Tarpana is the process of gratifying your ancestor. There is a law of nature known as the Bija Vrksha Nyaya, the "Law of Seed and Tree". Your seeds are your genes and chromosomes, the essence of your genes and chromosomes, the essence of your parents germ plasm. You are the tree, the product of those seeds. Half your genes come from one parent and half from the other. No matter how far you try to distance yourself from your parents, in space, time or interaction, your genes and their genes are identical, and they resonate with your emotions, no matter how far distant you may be from them, thanks to this fundamental identity. This explains why a certain telepathic communication can sometimes exist between parent and child.
Because your parents' genes originated in your grandparents your emotions will be influenced by their emotions, and by the emotions of your great-grand-parents, and so on, back at least seven generations. Even though most of your ancestors are already dead, the subtle effects of their personalities remain in your genetic environment and continue to affect you. Homeopathic medicine discusses miasmas, inherited weaknesses that are passed down from generation to generation in a family. These inherited weakness are referred in Sanskrit as "Kutumba Dosha", "fault in the family". Ayurveda rejuvenation works on the physical manifestations of these faults. Tarpana works more deeply, reducing the emotional charges that have accumulated in you as a result of your forebears' activities.
Suppose one of your ancestors was overly fond of eating, so fond that he or she fantasized about food all day long. All cravings are forms of energy, which are broadcast into the ether with every thought. Some of these thoughts will be rational and sensible, but many will be obsessive. You, who are permanently tuned to your ancestor' wavelengths, automatically receive these subtle broadcasts, which will induce you to become obsessive about food if you are susceptible to them.
Anyone who is really obsessive about food is likely to be thinking of food at the moment of death. This final broadcast message is more powerful than all those that went before, transmitted as it is with all the anguish of an unfulfilled desire. Because of the power behind this desire, and the fact that the individual organism whose rational mind could partly negate it no longer exists, this last wish affects you much more powerfully than any living wishes can.
Tarpana enables you to negate these desires. Once they are gone, the pressure on your genes to make you obsessive about food eases. Then, you can alter your diet and habits to induce other of your genes to begin to function, which can transform your emotional climate. As long as these unseen influences continue to affect you no amount of diet or routine can ever eliminate them entirely, because diet and routine do not strike at their source. 99% of human and chimpanzee genes are identical; the evident differences between our two spices arise some of these genes are expressed more than others are. You are your own creator, ceaselessly creating yourself from your own genes with the help of your physical and mental food and habits.
The traditional ritual of Tarpana is complex, but its essence is simple. it is much like like the Christian All soul's Day tradition, when people visit their relatives in the cemetery. In preparation for Tarpana consider what one food item your parent or grandparent was fondest of. Maybe it is the apple strudel your grand-mother used to bake, or the ale your father used to drink. That food will act as a vehicle for your emotion.
If convenient visit the bank of river or other body of water; if not, sit comfortably in your home, facing south. Visualize your dead ancestors, one by one, as far back as you can remember. Make each one sit in front of you. tell them you want to help release them from any residual earthly desires they might have, then offer them a spoonful of water, a spoonful of milk, and a spoonful of sesame seeds (Preferably the black variety). These offerings are the same for everyone.
Then offer a little of the special item, with the heartfelt wish that this will satisfy any residual cravings and allow that individual, wherever he or she may be, to continue progressing integration and clarity. Once you have addressed all your ancestors in turn, request them to return whence they came. Then feed the food you have offered to them to an animal, or put it into flowing water (not a drainage ditch!). It is good to repeat this process annually, preferably on the same day each year. The best days for Tarpana are "New Moon Days" especially those that fall in September.
You need not even believe in reincarnation, or even life after death, to perform Tarpana. Your parents and grandparents are still alive inside you, in your genes. You are simply projecting a part of your personality, contacting it, and requesting it to be pleased with you and to relinquish any inappropriate influence it may have over you. This visualization releases you from any unhealthy psychological habits you may have as a result of the influences of these previous beings who also shared your genes, and of the images you have of those beings.
You need not even be related by blood to the people for whom you perform Tarpana. Anyone who you took as part of your family, anyone who has contributed significantly to the growth of your personality, is someone whom you can remember. have they stopped belonging to your family simply because they are deaad? No, they are still part of you, and you should remind them of the fact that they continue to be loved.
Tarpana is especially important for people you knew personally. If you really loved them you can continue to show them your love in the only physical way that remains to you; by remembering them and offering part of yourself to them as a token of your love. If your relationship with these ancestors was marred by negative emotions, Tarpana allows you to forgive them, to purify those relationships by sacrificing your negativity and offering the healing power of your love. Thankfulness for the genes which have given you life, and forgiveness for those genes which have limited your existence, transport the sacrifice to its intended target.
This article is taken from the text "PRAKRITI" BY DR. ROBERT E.SVOBODA