tarpan - food for our ancestors

Hare Krishna,

my humble  obeisances to all the devotees,

All glories to Shrila Praphupada,

i have one query, after the soul leaves the present body, it immediately takes the shelter of another body , depending upon the karmas. We also have a ritual where we do tarpan ( food for the departed ancestors), yearly sradhya. If the soul has already taken another body then why and how are we making any difference  by conducting yearly sradhya for our departed ancestors. kindly guide.

You need to be a member of ISKCON Desire Tree | IDT to add comments!

Join ISKCON Desire Tree | IDT

Email me when people reply –


  • Hare Krishna.

    It is mentioned by Shankaracharya (when similar question was raised by someone like you) that the pinda offer during Tarpan is for the departed soul and that when we offer pinda it reaches the soul in whichever body it is in. For example if the soul has taken birth as a cow then by offering pinda the soul in the cow body will get food. To drive this point he said . If I have to send Rs.100/- to my father in Chennai, I would go to the post office and make a money order  ( nowadays we have bank transfer etc) and give the money to the post office. When my father gets the money from the post office in Chennai he will not get the same Rs.100/- note with the same serial number. He will get Rs.100/- surely. Similarly when we do tarpan and give pinda it goes in the form required for the spirit soul in that particular type of body it is in.


    Moreover, in all the tarpan there will be one brahmana to represent Pitr, one brahmana to represent Vishvedeva and one brahmana to represent Vishnu. If you have heared the mantra it starts with "Sri Parameshwara Preetyartham" and every time they say Krishna Krishna Krishna. So, as we know only Krishna is the Bhokta of every sacrifice and hence the bhog is being enjoyed by Vishnu only.


    As western devotees were not aware of all this, Prabhupada made it simple that even if a vaishanava is fed on that  day it is sufficient. In Purushasookta, it is said " Brahmanosya Mukha maassed" means the Lord eats through the mouth of Brahmana and hence Brahamanas are called for Tarpan to be fed after the ritual.


    But, as Vaishnava is greater than smartha brahmana it is better to call few vaishnavas have kirtan and offer Krishna Prasadam to them.


    This can be done by a person who has fully surrendered to Krishna and does not worship any other devatas. Till such time I feel a person should perform Tarpan.


    I agree partially with what is being said by Sudheendra Subramanya Prabhu

    Hope I have cleared the doubt.



    • Hare Krishna Prabhuji,

      very beautifully explained, the more questions i ask , the more wonderful answers I get. I am beginning to understand that the association of devotees is the ONLY was to advance in Krishna Consciousness. It clears all the doubts of mind, and brings peace.

      Hari Bol

  • Volunteer

    We have to understand 2 things hear. First of all, the time if not same in all planetary systems. Secondly, it is just not possible to predict how the Laws of Karma works.


    Regarding the time difference, we can understand in Brahamavomhine leela in Krishna book that one moment in Brahama loka is one year in Earth. Also, in Gurada Purana there is detail description of what happens to soul and how it has to travel to another planet to suffer or enjoy based on his Karma. It is said that the soul travels some millions of miles and at very fast speed. I do not remember the details though.


    Regarding Laws of Karma, we can not really predict what body exactly the soul gets after this life. The tarpan, sradha ceremonies are part of Karma Kanda of the vedas. According to it, the soul will be punished in hell for all the bad Karma he has gathered in his previous life and it is the duty of the son to offer the tarpana and pinda to elevate the soul from its present hellish condition.


    The sradha ceremony is basically offering the bhoga to Lord and then the prasadam is offered to our fore fathers - father, grand father and great grand father. If you have heard the mantras that are chanted during such ceremony, we can understand that the puhorit will invite the Lord first and give him a aasana - place to sit and then invite the sprites and offer them their respective seats. Then the rice if first offered to Lord and then the prasad is offered to the spirits.


    There are more details in the ceremony which i believe is not required at this point. I was told by a senior devotee that for a devotee of Krishna, these things are not very important. However, we can perform them and its no harm. We can also chant some extra rounds on those days to add the mercy of Mahaprabhu for their deliverance soon.


    hope this was of some use. Hare Krishna.

This reply was deleted.