  1. Have you caused grievous hurt to a Brahmin?
  2. Have you lied about your caste?
  3. Have you given false information that led to someone getting punished?
  4. Have you hidden information that should have saved an innocent from punishment?
  5. Have you given false information that resulted in the escape of an offender?
  6. Have you hidden information that led to the escape of an offender?
  7. Have you ever planted false evidence / forged documents / trapped innocent people?
  8. Have you falsely accused your teacher of something?
  9. Have you ever consumed alcohol?
  10. Have you gone around saying that Vedas and the rituals therein were written by greedy Brahmins for money-making?
  11. Have you after learning Veda not bothered to practice it every day?
  12. Have you attested documents without verifying their veracity?
  13. Have you caused grievous hurt to a friend?
  14. Have you taken food from a house where impurity due to death or childbirth was there?
  15. Have you taken food offered by lowly people?
  16. Have you taken food cooked or served by impure persons?
  17. Have you taken food offered by people who have fallen in spiritual status?
  18. Have you taken food offered by people exhibiting signs of major sins in their past lives such as leprosy?
  19. Have you taken food offered by unchaste women?
  20. Have you taken food along with your wife?
  21. Have you taken food offered by someone of illegitimate birth?

22, Have you taken food offered by unrighteous and evil people?

  1. Have you taken food offered in hand like a buffet?
  2. Have you taken food offered by sanyasis?
  3. Have you shared food with others from the same plate?
  4. Have you taken food left behind by others?
  5. Have you taken food during the day on Ashtami or Chaturdashi?
  6. Have you taken food at night on Amavasya or Purnima?
  7. Have you taken food during Ekadashi?
  8. Have you taken food secretly on days of shraadha?
  9. Have you taken food during eclipses?
  10. Have you taken food offered by someone who has cheated his employer?
  11. Have you taken food offered by someone who is chronically ill?
  12. Have you taken food offered as charity to the public?
  13. Have you taken food offered by people who have killed cows, horses, elephants, etc.?
  14. Have you taken food offered by people who have committed sins?

Note: So much importance is given to food. Veda says that one who eats food provided by another person should understand that he is partaking in the provider’s sins as well.

  1. Have you stolen anything? Internet piracy and watching pirated videos is also stealing.
  2. Have you tried to recover hidden treasures?
  3. Have you engaged in illicit physical relationships such as with a relative or a friend’s wife or even fantasized about them?
  4. Have you performed puja for the ineligible and undeserving?
  5. Have you been part of human and child trafficking?
  6. Have you been disrespectful to your teacher?
  7. Have you neglected your parents?
  8. Have you neglected your wife/husband and children?
  9. Have you got married before your elder brother?
  10. Have you spread rumors about the chastity of a girl?
  11. Do you live out of lending money on interest?

47, Have you broken vows and promises?

  1. Have you taught Vedas for a salary or fee?
  2. Have you learned Vedas by paying a fee?
  3. Have you neglected to perform the upanayanam of your son at the proper age?
  4. Have you been engaged in selling prohibited materials?
  5. Have you been involved in the indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources?
  6. Have you been part of stopping the natural flow of rivers by building dams etc.?
  7. Have you destroyed plants and trees?
  8. Have you performed black magic against someone?
  9. Have you taken debt and not repaid it?
  10. Have you neglected repayment of your debts to Devas, Rishis, Pitrus, and fellow beings?
  11. Have you encouraged the spreading of subjects that are against Vedas?
  12. Have you disbelieved life after death?
  13. Have you performed unnatural sex?
  14. Have you served lowly people?
  15. Have you been dishonest?
  16. Have you been a coward?
  17. Have you caused an abortion?
  18. Have you harassed children, threatened them, or engaged them in labor?
  19. Have you caused damage or impurity to holy places?
  20. Have you been an atheist?
  21. Have you insulted devas and noble Brahmins?
  22. Have you been instrumental in causing somebody injustice?
  23. Have you stolen opportunities from others?
  24. Have you destroyed the eggs and nests of birds?
  25. Have you been involved in smuggling and black marketing?
  26. Have you urinated or defecated in water?
  27. Have you been unmindful of your fellow beings?
  28. Have you acted out of lust, anger, greed, illusions, pride, or a sense of competition?
  29. Have you been a gossip monger?
  30. Have you failed in your religious duties starting with sandhya vandanam?
  31. Have you had a physical relationship before marriage?
  32. Have you made promises to Gods that you will offer something and not honored?
  33. Have you obstructed somebody's pilgrimage?
  34. Have you kept birds in cages?
  35. Have you destroyed forests?
  36. Have you obstructed somebody's source of water?
  37. Have you obstructed somebody's pathway?
  38. Have you taken without sharing with your spouse/children?
  39. Have you lied to your spouse?
  40. Have you been rude to your in-laws?

