Today Malaya tarpanam was performed by my brother for my parents. I felt the fragrance of their presence close to me the whole day. I went to Vasanth Vihar, J. Krishnamurthy Foundation and spent an hour there. As I sat at the Study, leafing through a book and intermittently looking at the large tamarind tree from the window, I thought that people who are very close remain connected across realms of life and death. We never really let go people we are fond of.
Our tradition makes us believe that we walk in the shadows of our ancestors. I invoke my parents and my grandparents during prayer time every day, besides remembering them several times through the day. Similarly my son pauses and remembers my parents before he leaves for school everyday. They go to make the pantheon of our personal gods.
A Note On Malaya Paksham
We perform certain karmas to remember and honour our ancestors, as ancestors along with the devas and gods go to fill the landscape of our belief system. We perform two types of kaaryas – the deva kaaryas and the pithru kaaryas. The first is performed through bhakthi by way of homams and yagaas; the second is performed with shraddha , and hence called shrardam or tarpanam. Tarpanam is performed on the ammavasai day of every month, the shraddam is performed annually on the thithi of the deceased (the father or the mother). Tarpanam is performed on another occasion too, during the period of Malaya Paksham.
Malaya Paksham is the fortnight after the paurnami, the period when the moon wanes, in the month of Purattasi. This period is also called the Pithru Paksham because we offer tarpanams for deceased parents and to all the ancestors.