Hindu Death Ceremony Days 2 to 9 Daaha Thaapa Upachamanam

The ceremonies performed after collection of bones/ashes and immersion in the sea,the Rites of Hinduism addresses three issues.

Seasame seeds. Image

1.The Saisfying of the Pretha,the subtle body that remains after the body is turned to ashes and immersion in the sea.

2.The gradual process of making the Pretha getting disgusted with what is offered and moving/joining ancestors.

3.The process of purification of Home and the relatives from the impurities attached to Death and the attendant ceremonies.

As explained in the last article,the Subtle body,Pretha remains after life is snuffed out and the physical frame becomes Sava and is cremated.

The Pretha,without the medium of Body is unable to satisfy its urges.

(It may be noted that the Subtle body,when Life is present is called Sookshma Sarrera and is nourished by what we eat.It becomes Pretha only after Death).

There are two cravings in any Human Beings in terms of what they experience.

Daaha and Thaapa.

Daaha may lossely translated as Urge,Thirst,Obsessive Desire to enjoy.

Thaapa is anguish,disappointment,frustration in not getting what one desires.

These two are resolved,to a limited degree,when one is alive,has body.

Even if what one desires does not materialize,one has mind,when alive,to understand and compromise.

Pretha,with no body and mind can not do this.

However the urge,Daaha and Thaapa remain with it.

It is to be met if the,Pretha is to move forward and join the ancestors.

The death ceremonies of Hindus ,from Day one to thirteen address these.

On the day of death,at the cremation ground,after consigning the body to flames,the son of the deceased makes a rough sketch of human body with sand on the ground.

The Pretha is made to come into this,by chanting mantras requesting the,Pretha to come in and accept what is offered.

Water,Tender Coconut Water and Seasame seeds with Water are offered to the Pretha in the Human sketch formed on the ground.

After immersion of ashes in the sea,the Pretha is made to descend in a small stone placed in a corner at the home of the deceased.

A small area is selected inside the house,where the deceased lived,roughly one foot by one foot,the area is paved with sand and a thatch of Coconut leaf is placed as the roof.

The son offers water,water and Seasameseeds to the Pretha in the stone daily.

Water is offered to quench Daaha and meet with desires of the Pretha .

Sea same seeds with water is offered to satisfy Thaapa, anguish.

The water and sea same seeds with water is increased every day till the tenth day.

The Pretha is believed to be hovering around the house till it is sent to join Pitrus, ancestors on the twelfth Day.


Answers To Doubts on Tharpana,Duty to Ancestors.

I received the the following query from a reader on Pitru Tharpana.

I have replied them in the chart below.

My information is based on Late. Sri.Anna Subrahmanya Iyer book Yajur Veda Sandhya Vandanam,available at RK Mutt book stores and at Railway stations.

One important query .

perform tharpanam facing eastward. But some say that we must face southward. Which is correct.?


The procedure is to perform Madhyannika,Brahma Yagnya and then Tharpana.

Procedure for Sandhya Vandhana as per Sandhyavandana Procedure,so is for Brahma yagnya.

As to Tharpana,it is to be perfomed facing South.

Corrections/Suggestions welcome( with source)



Your kind advice



 Before Nithya Pooja.Pitru Karyas take precedence over everything.


Sometimes, a festival and tharpanam come on the same day. IN SUCH CASES, SHOULD THIS BE PERFORMED  BEFORE NITYA POOJAI  OF AFTER THE NITYA POOJAI?    

 Tharpanam first.



 Tharpanam first.


Nithya Poojai, SHOULD NOT BE PERFORMED on the day of performing srardham for  my elders

 Can be performed after Sraddha.As  Sraddha is to begin by Noon,the Pooja can be done in the evening.


Nithya Poojai, SHOULD NOT BE PERFORMED on the day of performing Mahalaya srardham for  my elders

 Pooja can be done after Tharpana.


For performing any tharpanams, should  we add some raw rice [plain akshathai] to the sesame  or only sesame should be used?   

 Add Akshatha only on Fridays and on Festival days,if any.