 

If the answer is yes to any of the above and many more, then there is going to be trouble on the way to Yamaloka.

One should read books on Dharma shastra to understand the course of life and the consequences of action.

The text called Karma Vipaka Samhita gives various anecdotes about people who have sinned and the punishment they had to undergo. 

Some of them are -

  1. A Brahmin called Yashodharma who lived in Mahishmati on the southern bank of Narmada was engaged in trading and borrowed a lot of money which he did not care to repay. 

After death, he had to spend twenty thousand years in the Naraka called Raurava, and thereafter he suffered in the world of serpents. 

He then took birth as a bull and then a pig before being reborn as a man again.

  1. There was a noble Brahmin called Vishnudas who lived in Shankarpur on the northern banks of Gomathy river. 

His wife was foul-mouthed and rude to her husband and in-laws. 

She chased away those who came for alms at her doorstep. 

After death, she spent several thousand years in Naraka and was later born as a tigress and fox. 

Later, when she was reborn as a human, her body became infested with various diseases and she was infertile.

  1. In a place called Purika on the southern banks of Narmada, lived a potter who borrowed money from a person called Karmachandra and never repaid. 

After suffering for several years in Naraka, when he was reborn as a human, Karmachandra became his son. 

The boy gave perpetual trouble to his parents, used to steal, and squander away their money. 

He died at a young age leaving the parents childless.

  1. A Brahmin called Kishorasharma used to take food frequently from houses where death had taken place. 

He had to spend nineteen yugas in Naraka.

  1. In a place called Mangalpur near Ujjain lived a Brahmin who gambled, cheated others, drank liquor, and womanized. 

He spent seventy thousand years in Naraka where he was constantly attacked by needle-faced insects. 

He was then born as a cat and then a crow. 

Later, when he took birth as a man he was impotent.

  1. In a village near Ayodhya, there lived a vegetable vendor called Baidambar. 

He was a pious and honest man, but once due to his negligence, a pregnant cat got killed. 

In his next birth, his wife suffered many abortions and he remained childless.

  1. In Kanchipuri there lived a trader called Makaranda. 

He had a lot of wealth but did not believe in Gods and Pitrus. 

He had to spend fifteen yugas in a Naraka called Kumbhipaka among worms and insects.

The two Yamadutas who arrive to take the sinful to Yamaloka on the thirteenth day are of the form of dogs, very fierce, naked, and pitch black with sharp teeth and weapons in the place of nails. 

They carry nooses and rods in their hands.

They tie the noose around his neck and forcibly drag him. 

To the pious and righteous man, they would be soft and gentle.

While being pulled, dragged, and beaten up he would remember his evil deeds and neglect of his religious duties. 

He calls out in great pain to his sons and grandsons, but who will hear?

He repents - being granted the birth as a Brahmin, I did not perform my duties.

I never offered oblations in Agni, never worshiped gods, never undertook pilgrimages, never respected and honored learned Brahmins, never performed danam, never did anything to help fellow human beings, never valued Vedas and Shastras, did not keep fidelity in marriage, did not respect elders and listen to their advice.

During this torturous journey, he stops at sixteen places to receive offerings made by his son during the twelve masika shraadhas and four una sraddhas. 

