|Maha Guru Agasthiar's Siddha Guru Parampara Lineage|
Agasthiar's Easy Tharpanam Method
The Siddha Way of Doing Tharpanam
Do Tarpanam by yourself using this simple procedure.
YOU CAN DO IT! It's EASY!
|[Based on Sathguru Venkataraman's Siddha writings published in Tamil in the 1980s and 1990s. This article contains only the most basic procedural part of the Sathguru's writings on tharpanam. For the philosophical background or more advanced information on pitrus and tharpanam, refer to Sathguru Venkataraman's prolific Siddha writings in his 4 books on tharpanam secrets and his monthly magazine. Even though this article is long, the actual tharpanam procedure itself is quite short and simple. We are publishing this article here in response to requests from many of you. Email us if you have questions.]|
For a period of more than four decades, Sathguru Venkataraman of the Agasthiar Siddha Guru Parampara Lineage stressed the importance of nitya tharpanam (daily tarpanam) offerings for one's pitru ancestral beings. He said that nitya (daily) tharpana is as important as the other nitya (daily) pooja (worship) procedures.
However, people often gave excuses such as "I don't know the procedure" or "I have to get a priest to do it for me but it is hard to find one" or "The procedure is too complex" and so on.
To put an end to such excuses, Sathguru Venkataraman gave us Maha Guru Agasthiar's Easy Tharpanam Method from the Neethaar Kadan Padalam - The Debt to Departed Ancestors Section - of the Agasthiar Moola Naadi, the foundational work of Maha Guru Agasthiar's lineage (tarpanam books).
Using this simplified tarpanam procedure, you can do tarpanam by yourself, wherever you may be.
Sathguru Venkataraman published this easy tarpanam method in his books in the 1980s and 1990s and also in his monthly magazine. We are pretty sure this was the first time that such a simple tharpanam method was published and all people were actively encouraged to do tarpanam without any restrictions whatsoever.
It is this easy tharpanam method that we are going to cover in this article. But please note that over and beyond this easy tharpanam method, Sathguru Venkataraman gave us hundreds of unique tharpanam procedures in 4 volumes of his "Easy Tharpanam Methods" series of books and also in numerous articles in his monthly magazine and in his Tamil blog. Refer to these sources for these special tharpanam procedures.
If you know the traditional way of doing tharpanam and the traditional mantras, or if you follow a certain family tradition, by all means follow your traditional practices. What we give here is Agasthiar's easy tarpanam method that anyone anywhere can follow. No restrictions whatsoever.
2 Part TharpanamThe easy tharpanam method is made up of 2 parts. The first part is what is known as Pitru Tarpanam and the second part is known as Karunya Tharpanam.
What is Pitru Tharpanam?There are many spiritual debts that each one of us needs to pay every day. One of these is our daily debt to our ancestral beings known as pitrus. To pay off this debt, what we need to do daily is the worship procedure known as pitru tharpanam. This worship procedure is quite easy. You can do it in about 10 minutes or so.
Pitru = one's ancestors.
Tharpanam = to satisfy, to please.
So pitru tharpanam = pleasing one's ancestors.
In the pitru tharpanam procedure, we offer tharpanam to 12 of our most recently departed ancestors. These are our departed ancestors in our parental lines, i.e., departed parents, grandparents, great grandparents and so on.
Departed uncles, grand uncles, aunts, grand aunts and others not in the parental lines are not coverd in the pitru tharpanam process. They are covered in the Karunya Tharpanam process described below.
You can offer tharpanam for more than 12 of your departed ancestors, but that is more advanced and we don't cover that here in this easy tharpanam method.
What is Karunya Tharpanam?Karunya Tharpanam is the second part of the tharpanam process. It is tharpanam offered to departed relatives, friends, strangers, pets, animals, birds, insects, creatures, plants, trees and other departed beings.
Six things you need for doing Tharpanam1. A mat to sit on, preferably made of sacred Darbha grass (also known as Kusa grass). A wooden plank or clean cloth made of natural fibers such as cotton or wool can also be used as a mat.
