Soul Genetics: Why should you honor your ancestors?

Soul Genetics:  Why should you honor your ancestors?

Does this predicament sound familiar to you?ancestors_1

You are plagued by a certain illness that won’t go away; you are always moody, depressed or fatigued;  you are overwhelmed  by a nasty situation either involving work, finances,  or relationships… and no matter what you do and how hard you try, the problem won’t away. And when all conventional remedies fail to produce relief or improvement, you start to wonder: what on earth is the reason, and why??
Have you ever considered that the problem may have something to do with your departed ancestors?


Here I want to bring up the term Soul Genetics, introduced by Dr. Pillai, an internationally famous Tamil scholar-mystic and philanthropist, founder of Astroved and Pillai Center. Soul Genetics refer to soul properties inherited from your ancestors. Just as you would inherit biological genes that build your body, you also inherit soul genes from your ancestral lines. You may inherit positive or negative traits from your forebears, which pave the way for either a happy, healthy and successful life, or a visit to hell! Most people experience a mixed bag. They inherit some positive soul traits, but also some tough karma thrown in through the generations.

On top of our personal karma, there is also ancestral or tribal karma–the composite of karmic momentum accrued by your forefathers and mothers. Although people may not be aware of this, their physical ailments, mental distress, also the obstacles they encounter in their career, family and relationships, etc., are often directly related to bum ancestral karma. What is the remedy for this? The easiest way to shift your circumstance is by feeding your ancestors.


Many cultures in the Far East & Southeast Asia have rituals honoring ancestors. India, Japan, China, Tibet, Thailand, Bali, to name a few. Today I am introducing a hands-on ritual that I find to be the most simple, practical, and effective. It stems from the Tamil Siddha tradition of South India and the gist of it consists of offering white rice flour mixed with black sesame seeds and water, and offering it to your ancestors. That’s all. It’s that simple.

You can start right away. Just put white rice flour, black sesame seed, and darbha grass (optional) and mix it in a zip lock bag or glass bottle. I don’t even use darbha grass since we don’t have it in our area. I put the mixture in a little bottle, and every morning place a smidgeon on my right palm, and say a prayer to my ancestors. I call upon generations (at least six) from my father and mother’s side. I also say “Arut Perum Jyoti” over the mixture, invoking the Light to doubly bless the offering.
The optimal hours are 6 a.m.-6 p.m. between sunrise and sunset, because that’s when ancestors are closest to the earth plane, and they can easily avail themselves of your offering.
Make sure you say a prayer of thanks to ancestors of 6 generations of your father side, and 6 generations of your mother side. You can call in your ancestral lineages from even a broader gene pool. The secret is to intend your offering with great respect and appreciation.  Put up any request you have, or, if you need their help and support in solving any specific issue, state it clearly.
Then rinse your hand off. Some people store a small bottle of tarpanam mix by their shower rack, and do it first thing in the morning as they step into their shower. The entire process takes just a couple minutes. I travel frequently and take my little plastic bottle with me everywhere I go, so I never miss out a day of doing tarpanam.

The ritual is simple, but the results are really fast.
I’ve done this ritual almost 4 years. I began because I wanted to heal the strained relationship with my mother. Things made a turn for the better in a matter of a few weeks, and to date the relationship with Mom is renewed. Challenging situations with certain friends from the past have also been mended. Now I enjoy my life in peace and comfort.
On top of that, tarpanam has enriched my connection with my immediate and extended family circle.  Now I share the most loving affinities with my siblings, aunts and uncles, and all my cousins. It’s amazing! Most incredibly, the blessings of my ancestors have endowed me with a brand new home and many other improvements in my career and relationships.

I’ve recommended this practice to many clients and taught it in my workshops. Those who practice it regularly come back and report huge breakthroughs in their situation, within a very short time. When you connect with your ancestral lineages, you plug into your Source. After all, whom would your ancestors bless if not you??? They would lavish resources both material and spiritual upon you in abundance, but you have to ask them, and you have to connect in the way according to spiritual technology.

I used to do a more complex ritual of feeding ancestors during my Buddhist days, which involve mantras, mudras (sacred hand gestures), and offering rice grains and water to living beings of the six paths of rebirth. The mantras and visualization transform the rice grains and water into nourishing food and sweet dew. But it is a more complex and more time-consuming practice.

However, this short version of Tarpanam is so simple and time-effective, you could do no wrong. And it brings such fast results that it is nothing short of miraculous.


To the Western person who has grown up with analytical left-brain training, it is hard for them to wrap their heads around the idea of ancestral spirits, let alone feeding them! They might consider this to be superstitious or primitive hocus pocus. But for all intensive purposes, your dead ancestors might be controlling your destiny! A simple ritual handed down by the yogis and siddhas of India (accomplished masters with impressive psychic powers), offers instant relief from chronic anger, angst and confrontation that undermine your happiness and well-being. It is such a sleek design, and cost you hardly anything if you want to practice it on your own. What have you got to lose in trying it out? I would suggest that honoring ancestors should not be considered an act of superstition, but rather as a branch of spiritual technology. It is spiritual science.