These places are - Saumya, Shauripura, Nagendrabhavana, Gandharvapura, Shailagama, Kruancha, Krurapura, Vichitrabhavana, Bahvapada, Dukhada, Nanakranda, Sutaptabhavana, Raudra, Payovarshana, Sheetadhya, and Bahubhiti.

The inhabitants of these places ask him: Where is all your wealth gone now? 

Where are your relatives? 

You alone have to face your karma now. 

You didn't believe it when you were told all this. 

You scorned the elders who told you about what lies ahead for the sinner. There is a long way for you to go now!

If the son offers masika shraadhas and una shraadhas on time, the father gets to eat whatever is offered in them.

If the son doesn't have time to offer masika shraadha to his father, he goes along hungry and thirsty. 

Imagine the plight of that father who eagerly waits for those balls of rice to come, tired, hungry and thirsty finds out that "No. he is going to do the masika shraadhas only in the sixth month or at the end of the year". 

He would remember those days when he would rush to school with the lunch box his son has left behind lest his son goes hungry even for a few minutes. 

And now his son is munching the lunch neatly packed by his wife sitting in his office or having a business lunch at a star-rated hotel, watching the world cup, or stuffing his mouth with popcorn at the first show of a newly released movie while the father is deprived of a ball of rice when it is most needed. 

Maybe, this is what he earned by his own karma. 

The son should also keep in mind what lies ahead for himself and in which Naraka he will rot. 

 Don't blame the priest if he has told you to do all the maasika shraadhas together.

It is your father, not his. 

It is up to you to take care of your father.

Looking at the absolutely materialistic lifestyle that the world has fallen into, it will not be incorrect to presume that 99% of the departed will have to go through this torture on the way to Yamaloka in varying degrees. 

And their negligent sons contribute by not performing their duties.

Those sons who have any affection towards the deceased should definitely leave everything aside and perform the masika and una shraddhas on time. 

One should keep in mind that the son is supposed to keep a diksha for the entire year having food only once a day. 

He is also supposed to perform a sodakumbha shraadha every day till the completion of one year. 

This is offering water to the thirsty father. 

As Karma Vipaka Samhita says, sons who do not perform their duties towards their father must have been his enemies in the previous birth.

It is only by the merit of any good karma the deceased has performed and also the devotion with which his son performs the rites that he has any hope of surviving this torture and reaching Pitruloka.

The masika shraadhas are performed on the tithi of demise every month. In the case of una shraadhas the rule is as below.

  • 1st una shraadha - on any day from 28 to 30
  • Traipakshika - on any day from 41to 45
  • 6th month - on any day from 171 to 180
  • Annual - on any day from 341 to 355

However, it can not be on the same day as masika. 

A choice is given as certain days are to be avoided based on astrological factors.

SECTION 13

Description of Yamaloka / Pitruloka

Yamaloka is located between the south and the southwest directions. 

It is guarded on all four sides by very high walls made of iron. 

Yamaloka is built with diamonds. 

There are hundreds of streets decorated with flags. 

There are many many beautiful gardens with birds singing and apsaras enjoying themselves.

The palace of Chitragupta, the bookkeeper of the good and bad deeds of beings is seen there.

The palace of Yamaraja is splendid with shining jewels supported by thousands of pillars decorated with gold and emeralds. 

There are crystal stairways and windows decorated by strings of curtains made of pearls, 

The doors are made of gold.

There are beautiful plants and trees all around. 

All beings there are happy.

This is where the ancestors get to spend time.

The sinners are tried here by Yamaraja based on the reports submitted by Chitragupta and sentenced to life in Naraka.

They don't get to enjoy the luxuries of Pitruloka.

SECTION 14

The first annual rites

On completion of one year, the first annual shraadha is done. 

The procedure is the same as regular yearly shraadha. 

The only additions are the repetition of all the danas and shubha sveekaram on the last day.

 

 

Click here to listen to - An Everyday Prayer To Propitiate Forefathers

 

 

Video - Pitru Mantra 

 

Pitru Mantra

 

 

Video - Pithru Tharpanam, Srardham Question & Answer 

 

Pithru Tharpanam, Srardham Question & Answe

 

 

 

Ramaswamy Sastry and Vighnesh Ghanapaathi

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