Srivaishnavam Practices Essence
Srivaishnavam  Parambaryam, Traditions &  The Culture that stands Class apart from others
Essence of Srivaishnavam Practices - Srivaishnavam Practises Q & A.


Sir.I am Gopala krishnan an Iyer of Kerala.I am 64. My doubt is regarding the Gaya sraddaha. Do Iyengars perform Gaya sraddha? Is it necessary to continue sraddha and tharpan after wards for the pithru who has gone to Devaloka after Gaya sraddha. If so what are the references? I have gone through many sites- but no where it is told either to continue or discontinue.If so what is its sanctitiy?


Gaya Srardham is common to all sect of Brahmins. There is no difference to it for Srivaishnavas, Smarthas or Madhwas. It is common to all. Even after performing the Gaya Srardham, one has to continue performing the regular srardha during the thithi every year. Depending on the nature, Availability of the conducting priest (Vadhyaar), Bhoktas (Brahmins for Bhojanam), age and permissible resources, one has to continue performing the yearly srardham as per regular stipulations - with Homam as most recommended. However, many are unaware of this fact and either stop performing the srardha or doing it only by Hiranyam or Aama srardham which is not recommended. Srardham of annual thithi should not be discontinued after performing the Gaya Srardham. By performing the Gaya srardham, one gets the multiple value of Punya-bhalam as equate to 60 years srardha benefits. So if one continues to perform the srardham even after the Gaya srardham, then the punya-bhalam is added. Thus the Vamsavali or the future generations get the full benefits of this Gaya Srardham. However, nowadays, for want of resources, time and for monetary considerations, many persons discontinue the srardham after performing the Gaya srardham. This practice is quite wrong in their doings. According the Vedic scripts, Vaidhyanaatheeyam and Srivaishnava Deepika, one has to continue performing the srardham till their life time. As far the Pithru Tharpanam during the Amavasya, Monthly, Sangramanam, Grahanam are surely to be continued as earlier. The Srardhanga Pithru tharpaNam is to be performed on the immediate next day to Srardham (and not on the same day of Srardham). If age factor and monetary considerations are not favourable, one has to perform to the minimum possible way, i.e. by Sankalpam with Bhojanam or Hiranyam. And Sri Lord Krishna wants atleast a TharpaNam by offerring it to the Vishnu Paadam (only, sick, aged and poor can do the srardham just only with TharpaNam!).

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Re: Gaya sraadha Q Sir, I am summarizing what I have learnt from your treatise given as answer to me to my previous question on Gaya sraadha. Will you kindly confirm the same correct? 1. As we say in the end every time we conduct sradha, to consider that Sraddaha as Gaya sradaha at least once we should really conduct it at Gaya-The theertha sraddaha. Gaya Srradha is equal to 60 sraadhas performed. 2. Sraadha benefit pithru and the son much more. Pithru remain pithru- only residence change. 3. The sraadha and Tharpana have to be continued for ones life time. It is due to the reason we do not know when the pithrus reach Vaikunta or Sivalokam. 4. If at all our pithrus reached vaikunta or Sivalokam our Sraddha will benefit Jnatha anjatha pithrus which will always be there . 5. Sraadha has to be conducted even after Gaya sraadha as long as possible .However consideration of health conditions, monetary conditions etc can be there. Sraadha with Homam only has to be conducted maximum possible .


Answer:  Before I put my answer on other points, I wish to clarify your Point No.2 - Pithrus too get elevated to various positions, depending on their merrit and punyabhalam to Deva gana etc.

Herebelow, I narrate the entire benefits of Gaya Srardham and its values: To clarify to all your doubts, I need to give an elaborative sequence to the happenings after the departure of any soul; though none has the experience to specify happenings, it is the Vedic reliance that was conveyed to generations through Gurukulam and then through hear-saying. I list below the reasoning that I was told by my father & Guru (Late Mr. TS Ramabathrachariar of Mukkur): (kandavar vindathillai, vindavar kandathillai - those who preach about this has not seen or experienced it and those who have seen it are eternal, not here to explain about it!) This entire script below is only for Brahmins who are born with, to fulfill their duties as laid in the Veda Sasthra. 

Not all the souls are liberated immediately on death and departure. Ultimate destination being Kailasam aka Paramapadam, the souls wander from one location to other, depending on their merit and punyabhalam. Only persons who pass away with skull broke open (Kapala moksham), they attain the lotus feet of the Lord immediately. Rest others are reaching their destinations by various steps; pithrulokam, devalokam, etc. The actual paramapatham, Srivaikuntham or kailasam are one and the same as per the philosophical readings.   Performing of Srardham is, in the belief and trust that we do it for our pithrus; if they are already liberated and reached their destination, why should one perform the Srardham? We do perform the Kriya and abhara kaingkaryam to liberate them from the earthly possessiveness, immediately on their departure and till the 13th day; but why to call them again and again (avaahayaami) during every Amavasya or monthly tharpanams? Why then the aavaahanam? These questions were easily replied to me by my father, which, within my limited knowledge, I translate and reproduce below.    Having no way to know the facts, we are instructed to continue the srardham till our life time. Here too, we do it not only for the parents, 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.