To sum up one more time. Tarpanam means food offering to the ancestors. During new moon (also called dark moon) day, the departed entities draw close to the earth plane, especially from the hours of dawn till dusk (roughly 6 a.m.–6 p.m.) This is the most propitious window to feed them. Why honor our ancestors?  From the larger perspective, all living beings have been our kin in one lifetime or another. It’s even possible that enemies of this lifetime could be ancestors from a past life for whom you did not honor with an offering.


A couple years back, after having done a lot of prep work, I was ready for the Grand Tarpanam Ritual (Mahatarpanam). The original plan was that I travel to Kerala, south-west region of India on the Malabar Coast, where the priests have honed the Grand Tarpanam to state of the art perfection. Reportedly some of them have psychic powers and can see when the departed spirits are satiated with the offering and ready to leave the lower astral planes and move on to the next phase of their journey. However, Hindu temples in Kerala adhere strictly to their ancient rules and do not readily welcome foreigners into their sacred rituals. I found out it was not possible for me attend my first Mahatarpanam in person. But I did it by proxy! On the morning the priests were performing Mahatarpanam on my behalf, I was performing my own Tarpanam–by proxy–on a beach in Pondicherry, facing the Indian Ocean! Pondicherry, if your remember, is where the first part of Ang Lee’s movie “The Life of Pi” was filmed.ancestors5

And I sure felt something on the beach in Pondicherry!  After I finished my prayers, holding the white flour mixture on my right palm, I walked down to the ocean’s edge and I released it into the water. The waves suddenly roared and surged up to about ten feet above me! It was a most awesome sight–like a sign from the ancestors! Once I released all the tarpanam powder, the surge of the waves subsided and water level receded to normal.  I ended the ritual by taking a dip in the Indian Ocean and giving thanks.

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A year later, I did visit Kerala, and paid my respects at some temples though I was not allowed inner access to most of them. But it is a marvelous land, God’s own Country,

Practicing Tarpanam, especially on a regular basis, can free you from suffering. It can change your destiny. Dr. Pillai once remarked,

“There are so many spiritual practices you can pick up. Meditation, mantra recitation, bhakti-pure devotional love, feeding the poor, charitable works. But if there’s only one ritual you can stick with, I would suggest that you daily Tarpanam, with great devotion, I would It is guaranteed to change your destiny.”


  1. Thank you for this post I didn’t have the dharba grass and i prayed and asked for guidance. I performed the offering without it and then I found this post!! It is very informative and helpful.
    Many blessings to you!

    • Thank you for your comment. I do tarpanam every day and only offer a mixture of white rice flour, black sesame seeds and water, no dharba grass. How you do it with your Heart is what really matters!

      • hi Kathy,
        A question please? “I call upon generations(at least six) from my father and mother’s side” What if we don’t know the names of the ancestors. Can I say that I call upon the 6 generations of ancestors. Thanking You

        • Sure! I can’t remember the names of all my ancestors. Just call upon them as a collective soul body.key is respect and appreciation.

          • Hi kathy, do I have to use water in the white rice flour and black sesame seed mix? Thanks

          • Sorry for asking so much of questions. I definitely want to do the ritual the correct way. How much of water must I use? I have bought equal amouts of white rice flour and sesame seeds? What consistency should it be? Appreciate all your help. Thank you.

    • You may procure dharba grass on Amazon 🙂

    • Hi Kathy, my name is Carla and I am new to your blog, I like the way you spoke about the ancestral tarpanam. I am a person plagued by an Illness, that just won’t leave me. Along with a relationship issue too. I think I’m on the right path…would you agree.I don’t have any Dharba, but I can get the other ingredients I’ve always been told to pray to the Ancestors. I never knew how to go about it until now..I have read many different articles, but none like yours. Thank you Kathy for the very informative blog.

  2. Hi Kathy,

    Thank you for this wonderful article, very easy to understand, informative and inspiring!

    I saw in other articles and videos on Tarpanam presented by Dr. Pillai and/or his student Mohini, that this ritual should be done during the morning shower or immediately after the shower.

    However, where I live and in our tradition, we don´t take a shower in the morning but in the evening every day. I wonder therefore if it is OK to do this ritual not after taking a shower but after only washing my face in the morning.

    Another question is if there is any proper portion of rice flour and sesame seeds that should be mixed and stored in a plastic bag or a bottle.

    I would appreciate highly for any advice…!

    Thank you and wish you a wonderful day!

