Srardha Dharma & TharpaNa Niyama – FAQ

Jaya Jaya Sri Sudarsana !

Sri Sudarsana, The Wheel God Known as Chakrathazhwar.

Jaya Jaya Sri Sudarsana !




After having his some doubts  cleared on Gaya Srardha, through the FAQ pages of this website,  Mr. Gopala Krishna has written many mails asking for clarifications in our Srardha and TharppaNa procedures. This question & answer is prepared to have an enlightening about Sraardha and Tharpan. I am thankful to Mr. Gopalakrishnan Ramaiyer, now settled in Chennai for condensing our email exchanges into this Q & A format. The Questions some times you may see as something you always wanted to ask and get the Answer. The answers are given in simple understanding manner. In fact it is the compression of the various questions put to me in different occasions by visitor Sri R. Gopala Krishnan who is a retired officer from BSNL Trivandrum. In fact, the summarized Q&A below is out of our various e-mail exchanges on the subject.

Q1. Sir – Who has performed sraardha first? Who has coordinated the procedures for the sraardha we perform today? Has any body amended it?  

A1. Good question! It will be astonishing to you if I say that Sri Varaha moorthy has performed sradha first. Sage Bodhayana has co-ordinated the procedures for Sraadha. But his procedures are lengthy. For instance, even while Bhokthas are taking food, Kartha is to continue performing the lengthy Jayathi Homa. These procedures are later amended by sage Apasthambha which is the basis of Sraadha Niyama now we follow.

Dear Sir, You would have heard lengthy manthras for Bodhaya soothra while you perform annual upakarma. I hope this much will satisfy your question.

Q2. Sir, I have heard Sraadha has to be performed by self. Is it possible?

A2. Sraadha niyama say so. But due to the elaborate procedures and complexities in them, we seek the Sasthrikals known as Bruhaspathi or Vadyar to guide. Now it has become order of the day to invite Sasthrikals, Bruhaspathi known as Vaadyar.

If you refer Ithihasa (The History) Ramayana,  you will read Sri Rama performed Sraadha for Dasaratha himself  

Q3. Sir is it correct that Sraadha has to be performed in Aparannam. What is your view?

A3.  Again Sraadha niyama say so. We are in a fast moving world. Can the present day kartha and Bhoktha can remain that much time? Kartha or Bhoktha can be a sugar patient. Can they wait so much? However it is apt to perform sraadha so that the Bhokthas take their food in the afternoon. I hope after reading this you will not get displeased with either sasthrikals or Bhokthas if they come a little late by 11 AM or so. I hope this reply satisfy you.  

Q4. Sir, Your answers make me more curious. You have said Sradha Niyama two times to me. Where can we have sraadha niyama now?  

A4. It is interesting to note that you are more curious. One sradha niyama authority is vaidyanatheeyam or Vaidyanatha deekshitheeyam. You can refer it to clarify many of your doubts. This is actually a Tamil translation of smrithi muktAphalam, named as vaidhyanAdha dhIkshithIyam, compiled and translated by Sri Venkatrama Shastry and Sri Ramamoorthy Shastry, at the behest of srI KAnchi ParamAchAryAl in 1985. I can give you the details of this book since you are very curious.

Title: samkshEpa dharma sAstram ,  

Publishers: Heritage India Educational Trust,

#6, Sanskrit College street, Mylapore,

Chennai – 600 004 Latest edition: Third, 1990  

This book deals with many other topics too. Just for your information, the book is really a boon as the price is astonishingly very very little comparing to its worth. Since you are at present settled in Chennai, I think you could get one copy from them. There are many books in other languages too. As an appendix, this book also clarifies on Aasaucha sadakam.

Q5. Sir, This question was in my mind for a long time. Now I put it to you. Do Viswamdeva (Viswedava) escort or guide the pithru?

A5. I think you are going deeper in to sraadha. I will try to answer all your queries, For your question Viswam deva is both.  Even if the pithru is in nether world he is to be brought by Viswam deva only. I hope this gives satisfactory answer to you.

Q6. Sir, This is another question in my mind for a long time. During sraadha we feed only one Bhoktha. Then how do we call Vasu, Rudra Aditya swaroopaya and pithrus from three generations? I hope I am making you to think putting questions of elaborative nature.

A6. Dear Sir, Surely the answer to this question is rather than elaborative they are sookshma in nature.  How ever I will answer the question in simplest manner.

Basically understand in Sraadha a set of procedures is followed to recollect the pithru. The set procedures as told are followed. Many of these procedures have inner meanings too still not fully explained or can understand from the sraadha books.

