The Time of the Ancestors

पितृपक्ष

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Lesson 15

Pitṛpakṣa Practice Day 14: Practice with Family

Only three more days left – and what an abundance of practices we have explored already! Have you found a particular practice or two that you keep returning to each day, or are you exploring a new practice each day? Either is fine – because even with all the guidelines, there is still quite a lot of freedom in what, how, and when you practice.

As we practice, we naturally become aware of the bigger picture – of our interconnectedness to all things; of the vastness of time and space; and of the beautiful, powerful, majestic energies that make up this world.

However, just because we expand our vision doesn’t mean we always look at the big, universal picture. In fact, the tradition perpetually redirects us to the seemingly small and ordinary and invites us to recognize the greatness within that. For example, we take huge cosmic powers and represent them with small statues made from clay and stone!

Why is this relevant? Well, in doing all this work for our relations who have passed, and all of our spiritual forefathers, and all the trees, and the birds, and the poor people, and the temples, etc, etc, we might lose awareness of the closest relations of all: our family.

The ancestors are primarily responsible for holding us and our families together. They are the invisible energies holding our families together – making sure couples meet and fall in love; making sure we find the right work and have enough money; making sure we have good health and close ties to our loved ones. They eternally protect and bless their bloodlines.

If you’ve had children, you know how good it feels when your kids hang out together and do good things. If you have parents or grandparents, you know much it means to them when everyone is able to get together and pray, eat, or enjoy together. The ancestors get really, really, REALLY happy when their families are united and aligned with dharma.

The suggested practice for today is to practice WITH your family:

-Spend time with your family, and perform spiritual practices together (of your choice, or from all the suggested practices in this course). For example, you might all decide to feed the birds or to reflect on your ancestral strengths together. You can also join together to dedicate the merits/fruits of your practice to your shared ancestors.

-Pray to your ancestors for help in facilitating the healing of family wounds. Pitṛpakṣa is a tender time but ideal for transforming all our deep family karma. Remember that the veil between realms is thin and your prayers to the ancestors are more easily heard.

-If you have lost touch with members of your family, this is a beneficial time to reconnect. If you are feeling unsure or resistant, you can pray to the ancestors from inside your heart for support, protection, and guidance.

-Visit your ancestral home with your family. It is also very auspicious to perform spiritual practices there, and all together if possible. It is common still for families to get together at the ancestral home or temple to perform Pitṛpakṣa pūjā together, especially on the day marking their shared ancestor’s death (for example a parent or a grandparent).

-Teach the children in your family sacred practices and have them also join in Pitṛpakṣa practices. It’s great if all the generations (oldest and youngest) can connect and practice together. If possible, try to have the elders share stories of their ancestors with the youngers ones. This helps forge a strong bond with their roots, and it also creates an open energetic channel in life that will continue to support them, even as they grow old.

If you have any questions, or want to share your experience, you can do so by emailing us at admin@livingsanskrit.com.

Teacher: Shivani Hawkins

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