Ancestral Ceremony for Obstacle-Free Life

KS Parameswaran, New Delhi, India

It was my first thrilling experience to perform Thila Homa at Rameswaram on Aadi Amavasya (New Moon) day in July 2014. At every stage, the Sastrigal (Priest) explained in detail the importance of this Homa (fire ceremony). He said that by performing this Homa one gets rid of Doshas (afflictions) and obstacles.

The Priest explained that it is only through Yama Dharma Raja (God of Death in Hinduism) one can reach the Pithrus (ancestors) for getting their blessings. As such, he installed the Prathima (figurine or image) of Yama Dharma Raja, along with four Prathimas - two male and two female - representing the paternal and maternal Pithrus. Thereafter, Pooja (special Vedic ritual) was performed to these Prathimas.

Seven of us (the Priest, five Brahmins and me) sitting around the Homa pit, chanted mantras and offered Thila (black sesame seeds) and rice corn with pure ghee into the Homa pit for Yama Dharma Raja. We came to know that very few persons get the chance to perform this Homa, which is conducted once in the lifetime for Pithrus.

Then, Pindams (rice balls mixed with sesame seeds) were offered to the Pithrus. My wife and son were present throughout the Pooja and Homa. Thereafter, we travelled by jeep to Dhanushkodi, the endpoint of the Indian subcontinent, which is 25 kilometres from the Rameswaram town. There, as directed by the Priest, we immersed the Prathimas and the Pindams into the sea and took 36 ceremonial dips in the sea.

After returning from Dhanushkodi, the Priest poured the Theertham (sanctified water) from the Kalasa (consecrated pot) on our heads. After changing clothes, I performed Tharpanam (ancestral ceremony).

The Priest seemed to be very learned and experienced in his profession and he conducted the Homa very nicely and the ritual was quite orderly. I recommend every person to perform Thila Homa in their lifetime, so that they can overcome the obstacles in their life.