If you go through the manthras you will learn  not only three generations but jnatha Anjatha pithrus too you invite and feed. This is sankalpa. You are performing sraadha to the pithru who has left on that thithi.  

You have asked why we refer in Sradha Vasu Rudra Aditya swaroopaya. They are sradha deities.

If you are going to invite a relative and his friends too are there will you invite your friend only? Why for courtesy call others too? Will we not send them too some compliments through him?

One bhoktha whom you invite represent the pithru for whom sradha is performed. We identify him in addition with Sraadha deities Vasu, Rudra and Aditya. Usually Vasu is pithru deity for whom sraadha is done. Rudra and Aditya represent other pithru deities whom you invite.  It is told by identifying the invited bhoktha with Vasu, Rudra and Aditya deities the sraadha offerings are taken to all invitees. As I first said the explanation is sookshma. This indirectly hints pithru is another deity like viswamdeva (Viswedevas).

Q7.  Sir Do our pithru  reach swarga?

A7.  Why doubt? The ultimate destination being Kailasam aka Paramapadam, the souls wander from   one location to other, depending on their merits and punya bhalam. They reach their destinations by various steps; pithrulokam, devalokam, etc. The actual   paramapatham, Srivaikuntham or kailasam are one and the same as per the   philosophical readings.

Q8. Excuse me sir; you have said depending on the merit the pithru reach Paramapadam. If so what happen by performing sraadha to a pithru reached Swarga. Is it too sooshma to explain?

A8. But having no way to know the facts, we are instructed to continue the   srardham till our lifetime. Here too, we do it not only for the parents who left, but also for three-generation viz. grand and great grand parents. Why? If   by any chance, if our parent reached the destination but any of the grand parents left wandering, then it is for them to gain through this srardham. What if none of them wandering but all reached safely to the Kailasam   or the Paramapadam? It will benefit Njaatha ajnjaatha pithrus.

The very basic reason for having prescribed to perform it for three generation is the most vital part of the value added srardham.

Q9. Sir, Do not think I am philosophical and too much pondering. When we offer the seventh pinda during sraadha it go to Jnatha Anjatha pithrus. Am I correct if I say it pertain to sahothra?

A9. Mr, Gopala Krishnan- It is not you are going philosophical but it is a desire to know more on sraadha. I am happy you are showing so much interest. I am too much happy to answer you …

Ok, Sir, you are correct. Jnatha Anjatha Here, when you   perform the srardham with homam, after offering twice each to Pithru, Pithamaha & Prapithamaha – the seventh time offering is to Njaathi -i.e. distant cousins who left the earth. In case of anyone who left without any such ceremony performed, let the seventh step offering reach them – that   is for the Sahothra njaathi. (Njaathaagnjaatha, pithrupyapcha, yathaa   swaahaah:) By doing this seventh Ahuthi with Havis that reaches to the Sahothra Daayathi, who might have left without any kriya/kainkaryam performed for many reasons (No issues, died at unknown place, nobody knows who is who when left, or some of them with issues but they never cared to perform the rituals from the beginning etc. etl.)

So, even if our parents, grand & great grand parents reached the abode, it is for us to continue the thithi srardham till our life time only for those who might have fortunate.

Q10. Sir, I have a doubt. Do the tharpanam done on sraadha day itself at the end is not as per niyama?

A10. Sir, Is your entire query on sraadha is over and I can take a relief?

Surely It is local codification in course of time. Actually it has to be performed only on the next day. But it has become practice of the day in context of sasthrikal and Kartha. However some thing done is better than not done. We are also becoming Apasthamba some times!!!

Q11. Sir, My questions on sraadha are not over please. The Tharpanam question on sraadha day came to my mind and I raised it. Sir, Many perform Hiranya sraadha in place of sraadhan with Homam. Why there are these two types of sraadham? Sir, Hiranya sraadham as per rules  is  to be conducted by those who are physically not capable and much aged or who are extremely poor.

A11. Sir, Well asked an important question. Hiranya sraadha is told for people who have got certain limitations like very aged and not able to perform the long procedure srarddha etc.

All capacitate (it is not financial alone but physical and mental too) people should perform sraadha with Homam. True benefit is only achieved through performing Srardham with HOMAM!  Only when performed with homam, these are given thrice to the parents – first through the agni swaroopam, then through the Brahmmana Bhojanam and then lastly through the Pinda pradhanam (For Sama and Rg Vedhis three   pindams and for Yajur Vedhis with six pindams – and for Bhodhayana soothra followers it is 24 Pindams!). Only on doing these three steps, then the remainder cooked rice becomes Pithru sesham.  

