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Mahalaya Pitru Paksha-Freedom for one’s Ancestors


Bhagavad Gita Chapter 8 Verse 25

dhūmo rātris tathā kṛṣṇaḥ

ṣaṇ-māsā dakṣiṇāyanam

tatra cāndramasaḿ jyotir

yogī prāpya nivartate


dhūmaḥ — smoke; rātriḥ — night; tathā — also; kṛṣṇaḥ — the fortnight of the dark moon; ṣaṭ-māsāḥ — the six months; dakṣiṇa-ayanam — when the sun passes on the southern side; tatra — there; cāndra-masam — the moon planet; jyotiḥ — the light; yogī — the mystic; prāpya — achieving; nivartate — comes back.


The mystic who passes away from this world during the smoke, the night, the fortnight of the waning moon, or the six months when the sun passes to the south reaches the moon planet but again comes back.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 8 Verse 26

śukla-kṛṣṇe gatī hy ete

jagataḥ śāśvate mate

ekayā yāty anāvṛttim

anyayāvartate punaḥ


śukla — light; kṛṣṇe — and darkness; gatī — ways of passing; hi — certainly; ete — these two; jagataḥ — of the material world; śāśvate — of the Vedas; mate — in the opinion; ekayā — by one; yāti — goes; anāvṛttim — to no return; anyayā — by the other; āvartate — comes back; punaḥ — again.


According to Vedic opinion, there are two ways of passing from this world — one in light and one in darkness. When one passes in light, he does not come back; but when one passes in darkness, he returns.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 9 Verse 16

ahaḿ kratur ahaḿ yajñaḥ

svadhāham aham auṣadham

mantro ‘ham aham evājyam

aham agnir ahaḿ hutam


aham — I; kratuḥ — Vedic ritual; aham — I; yajñaḥ — smṛti sacrifice; svadhā — oblation; aham — I; aham — I; auṣadham — healing herb; mantraḥ — transcendental chant; aham — I; aham — I; eva — certainly; ājyam — melted butter; aham — I; agniḥ — fire; aham — I; hutam — offering.


But it is I who am the ritual, I the sacrifice, the offering to the ancestors, the healing herb, the transcendental chant. I am the butter and the fire and the offering.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 10 Verse 29

anantaś cāsmi nāgānāḿ

varuṇo yādasām aham

pitṝṇām aryamā cāsmi

yamaḥ saḿyamatām aham


anantaḥ — Ananta; ca — also; asmi — I am; nāgānām — of the many-hooded serpents; varuṇaḥ — the demigod controlling the water; yādasām — of all aquatics; aham — I am; pitṝṇām — of the ancestors; aryamā — Aryamā; ca — also; asmi — I am; yamaḥ — the controller of death; saḿyamatām — of all regulators; aham — I am.


Of the many-hooded Nāgas I am Ananta, and among the aquatics I am the demigod Varuṇa. Of departed ancestors I am Aryamā, and among the dispensers of law I am Yama, the lord of death.

Lord Krishna in each of the verses above is throwing light on the basis of birth and death of a human being. Each one of us is born with certain debts accumulated from the planet. The body you enjoy is a gift from mother earth , your parents and their ancestors. If they did not exist , so would you not exist. They invested a lot of energy into granting you a human life .Also various plants and animals provide the food for this human body and we definetly owe a energy debt to them as well. These four debts are called  Pitru Runa, Deva Runa, Rishi Runa and Manushya Runa. Pitru Runa is the debt owed to the Ancestors and metaphysically speaking many of the karmic traits that you currently have are inherited from your ancestors.

Mahalaya Paksha in 2010 is from Sep 23rd to Oct 7th .This is a very spiritually potent time to seek release for the ancestors who might be stuck in various planes and in turn seek freedom for oneself from the repeated karmic patterns one is subjected to unconsciously.

Also one needs to acknowledge the debt of the Rishis and Devas during this period . The Devas are personifications of various life sustaining energies present in nature and Deva runa is paid back by puja and homa. Rishi Runa is paid back by keeping the knowledge traditions alive and sharing the knowledge with all without restriction. Manushya runa is paid back by treating fellow human beings with compassion and love.

The best remedy one can do for oneself is performing Pitri Tarpana for one’s own ancestors during this time. Please do not be afraid that you will incurr some sort of bad karma by doing it on your own.In fact you will help your own spiritual progress by doing it on your own.

Resources: ( Use this link for visuals of the materials )

In the words of Narasimha rao garu

External rituals are meant to create the internal visualization needed to affect desirable internal changes in the long run. For example, one offers a full coconut into fire as poornaahuti (complete offering) at the end of a homam (fire ritual). This is symbolic of surrendering one’s head or ego (sense of I-ness) to god and burning it in the fire of wisdom and becoming free from ego. As one keeps engaging in this act again and again, the visualization becomes stronger and stronger and ego is slowly reduced.

One important ritual of Hinduism is tarpana. Tarpana means “satisfying” or “satiating”. One acknowledges the debt one has to devas (gods), rishis (sages) and pitris (ancestral manes) and tries to satisfy them using this ritual. Just as gods are invoked in fire in a homam,

pitris are invoked in water in this ritual, then held in the palm and released in a specific way conducive to freeing them.

One owes a lot to one’s parents and ancestors. In modern scientific terms, one owes all of one’s genetic characteristics to one’s parents and ancestors. Each ancestor is actually present in the person as a genetic characteristic. In karmik terms, one inherits some karmas of one’s parents and ancestors and each ancestor is actually present in the person as a kaarmik predisposition. The latter approach obviously extends to multiple lives and some karmik predisposition is inherited from the ancestors from a past life too, though they may not be related to one in this life.

By thinking of the deceased ancestors with gratitude and trying to give them an emancipation, one is actually trying to free oneself from various kaarmic predispositions that one has as a result of the rina (karmik debt) with several people. One can view this as an external event of satisfying and emancipating an external entity (a pitri). Alternately, one can view this as an internal event of satisfying and releasing an internal kaarmik predisposition. Ultimately, it is the latter.

However, one needs to externalize first and perform external rituals, while thinking of what it means internally. This builds up one’s visualization and slowly brings about internal changes and eventually the desired internal change itself. One with living parents also can perform pitri tarpanas for departed ancestors of this life and previous lives”

Brahma Sarovar-Kurukshetra

Thousands gather at Brahma sarovar to give Tarpana to ancestors every year

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