T Swaminarayan tvswaminarayan at YAHOO.COM
Sat Jun 17 21:56:35 CDT 2000

  "S. V. Subrahmanian" <svs_shankara at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:

This question that I am posing may not exactly relate to understanding of
Advaita, but certainly falls within the purview of Vedas. If knowledgeable
members deem it fit to be replied, please do. This question haunts me a

Is there any value/purpose behind the performance of Shraardham (ceremonies
performed for departed ancestors) ? If we read sacred texts (I have read
only English translations), they say that everything is the projection of
the self.... the world is nothing but the projection of your own mind ....
there is only one God (or only God)... I am just quoting simple and
convenient phrases which everyone must have read (I know I am not being
specific here, but I hope you get my point).

How does the theory of Advaita answer this ? I know in one of the earlier
threads we discussed about idol worship. But I know that in South India the
performance of these rituals extract a lot of effort. Does it have a sound
philosophy behind it or is it the accretions of dead habits over a period of
time ?

Is there any other alternative way of showing our gratitude to our ancestors
sanctioned by the Vedas ?


A very relevent question especially in these days where literate people who are  actually neither adept nor knowledgable in the shastras are acatually dangling between karma and gyana .In these days where the shastrigals are also out to only fleece the poor householders (like us) by seeing to it that they part with quite a sum in the name of shrardham for ancestors and take away all the danams to their own homes without even sharing the "booty" with their fellow shastrigals who come with them to perform the rituals,we wonder whether we should continue this shrardham at all .We are told that the time cycle for the departed souls is different than for humans.For our dead ancestors, our one year is equal to their one day and that is why we have this ritual of offering the pinda (rice ball) annam as a day's meal for them every year.I asked my shastrigal as to why all my brothers who are at different cities should perform this act of feeding the same individual's soul from different places on the same day and will that not amount to overfeeding the poor departed one for which I have yet to get a convincing answer!

We will end up in talking about Nitya karma and being hindus we have to then debate whether we should remain in the karma portion of the Vedas or whether we should proceed into advaitic thoughts and start analysing the pros and cons of it all!

We all have to look for advice from venerable persons and as far as I am concerned the search is still on----------------------.

Coming to the subject of finding a proper guru I am looking for a Brahmanishti . Is it not proclaimed like this in our scriptures:

Shravanayapi bahubhiryo na labhyaha

Shrunvantopi bahuvo yam na vidyuhu

Ascharyo vakta kushalosya labdha

Ascharyo gyatha kushalanu shishyaha!

Hari Om!


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