One has to eat this pithru seasham to gain the benefits of the srardham . The pithru  seasham is known blessings directed to us which is left untouched by many – without knowing the values!

In hiranya sraadham there is no pithru sesham, which is the main blessing of pithru. I hope after reading this answer at least able people will perform sraadha with Homam.

Q12. Sir, who all can take food prepared for sraadha, after offering to Bhoktha?

A12. It can be taken by close relations and by sagothra too. Normally, other Gothra persons do not share the srardha food. However, children below the age of 7 years are allowed eat the srardha food. But in Srivaishnava Thenkalai sampradaya, it is known as ishta pandhi, where any one who is not related, too can eat, if one wish.

Q13. Another important question is coming to my mind Sir, in those days when there was monthly period for the wife how did the kartha-performed sraadha? Now a day the problem may not appear perhaps by taking medical assistance.

A13. It appears you are coming to practical sides.In those days, in villages they had a very big place at backyard for the women to take shelter during the inconvenient periods. They used stay at a distance, where you won’t even hear them. (Even hearing them talking during their periods was not allowed and mostly restricted to few house members).

In Sama Veda sampradaya, they perform only after the fifth day, after Kartha’s wife taking bath. In Rig Veda’s followers too it was the same. But in Yajur Veda followers, they can perform it even in the absence of one’s wife during the Srarddha.

In normal terms, for every sect and sub-sect, allowed their female family member with periods to stay elsewhere during and earlier day of sradha.

During the Punyahavachanam, they used to add a word in sankalpam “rajaswala aasoucha nivruthiyartham” and then perform the Graha suddhi to continue with the ceremony. Oh, thinking of the present day cubicles and flat system and apartments!!!!.

Q14. Sir, I know there are different types of sraadhas. There is Atma pinda sraadha with special manthra too. My question sir, who are advised to perform Jala srradha and Hiranya sraadha?

A14. Hiranaya sraadha I have already replied. How ever I will give one more clarification and express the srardha niyama as explained by my distant cousin, late Sri Mukkur Lakshminarasimhachariar, (who was very popular for his divine writings in many periodicals, very specifically for an article series in Kalki “Kurai Onrum Illai Govinda”) has given some hints on the Srardha procedures. He even wrote an article in one of the Kalki Deepavali supplement and I give the contents here below for the readers to take a note. The Srardha niyama in three different types with each having values on Uthama, Madhima & Athama paksha:

The Uthama factors: Srardha with Homam

With five Brahmins – one each for the post of Brahmma, Bruhaspathi, Viswedeva, Pithru and Sri Mahavishnu as Srardha Samrakshaka. – Uthamothamam.

Bruhaspathi, viswedeva, Pithru & Vishnu – Uthamam

Bruhaspathi, Vishwedeva & Pithru – Madhimam

Bruhaspathi & Bhokta Pithru – Adhamam

The Madhima factors – Srardha without Homam but only with sankalpam:

Sankalpa srardha without homam but bhojanam to three Brahmins plus vaadyar – Uthamam

sankalpa Srardha without homam but with two bhoktas – Viswedeva & Pithrus + Vadyar – Madhimam

Sankalpa Srardha without homam but with only one Bhokta + vadyar – Adhamam

Adhama factors – No homam, No bhojanam but only offering raw rice, raw banana with pulses, jaggery etc. with Sankalpam:

offering to 3 Brahmins – Uthamam – Visvedeva, Pithru, Sri Mahavishnu and Bruhaspathi – Uthamam

offering to two Brahmins – visvedeva, Pithrus – Madhimam

offering to only one Brahmin – Adhamam


Offering to only one Brahmin that too without any sankalpa mantra – this is known as Aama srardham.

And still, if one cannot do any of the above for varied reasons, it was said to perform at least the Thila TharppaNam on that day and offer it to the Vishnu padam to remember the Thithi! This is the least one can afford – if one is so poor, sick and disabled. If one cannot even afford the Thila (seasame), then just only with plain water!

If age factor and monetary considerations are not favourable, one has to   perform to the minimum possible way, i.e. by Sankalpam with   Hiranyam. And Sri Lord Krishna wants at least a TharpaNam by offerring it to the Vishnu Padam (only, sick, aged and poor can do the srardham just only with TharpaNam!).

Q15. Sir, What is pithru dosha? Does this appear on account of non-performance of sraardha?

A15. Very good, now you have come to related topics. The pitru dosha is supposed to be caused by non-performance of sraardha rites. It. causes childlessness, obstacles and failures in many ways.

Q16. Sir, This question is regarding a very big confusion in my mind. Once I wrote in the Yahoo iyer 123 group for pithru 1 year is equal to a day. A few replied back to me  it is a month and not one year. Please clarify.