Oh, what if none of them wandering but all reached safely to the Kailasam or the Paramapadam? The very basic reason for having prescribed to perform it for three generation is the most vital part of the value added srardham.  Pithrus are known to be of in three forms - Vasur, Rudra and Aadithya swaroopam. The latest departed soul being the vasu roopa. (The order of family might vary if grandparent surviving but parents left earlier etc.) Here, when you perform the srardham with homam (i.e. with Holy fire sacrifice), after offering cooked rice as Havis, 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. whether known to one or unknown face,( Njaathaa-agnjaatha, 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, or for a person of the same Gothra (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 enough to avail the Havis.

This benefit is only achieved through performing Srardham with HOMAM! So even when our own forefathers reached the destination, it is for unknown siblings of the same Gothra and also for the society in general, we do offer the annual thithi srardham. Here again, the unknown - but same Gothra soul blesses us through their Mahalaya Srarardha visits! (Known as GaaruNya pithru, who showers the blessings). Wherein, in other srardha performances viz. Sankalpam, Hiranyam or Aamam, these benefits are not given excepting the one, that is, satisfying the pithrus through BrahmmaNa Bhojanam (feeding the Brahmins).

How the Punyabhalam is transferred to the generations? When one sends a Money order through a post office, the receiving office keeps the money with them but the transfer is made through the book entries; though the recipient get the value of the sent amount, the currency actually deposited is not given to them; likewise, it is said to be of a kind of transfer of such punyabhalam to the generations. These are known only a sookshama that is unknown to a lay person but clearly foreseen by the Rishis and Munis through their perception of third eye known as Njaana drushti. 

Quite apart from the above, The Vedic scripts and Mantras are composed & coded in such a way, very intricate to its own values, the phonetic vibrations alone can uplift the wandering souls to the higher plane; as is in the ether waves and radio waves that spread all over, the phonetic vibrations of the Sanskrit slokhas too spreads in the air and plays a vital role that offer immense benefits to the performer. (Here, the crow is also playing a vital role in uplifting the phonetic sounds to the pithrulokam!). Only when performed with homam, these are given thrice to the pithrus - 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). 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 and only on the immediate next day, to perform the Srardhanga Tharppanam. Now a days, I know persons performing the pithru tharppanam too on the same day of srardham, without taking the pithru sesham. This too is wrong. The pithru seasham is known blessings directed to us which is left untouched by many - without knowing the values!

And now on Gaya Srardham - Even while performing the regular srardham, we pronounce and consider, as if it is treated as performing from Gaya, irrespective of a place where it is performed. This wording is included when we start the srardha ceremony and also at the end. Though this is performed to liberate the souls that may or may not be wandering in the pithru logam, the benefits are reaped in multiple way; firstly the Holy place where the Lotus feet of Sri Mahavishnu is said to be placed, in this kshetram where Sri Vishnu Padam is located, is more important for liberating the wandering souls. Secondly, a Srardham performed here in Gaya gives the multiple value, as said earlier, that equates to performing the Srardham of 60 years. Thirdly, the srardham here are with multiple benefits, if the departed souls are already reached the ultimate destination namely unison with the supreme power, then the srardha benefits are redirected to be passed on to the Garunya Pithrus who are that of the same Gothra of the performer. In case there is none to receive the pindam, then the benefits are reserved and passed on to the coming generations as Punya Bhalam. (asmath kulam prasoodhatham - ayam pindam swadhaa namah: - asmath kulam abhivardhathaam).

As far the Deva Gana, Brahmins are supposed to perform the Rishi tharppaNam daily, which is included in the routine Sandhya Vandanam; thus if the pithrus getting their elevated status to Deva Gana, then quite naturally it is included in the daily prayer known as Sandhyavandanam. It is added & additional benefit of performing the Daily routine prayers, Sandhya Vandanam that is to seek the blessings from all the Form - Deva, Rishi & elevated pithru ganas!

