There was a question in one of the communities of which I am a member on the place of Sesame seeds in Pitru Karma, Oblations to ancestors.
Hindus offer Sesame seeds,Tila in Sanskrit, Ellu in Tamil, along with water while offering their gratitude to their departed relatives.
The question was why we asked to use this in small quantities.
When Lord Brahma created the world, He created Five different varieties of Plants and Sesame was one among these.
This was considered to be very best among Grains, so much so Viswakarma,The Divine Architect, created Tilothama on Brahma’s request out of Tila,Sesame seeds.
In the Hindu epic Mahabharata, Tilottama is described to have been created by the divine architect Vishwakarma, at Brahma’s request, by taking the best quality of everything as the ingredients. She was responsible for bringing about the mutual destruction of the Asuras (demons), Sunda andUpasunda. Even gods like Shiva and Indra are described to be enamoured of Tilottama.
While a legend talks about a pre-birth as an ugly widow, another narrates how she was cursed to be born as a Daitya (demon) princess Usha by sage Durvasa.”
Being the very best only limited quantity is used as a practice,as more quantity is superfluous.
Let me add here for doing Tharpana on Fridyas , take some Akshta along with Tila while performing Tharpana..
Details as under.
This Ekadasi occurs in the Phalguna month, as the moon wanes at this time a very special atmosphere is created. The glories of Sat-tila Ekadasi are narrated in the Bhavisyottara Purana in a conversation between the sage Dalbhya and Pulastya muni.
“Oh esteemed brahmana!” began Dalbhya muni.
“People are most polluted in the age of Kali, there are sinful acts taking place at all times! Heinous crimes such as the killing of brahmanas, killing of cows and general freeloader are rife.
Please elucidate the process by which these perpetrators can be freed from their sinful acts.”
The sage Pulastya replied: “O my dear friend and fortunate one, by observing the vow of Ekadasi which falls during the waning moon in the month of Phalguna all sinful reactions can be burnt to ashes.
“On the Ekadasi day the aspirant should rise early, bathe and then worship the Lord with prayers: O Lord Janardana! O most merciful Sri Krsna! You are the deliverer of the fettered fallen souls. Please do not exclude anyone from your mercy, those drowning in an ocean of grief need your mercy most. O Supreme Brahman! O Supreme Personality of Godhead! O Lord of the universe! Please hear my prayer and grant me the boon of assisting you in helping the conditioned souls of the material world. Please accept my fidelity and use me as an instrument in the struggle against Maya. O dear Laksmi devi please be kind to this lowly servant and grant that he may be freed from all anarthas.”
“Thenceforth one should give charity to brahmanas, depending on means available one can offer umbrellas, cloth, shoes, sugar, or a pitcher filled with water. Cows of many colours may also be given and specific to this Ekadasi sesame seeds. By gifting sesame seeds on this day one can live in the heavenly planets for many years.
“Sesame seeds are used in different varieties on this day; one may bathe in water mixed with sesame seeds, smear sesame seed paste on the body, execute fire sacrifices with sesame seeds, offer oblations to the ancestors with sesame seeds and give sesame seeds in charity. By doing so one will free himself from more sinful reactions than he is able to commit. Thus this Ekadasi is known as Sat-tila.