A16. Dear Sri Gopala Krishnan, it is not you only, but many have this confusion. Actually, the period of day & night and months are quite different in different logam, just like the one in the planets and celestial phenomena. If pithru’s happen to be in pithru logam, for them Sukla paksha/Krishna paksha each fifteen days counts as day and night.

If they reach the deva gana status, then Dakshinayanam & Uthrayanam period of six months each stands for them as a day and night.

Here I will add a little bit more so that my point will be further enlightened. Pithru do not get hungry as we. For the first one year after death we offer masikam-monthly feeding. After annual sraadha once in a year. This mean once in 12 days. For pithru this feeding is sufficient. This is the procedure followed now. If they have reached Devaloka it is ones a  day.

Please note pithru ned not be in pithru loka or deva loka. There are six worlds above us and seven worlds below us.

In this context  I hope you recollect the story of  sage Sandipani. Sree Krishna offered him Gurudakshina  after praying to Lord Varuna and Going to the nether world bringing back his deceased son…

Though you have not asked, still I like to clarify a little bit about tharpan in this context.

Monthly Tharpanam is not pithru feeding. It is to get their blessings. Many confuse that tharpanam is for feeding pithru. I will discuss further on tharpanams if you have any  query on it .  As I said earlier in my answer there are certain sooshma instructions. Annual sraadha is one among them. I hope you are contented with this reply.

Q 17. We normally perform sraadha on a specific given thithi of the month of death. Sir, Can we postpone/advance to any earlier or later thithi?

A17. It is desired  sraadha be performed on the fixed thithi only. However there are some exceptions told in the scripts, like – (1) If Vadhyar, Bhokta failed to turn, then also you can postpone it to a convenient day. (2) If due to war, mutiny, calamity etc.  one can postpone the same to any other convenient day, till the normalcy returns!  Or if any death take place amongst one’s close relatives (aasoucham) one can postpone srardha to the day when aasoucham is over. Here for the failed Srardham, the condition is, that it should be performed on the immediate next day, or on the Krishna Paksha Ashtami or on the Amavasya day, in that order; if that too not possible, then in the next month but in the same thithi.

One compulsory rule is, you can postpone the thithi sraadham but cannot advance it!” These are the main rulings. I hope you are satisfied with the reply.

Q18. Excuse  me sir, if sraadha can be postponed why it should not be advanced? Can you kindly clarify?

A 18. Mr Gopala Krishnan, I answered postponement of sraadha is permitted on extreme conditions. It is very simple logic to answer your question why it should not be proponed


Shall I  start with a simple example. If you are taking meals at 1 PM regularly you will feel hungry and turn to dining table only by that time. Particularly if you are having any health problem timely food is a must. Either earlier or later you may not go. You know it very well. Similar is the case of the pithru. They will not turn up earlier. You will put the question- then why postponement is approved?

Yes, again the same example for easy understanding – you go to the dining table and if your wife say just wait another 10 minutes, you may (Have to?) wait. But everyday if you have to wait surely will you not become angry?

Refer my answer for postponement of sraadha. On extreme conditions only it is permitted. I hope this answer is convincing you. Once again I emphasize the point – Pithrus appear only on the day of srardham and if failed , then they visit on all subsequent days till it is performed. This is just like your impatience  to have the food in my example.

Q19. Excuse me sir,-we perform Nanthi (Nothing but a variation of sraadha in my thinking ) on a convenient date before any auspicious function. It is an untimely calling. How do you justify it if timely meals just like a sick patient is to be given to the pithru. Am I embarrassing you too much?

A19. Not at all sir, From your way of putting the questions I understand very well your intentions of clarifications. I am expecting more and more questions. Incidentally are you not having any questions on Tharpan? I will answer your question now.

The Abvyooham known as nandhi srardham is known for “KaaraNa nimitham”  i.e. for a specific benefit. It is to seek their blessings for the special occasion. It is just like any other festivity that we take special meals than the regular and unusual. There is no over-feeding amounts on the “kaaraNa nimitham” since this is for a specific special purpose.

Since you have asked I will add a little more on nanthi sasthra which may give some more informations to you about it.

There are some stipulations one has to follow for every ritual. These are classified under Dharma sasthra; with the help of a learned person, one can invite the departed souls only on pre-laid conditions per sastra for some reasonable functions as Nandhi srardha only. Other pithru days are not counted as a disturbance as they do expect these on given days. The same rule applies to sraadha conducted in Punnia kshethras like Sethu aka Rrameswaram, Prayag, Kasi, Gaya etc.