Well, how far the above said can be true? Who is to authenticate the sayings? Here, the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita is the only source I can quote on faith and belief: “samshayAtmA vinashyati” (Bhagavad-Gita Gita IV – 40) says the Lord -- ‘He who doubts, goes to ruin’. And when He says this He adds the words ***ashraddha-dAnascha , meaning ‘one who has no shraddhA’. In (Bhagavad Gita IX – 3), He says (***ashraddha-danAH purushhaaH nivartante mRtyu-samsAra - vartmani) ‘the man without faith (is ruined and) comes back to this trans-migrate cycle again and again’. In fact he frightens us with a warning, at the same time very compassionately. It is not just a false warning; it will surely happen that way. We should not allow it to happen. We have to develop an unshakeable faith in the thought. 

In addition to the above benefits, The Akshaya Vata and the Vishnu Pada are the only two places where one can perform the Vedic rites not only for our forefathers, but for other persons male or female of our known circle, family, friends, acquaintances, irrespective of their caste or religion they might belong to; you will wonder, in these sacred places, one can perform the finale rites also for animals, our pets, abandoned bodies, etc. This is the speciality and uniqueness of Gaya, which draws lakhs of believers from all parts of India.

It also stated in The Mahabharatha Vanaparva, Adhyaya 83 Slokas 9 & 10, the importance of Gayashraadham is given:


एष्टव्या बहव: पुत्रा: यद्येकोपि गयां व्रजॆत् || (9)

यजेत वाश्वमेधेन नीलं वा वृषमुत्सृजेत् | उत्तारयति संतत्या दश पूर्वान् दशावरान् || (10 )

One should beget many sons, so that at least one of them will go to Gaya. Or one should conduct ashwamedha or release a blue bull. This will emancipate ten previous generations and ten future generations.

While performing annual sraadham to our pithrus - father or mother, we recite  saying thrice, "GAYA, GAYA, GAYA DITHWAA" and walk a few feets towards Gaya Kshetram side. (persons reside in south of Gaya used walk towards northern direction).

Leaving the Vedic reliance apart, in our Brahmin society, it is a supportive method to support our community persons. There are thousands of them living below poverty line, unable to stretch their arms for alms. At least, for their sake, the economically sound persons should continue to perform the srardham to give some way of livelihoods to the needy Brahmin community. It is best recommended, atleast once in their life-time, to perform the Gaya Srardham known as Theertha Srardham and I hope the above clarifications would convince them to accept the Vedic Scriptures values.

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Hi, Is there a link which explains the ceremony, concept behind each ritual for the upanayanam ceremony? My sons, aged 13 and 10 will be undergoing their upanayanam at Chennai in July and I am trying to eductae them on the process and concepts. Your help is appreciated. Best Regards


Answer: You can now have the details from this site itself at  Poonal/Upanayanam, Brahmmobadesam- I recommend persons to take a print out of this and distribute during Upanayanam so as to other invitees too understands the rituals real meaning.

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Are vaishnavas allowed to donated blood, if no what is the prayachitam I can do after doing the blood donation. Are we allowed to donated our organs after death?


Answer: As in those Vedic Era, there were no such practices existed as that of in todays body part transplantations. There is no mention about blood donations of kind in any of the scripts; excepting the Asuras & Demons drinking the human blood, there is no mention about this specific issue. However, in the modern developed world, it is still valid to donate blood & after death donating organs such as kidney & eyes are surely helpful to other needy mankind. Though, the learned schollars and seers are of different view and oppose to it, it is wise to use ones own instinctions in such matters. Prayaschitham and pariharam can be found for this too! Performing Gayatri Japam and and doing it with holy fire (Gayatri Homam) alone should suffice for such deeds, as the donations are knowingly offered to other person for some life saving activities. Donating blood and body part is certainly not against the humanity. So one can go ahead and donate blood & body parts, if one wishes. (Ekaliva offering his Thump as Guru Dakshina is not falling in this category!).

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Sir, I am so happy that i came across your website. It is really beneficial to people like me. I am a married non Brahmin woman. I have a few questions regarding pooja. I started reciting VISHNU SAHASRNAMAM when i was in college and it truly made a difference for me. I recently got married and i want to worship Sree Maha Lakshmi. Can i recite SREE SUKTAM daily? (any restrictions) Can i recite Lalita Sahasranmam ?(any restrictions) Do i need to have a japa mala while i am reciting any sahasrnamam. I read all slokas loudly. I read online that it is not good to recite loudly and that its better to meditae by not opening the mouth. Is that correct? I really appreciate your reply.


Excepting Gayatri, all other versues can be chanted and recited aloud. Gayatri should not be recited aloud. However a clear and silent environment is needed to chant Gayatri and with specific count & timing too needed for this. As far Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam and other sookthams concerned there is no such restrictions. Gayatri can be chanted only after taking the guidance from a learned Guru as Brahmmobadesam! and never should be recited aloud.

Japa Mala is not necessary while reciting the slokha but when reciting Gayatri, one can keep japamala for counting.

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