let us look into the questions.
(1) They (ancestors) have left.
What then is their connection with the earth?
Their connection with the earth is in the form of 3 levels of faculties
they have carried with them,
in terms of agni, water and earth.
In the previous post we have seen that the sensory faculties
such as speech are drawn from agni.
Speech is mentioned by scriptures as a general term to include
all the 5 faculties of the 5 sense organs.
Speech has been specifically mentioned because,
of all the senses, speech is easily recognized to be connected
to the next level, namely the mind.
Though all faculties arise from mind, speech is easily recognizable
as originating from the mind.
So speech is mentioned here.
Speech and other faculties are drawn by an individual from the element agni, for, agni goes into the activation of sense organs.
When the bodily heat is gone,
that which caused the sensory perceptions,
merge with speech
and then go to reach mind, which forms the next level.
This second level called mind is drawn from water.
Here it may be recalled that Chandogya said at one place
that mind consists of food.
(in the narration of Svetaketu's experience - given as reference in the last post).
Then how can we say that mind is drawn from water?
Brahma sutras 4-2 &3 explain how.
When it is said that mind consists of food, it is meant
that nourishment to mind comes from food.
In the example cited of Svetaketu, it is seen that
he was able to survive on water.
But nourishment of mind comes form food.
Only when food is eaten, the mind is able to think and recall.
But mind can survive with water alone.
It draws its sustenance from water.
So mind is said to be drawn from the element, water.
But the third level prana is connected
with the next subsequent level entity, called the soul.
This prana contains earthen element and earth and ether go together.
And prana is the modification of ether.
This prana traces its roots to the elemental form of earth.
These three, acquired by an individual soul during its stay on earth
are taken by it when it leaves the body.
Thus the soul's connection to the world continues.
(2) They have departed, perhaps might even be taking up rebirth soon,
then why should one do tarpaNam?
They have departed.
But the soul continues to remain bound with these 3 –some.
They might have taken rebirth, but this 3-some,
better known as bhu, bhuvah and svah
(physical, vital and mental level faculties)
which they acquired while they lived on earth,
does not disintegrate or does not die.
These three are coming with them from birth after birth,
getting modified or added or deleted in every birth.
New acquisitions are made
(of elemental forms of these 3 bhu, bhuva and svah).
during the state as an unborn baby,
first while staying in the father's body for 2 months,
trapped in the sperm of his semen
and later while growing as a foetus in the mother's womb.
According to Panchagni vidya (the knowledge of 5 Fires),
the soul which is preparing to be born goes through
5 stages before it is born into this world.
First it comes through rains,
then gets into earth and then enters a plant and
stays in the vegetable or fruit or seed.
Until these 3 levels, reversal is possible, that is,
if the soul wants to withdraw or go back, it can.
And in theses stages it does not undergo any karma or pain.
When the man eats the plant food having this soul,
the soul enters through his alimentary canal and gets fixed in his sperm.
It stays there for 2 months.
From this stage onwards, return or reversal is not possible.
From man, it enters woman which is the 5 th and final destination.
Once it enters the womb, the soul is said to be born.
Thus according to Sanatana dharma,
destroying the foetus even as early as 3rd or 4 th week,
when it is just a mass of cells, amounts to killing.
This mass, called pinda draws its 3 levels of faculty from the Nature
which we saw in detail in the previous post.
The ‘sapinda’ (constituent particles) that formed the 3-some faculties in the womb
are the same as the ‘sapinda’ in the departed person who has become a pithru.
This state as a pithru happens after a year,
and after 16 sapindee-karanas are done by the son.
Once the departed person reaches the state of a ‘pitru’,
whatever the son got through him can be given back to Nature
through this pitru shareera, which contains nothing but the 3-some elements.
The 3-some elements already exist in Nature as basal units,
known by names Vasu (agni), Rudra (water) and Aditya (earth).
The 3-some faculties taken by the departed person
become identical with these 3 root forms, vasu, rudra and aditya.
Following the principle of name-form and works,
when a particular person’s name is invoked in tarpana or shraddha,
the offerings reach the 3-some constitution of that particular person,
now in the root- form of vasu, rudra and adhithya.
If that person has taken re-birth, even then the repayment happens.
Even in the new body, the soul is carrying the 3-some of the old body,
which got accumulated in its previous name.
So the offerings reach that 3-some constitution.
This is because the repayment is NOT to the person,
But it is to NATURE through the person who once had a specific name
and whose constituents were needed to draw the 3-some from Nature.
The shraddha ceremony is done to 3-some of that person
having a particular name.
Whatever of that person, through whom, the drawl was made,
the repayment happens to those elements only.
Now we will see what happens
from the point of view of the departed father.
He has been instrumental in drawing from Nature what the unborn needed.
To that extent, he too has become a party of the indebted.
He is also in un-replenished state in having drawn from Nature
(particularly at the level of the 4 th agni in Panchagni vidya in the father’s
body for 2 months inside the sperm during which time the soul gets
‘synthesised’ to be born), he is waiting be replenished
by means of paying back what he has drawn
for the sake of his son while he was inside his sperm.