    • Hi Mimi, am so glad you resonate with this spiritual technology. So far I have managed to encourage friends & even family members to do Tarpanam, and they are getting smashing results. Nothing seems to work so fast in terms of removing deep-seated obstacles and karmic patterns. As for the time of practice, any time between 6 a.m.-6 p.m. is fine, and you certainly don’t have to do it inside a shower! After you wash your face in the morning is a great time to do it. It’s amazing how intimately connected we are to our ancestors, and how much they appreciate being remembered. And of course you can make requests for help or provisions. I do it on behalf of many of my friends’ issues or community issues, even global. They are all my family. Here’s a link to New Moon (March 30) coming up. Even if only practice on your own, it’s good to be aligned with these special times of the Moon.

      • Hi Kathy,

        Oh, thank you so much for your reply, it was REALLY encouraging to read about the benefits you described! I am relieved to hear that it´s OK to do this after washing the face in the morning. I will definitively start doing the ritual for my dead ancestors, for my self and for my loved ones and others!

        And thank you for the information on the coming new moon, it seems very powerful!!

        Again, thank you so much for your help and kindness!

  3. Hi again Kathy,

    After writing my post here last time, I began doing Tarpanam every morning. For the first few days, it felt great and I kept (and still keep) doing the ritual, but gradually, one question began arising as I do the ritual every day.

    Every time, I ask them to go into the light and be released from the earth plane and then, ask them to give me and my loved ones blessings and even ask them with help with the things I need help with.

    However, I came to feel that it is a bit strange that I call upon them every day even though they returned to the light the day before but ask them again to be released from the earth plane again the following day… it feels like a kind of contradiction. Haven’t they already been released from the earth plane and returened to the light?

    Another concern is if it isn’t better to let them be in the light and be at peach once they have returned to the light. Isn’t it bothersome for them that I call upon them every morning and ask them for a help? Or are they happy to do so?

    In our tradition (I live in Japan), we admire and pray for dead ancestors and it had been a natural part of our culture and tradition for a very long time in our history, but these days, this kinds of thinking began fading away more and more, especially among young generations like me. However, after beginning of Tarpanam, I began to feel more and more how much influence we actually get by our ancestors and that it is very important to give them gratitude and love… So honestly, I am very glad to have found this very nice (and time effective!) Tarpanam.

    What is your point of view regarding asking them to be released from the earth plane every day and ask them for a help when they are in the light and at peace? Can I continue doing so? I would be grateful for any kind of advice!! 🙂

    • Hi Mimi, with entities such as ancestral spirits, we can’t use our linear, rational mind to try to grasp their scope. How many times have we taken on births and deaths throughout the universe? Our ancestors and those related to us are literally infinite. You can’t wrap your rational brain around this topic. Granted, there’s a single energetic archetype that we call “ancestral spirits,” but they split up into many sub-divisions too. There are those spirits who have ascended and live in great peace & light in the heavens and various paradises, and they continue to send us Grace, protection and resources. In Chinese, we invoke them as “my collective ancestors whose spirit is in Heaven…”
      Then there are many who are still caught in the lower astral planes, who might have perished in accidents, wars or violent deaths, who haven’t crossed over successfully. They languish in the intermediate realms, and do not have the means to liberate themselves. These spirits often send us messages, nudge us by causing various forms of dis-ease, unrest or challenges in our lives, just to catch our attention. We have an obligation to see that they get the requisite resources to be freed from their “limbo” state and delivered into the Light.
      In Tarpanam, we are saying thank you to the ancestors who are already in Heaven(a collective Soul energy that is wise, resourceful and generous). We also appeal for their help and support.
      On the other hand, we are praying on behalf of all those who are still waiting to be delivered. E.g.a group of my friends have been doing tarpanam for all the victims of MH370 for their quick deliverance, and recovery of their earthly remains so that their relatives can get some closure.
      I agree with your sense of appreciation, which is so well exemplified in your culture. I love the way the Japanese so revere their ancestors and have little altars at home for them. The Chinese used to have the same, but they have lost a lot of this link to great wisdom.So, rest assured you are not bothering them, nor haggling with them. Those who are ascended and who have the merit and Grace to help you, naturally will, provided you make contact and ask. Those who need your help will greatly benefit from your daily practice.
      The scope of sentient beings in the ocean of samsara is vast, like an ocean. We are but a tiny drop in the sea. However, a single drop can contain the essence of the entire ocean, and is no different from it. Peace.

  4. Hi Kathy, thank you very much for your reply! Together with your comment and Siva Baba’s talks, I came to realize once again now that rational thinking is something that stops or becomes a hindrance in a spiritual process. Thank you for your insightful reply, I will keep doing Tarpanam with peaceful mind & heart, not with intellectual. Wish you a great day!!

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  6. Hello I just see your post and I liked it I have just one question everyday I wake up at 5.30am and it’s dark on that time so what can I do can I wait for sunrise or can I do tarpanam when I finished shower at 5.30

    • Hi Prakash, the suggestion to do tarpanam between 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. is because this window roughly corresponds to sunrise and sunset times. Of course this varies according to season and region, but that’s usually the yardstick. That is, the ancestral spirits are closest to us during these times, so it’s easier to reach them via our offerings. Personally I don’t see any big problem with doing it a little earlier than sunrise. The important thing is to honor them with great love & respect. This dharma opens up to numerous miracles and breakthroughs for many people, often way beyond our imagination!

