Blessing of Ancestor

Honour your ancestors, it assures us of their blessings and showers us with happiness

DC | Sudha Umashanker | September 10, 2014, 23.38 pm IST

One of the Hindu ritual. (Photo: DC/File)

One of the Hindu ritual. (Photo: DC/File)

When an elder member of the family passes on, the sense of loss and vacuum one experiences can be somewhat lessened by honouring their memory in various ways in the months and years after.
Many such rituals, shraadh (ceremonies to help the departed soul), tarpan (oblations of water) and pinda daan (offerings made of rice or rice flour) followed by Hindus is intended to ensure the smooth passage of the souls to pitru loka and enable them to rest in peace. Thanks to a boon from Lord Yama, the God of Death, the offerings immediately reach the pitrus or departed ancestors.
According to Hindu scriptures, honouring pitrus assures us of their blessings and showers us with happiness. Hindus believe that not honouring their deceased ancestors on the annual tithis or during the pitru paksha fortnight (shortly after Ganesh Chaturthi and concluding on Mahalaya Amavasya) will result in accumulation of pitru dosha and result in poverty, a miserable life, delayed marriages, delayed child birth etc.
Christians generally believe in not disturbing the dead, however, they too honour the spirits of those who have passed on, on All Souls Day, praying for them, cooking their favourite foods and offering the same. A visit is paid to the cemetery and the grave or tomb is cleaned, candles are lit, flowers are offered, bells are rung and the food items are left behind. These rituals are intended to bring light (as they lie in darkness) and comfort to the souls among other things.
Honouring our ancestors is also a way of remaining connected to our past and maintaining ties with our roots. During the Hindu rituals of shraadh, three preceding generations are remembered including the departed and offered food and water. This not only serves to quench the hunger and thirst of the souls, but also helps one trace their lineage, knowing where one comes from and draw up a family tree of sorts.
Muslims further believe in completing the unfinished tasks of those who have passed on. If someone has died during the month of Ramzan or had contemplated a pilgrimage to Mecca but couldn’t undertake the same, a descendant can undertake the same on their behalf.
By honouring and venerating the spirit of our ancestors, the belief that the physical body is perishable while the soul or self is eternal is reinforced and gives one something to look forward to i.e. being united with one’s departed ancestors when one’s time is up. Done with love, reverence and belief, these customs and traditions bring peace and happiness to the doer and the departed as well.
The writer is a Reiki channel, yoga practitioner and a spiritual seeker. Write to her at

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