What is the method of performing Tarpan and Pitru tarpan? and What is the significance of various forms of Lord Hanuman?

What is the method of performing Tarpan and Pitru tarpan?

1. Terminology of Shraddha

A. Pitar: When a human being dies, its subtle body gets freed from the dead body after performing the ritual of Shraddha and it gets position in the subtle plane meant for souls of dead persons. At that moment it assumes the designation of Pitar.
B. Parvan: After performing Sapindikaran Shraddha (Shraddha performed one day prior to one-year completion after the death of the person is called Sapindikaran Shraddha), the soul that has assumed the designation of Pitar now joins other Pitars and then gets further categorised as Parvan. Also, it gains authority so as to allow its descendants to perform Parvan Shraddha for it.
(Detailed information on Pitar and Parvan is under point 3 B in volume 2)
C. Pitrutrayi (Trio in Pitars): Generally son of the dead person has authority to perform Shraddha for the dead person. In his absence, other options are explored. The terminology of Shraddha has been prepared assuming the son as being the person who performs the shraddha. Therefore the soul of dead person for whom the Shraddha is being performed, is invoked as ‘father’ (father of the son performing Shraddha). One generation before, i.e. the father of dead person is referenced as ‘Pitamaha’ (grandfather of the son performing Shraddha). The grandfather of the dead person is referred to as ‘Prapitamaha’ (great grandfather of the son performing Shraddha). The earlier generations than these are not counted in trios of Pitars (Pitrutrayi), because it is assumed that they are liberated.
D. JivatpitrukWhen there is a male person whose father is alive, then such a person does not have authority to perform Shraddha. But he has right to perform Shraddha for his mother and grandfather (mother’s father). Also, generally, he even does not have the right to perform rituals of Narayannagbali,Ttripindi etc; however if these rituals are performed with the objective of conceiving a child, then the jivatpitruk can do so. In order to perform ‘Apasavya’, a jivatpitruk can only hold the thread in the thumb of the left hand and cannot hold it completely in his left hand.
E. Three ways of wearing the thread (janve) are Savya, Apasavya and Nivit: The thread should always be worn on the left shoulder. This style of wearing the thread is known as ‘savya’. When it is worn on the right shoulder it is known as ‘Apasavya’. When worn as a necklace, it is known as ‘Nivit’.
F. Offering ‘kshan’: During the ritual of shraddha, the deity and the deceased ancestors’ soul are invited by offering grass twigs (darbha) to them. This is called the offering ‘kshan’.
G. Pishangi: Rangoli drawn using ash and with chanting of mantras, around the meal plate arranged for the priest (Brahmin) is called as pishangi. (Offering food to priest (Brahmin) is considered as an important part of Shraddha. Rangoli is drawn in a clockwise direction (similar to circumambulation) around the food offering plate arranged for the deity and in the reverse direction around the plate arranged for the ancestors’ soul. Pishangi is one of the aspects of the ritual of shraddha. Nowadays, Pishangi is drawn only in case of offering of Pinda (Pinda daan). However, Pishangi should be drawn during all types of shraddha.
H. Vikir: During Shraddha, after finishing offering of Pinda (Pinda daan) and worship of Pinda, ‘Savya’ is performed and a morsel of rice is kept in front of the plate with the food offering arranged for the deity. This is termed as Vikir.
I: Prakir: After performing Vikir, ‘Apasavya’ is done and a morsel of rice is kept in front of the plate which has the meal arranged for deceased ancestors’ soul. This is called as Prakir.
J: Ucchista Pinda: After performing Prakir, pinda is kept for the ones who have died by getting burnt in a fire or due to partial burning or for the dead fetus, near the plate of food arranged for the deceased ancestors’ soul or close to other offerings of pinda.
K: Shraddha Sampat: If two shraddhas occur on the same date (as per Hindu calendar) then it is termed as Shraddha Sampat.