      • Thank you very much for your kind reply
        Did u dfo reading via mail I,m in UK and I haven’t any bank card how can I pay your charges

  7. Dear Kathy

    I found your post by chance when I was browsing through articles on Tarpanam. I’m thankful for the clear and precise writing of yours. Today I did my first tarpanam for my ancestors and having read the procedures from other website that I should throw the sesame seeds and rice and dharba grass into flowing waters , I was worried. Then precisely at about 6.45am it started to rain (I was uttering prayers for rain). I did the tarpanam and miraculously it continued raining till I completed the prayers and discarded everything into a flowing canal. I took it as a good sign. Now that I have read yours , if one can do it in the bathroom during showers , then its a piece of great news to me. Thank you so much for coming like an angel to dispel my worry about waiting for the rain to do tarpanam.


    • Dear Vasigi,
      Glad this article was of help. The benefits of Tarpanam cannot be under-rated. So many of my clients and friends, even family members, have changed their lives around for the better after incorporating tarpanam into regular practice. Some do it before taking a shower, so that becomes a daily practice without fail. I travel a lot, but take a tiny vial of white rice flour mixed with sesame seeds with me, and can practice tarpanam anywhere, esp on in sacred spots in Nature. We don’t get dharba grass in our area, so I do without. The most essential component is a loving and respectful attitude. Enjoy and may your life prosper.

    • I accidentally got into your website and I am very keen to know more about how to start and what is to be done to practice daily tarpanam at home.I do a lot of travelling too due to my nature of work. Please advice.

      Can you suggest a temple in India why I can perform the tarpanam without being cheated and to be conducted in the true manner.Thank you.

      • Hello Selva,
        I am glad you are keen to practice tarpanam. This usually is an indication that your ancestral line is reaching out to you, with the desire for clearing. Once you embark upon this practice on a regular basis, the results are fast, stabilizing and quite astounding. Whereas some temples in India offer tarpanam service, I am only at liberty to recommend Astroved because I have used their services and recommended them to friends. They offer their tarpanam through specialists based in Kerala, whom I have visited, and they do it with the greatest care & respect.
        However, I feel you can just start on your own, and do your own simple ritual in the comfort of your own home. You can put a mixture of white rice flour & black sesame seed in a small bottle, and travel with it. I never miss a day (In fact I do tarpanam at sunrise and before sunset, twice a day), but you can try at least once a day for a week, and see the results for yourself. Then you have the option to continue on a daily basis, or do it on New Moon & Full Moon, since the ancestors are especially close by. Here’s a link to Tarpanam, and a few videos by Dr. Pillai who explains Soul Genetics and the simplicity of doing it at home. Today Aug 17 is Vishnupati and charged with Vishnu energy, and it’s also very auspicious to do it today. Good luck, and enjoy!
        Jeevakarunya Tarpanam: Vishnu Rules Ancestor Loka

        Dr. Pillai Quote

        Jeeva Karunya Tarpanam
        Performing Tarpanam on Vishnupati is very powerful and helps to overcome hurdles to material abundance. This Vishnupati is exceptional for a ritual called Jeeva Karunya Tarpanam. A special tarpanam ritual for all departed souls, irrespective of whether they are human or not. Be it your ancestors, departed friends or even your beloved pets, all the souls need help. Performing Jeeva Karunya Tarpanam especially for anyone who died in a fire accident, ingesting poison or due to machinery, will help calm their souls and in turn you will receive their blessings.
        Ancestors Are Real ~ Raja Mulloy
        TarpanamI first learned about Tarpanam watching a YouYube video by Dr. Pillai, titled “Tarpanam Helps Ancestors”. For me it was a romantic concept at best, but just beneath the surface I was somewhat prejudiced and felt it was superstition.

        So when I finally got around to it and performed my first tarpanam ritual, I had no expectations and was shocked by how powerful and profound the ritual turned out to be.

        During the ritual as I poured water onto the rice flour; I immediately sensed thousands of my ancestors standing in front of me waiting to receive the offering. I thought, “I’m going to need more rice”.

        I don’t experience this every time I perform Tarpanam, although I do sense their presence. Another unexpected benefit of performing regular Tarpanam is a stronger connection with my living family members and friends.

  8. Thanks for everything. One of my known people, has a typical problem. He has married twice. First wife’s Mother expired, Second Wife’s mother is alive. Can he do Tarpanam to first wife’s mother??

    • Saipasad, I don’t see any problem here. We can even do tarpanam on behalf of our enemies, so if out of good will your friend is doing tarpanam on behalf of his ex-mother-in-law, why not?

  9. I was searching about feeding ancestors becuase I feel a heavy burden in my life. Failed relationships, sickly, and financial problems. I really don’t have anyone to ask of this topic but I feel I have some responsibility to them. I am not of Asian descent but Caribbean. This technique sound so simple and easy…can I do it? Is there an alternative?

