In Hinduism Seven Generations are being spoken of in all most all functions and ceremonies so much so to indicate some thing old and to insist on a practice being followed in the families the term seven generations are used and in some cases 14 generations are used.
What is a generation in Hindu reckoning?
A generation is normally taken as 60 years.
Seven generations make it 420 years and Fourteen makes it 840 years.
It is expected of a Hindu to member seven generations at least.
Ideally Tharpana, Oblations offered to Ancestors should cover these seven generations.
But we often offer only for three.
Many do not even remember the three generations!
In Hindu ceremonies dealing with death, those dead are believed to move over to Pitru Loka, the domain of the dead ancestors.
In a ceremony being performed immediately after one’s demise during the next 13 days after death,food in the form of a Rice ball is offered, Pinda Pradhaana.
During this ceremony the one who is dead for whom the ceremony is being performed, the Pinda is moved over/joined to the earlier pindas offered to the earlier one, thus moving the earliest one to a higher Loka and no more Tharpana will be offered to him.
What is the explanation of these seven generations?
Great Grand father’s Father.
Great grandfather’s Grand Father,
His Father .
The generation list includes their spouses.
Tamil and Sanskrit have specific names assigned them.
I have reproduced the image dealing the Names. in Tamil.
With my limited knowledge of Sanskrit, I can identify,
Prapitha Maha Pitru,
At Haridwar, the Brahmin priest maintain a Genealogy list , which covers the ancestors spanning over more than ten generations, in some cases going back further.
These are kept to offer Oblations for those who want to perform Sraddha and Tharpana.
As Haridwar has traditionally been a site, for death rites and also Shraaddha, amongst Hindus, it soon also became customary for the family pandits (priest) to record each visit of the family, along with their gotra, family tree, marriages and members present etc., grouped according to family and home town. And over the centuries, these registers became an important genealogical source for many families, part of splintered Hindu families, in tracing their family tree and family history as well, especially after the Partition of India in 1947, and later amongst the Indian diaspora,
This custom is similar to Panjis or Panji Prabandh, the extensive genealogical records maintained among Maithil Brahmins in Bihar.