As we know, I give much importance to these karmas, Sandhya, Kula devata (family deity) worship and Pitru karmas. (We will devote a separate blog for the others, too).
The need for writing about pitru karmas now is, just two days ago a boy from Tamilnadu, who had lost his father had come to meet me. His father had taken sannyasa, just two years ago and now recently left his mortal coil. He was a very earnest disciple, even in his old age, stayed alone outside of the village, and had for his company my lectures (his own words). According to his very early wish of leaving his body in Ganges, his son brought the body to Rishikesh.
If I was asked, my answer would have been a NO. Once we leave the body, and that too after sannyasa, there is no need for all these DRAMA. (Whatever convenient arrangement possible locally, is good enough). Since he had already decided and had made arrangements with people for immersing it in Ganga, called Jala Samadhi, I conceded.
After the karmas, in the evening he came to meet me, I told about the importance of the Karmas, which needs to be performed, even for the sannyasi father.
Now, if one of the parents is no-more, it is the duty of the son to perform not only the last rites but also the pitru karmas, as done in one’s family. Normally, in the Brahmins household it is performed for thirteen days, and only after performing the thirteenth day karma, is that family eligible to visit the temple, until then it is accepted as impure period.
But, here the father has taken sannyasa, where he has given up all the attachments to the karmas, therefore there is no need for performing any karmas, is the perception of many a people, which is wrong. Because, it is correct that the person’s father had taken sannyasa, but not the son. Therefore, it should be performed. And not just that, the pitru karma that one starts is not only for the father, it also is for the three forefathers in the lineage, namely, father, grandfather-grandmother, great-grandfather-grandmother. They should not be deprived of the food and water, that one provides in the pitru karma, and in-turn receive their blessings.
There are some Ashrams which does these karmas, receiving money as corpus. But the best I have seen in this is the Madhya Kailash Temple in Chennai, they receive money for some years, don’t know how long, and perform it very properly.
Smart Mauni speaks “according to IPC (Indian Personal Conduct and not Indian Penal Code) Ancestors Action 2 (Pitru Karma, where Action 1 is for Devata and 3 for this Loka and where the other IPC has its jurisdiction) everyone should perform this Karmas in accordance with their tradition”.