When you do the Nandhi srardham, it is said to be directed to all the 14 Lokams so as to get the blessings from all, whoever, wherever they might reside are linked to us and surely there is no question arises of our disturb/botheration to any soul. In such Nandhi srardham, the name order changes! In normal Srardha, you invite pithru, pithamaha & prapithamaha; but in Gothra pravaram and nandhi, you announce/invite first prapithama first, then pithamha and lastly your pithru !

Q20.  Respected Sir, surely I have questions on Tharpanam but they are few in number since you have clearly stated already it is for the blessings and not feeding.

I have a few more questions  on sraadha. I will put the next one – Why the pinda is offered to crow. Can it be offered to cow if crow do not turn up?

A20.  Niyathi is to offer pinda to crow and before the bhoktha get up after meals, crows should be start eating pinda.

Crow is said to be a carrier/messenger for the pithrus.  When a srardha/tharppana mantra is recited at any location and if a crow flies across even a furlong away, then the message is carried/uplifted to the pithrulogam, it is believed. Yes, the phonetic wave vibrations are taken from one station is just uplifted with its wings. (Even the researchers agree, crow has a special power even to uplift the ether waves and some sort of unknown signals lengths.

When an Earth  quake is about to take place, researchers say, crow is the first creature to be watched as it feels the shock even before it strikes!!). It is the most reserved and alert bird.

I have heard that  in certain places Crow do not turn up. In such places we can adopt local conditions. Are we not changing many things suit to local conditions?

One needs to be practical to give merit to the ethics. The Sasthra says to do it; when the availability of such and such things are rare, then one need to abide by the sastra but leave the matter to almighty! Be practical to the minimum extent. required.

As a matter of fact, most of our rituals are surely based on local conditions and the practices we follow are that most suited to the place we dwell in. Even the Almanac known as Panchang we use in the south , it is quite different one from the one used in the North or Eastern India. Why so? Surely, Rithu/ayana etc are different from one other and it is purely based on the climatic & topographical conditions of each place.

Now sir, I can give  an interesting piece of information after giving the Vayasam – pindam to the crow:

If it eats the rice from the ball from east side, it is said to be a good omen, that the coming generations too will benefit from the pithru’s blessings.

If from the west side Aiswarya

And  if from north side of the ball if it eats first, then pithru’s are not fully contented happy over the ritual.

If it takes from the south side, then some sort of trouble is impending.

What if four crows at a time eats from all directions? Surely our present life continue, that much one can be sure of!

But I think in many areas crow taking the pinda rice immediately is considered as pithru satisfaction of the sraadha performance.

I have heard in certain houses even  crow will be impatiently waiting for the second Kartha keep the pinda for its eating.

I hope this answering though  gone lengthy has input a lot more information . What do you  think?

Now, let us think on the rationale way. Crow is an environmental cleansing agent. It takes away every bit of dirt that if left that would contaminate the surroundings. Whether rat or any other dead animal, the crow will eat it and cleanse the place neatly!. But the fact is, if any other creature dies, crow will eat it; and if a crow dies – oh, it is to bio-degrade itself with the soil !! Yes, no other creature will touch the dead crow.

Q21.  Sir, Though lengthy the answering was very very nformative. Thank you. Sir, my next question- Now a days practically it is impossible to remain till aparanna with out even taking coffee or milk for elderly and sick people. This applies to Bhoktha too. What is your opinion on it?

A21.  Sir, In the present world surely your query is justified for elders. If your ill health do not permit to remain with out taking any thing till sraadha completed  take some thing . At least while performing sraadha- two hours time do not take any  thing. If a kartha or bhoktha is having high Blood sugar, then insulin and morning food after it are important. Try to conduct sraadha earlier. These are all my personal opinions. What I feel is your sinceority to conduct sraadha is most important.

Q 22.  Can you elaborate  rules regarding the Bhoktha  as well as for kartha Sir?

A 22. Surely I will. For the sanctity of the bhoktha these are all the must.

1. He should be fairly healthy, married and a family man and with no physical handicappedness.

2. He should refrain from family life on the previous day.

3. He should have fasted the previous day.

4. He should be clean, neatly dressed and should have taken oil bath on the day.

5. He should partake only in one sraadha on a day. This is very important.

6. On the sraardha day too other than the food taken no meals should be taken in the night.

7. If not done the Veda Adyayanam fully, at least he must a be a person doing his daily Gayatri Japa. And above all,

8. He should not be from the same Gothra as that of Kartha.

I think you agree if I state  such a bhoktha has to be fully compensated with Dakshina and other forms . Bhoktha can partake maximum seven sraadhas in a month. The entire month bhoktha and his family  has to survive on the dakshina.