2. Tarpan and Pitru tarpan

2.1 Tarpan

1. Significance and meaning:Trup’ means satisfying others. The word ‘Tarpan’ has been formed from the root word ‘Trup’. Offering water to God, Sages, ancestors’ soul and human beings and satisfying them through it is called tarpan.
2. Objective: The objective of performing tarpan is that God, deceased ancestors’ souls etc whose names are pronounced while performing Tarpan, should bestow happiness on us.
3. Types: Brahmayadnyang (performed during sacrificial fires), snanang (performed daily after bath), shraddhang (performed during Shraddha) are the various types of Tarpans that are part of the various rituals and should be performed during the respective occasions.
4. Method of performing Tarpan
·         Bodhayan has mentioned that ‘Tarpan should be performed at the riverside’. While performing Tarpan at the riverside, one should stand in the river so that the water level touches the belly button or one should perform tarpan by sitting on the banks of the river.
·         Tarpan for God and Sages should be performed by facing East and that for deceased ancestors’ souls it should be performed by facing South.
·         As per science, tarpan for God should be performed after doing ‘Savya’, that for Sages should be performed after doing ‘Nivit’ and for deceased ancestors’ souls after doing ‘Apasavya’.
·         A dried grass twig (darbha) is necessary for performing tarpan. Tarpan for God is performed from the tip of the darbha, tarpan for Sages should be performed by folding the darbha in the middle, and tarpan for deceased ancestors’ souls should be performed from the tip and root of the two darbhas.
·         Offering of water (tarpan) to deities should be done using the finger tips, while offering of water to Sages should be done from the base of the little finger and the third finger and that to the deceased ancestors’ souls should be done through the mid of the thumb and the first finger of the hand.
·         Tarpan should be performed taking one handful (anjali) of water for each deity, two handful of water for Sages and three handful of water for deceased ancestors’ souls. In case of matrutrayi (mother-grandmother and great grandmother) three handful of water should be used and for other females ancestors’ souls one handful of water should be used for tarpan.(8)
(Original meaning of word ‘anjali’ is handful (‘onjal’). In this context, however, ‘giving one handful (anjali) of water for tarpan’ is to indicate that the tarpan should be given only once – compiler)

2.2. Pitru tarpan

1. Meaning: Offering of water to deceased ancestors’ souls (pitar) is called as Pitru tarpan. A Jivatpitruk is not allowed to perform Pitrutarpan.
2. Why should it be done? Apart from expectation of Pinda and offering of food to priests (Brahmins) from its descendants, the deceased ancestors’ souls also expect offering of water (udak) from them.
3. Importance: By performing tarpan, the deceased ancestors’ souls not only get satisfied and leave us, but they also bestow long life, radiance, superior intellect (brahmavarchaswa), wealth, success and foodstuff (ability to digest the food consumed) on the host performing the tarpan and satisfies him too.
4. Pitrutirtha: When should it be done?
·         Tarpan for God, Sages and deceased ancestors’ souls should be performed regularly (daily). The daily ritual of tarpan should be accomplished in the early morning after having bath. If it is not possible to perform Shraddha for deceased ancestors’ souls daily, then one should at least perform tarpan.
·         Pitru tarpan should be performed on the day following the day on which Parvan Shraddha is performed.
5. Tarpan of sesame seeds (tila tarpan): Sesame seeds should be used in the ritual of Pitru tarpan. Sesame seeds are available in two varieties, black and white. Black sesame seeds should be used for Shraddha. If sesame seeds are not available then gold or silver should be used.
·         Tila tarpan means offering sesame seeds mixed in water to the deceased ancestors’ souls.
·         Tila tarpan (as a part of Shraddha) should be offered to the same number of ancestors’ souls for whom the shraddha has been performed.
·         Tila tarpan is performed before Darsha shraddha and in case of annual shraddha; tila tarpan is performed on the following day of the shraddha. In case of any other shraddha, tila tarpan is performed just after performing the shraddha.
·         Tila tarpan is not performed during Nandi Shraddha, Sapindi Shraddha etc. (9)
6. Importance of performing tila tarpan
·         Sesame seeds are the favorites of deceased ancestors’ souls.
·         By usage of sesame seeds, the demons do not obstruct the ritual of Shraddha.
  • On the day of Shraddha, sesame seeds should be sprinkled all over the house, sesame seeds mixed in water should be given to the invited priests (Brahmins) and sesame seeds should be donated. - Jaiminiya Ghruya sutra (2.1), Boudhayan Dharmasutra (2.8.8) and Boudhayan Ghruya sutra
Reference: Shraddha (importance and scientific explanation) - Volume 1

What is the significance of various forms of Lord Hanuman?

