Author Topic: Ramana Maharshi About Performing Annual Ceremonies For the Dead  (Read 1421 times)


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A visitor introduced by T.S.R. asked Bhagavan whether by doing annual ceremonies, etc., to the dead, we can confer any benefit on them.

To this Bhagavan replied, “Yes. It all depends on one’s belief.”

Mr. Somasundaram Pillai’s version of the above question and answer is given below:

Question: If such rites as the annual ceremony performed by descendants are able to do away with the karma of the dead, it seems to strike at the root of the theory of karma. For then a man may escape the evil consequences of his bad acts through the help of the rites performed by his sons, etc.

Answer: Such rites only help the deceased to a small extent.It is on the same principle that prayaschittam and good deeds are said to mitigate the evil consequences of one’s bad actions.

After the visitor went away Devaraja Mudaliar asked Bhagavan, “Till three years ago, I was under the impression that doing annual ceremonies to the dead would confer benefit on them so long as they are not reborn.”

Bhagavan intervened with the remark,“They will receive benefit though they are reborn several times and there is an agency to look after all this. Of course,Jnana marga does not say all this.”

After a while I said,“Bhagavan used to say that if one believes in the existence of this world, one should also believe in the existence of other worlds.”

Bhagavan said that it was so.

Devaraja Mudaliar asked, “The jnani transcends all stages and he is not bound by any karma (vidhi or nisheda). The ajnani should do his own dharma prescribed by sastras till he gets jnana. But while he is attempting to reach jnana, will he be held responsible for the consequences of not doing the ordinary karma or will he be presumed to have done all this karma, just as a person reading in a higher class is presumed to have finished the lower classes?”

Bhagavan said, “It depends on the superiority of the path one pursues. Unless a person has finished (in this or previous births) the other paths, he will not pursue the jnana path; and he need not bother himself that he has not done the various karmas prescribed by sastras.

But he should not wilfully(head-strongly) transgress the sastraic injunctions by doing things prohibited by them.”



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Re: Ramana Maharshi About Performing Annual Ceremonies For the Dead
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2010, 10:37:12 AM »

Dear prasanth,

Yes.  Very many devotees either from Tiruvannamalai or from other
towns had taken permission to go away and come back after two or three days for the purpose of annual ceremonies to their parents.
In case of Muruganar, however, since Bhagavan Ramana had felt that
there was no such thing required by him, since he had crossed those
paths of household duties, once remarked, when Muruganar brought
one big jack fruit to the Asramam.

"O You have brought a jack fruit as offering to devotees, who are sitting for lunch in memory of your mother!  Have you still not left
those rituals?"   

"During the earlier year, to same Muruganar, He said:  "So, you
want to perform ceremonies for your mother!  You want to two
Brahmins. I am one brahmin.  The other, oh, there is Subbaramiah!
You can do the ceremonies now."    Muruganar looked at Him and
then understood that he had graduated from all these rituals!

The Jack fruit incident perhaps happened next year.

Arunachala Siva.