During the tharpanam period, some use vibhuthi on their forehead and some do not. Which is correct

 Wearing of Vibuthi or Thirumann is by family traditions.Many use without mark. I do this way as it is our family tradtion.


I perform tharpanam facing eastward. But some say that we must face southward. Which is correct.?

Yama First To Walk Death, When did Cremation Begin

The Concept of Death as personified is quiet ancient and Sanatana Dharma was the first to practice and is still practicing it.

The Cremation of the Dead spread from Sanatana Dharma to Sumeria,and later to Greeks.

Homer mentions thus,

Never again will I return from Hades when I have received my meed of fire”. ‘

Patroklos,in Homer’s Iliad.

Patroklos, Doesn’t it resemble Pitrulok,the abode of Ancestors of Hinduism?

Now to the issue of Creation.

Early Sanatana Dharma  cremated in a House made of Clay.

A Hymn on Varuna mentions this.

The dead walked towards Paradise,it was believed in the earliest Vedic period.

It was Yama,the God of Death was the First Man to walk towards Death.

Later He guided the Dead to Swarg/Narak,Heaven/Hell based on one’s deeds.

The Dead were offered to Fire God,Agni.

He conveys what is offered in homa fire used for the ceremonies to devathas ,through the Apri Devathas to Heaven.

When the remains of the deceased have been placed on the funeral pile, and the process of cremation has commenced, Agni, the god of fire, is prayed not to scorch or consume the departed, not to tear asunder his skin or his limbs, but, after the flames have done their work, to convey to the fathers the mortal who has been presented to him as an offering. Leaving behind on earth all that is evil and imperfect, and proceeding by the paths which the fathers trod, invested with a lustre like that of the gods, it soars to the realms of eternal light in a car, or on wings, and recovers there its ancient body in a complete and glorified form; meets with the forefathers who are living in festivity with Yama; obtains from him, when recognized by him as one of his own, a delectable abode, and enters upon more perfect life, which is crowned with the fulfilment of all desires, is passed in the presence of the gods, and employed in the fulfilment of their pleasure.”

Agni is worshiped thus in these ceremonies,

Make straight the pathways that lead to the gods; be kind to us, and carry the sacrifice for us”. 

To Yama, mighty king, be gifts and homage paid.

He was the first of men that died, the first to brave
Death’s rapid rushing stream, the first to point the road
To heaven, and welcome others to that bright abode.
Sir M. Monier Williams’ translation1

Professor Macdonell gives a new rendering of a Vedic hymn  in which Yama is referred to as follows:

Him who along the mighty heights departed,
Him who searched and spied the path for many,
Son of Vivasvat, gatherer of the people,
Yama the king, with sacrifices worship.
Rigveda, x, 14. 1.

Yama judged men as Dharma-rajah, “King of righteousness”; he was Pitripati, “lord of the fathers”; Samavurti, “the impartial judge”; Kritana, “the finisher”; Antaka, “he who ends life”; Samana, “the leveller”,

The path of humans is different,it was called Pitru Yana,while that of Gods was called Deva Yana.

These two terms also refer to seasons and in some contexts refer to Geographical locations, the Pitru Yana,the South ( Lemuria?)and Deva Yana,the North(Arctic).

Reference and citations.

Iliad, xxiii, 75.

39:1 Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, v. 302.

39:2 Rigveda, x. 51 (Arnold’s translation).

39:3 A History of Sanskrit Literature, p. 117.

40:1 From Indian Wisdom.

40:2 A History of Sanskrit Literature, p. 117.

40:3 Early Religious Poetry of Persia, Professor J. H. Moulton, p. 42.

41:1 A History of Sanskrit Literature, Professor Macdonell, p. 68.

41:2 Rigveda, x, 10.

Firs Step To Clear Mind Yoga Sutra 1.36

In Yoga Sutra 1.35,Patanjali talked about shutting down mental processes to do away with confusion,indecision and worry.

In Yoga Sutras 30 to 34,Patanjali explained about the effects of a wandering Mind.

Lord Krishna speaks of this state of confusion and indecision in the Bhagavad Gita, in Chapter 2.

When the mind is confused,with constant,relentless bombarding of Stimulii,the Mind is bewildered at the mountain of information received.