Only if he (father) pays back his debt, at least in parts, can he gain more when he enters another womb!!
It is like how the ocean is always able to remain full, not more or not less.
The ocean is able to receive the continuous flow from rivers and rains throughout the globe only because it is at the same time
giving back water to Nature through evaporation.
Similarly the son has to pay back what he has received,
only then can he become free of debts and
draw more for the sake of his children.
(That is why pitru yajna is known as pitru-ruNam or pitru kadan.)
Can anyone who is already indebted be lent money by others?
Can the person who has not paid his debt to his parents,
draw the goodness from nature and endow them to his children?
Every man is a link to the previous and the future generation.
Whatever goodness he wants to transfer to the future generation
only if he is full and be able to give.
If he is already depleted, he can not give.
What he gives to his children will be his accumulated debt only.
This is how the genesis of genetic diseases
going down the generations begins!!
Unless he pays back to the previous generation,
he can not give something to the future generation.
By paying back he ensures that they (pitrus) would not
“Punish us not for any sin,
O Fathers, which we through human frailty have committed.” (Rig veda – XV -6)
It ensures that he (doer) gains energy
“Lapped in the bosom of the purple Mornings,
give riches to the man who brings oblations.
Grant to your sons a portion of that treasure, and, present, give them energy, ye Fathers.” (Rig veda XV –7)
With this energy, it is ensured that he gets
“ riches with a multitude of hero sons.” (Rig veda XV- 11)
Here the riches are the children themselves!
For the one who has departed,
unless what he has lent to his children is paid back,
he can not have fresh resources to continue new life.
The body he will be taking after re-birth will be of inferior nature.
If he has to begin a new journey with
the already following speech, mind and prana,
which is depleted by having lent to his children
and which by itself a liability in having it derived from the Elements,
his new form will not be of superior nature.
So they have to be given their own body -
the body that existed prior to drawl from Nature
which he did for the sake of his children.
“Grant them, O Sovran Lord, the world of spirits and their own body,”
(Rig veda XV 14)
(3) Why should one do tarpaNam?
Does it reach them?
Instead one can do some charity in their name.
The TarpaN does reach them.
All the important factors connected to TarpaN that were analyzed
in previous posts, namely,
the darbha grass, water oblations, the sun-moon connection,
the specific days which are cosmologically conducive for transporting the oblations
so that repayment to Nature effectively happens
and the kshEthras or places which provide a perfect environment for
the repayment to take place.
It is in this connection,
I repeat emphatically again,
disturbing the Ram Sethu, which is an important place
that facilitates this repayment to Nature ,
thereby helping in restoration of Equilibrium in Nature,
is a gross violation of Nature and the way it operates.
The perpetrators of that crime are denying the future generations
of their right to access an important place
that would otherwise go to their aid in paying back to Nature what is due.
Sanatana Dharma is such a deeply compassionate body of ethics and equilibrium
(Rtam in ‘Rtam vadhsihyaami’ of the prayer ‘shamno mitra, sham varunah..)
and the age-old practices based on Vedas are not without relevance.
Just because we don’t know the purport of them,
we can not undermine their value.
Coming back to the discussion,
another question is ‘can we not do some charity in their name?’
One can. In fact specific chartable acts are to be done
in the course of the ceremonies.
These are stipulated ones, which will have ‘precision’ effect on the repayment aspect.
My question is how many people do them in all earnestness?
When you have an easy way by way of code-book stipulations,
you wont follow them,
But you say you would do charity work in the way you like.
It is like this.
You have borrowed money from a person.
Instead of paying him back the interest and principal,
you go on giving him something like
gifts, things etc.,
buy his provisions one month,
buy a toy for his daughter at another time
and so on.
Will your lender accept them as repayments?
May be he can consider them as interests paid
and may not trouble you to pay the interest during those times.
But will he waive your principal amount borrowed?
A so-called secular government of today’s Bharata varsha may waive,
because it has no concern about the health of the entire economy.
But Sanatana Dharma can not behave in such irresponsible ways.
If it does, Nature would lose its balance and irreversible doom will be the result.
So charity helps, but not when it comes to pay-back to Nature,
It must happen in the way Nature can accept.
It is like a person who lent in dollars would not accept the repayment in rupees.
You have to convert the rupees into dollars and
see to it that he receives in dollars.
(4) The individual soul is untainted (Gita says this in many verses).
In what way this connection with relatives (son, in particular)
continues after it has left this plane?
The connection to sons can be understood from the explanations
given so far.
Now about the individual soul which is untainted.
It is untainted, that is why none of what it acquires while on earth,
All these are only carried, not fused into the soul.
They bind the soul making it take rebirth.
It is this bondage which we are trying to break.
The ways and means of breaking it are revealed in Bhagawad Gita.
TarpaN and related ceremonies are aimed at reducing
any further bondage in relation to Nature.
For the Released Soul, the question of repayment does not arise.
Release or Moksha means
losing the connection with the 3-some.
It goes to Devayana without anything attached to it.