The sacred grass called darbhai is used as seat for the departed souls
and also as a means to attract them to the seat.
When appropriate manthras are recited, the pithrus are said said to receive the offerings.
To understand how recitals and darbhai go together in producing results,
we must know how japa yajna is done.
Darbhai has an important role in all yajnas, particularly in Japa yajna.
Japa yajna is considered as the supreme yajgya (BG 10-25 “ yajgyaanaam japa yajgyah”)
Manu smrithi describes its supreme nature in this way: (2-85)
“Of all the types of yajgyas sanctioned by Vedas, the best is japa yajgya which is done by utterance.
This is 10 times greater than all the other yajgyas.
The japa yajgya done by the lips is 100 times greater than the one done by uttering.
But the japa done at mind without utterance is 1000 times greater than the one done at lips.”
There are rules for doing this japa yajgya which when followed meticulously,
leads the doer to Brahma dyaanam and ultimately Brahma gyaanam and Release.
The kramam and Anushtaanam (methods) of doing japa
are narrated by Bheeshma to Yudhistra
in chapter 194 of Shanthi parvam of Mahabharatha.
These details were originally discussed by a Brahmin, Yama Dharmarajan
(he who determines the fruits of paapam and punyam for the jivas),
Kaala devan (he who determines the number years for a person),
Mruthyu devan (he who removes the praana vayu from the body)
and the king Ikshvahu.
(Please note that Yama deva, Kaala deva and Mruthyu deva
have specuific roles and are not the same.)
All these dignitaries come to the conclusion
that japa must be done seated in the midst of darbhai,
with darbhai in hand,
darbahi at the head,
surrounded by darbhai on all four sides
and hidden from sight of others by being enclosed by darbhai bushes.
For such a person who does the japa in such a way, Brahma gyanam will occur.
A similar way of japa was done by Sri Rama
when he wanted the oceans to part ways for him to cross it.
The place where he did this was Darbhaaranyam, a forest of darbhai.
This kind of complete enclosure by darbhai can have two effects.
(The kushasdweepa, the present day Africa
derived its name from the abundance of Kusha grass or darbhai growing in that land.
Kusha or darbhai is generally associated with japa
and control of senses
or concentration and meditation on a specific form or view.
The God worshipped by the people of this place was HrishikEsha,
who is the controller of Indriyas.
More on this in my next post on the land forms in ancient world.)
The doer is protected from the doshams of various kinds –
it means nothing from outside can touch him or reach him -
and also this means that nothing escapes from inside too,
i.e., the doer is helped in retaining whatever energy is within himself or generated by his japa.
It is perhaps to the pithrus not to lose their energy or disturb their rupam (form),
while coming down to earthly plane to accept tarpanam,
they are seated on darbhai during tarpanam.
Like the manthras of Sandhya vandhana,
the tarpanam manthras are also derived from the Vedas.
In Rig veda hymn 15 on Pithrus, it is said,
“They who enjoy pressed juices with oblation seated on sacred grass, come oftenest hither.
Fathers who sit on sacred grass, come, help us:
these offerings have we made for you; accept them.”
(The entire text of this hymn is given
in an earlier post "Darbhai grass gives protection")
The ends of the darbhai act as antennas or conductors.
The way pavithram is made and Koorchcham is made for tarpanam show
that it is to attract something and release something once the need is over.
To attract something is agreeable.
But does it release is the question here.
The use of koorccham in tarpanam clarifies this question.
The out-stretched ends of koorchcham attract or 'conduct'
the pithrus into the aasanam of darbhai
(this is made out from the manthras uttered then)
and they are sent back to their yadhaasthaanam (original abode) through it only.
It acts as both way transport – to attract and to release.
The direction also matters in placing them.
The koorchcham is placed in such a way that its ends face the south, the land of pithrus.
The pavithram is also worn in such a way that it attracts and returns
that which reaches the wearer from different sides.
The movement of the right hand in any karma around his body
at regular intervals shows that the protection is constantly happening around the doer.