1. Science behind the idol

1.1 Colour

‘One comes across varied information regarding Hanuman’s form. His complexion is mostly red and rarely black. A red Hanuman is one smeared with a saffron coloured powder called sindur. Perhaps His black complexion is due to the influence of Saturn (Shani). Hanuman is famous as an incarnation or as a son of Lord Rudra. Since Rudra’s complexion is red, Hanuman too must have derived His complexion from Him. After He acquired a red complexion stories regarding His love for sindur were told.
·         Once after bathing Sita made a red spot (tila) with sindur on Her forehead. When Hanuman asked for an explanation Sita replied, “It is because of this that Your Master’s life is prolonged”. When He heard this, Hanuman smeared sindur all over His body !
·         Once when Hanuman was proceeding to Lanka with the Dronagiri hills Bharat struck Him with an arrow and wounded His leg. The wound healed with a mixture of sindur and oil. Hence sindur and oil are Hanuman’s favourites.’

1.2 Form

Look at the two figures given below. Decide with which figure you feel more pleasant and then read further.

Figure B
At one of our workshops in Mumbai twenty-five out of thirty-six seekers who participated in this experiment gave their answers. The average spiritual level of the seekers was 35%. During a satsang (spiritual meeting) at times the spiritual level of a seeker can even become 40-50%. The spiritual level of an average person is 20% while that of one who has attained the Final Liberation (Moksha) is 100%. If average individuals participate in the experiment, they do not perceive anything. Hence in such experiments everyone does not get spiritual experiences. Only those who have attained a spiritual level of 35% and above and are able to perceive something of the subtle dimension are able to give answers. Sixteen out of twenty-five seekers experienced serenity (shanti) with figure ‘A’ and the rest with figure ‘B’.
Figure ‘A’ depicts the tail of Maruti as the servitor (Dasmaruti) and figure ‘B’ the tail of Maruti as the courageous one (Virmaruti). One must have realised how without even looking at the entire form of Maruti merely by looking at His tail, energy or divine consciousness (chaitanya) in His form is manifested. Energy manifests from Maruti as the courageous one and divine consciousness from Maruti as the servitor since the latter is merged into Lord Rama.
·         Maruti as the servitor (Dasmaruti) and Maruti as the courageous one (Virmaruti): Hanuman has two forms namely Maruti as the servitor and Maruti as the courageous one. The servitor form is the one in which Hanuman stands in front of Rama with His hands folded in obeisance, His tail resting on the ground. The stance of Maruti as the courageous one is that of one ready for battle. His tail is upright and His right hand is turned towards His head. Sometimes even a demon crushed under His feet is depicted. To overcome problems of possession, black magic, etc. Maruti as the courageous one is worshipped.

   One finds quite a few idols of the five-faced Maruti. The five faces are of an eagle (garud), a boar (varaha), a hayagriv, a lion and a monkey. The idol has ten arms wielding a flag, a sword, a noose, etc. One explanation for the five faces of a deity is that the deity keeps vigilance and has control over the five directions - north, south, east, west and the upward direction/zenith.
  Maruti facing the south (Dakshinmukhi Maruti): Here the word south (dakshin) has two meanings - one is the south direction and second, the right side.
South in context to the direction: Here since Maruti faces the south He is named so. Black magic like jaran, maran, etc. are done primarily in front of this idol of Maruti. Such idols of Maruti are found in Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, etc. in Maharashtra and in Basavgudi in the district of Karnataka in India.
South in context to the right side: This Maruti has His face turned towards the right. What do you feel after looking at the following two figures? First decide with which you experience more energy and only then read the following section.

At a workshop in Mumbai twelve out of thirty-six seekers gave answers. Nine out of these twelve experienced energy with figure ‘B’ and only 3 experienced energy with figure ‘A’. In figure ‘B’ (facing the right) since the sun channel (surya nadi) of Maruti is active more energy was felt by most seekers looking at it. In figure ‘A’ the moon channel (chandra nadi) of Maruti is operational hence people felt less energy. Just like Ganapati with the trunk towards the right the Maruti facing the right is a powerful deity. He is worshipped to overcome problems due to distressing energy. The sushumna channel (nadi) of Ganapati and Maruti are continuously operational but with the transformation in Their forms the sun or moon channels too become operational to a small extent.

2. Shani (Saturn) and Maruti

‘Although there is close association between Shani and Hanuman prevailing in our society its explanation is equally complicated and incomprehensible.

2.1 Similarities

·         1. In the verse with a thousand Names of Hanuman (Hanumansahasranam stotra) Shani is one of the Names of Hanuman.
·         2. In the Surya Sanhita it is said that Hanuman was born on a Saturday (Shanivar).
·         3. It is given in holy texts that Rudra is one of the ten names of Shani.
·         4. Just like Shani one occasionally comes across Hanuman with a dark complexion.
·         5. Since Shani is popular in the Gadhval region Hanuman is also seen sporting an iron whip akin to Shani. As a result unknowingly a relationship between Shani and Hanuman must have been established and Hanuman’s worship on Saturdays and His inclusion in the vowed observance of worshipping Saturday (Shanivarvrat) must have commenced.