Now for the Kartha – one has to go fasting on the earlier day to Srardha; avoid taking food from outsiders/outside or in hotels (here Sister, Aunt, Uncle and immediate close relations viz. Father In-law etc are not considered as outsiders!) at least a fortnight from the date of Srardha. Not to take oil bath or shaving on the day of Srardha; all sorts of entertainments, outside travels etc. to be avoided. To perform the Srardhanga TharppaNa on the next day to srardha and then only move out.

Q23. Sir,I fully agree with you..  I have three  more   questions in my mind  before I put my queries on Tharpan.

First one is whether thithi or nakshathra of death is to be reckoned? In Kerala Nairs follow Nakshathra. Nampoothiries too if I recollect.  In Calcutta star is found followed according to one sraadha book in Bengali I have read.

A23.  Surely a good question you have asked me .Now I will give the clarification.

In general the Nakshatra for birth and thithi for death is taken. However, for the Lords, the thithi is given importance by many and the nakshatra is given importance by others. (Few for the festivity consider Pusyha/Rohini).

In Srivaishnava, even a fraction of seconds of Sapthami is not to be there for Sri Krishna Jayanthi, even if Rohini slips out!

The reason for this is as we live on this earth it is to be taken according to this planets rotational movements that falls in the Nakshatra. And for the Pithru’s it the Thithi is important because, as the Pithru locational calander is based on fifteen days Sukla/Krishna paksha is a day for them.

As far the Lords, it is the one and same applicable as they too were born and departed souls in this earth! These are my assumptions and there is no syllable I can quote. May be I have not come across any such notations on this. I admit the fact, I am not able to say why srardha should not be conducted as per star.

Q24. Sir my next question is about theertha sraadha. and specifically sraadha performed at  Rameswaram, Prayag, Banaras and Gaya. I want an elaborative reply from you regarding their  importance  and why they are important.

A24.  First I will answer Why this Gaya sraadha is made important.  

A srardha performed near any of the Sacred river-side known as Jeeva Nadhi is always has multiple benefits. And when it comes to Gaya, Kasi or Sethu known as Rameswaram, it has more value, as these places are mentioned as Punya-Kshetra, where the Lord Himself has set His foot.

More so, in Gaya the Lord’s feet print (only in single) known, as Vishnu Padam is located, thus signifying the offering the Pindam directly to the Vishnu Padam.

Thus Gaya srardham gets highest merits to add punya-bhalam to the coming generations in a flow.  

As stated earlier, being the important place where Sri Mahavishnu’s footprint known as Vishnu Padam is located, it was widely given much more importance in Srardha Niyama. Thus expecting the entire Sanadhana Dharma followers will be visiting once in their lifetime, the settlement of Brahmin communities was imminent. To help it’s followers, each Mutt or Sect has established it’s branches to facilitate the visitors of respective sect to do the ordained ritual; they made every available source to render its services to the needy.

Here in Gaya, irrespective of your faith and membership of one’s sect, you can perform the srardha from any other mutt also, as the aim and intention is the same. Also, the mantra vidhi is all the same for every one!

Another important thing-Every body who simply desire to go are not able to go to these places. Some obstructions in some way come in their way. Above all some destiny take us there…. And only the gifted one does perform the Srardha here, let what come the cost.

The Gaya Srardha has  no equations. It is the specialty of Vishnu Padam location, which counts much more benefits; one needs to do, perform the Theertha Srardha once in their lifetime.

Above all, it is the gifted souls that reach their to perform the srardha – either in the belief of weeding off their sins, or to gain to punyabhalam; in most cases, the visitors sincerely and honestly perform it there, to relieve the souls and send them to their ultimate destinations, out of pure love, affection and care for the departed persons.

In your one earlier query I had  clarified already the following points which I may add here too for the benefit of visitors:

1. Gaya sraadha is equivalent to performing 60 annual sraadhas.

2. After Gaya sraadha, conducting sraadha should not be discontinued. Continuing sraadha will surely  feed Jnatha Anjatha pithrus if our pithrus have gone to their destinations. It adds to punniabalam.

There are even persons perform sraadha for Jnatha anjatha pithrus too for punniam. I hope this reply is elaborate as you desired.

Q25. Sir, My last question is about the queries itself I have put forth so far. I think I have put forth queries which needed answer in mine as well as from many peoples mind.

A25. Yes sir, Really I too feel so. Your queries are thought provoking. I too feel this Q&A will be benefiting to the visitors to my site .Thank you very much for patronizing my site. Now let us proceed with your other questions on TharppaNa niyama.