2. A clean plate made of wood, copper, brass or silver. Glass and stainless steel are not appropriate.
3. Clean water in a wood, copper, brass or silver cup that is convenient to hold in your left hand. You may also want to have water in a separate bowl. Glass and stainless steel are not appropriate.
4. Black sesame seeds (ellu in Tamil, til in Hindi). If you are male, use black sesame seeds. If you are female, use white sesame seeds. Why so? The answer is in Sathguru Venkataraman's Siddha writings.
5. Dharba grass (also known as kusa grass and as dharbai).
6. Pavitram made of darbha grass (see image on this page) to be worn on the ring finger of the right hand.
2 Lists You Need to CreateApart from the above, you also need to create two lists: (i) a list of (departed) beings for whom you will be doing the pitru tharpanam ceremony and (ii) a list of (departed) beings for whom you will be doing kaarunya tharpanam.
You will also need the mantras for pitru and karunya tarpanam. All these are described below.
Creating the List of 12 Most Recently Departed AncestorsHow do you list your 12 most recently departed ancestors? You list them 3 each from 4 ancestral lines as described below.
Creating the List of (Departed) Beings for Kaarunya TharpanamHaving listed the 12 most recently departed ancestors, we should now list the departed souls for whom we should do karunya tharpanam, that is, departed friends, departed relatives (i.e., non-parental relatives), departed mentors and people you liked or respected, strangers, pets, animals, birds, insects, creatures, plants, trees, etc.
Sathguru Venkataraman was emphatic that we should do karunya tharpanam for the grains, vegetables, fruits, herbs and other plant products that we have consumed. For those who consume (or have consumed) meat products, karunya tharpanam is that much more important and they must ceratinly do karunya tharpanam for the animals, birds and other creatures that they have consumed.
Mantra to be used for Pitru Tharpanam
as given by Sathguru VenkataramanWhat we give below is the simplest mantra for use in the pitru tharpanam process. Actually, there are specific mantras for each of the 12 ancestors. Doing Pitru tharpanam with these 12 specific mantras is highly effective. For these mantras, refer to Sathguru Venkataraman's Siddha writings. Now, here is the easy pitru tharpana mantra.
Mantra to be used for Karunya Tharpanam
as given by Sathguru Venkataraman
The Tharpanam Procedure ItselfHere are the steps for doing tharpanam:
2. Spread the mat and sit facing east.
3. Pray to Lord Ganesh first and then to Lord Surya Narayana who is the Lord of the pitru ancestral beings. Request them to bless the tarpanam pooja that you are about to perform.
4. Place the plate in front of you and arrange the tharpanam grid (made of dharbha grass) as shown above . First place the 3 vertical strips of darbha grass and then the 3 horizontal strips. Each line shown above should have a minimum of 3 darbha grass strips. Since there are 6 lines in total, you need a minimum of 6 x 3 = 18 darbha grass strips.
Now you can see that there are 12 tips in total, 3 at the top, 3 at the bottom, 3 on the right and 3 on the left. The top 3 tips represent the 3 most recently departed male ancestors on the father's side. The bottom 3 tips represent the 3 most recently departed female ancestors on the father's side. The 3 tips on the right represent the 3 most recently departed male ancestors on the mother's side. The 3 tips on the left represent the 3 most recently departed female ancestors on the mother's side.
5. With all your heart, request exalted pitru ancestral beings to be present in this tharpanam grid and accept the humble offerings that you are about to give. Now you are ready to do the actual tharpanam ceremony.
6. This is the step where we actually offer tharpanam for the first departed ancestor on the tip marked 1 in the above diagram. In our example, the first departed ancestor is FFF (father's father's father, i.e., great grandfather) named Murugan. Place a pinch of sesame seeds on your right palm and chant the pitru tarpana mantra given above (meyyil vilangum jothi) and the name of the departed ancestor as follows: "meyyil vilangum jothi... kulirveeré Great Grandfather Murugan svadhaa namas tharpayami, Murugan swadha namas tharpayami, Murugan svada namas tharpayami." As you are chanting the mantra, pour water on the sesame seeds (that are in the palm of your hand) slowly while tilting your hand to the right so that the water and sesame seeds fall on the appropriate tip. The water should flow down through the gap between your right thumb and right index finger as shown in the figure above. Why? Refer to Sathguru Venkataraman's Siddha writings for the reason.