    • Hi Sage, almost all feelings of heaviness, sickness, finance, relationships, etc can be traced back to ancestral troubles. Tarpanam is a universal method, and the most simple and economical I have encountered so far after years of travel & research. Why don’t you try it? Sometimes, the simplest remedy is the most effective. The video below mentions darba grass, however, if it’s not available in your area, just use white rice flour, black sesame grains, and water.

  10. Hi kathy

    I am doing tarpanam ritual after listening to Dr Pillai in Youtube. Some 8 years or so I had this feeling earlier after when I lost my brother but the concept is my own which is to feed a portion to my brother (he expired) whatever I am eating. But my mother stopped me doing that because I have to continue it and I thought it was not possible.

    But the concept of tarpanam which you brought here is solved my problem.

    I am very much worried about my future because I faced many obstacles, eventhough I crossed it I have no fulfillment. Everything seems back to square one.

    I want to ask you shall tarpanam creates spiritual and material success in your life.

    • Hi Madhusudan, thanks for sharing your story, very meaningful. Glad you are in touch with Dr. Pillai’s teachings on tarpanam; he is a world authority and responsible for offering this ancient ritual in such a simple, user-friendly format to the whole world. I have personally traveled to Kerala and had a priest do tarpanam on my family’s behalf. But the most meaningful encounters with the ancestral realms have opened up via the simple offering of daily tarpanam…at least that is my personal experience.
      As for your current situation: first, we begin Mahalaya today. So there’s a sense of urgent “timing” when the pitris are breathing down on our necks to spur us on to some action. To give them offerings and prayers for their deliverance. You could order Astroved Mahalaya basic kit if you feel inclined.
      Sometimes, one suffers from ancestral or snake curse, which causes depression and deep emotional turmoil. In such a case you could consider consulting a seasoned Jyotishi (Astroved provides this service also), or a Nadi leaf reading, and they would recommend the appropriate temple remedies to appease the resentful spirits and mitigate the sting of the curse (ill will directed at you/family from the past). Meanwhile, you could continue doing tarpanam on a regular basis. I do it twice a day without fail, for the past few years. Sometimes out in nature, and throughout all my travels. All feuds and grudges have been gradually dissolved. You can also pray to your ancestral guides to show you the way. My feeling is that one doesn’t have to spend lavish amounts to try to get a fix. With discernment, you could choose the right remedies, many of them do-it-yourself, and reap huge benefits and a sense of well-being. Rolling a lime is also excellent!
      We can do this by chanting “Thiru Neela Kantam Makaral Sivayanama” while rolling a lemon or lime on our shoulders and throat and by letting go of negative thoughts. You invoke the Blue Throat mantra of Shiva to extricate all toxins from your body and energy body. Watch the video for simple instructions. Good luck!

  11. I’ve been doing Dr. Pillai’s simplified tarpanam ritual for several years. It really works! A few day after I started, my paternal grandmother appeared to me in a dream and thanked me. I had never had a dream about her before. Darbha grass is hard to find in the USA. I’ve never seen it in an Indian grocery store or online venue. I skip that part.

  12. Hi kathy

    Is it okay to take nonveg when doing daily tarpanam at home.

  13. I don’t think it’s such a strict stipulation if you are doing it at home, esp. if on a regular basis. The priests would have you be veg if doing in the temple.

  14. is their any directions to do the tarpanam ritual on daily basis when we are practicing at home or outside the home especially while travelling.

  15. is there have any directions to be faced while practicing the tarpanam.

  16. hi kathy,i just wanted to know that being a female should one use white sesame seeds or black sesame seeds for the tarpanam ritual and do we need to follow these 6 rules as well.

    The following are the six things required for performing Tharpanam during the day of Amavasya.

    A mat for sitting, preferably made of Kusa grass which is popularly known as sacred Darbha grass. A clean cloth made of wool or cotton can also be used. It is to be noted that the cloth should be made of natural fiber.

    A plate made of silver, brass, copper or wood. It is to be remembered that it is not appropriate to use a stainless steel or glass plate.

    Pure water in a silver, brass, copper or wooden cup which is convenient to be handled with a holder. It is to be noted that stainless steel or glass tumbler is not the right choice.

    Black sesame seeds in the required quantity. This seeds is known as til in Hindi language and ellu in Tamil language. It is to be remembered that white sesame seed is used by female and black sesame seed is used by male.

    Dharba grass which is also known as Dharbai or kusa grass

    Pavitram made of Kusa or Dharbai grass. It is worn on the right hand on the right finger.