2.2 Differences

The differences between Shani and Hanuman are more than their similarities.
·         1. Shani is the son of the Sun deity hence is born from the tej (absolute fire) element whereas Hanuman is the son of Vayu hence is born from the vayu (absolute air) element.
·         2. There is discord between Shani and the sun whereas Hanuman is a devotee of the Sun deity. He has learnt all the skills from the Sun deity who has imparted a hundredth portion of His radiance to Him. Due to the conflict between Shani and the Sun deity the latter helped Hanuman, the enemy of His enemy (Shani). At that time the vayu element and energy had not manifested completely in Hanuman.
·         3. Shani is slow whereas Hanuman is swift like the eagle.
·         4. Shani is an evil planet while Hanuman is definitely not so.
·         5. It is said that one should not sell oil on Saturdays yet it is customary to offer oil to Hanuman on that day.

3. Demigods (yakshas) and Maruti

Brave and miraculous are adjectives used to describe the demigods. In the Valmiki Ramayan Hanuman is referred to as the miraculous one. Mahavir (the courageous one) is Hanuman’s popular Name. This indicates the relationship between Hanuman and the worship of the demigods. Hanuman is included in the fifty-two brave ones (virs) by the name of Kapilumbir. In Maharashtra, India in the month of Phalgun of the Hindu lunar calendar people dressed as warriors (virs) dance in a procession on their way to a Maruti temple.’

4. Ganapati and Maruti

Both of Them have a red complexion (like sindur) and both of Them possess the eight supernatural powers (ashtamahasiddhis).

5. Importance of Maruti as described by saints

Saint Ramdas Swami has said “Hanumant is our deity”. He is a symbol of energy, ingenuity and devotion. Hence Samarth Ramdas began worshipping Him. Eleven idols of Maruti installed by Him are famous. In North India too saint Tulsidas erected a number of temples and strengthened the worship of Maruti. Madhvacharya is considered as an incarnation of Maruti. Various other saints have also placed Maruti as the ideal through Their various compositions.

6. Worship

6.1 Objectives

Since the manifest energy in Maruti (70%) is much more in comparison to other deities (10%), Maruti is worshipped in the context of energy for the following reasons.
·         To overcome distressing energy: To overcome problems due to spirits, black magic, ancestors’ subtle bodies, suffering due to Shani, etc.
·         To control pleasant energy: If there is any obstacle in the pathway of the activated kundalini (spiritual energy) then to overcome it and channelise it appropriately.

6.2 Ritualistic worship (puja)

Popular worship: In Maharashtra on the full moon day (pournima) of the Hindu lunar month of Chaitra Hanuman’s birthday (jayanti) is celebrated. In Maharashtra Saturday is considered as an auspicious day for His worship. In the rest of India Saturday and Tuesday both are considered as auspicious days for His worship. On these days people offer Him sindur and oil. In some places coconuts are offered. To make spiritual progress worship of Vamamukhi (facing the left) Maruti or Maruti as the servitor (Dasmaruti) is used. The reasons for offering oil, sindur, leaves of the coral (rui) plant are given in ‘Why are tulsi leaves offered to Vishnu?’.
Influence of Shani and worship of Maruti: The relationship between Shani and Maruti has been explained earlier in point ‘Shani and Maruti’. Hence when there is an influence of Shani, to reduce the resultant/resulting suffering Maruti is worshipped. The ritual should be performed as follows: Take some oil in a cup (vati), put fourteen bengal gram grains (udid) in it and then look at the reflection of one’s face in it. Only then offer it to Maruti. If one is unable to visit the temple due to illness one may worship Maruti in this way. (Information on why bengal gram is used is described in ‘Science of Spirituality : Vol. 20 - Chapter 43 - Possession, Black magic and Manifestation’.)
A real oil vendor will never sell oil on Saturday because the distressing energy for which a person is offering oil to Maruti may start troubling the oil vendor itself. Hence instead of buying oil from oil vendors seated outside the temple one should carry oil for the offering, from home.

7. Maruti in our lives

If Maruti is in our breath then Rama [the embodied soul doing spiritual practice (jivatma) or atmaram] is within us.
|| Shri Marutaye namaha ||


Om Tat Sat


(My humble salutations to Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Jagruti for the collection)



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