6b. Repeat this 2 more times for the same ancestor on the same tip. In other words, we do this 3 times per ancestor on the appropriate tip.
7. Now move on to the 2-nd tip and do the tharpanam 3 times on that tip. In this way, repeat this process for all 12 ancestors, i.e., on all 12 tips. 3 times per tip and a total of 12 tips would mean that you make a minimum of 36 tharpanam offerings for your pitru ancestors each time you do tharpanam.
8. Next, do karunya tharpanam for relatives, friends, people you respect, strangers, pets, plants, trees, animals, birds, creatures and insects. Before you do this, pray to Lord Varadaraja of Seshambadi and request His blessings for the departed beings you are doing karunya tarpanam for. Then chant the "neethaar nedungolam" karunya tharpana mantra given above and the name of the person as follows: "neethaar nedungolam... tharpanamé Friend Suresh svadhaa namas tarpayami, Suresh svadha namas tarpayami, Suresh svada namas tarpayami". As you are chanting the mantra, pour water on the sesame seeds (that are in the palm of your hand) slowly while tilting your hand to the right so that the water and sesame seeds fall in the middle of the grid. Do this 3 times for each person or plant or animal you are doing karunya tharpanam for. Here too, the water should flow down through the gap between your right thumb and right index finger as shown in the figure above.
9. When your tharpanam is complete, remove the pavitram from your ring finger, unroll it and place it on top of the darbha grass used in the tharpanam.
10. Pray to Lord Narayana and the exalted pitrus and prostrate yourself (full body namaskar) towards the southern direction 12 times.
11. Dispose off the sesame seeds, water and darbha grass used in the ceremony respectfully by depositing them into a flowing river or ocean or a large pond or well. An alternate method is to separate the sesame seeds from the water, pour the water alone at the base of sacred trees and feed the sesame seeds to birds. The important thing here is that the sesame seeds should not sprout. Why? Refer to Sathguru Venkataraman's Siddha writings for the answer.
ClarificationsTharpanam is done only for departed beings, that is, those who have passed on. Tharpanam is not done for those who are alive.
If you don't know the name of an ancestor, that is fine. Just state the relationship alone and offer tharpanam for that ancestor.
If you know the gotra lineage of a person, say it just before you mention the relationship, e.g., Sri Vatsa Gotra great grandfather Murugan or Vadhoola Gotra friend Suresh in the examples above. If you do not know the gotram of the person or you do not know what gotram is, just ignore this step.
For those who wear the sacred thread, change it to your right shoulder at the beginning of the tharpanam ceremony and back to the left shoulder at the end of the ceremony. There are special mantras for this step. If you don't wear the sacred thread, ignore this step.
Can one do tharpanam for more than 12 departed ancestors? The answer is yes. But that is a more advanced procedure and we are not going to cover that here.
There are special mantras for each specific ancestor. These special mantras will have their special effect for sure. Consult the Sathguru's books for these special mantras.
Sathguru Venkataraman gave us hundreds of unique tharpanam procedures. Refer to his Siddha writings for this information.
When to do Tharpanam?Sathguru Venkataraman said that according to Maha Guru Agasthiar, tharpanam should be done at sunrise.
There is a tradition that says that tharpanam should be done at noon. If this is your tradition, please do follow that.
Where to do Tharpanam?You can do tharpanam right in the comfort of your home.
But it is that much more effective to do it in temples and on the banks of sacred rivers.
Why sesame seeds?
|Om Salutations to the exalted Pitru Ancestral Beings.|
|Om Salutations to Maha Guru Sri Agasthiar.|
|Om Salutations to the Agasthiar Lineage of Siddha Sathgurus.|