    • Hi Bambi, first of all, I don’t profess to be an expert in the science and art of Tarpanam. I am sure if you consult various experts from the different traditions, they will each teach you a different thing. My approach is pragmatic. I want something that is simple, fuss-free, yields results, so I can do it on a regular, daily basis. That is why I don’t even use darbha grass, though you can certainly add that into your tarpanam blend which you can mix (white flour and black sesame seeds) and put in a glass jar or container. Women can use black sesame seeds too, they are probably more potent. If you are in a place where there are simply no props and no rice or sesame, you can offer plain water, and with a pure heart, your ancestors will still receive the offering. You are free to observe the tips laid out as per link, though I think it would work just as well if you focus your heart and mind on connecting with your ancestors rather than obsessing over many finite details. But that’s just my opinion.

      • thank you kathy, i was just thinking the long as we connect with our ancestors with a clean&pure heart,that’s what matters the most.

        i just wanted to make sure that i don’t end up offending the spirits of my ancestors by doing it the wrong way.

        i have all the things needed for the ritual at my disposal,i will go ahead with the black sesame seeds.thank you so much for clearing my doubt’s.

      • hi i know this post is a bit old,but i have a question.what if i use joss notes(ANCESTORS MONEY) as an offering instead,would that be ok as well?

        • Hi Joseph
          Every cultures deals with ancestral spirits in a different way. Burning paper money is an age-old custom within the Chinese community world-wide, and the underlying assumption is that some of our ancestors may be in the lower realms and lacking resources, so we burn paper money as an offering. However, this operates under the assumption they are lacking. And in a way this keeps them in the loop. Whether you choose to perpetuate that belief-system or not is your choice. Offering tarpanam, prayers, or doing charitable deeds/donations/service (seva) is another way of dedicating the merit to ancestors for their highest emancipation, of leaving bondage & suffering altogether. Again, it’s a very personal matter and one that involves a Soul choice. Many different roads lead to Rome.

  17. Hi I am a single woman Brahmin from Chennai India – both parents Live in Chennai but they are old – can I do the Tarpanam for my ancestors – we have no other male members in the family other than Dad and he is quite old ?

    Pls advise

    • Hi Ash, I don’t see why not! I know that the traditional Brahmin families have rules & prohibitions re: women conducting ceremonies. But this is out of filial respect for your entire family line, and it seems that in our contemporary age, many of the ancient restrictions may not necessarily curtail the benefit and positive effect we can gain via intelligent and loving participation in ancestral offering. Esp. you are doing it as a personal tapas. I know many modern Indian women who practice tarpanam in the way advocated by Dr. Pillai and Astroved, and they do it discreetly, and everyone benefits. Good luck. Link is for your further reference only.

  18. Hi kathy,
    thankyou for your blog! I want to bring joy to my ancestors. How much white rice flour and black sesame seed do i use? and do i crush the seed into a flour as well? thanks again for your wisdom! 🙂

    • Hi Steph,
      There’s no fixed rule as to how much to use. I buy a bag of white rice flour, and pour some into a smaller glass jar. Then I put in a tablespoonful of black sesame seeds. Just do what feels right. No, you don’t have to do anything with the sesame seeds, don’t crush them. Ultimately, it’s the respect and devotion to your ancestors that count.

      • Thankyou sooo much kathy i truly appreciate you 🙂

  19. Love your blog. How is the mixture to be disposed off after the prayer? Can women do it during their menses?

    • Just rinse it off under tap water after complete. As long as you are respectful and keep clean, menses should not affect this negatively.

  20. Can I also do it for my husband’s ancestors as I feel most of the problems in our life stem from there?

    • If u feel truly inclined, but do it only out of a detached and loving place, with no agenda。You may attract the energies of others ancestors,so be cautious. Practice with ur own first.

  21. Kathy, thanks for an excellent opportunity to connect with ancestors. I am planning to do this for my mom, who passed away few years back. Just curious how do you offer this flour and sesame mix. Should we offer this to any birds. I am here in US and not sure what would be the better way to do it. Back in India, we used to offer to crows/ravens during new moon days. Any thoughts will be highly appreciated.

    • Hi SK, glad to hear that you are doing tarpanam for your mom. If you get the urge, it means your ancestors are sending you a message. Actually they all need our care & support. White rice flour & sesame seeds are offered to ancestral spirits, not to birds. The offering to crows is done on Saturday, also can on new moon days, but it’s a different ritual. Crows are usually associated with the planet Saturn (Lord Shani whose carrier is the crow), and we make offerings to crows as a way to appease Saturn the karmic deliverer. Below a couple of video links on how to do home-style tarpanam. With concentrated intent, love & respect, your act of honoring your ancestors will fetch positive results. If you desire to know more, google “Tarpanam, Astroved”. Dr.Pillai is the most vocal expert to introduce this tradition to the global community. (Mohini is a senior teacher at Astroved).

      • Thanks Kathy, for the immediate response. I am glad that I finally got a great reference for a start. So with whatever you said, how would you dispose them after offering to ancestors. Is there any specific effects, based on how you dispose?

        • Just wash your hands off the kitchen sink.

  22. Kathy, after tarpanam, is it ok to eat meat or should we refrain from eating it during the days we do it.


    • SK,
      There is no hard and fast rule. In India, they probably suggest you eat vegetarian. In China, there are no strict stipulations. Just go with your heart.