Q1. Sir, You have already clarified many times Tharpan is not pithru feeding. If so why we  are conducting tharpan? 

A1.  According to Pithrumedha sagaram, any srardha with bhojanam is only the feeding. And the tharppaNam is entirely for the benefit of more gains through blessings .So you get blessings of the pithrus by tharpan Irrespective of the place where pithru stay.

The tharpan offerings til (black seasame known as gingily) and Jal (water) reach them. Only the mantra roopa “hitham, swathaa nama: tharppayami” and no where it is mentioned whether-where they live or stay put . I hope this simple answer is sufficient.

Q2 Sir, If one’s mother leave to heavenly abode keeping father alive why do Tharpan is not performed till father’s death? Do not the soul of mother has to bless us, if the father’s death occur late?.

A2. Dear Mr Gopala Krishnan, Here my answer is a little elaborate. Then only why tharpan for mother is not performed can be clarified to you.

The Dharma Sastra bestows many rights only to a son. Are not the daughters equal? Once a woman marries, she belong to another gothra. She is to gain all the benefits from the home she enters as an housewife. She becomes the head of the family. This is the prevailing status in Hindu dharma for living souls.

For the departed souls, the annual srardham is the only feeding and hence we do not leave them hungry. But for the male counterpart, the Tharpana niyama is in mantra roopa and hence it is not amounting to feeding.

As a rule, male vamsavali is only counted as genetical factors and no female vamsavali is known to be taken. It is for the Kula vrudhi , vamsa vrudhi and saubhagya one performs the ordained rituals. (VidhivihitreNa tharppana:, kulavruthena argyam, bhalavrudthena  karmavyaapi, Guna vruthena saukyobava:).

Here, the thrappanam only is given to the males, just on the male vargathavya; 

Since srardha feed is done individually, the tharppana only begin after the departure of the male counter part and till then no tharpanam for female. 

Here again, they never starve because of not doing tharpanam since tharpan is for blessing. Here I add this too is sookshma. I hope my quotings fully satisfy your query.

Q3.  Sir, I have read tharpan has to be started after sapindi for departed male soul. Now it is the practice to perform sapindi on 12th  day. Then why tharpan is not started from the first month?

A3.  What you have read is correct Mr. Gopala Krishnan.SapindikarNm is to be is to be performed only on the 12th month and then aabdeekam. No, not on the 12th day. Does it suprise you? Truly, this is the fact.  How and where did we err?  According to all the Srardha niyama books and scripts, the oldest practice is to perform the Kriya, then Oonam, thithi maasyam every month and then Sabindeekaranam in 12th month,So, normally only after the aabdeekam the Tharpanam was performed, in those days after one year.

This is the reason given by some vadyars to start the tarpanam only after one year . But pithrumethasagaram insists to perform the tharpanam immediately from the first amavasya after sabindeekaranam! So which one to follow?

In those days, they never would have thought that the sabindeekarnam too would be advanced to the 12th day instead of 12th month. There is no known authority for advancing sapindi  to 12th day. This topic is more related to Tharpan and I am happy you put  it in the correct context.

Q4. Sir, can one perform tharpan after some other family member leaves the home for outstation ?

A4. One should never perform the Tharpan immediately after some other family member leaves the home for outstation. Likewise, one should not prostrate a person while leaving for out of station from the home. These are all sooshma. Only when the dead body is taken out, then persons younger to the departed to prostrate while taking the body for cremations.

Q5. Can you intimate me the Source References for your answer that tharpan is for blessings?

A5. Surely. For answering your query Source References  are availed from: 

1.Sudheevilochanam – Pithrumethasarvyaagyaanam by Vaidhika Sarvapoumar 

2.Vaidhyanaatheeyam – Sraarrdha Niyamam – By Sri Vaidhyanathar 

3.Pithrumethasaaram by Thozhappar

4. Srivaishnava Sadhachara Nirnaya, 2nd Edition, Authored by present Ahobila Mutt jeer during His poorvashram.

I hope those who want to know more, can refer to them.

Q6. Sir, am I correct to say Tharpana is related to the parental lineage and to be started only after fathers death.

A6  Very correct.  This answer is very much explained when I explained lineage.

Q7. Sir,that question was put to clarify answer  important doubt.  If Tharpana is related to the parental lineage why then we call for mothers side her father grandfather, and great Grand father. Not only that -mothers mother, grand mother too for upasthanam and tharpanam? You have to give an elaborate answer.

A7. I am really happy with your deep thinking on reading my answer. I am furnishing below the reply for question.