Buddhi,Intellect,which is a higher Plane than Mind,when confronted with making a Value decisions like Correct or Incorrect,Right or Wrong,also dithers.

This has to be corrected as the sensations that lead to emotions distort facts and misguide the ability of the Intellect to judge and decide.

This is what Krishna says in the sloka,Chapter 2,

‘Krodhaath Bhavathi Sam mohaha

Sammohaath Smriti vipramaha,

Smriti Dhwamsaath Buddhi Naaso,

Buddhi Naasaath Pranasyathi’

Out of Attachment arises Anger,

Anger breeds and fuels Intellect dithers,

When Intellect is destroyed,incapable of making right decisions,one is destroyed.

In Yoga Sutra 1.36,Patanjali offers a way out of this.

When we perceive,we have the objects we Perceive and our Impressions of them in the Mind.

The Objects do not change from time to time.

It is our interpretation of them atca particular point of time changes.

So what needs to be changed is our perception of Objects.

This is effected by the Mind and passed on to the Buddhi,Intellect,which thereafter can make the Right Decision.

So to shut down the external Objects,Patanjali adises one to Concentrate on a source of Light.

This is first step in Concentration,called Dhyana.

Here you are aware that you are concentrating and that there is an Object being Concentrated upon.

You are aware of both.

Next step is Dharana,when you forget that there is an Object you are concentrating upon, so immersed are you in your concentration.

The next and final step is Samadhi,where you and the object mergevand there is no Duality.

Patanjali Sutra 1.36 ,with Swami Vivekananda’s commentaru below.

36. णवशोका वा ज्योणतष्मती ॥ ३६॥

vishoka va jyotishmati

Or (by the meditation on) the Effulgent One which is

beyond all sorrow.

This is another sort of concentration. Think of the lotus of the heart, with petals downwards, and ruunning through it the

Sucumna; take in the breath, and while throwing the breat out

imagine that the lotus is turned with the petals upwards, and

inside that lotus is an effulgent light. Meditate on that.

Sri Yantra Pasupathaye Namaha Construction Site  Banks of Mississippi Iowa

Sri Yantra. Image.

Worship of Gods,Goddesses with human/Super Human Attributes,though not advocated by the Vedas,they stress on the Realisation of Reality,Brahman which is beyond Attributes,the Vedas and the later Smritis,realizing the inability of Human Mind to concentrate on a Vacuum or Attribute-less Principle recommended as a first step the Worship of Reality as One with Name and Form.

This is called Saguna Aradhana,while fixing Mind on the Attribute-less Brahman is called Nirguna Aradhana.

There are others methods recommended.

The Realization through Sound,Mantra.

Through Geometrical Shapes,Yantra.

Through esoteric practices,involving Mind and Body,Tantra.

One of the most powerful Yantras is the Sri Yantra.

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Though generally attributed to Lalitha Devi and by some texts to Lakshmi as an Attribute of Lalitha,Sri Yantra is Nirguna Upasna.

Please read my articles on Lalitha,Yantras,Devi Aksharas.

The Yantra contains the Beeja Mantras ‘Sreem,Hreem,Kleem’ among others.

One of the readers of this blog,Sri. Linn Honeycutt sent me a message thus,a couple of days ago.


      I met a man when I was in Wisconsin and he showed me a picture and said he found it. He was on a construction site on the banks of the Mississippi. I sent him a message and trying to get more details.

    Do you know what language is written on the yantra?’

The language written on this Yantra is Sanskrit.

What is intriguing is that the Yantra contains the phrase ‘ Pasupathaye Namaha’

The Epithet Pasupathi is for Lord Shiva and is not generally found in Sri Yantra.

I request scholars and Sri Vidya Upasakas to throw more light on this.

*The Yantra was found in a construction site on the banks of River Mississippi,Burlington,Iowa,US.

just confirmed it came from Burlington, Iowa where the Mississippi river runs east of the town.’

There is a debate about the Pasupathi Seal found in Mohenja Daro in Indus valley,dated 5000 years ago.

One of the points of the debate is whether the seal contains Male or Female figure.

Shall be writing on this.