  23. If your are married are your in-laws considered your ancestors also

    • They are not your direct ancestors, but they are extended family by marriage. There have been cases where a husband or wife would offer tarpanam on behalf of their spouse’s ancestors. For instance, when their spouse’s own family is undergoing a lot of duress or conflict and they have tried the usual ways of resolving these issues but without much effect. Of course, if the spouse were to do tarpanam themselves, results would be even more effective. But I’ve seen cases where the other “half” steps in to intervene in a positive way, and this brings relief and happiness too.

  24. Hi Kathy, I have to start doing tarpanam, I like your method best to do in the shower every day, question what happens if I miss one day accidently or due to certain certain circumstances, and when doing tarpanam just let the rice and black saseme seeds go through shower drain? Being in shower I have nothing on so is it alright to do this ritual naked, last question do we have to be vegetarian all day after doing tarpanam?
    Please let me know so I can start this ritual soon as possible, my whole life seems to be falling apart and I am almost at the end of the rope.
    Thank you

    • Sufla,
      It takes guts to change our destiny, and discipline to build up a momentum to transform our life.
      Daily ritual in the shower is good. If you put the bottle with white rice flour and sesame seeds right in the shower rack, you won’t forget. The powder which is very fine, can run through shower drain. Naked is showing your original face! Just be sincere and whole-hearted. There is no strict stipulation about being vegetarian. Although a healthy and wholesome lifestyle and diet would help your body and nerves become more receptive to the sacredness and efficacy of this connect. Here are a couple videos you can watch, prepared by Astroved and Dr. Pillai, on how to do tarpanam at home. Darba grass is available on But first start with white rice flour and sesame seeds.

  25. Kathy, thank you much for prompt reply, one more question please, what is “arut peeum jyoti” do I say this daily.
    Thanking you in advance.

      [Pronounced: AR-RUT PEY-RUM JO-TEE]

      Chant this mantra: Arut Perum Jyoti

      When chanting, visualize grace as a vast light pouring down from heaven. The light comes down. It comes in through the top of your head. the vast grace light getting into every cell of the body. Feel the grace of God in every part of you.

      Arut means Intelligence. Intelligence is the grace of God. This chant and visualization reprogram your cells. As you continue the chant and visualization, Infinite Divine Intelligence starts to fill you.

  26. Hi, Sorry to be bothering you again, but then how else would I know? I started my tarpanam yesterday, I had mixed the black saseme seed and rice flour with water before I went in shower, I used some and left some for today, but the water turned all dark, should I just take saseme seed and rice flour in the shower and just mix water there? Do I do only one ritual for mom, dad and the ancestors or seperate ones for mom and seperate for dad and their family?
    Thank you, I really appreciate your assistance.

  27. Does the pitri tarpanam include to pretas?

    • Raul, when we make offering to the ancestors, in would include all those who have taken rebirth in all realms. So yes, the offering would apply to those who are still languishing in the 3 realms of unwholesome rebirth: animals, pretas (hungry ghosts) and hell-beings. Within our intent to relieve them of their thirst and hunger is that they will accrue merit and virtue from our regular offerings so they can gain better rebirth and be freed from suffering.

  28. Thank you Kathy. It is good to know.


  29. Hi Kathy, can you please tell me what is the significance of putting money along with white rice flour and black saseme seeds when doing tarpanam?
    I just started adding a coin to the offerings.
    Thank you for all your help and assistance.

    • The coin is symbolic of offering material wealth & resources to your ancestors in their various places of rehabilitation or rebirth.
      So they are not wanting in material things and wealth of any kind.

  30. For all who read this site: Since the time I have been doing pitri tarpanam I have obtained relief due to the relief that my ancestors have obtained, but I have noticed that it was only a temporary relief since my ancestors could not ascend to the light. I have asked myself what should be understood by the term “light”, and the first thing that I realized is that it is only a Western expression of spiritualist origin that alludes to a “sky” of very ambiguous character, similar to expressions like “beyond”, but the question was to know, according to Hinduism, where it was intended to send the ancestors. I discovered it through an article where it is taught that the ancestors who have not ascended are in fact found in the pitri loka but must ascend to the brahma loka. When I doubted this, considering that most teach very different things, various negative thoughts came to my mind, and ended when I returned to this teaching, that’s where I started to believe that this was right.
    So, when I returned to perform pitri tarpanam my intention was clear with respect to what “light” meant in the Hindu context, and for the first time my ancestors could ascend, and I enjoy progress without any hindrance, since it is no use satisfying a spirit that you should ascend but can not, because in this way this spirit will again be hungry, (and your problems will come again) for the only reason it is satisfied is to be able, having sated the things of this world, to rise to a world where not Have more hunger and thirst. Brahma loka is the spirit world, it is not the psychic world (the astral light of occultists), it is not the lowest part of the psychic world, which is to be understood by pitri loka.
    Sorcerers also tend to feed their dead, but only fatten them to work, do not try to raise them, and this causes them problems at some point. Do not believe that rituals of veneration for the dead of all kinds meet the highest possible purposes, in many cases they are only a form of necromancy, and nothing more.
    I do not pretend that they believe me, if you want to prove what I say, and you will see that it is certain by reason of the stable fruits that you will obtain. The article from which you get this, that the ancestors are in the pitri loka and should go to brahma loka, I do not put your web address here unless permission of the owner of this site.

