Mystic Mantra: Soul purpose

Life is a continuous journey of the soul, which changes form with every subsequent birth

Propitiating the ancestors, or pitri yagya, is one of the panch mahayagyas prescribed for a human being. The other four yagyas include brahm yagya (study of scriptures), dev yagya (making offerings to devas by the medium of fire), manushya yagya (feeding fellow human beings) and bhuta-yagya (feeding all living creatures).

In earlier times, people would propitiate their deceased fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers by performing acts of charity in their name and chanting specific mantras. Our ancestors were well aware of the continuous nature of life and birth and what a soul goes through during the transition from one birth to the next. Vedic Indians performed the rites of shradh, while the ancient Egyptians embalmed bodies and stored food and supplies in the pyramids for their final journey.

Life is a continuous journey of the soul, which changes form with every subsequent birth. The form could be that of a human, an animal, or even a deva. Depending on one’s karma (actions), one gets the yoni (level of existence) and lok (dimension of existence). Pitri lok is a dimension between the swarg lok and prithvi lok where souls of ancestors (last three generations) reside in a bodyless existence. These ancestors depend on their children to perform the tasks left unfinished by them to aid their release.

Shradh is an important part of our culture and caters to the needs of our ancestors, by helping them in the journey forward. It is believed that the alignment of constellations during these 15 days — starting from the purnima (full moon) of the month of bhadrapad till amavasya (no moon night) of ashvin month — is such that the gateways to other dimensions open and our ancestors are allowed to visit the earth to meet their near and dear ones.

Yogi Ashwini, the guiding light of Dhyan Foundation, is an authority on yoga, tantra and the Vedic sciences. His recent book is Sanatan Kriya, The Ageless Dimension. Contact him at

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