In every family, the maternal uncle will be performing tharpanam to your Mathru Vargam. Likewise, everyone’s mother side issues will be doing it for their maternal parents too. The niyama for starting the Tharsha Srardha (Tharpanam) is only male lineage and not female side.

However, the Tharpanam is for both side… mathru/pithru and also for Garunya pithru’s during Mahalaya. There is no doubt about this vargathavvya. The additional performance to the mathru vargam is to gain the pithru blessings in any form and also if for any reason, the mathru vargam failed to get their dues, it is the other side to offer and protect their interest. In case none else there surviving to pass the tharpana benefits from mother side, just for the sake, no issues, or all passed away or none performing, then your punyabhalam incrases by adding their vargam too.

Q8. Sir, I am well clarified now. Thank you for giving such a fit answer.  In tharpana we call our pithrus including  jnatha anjatha pithrus too and address and say thrupyatha thrupyatha and thrupyatha. What do the mantra really mean?

A8.  Mantra Thrupyatha -means may the soul get satisfied with this offering oblation.

Q 9. Sir, if a person could not start sraadha or tharpana  from beginning  and he desires to perform them at a later date. Do the pithrus become happy? This QUESTION sometimes can be in many peoples mind.

A 9.  When once a thought like that come he become more pure and get punnia balam even before performing. As you said there can be many in Airforce, military etc who due to their working conditions could not start them in time. There may be many others who think of performing  all these things after retirements. There is a shooshma making you to think like that. No pithru will curse for not starting sofar but only bless for starting now. Thank you for putting such a question.

Q 10. Sir, this is the last question coming to my mind at present. At what time we have to perform tharpan?

A10. Dear Mr Gopala Krishnan, please do not laugh at my answer much. Many have become local Aapasthamaba and Bodhayana. We. Have shifted the day of sapindi from the end of 12th month to 12th day . We have shifted Sraadha tharpan to sraadha day. We have transferred  the duty to of performing sraadha to Madhya Kailas in Chennai. We have gone to tape mantra for tharpan, Ok, Ok.

Answer to your question is, it has to be performed in the end of forenoon, preferably in the river side just like your Upakarma . But I am of the opinion considering the convenience of ourselves and your Vaadyaar/ sasthrikal  after 8  AM  is preferred. But surely not before sun-rise. 

In addition to the above, it would not be out of place to mention some some more interesting facts on the subject. I give below the Regular Tharpanams one has to perform. Apart from the listed days here under, one has to perform the TharppaNam on the Eclipse days and also on the next day to Mathru/Pithru Srardha days:

To come to the reality and practicability, one has to read the entire Srardha Niyama and the reasoning for it. According to the Vaidhyanatheeyam and Srivaishnava Deepika, a dutiful Brahmin has to perform 96 tharppanams in a year, as stipulated in the Vedic scripts. Listed below are the days on which a Brahmin has to perform his duty in Thila tharpaNa roopam. Out of these, the Mahalaya Tharpanam can be done with Hiranyam or with BrahmmaNa bhojanam also; if not on all the sixteen day, any one day that one considers himself as most important – viz. Mahabharani, Madhyashtami  or on his mathru/ pithru srardha thithi days that falls during Mahalayam.

Amavasya – 12

Masapirappu – 12

Pournami  – 12

Kruthayugathi – 1

Threthayugathi  – 1

Dwaparayugathi –  1

Kaliyugathi – 1

Vaithruthi Yogas – 14

Vyatheepatha Yoga -14

Mahalayathi -16

Ashtaka – 4

Anvashtaka – 4

Thisroshtaka -4

If one cannot afford to perform the Tharsha Srardham known as Thila tharppaNam on all the above days, one should stick to minimum possible on Amavasya, Mesha Sangramanam, DakshinayaNa punyakaalam, Thula Vishu Punyakalam, UtharayaNa punyakalam, visible Surya/Chandra Grahan days and also on the next days to Mathru/Pithru srardha.

I do hope all the answers  given to you can benefit all the visitors to my web site too while published. Thank you for your patronage of  putting so many queries and giving me an opportunity  to answer such weighted queries from elder peoples like you. Pl visit my web site whenever possible.

Please read FAQ pages (Q&A No.32) to get clarifications on Gaya Srardham & its benefits.

    TRS Iyengar

    Born on Makara Uthiradam star, native of Mukkur and brought up in Ladavaram village near Arcot and now well settled in Mumbai for over five decades. Presently, at 70, trying to run this website without any commercial expectations or profit motive, just for the sake of our future generations to understand about Sanatana Dharma & Srivaishnavam sampradayam.Within my limited knowledge that I put it here, what I learnt from the world.