    • Hi Raul, glad to hear it. But still, I am not clear on what is that you did apart from tarpanam that helped you. Did you mean the realization of where the ancestors really should go to?


  31. Hi Kathy and friends,
    I have a question and hope it’s ok to ask here.

    I have taken up Tarpanam and doing it three times a day (i intuited that I needed to use different “food” for different groups)

    First I always do my ancestors. I’m up to twelve generations unless rushed.

    Then I do the generations on my children’s father’s side.

    Thirdly I have a group of unrelated people I’ve chosen.

    My question is that sometimes I don’t feel things going on – is it still working? Surely I haven’t cleared so much that they no longer need the offering, so perhaps I’m feeling less because their vibration has changed?

    Would love to know your thoughts.


  32. Hi Kathy, I have been doing tarpanam for little over a year, at first when I began doing tarpanam, I use to experience seeing my parents in my dreams and at times felt their presence around me in the my home, sometimes I would just talk to them during their presence, but lately I dont have any dreams or felt their presence around me. Does this mean they have crossed over and are at peace? Or have I done something tht might have them turn far away from me? How will I know if they have reached to their destination. I just would like to do everything best for them.
    Thank you

    • Sufla, this is good news. It means your parents are crossed over and at peace. When our parents pass on, they might choose to appear to their children in dreams or vision, and they will convey the state of their situation–whether at peace, happy, or still wanting something. After the tarpanam starts to work, they gain the merit and cross over to another dimension, after which they don’t appear as often or not any more. Whereas a child might miss hearing from their parents, it is actually wise to let them go, so their souls can move on to their next phase of evolution. You should feel a sense of completion or peace. However, keep on your practice if you can! We have so many ancestors from our ancestral matrix…the tarpanam continues to accrue momentum for their general well-being on the other side. And when they are happy, they bless you and provide for you too. Below is timely info for your reference. You don’t have to order a tarpanam service from them, but their priests do a marvelous service. At any rate, just knowing more about the entire context would serve you.

    • So when doing tarpanam now do I invite them upon their names for offerings of saseme seeds and rice flower? Does the tarpanam still the same as before.
      Thanking you for all the assistance.

  33. Yes, you can call them in by their names. And you can also visualize a even larger soul community of sentient beings who were once your ancestors, because we are all connected. And now you are serving them as well. Tarpanam still as before.

  34. I have been told I have pitr dosha from past life and I do have all the symptoms in life to confirm that. Unfortunately I was told by someone that being a woman, I shouldn’t do tarpan.. I would like to do this simple remedy.. can I do it everyday and during my monthly cycle too? Please advise. Thanks so much

    • We all have one kind of karmic burden or another. Offering tarpanam is one effective way, although you could adopt remedies to placate the planets, etc. is a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary website that provides many free tools.
      Even the more traditional Chinese community used to believe women are impure and therefore less of a vessel to do pujas. But women are actually more intuitive and psychic…therein lies their power and vulnerability, both. I think the bottom line is RESPECT, with whatever ritual you do. This video gives very good instructions on how to do tarpanam at home. Don’t worry if you can’t get darbha grass. Just offer white rice powder mixed with black sesame seeds, a gold coin, and water. With Heart and deep respect.

  35. Kathy, I do not feel comfortable doing this in shower as traditionally bathrooms are not considered a clean place per Indian tradition. If I do Tarpanam in my living room, where should I discard the water? also I read someplace that we should not use utensils made of steel or glass for this? any thoughts about that please…

    • Deepak,
      If you don’t feel comfortable doing it in the shower Indian style, then don’t do it.
      I do tarpanam over my kitchen sink, so I can run the tap water over the white rice flour & sesame paste, and clean my hands at the same time. The shower idea is offered by my teacher Dr. Pillai, because many westerners have the habit of jumping in the shower first thing in the morning. So, as they bathe, they might as well be doing their first ritual of the day, and not forget!
      I store my tarpanam mixture in a small hard-plastic bottle, and top up regularly. I don’t see anything amiss with using sturdy glass bottle. Instead of laboring over these minor details, I think one would benefit more by bringing Heart and respect to honoring the ancestors. That’s the one and only theme here. If you are doing tarpanam with devotion, all of your other doubts melt away.

  36. Thanks for the wonderful blog ,


  1. Mahalaya Amavasya 2018 Youtube | Happy Diwali - […] Soul Genetics: Why should you honor your ancestors … – A year later, I did visit Kerala, and paid…

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