Tuesday, May 12, 2015

' Bali Tharpanam '

The tributes that which the Hindus give for the departed souls of their relatives is called 'Bali Tharpanam' or 'Bali'.The Malayalam word 'Bali' was used for the ancient practice of animal sacrifice which used to be  performed in some Bhadrakali Devi  temples but this 'Bali' is entirely different.
In Kerala when a person dies,from the following day after cremation the close relative has to perform Bali.This ritual has to be done in the early morning before 11'O clock and Bali has to be  continued for 11,12 ,16 or 17 days as per the tradition of different sectors of Hindus.This is performed intending for the departed soul to be raised to the eternal world.Hindus believe that if the death rites are not properly done the soul of the departed person will wander here on the earth and they will curse their relatives.So for these 16 days 'Bali' is done expecting the departed soul be raised to the heavens. 
Most of the Hindus   cremate  the dead body by burning it on a pyre and in Kerala mostly mango tree logs are used for this purpose.Some of the ash with certain  small bone fragments are collected along with it  in an earthen pot.This pot with the contents will be immersed in river,pond or sea usually after keeping it in a protected place outside the house for a few days.Some people keep that pot in their premises under the soil for ever and light an oil lamp in the evenings at that spot every day.Some people immerse the funeral ash in waters of some holy places like 'Thiruvallam at Thiruvananthapuram,Thirunelli in Wayanad,Thirunavaya,Thirumullavaram in Kollam,Varkala Papanasam etc with  expectation of getting  salvation for the dear departed ones.Some people take it to the holy  river Ganges and immerse the ash in it .
The elder son of the departed person is the most ideal one to perform 'Bali Tharpanam'.In his absence any other children including females  can perform this ritual.If the person was childless adopted children or   any close relative can do it.One who performs the Bali has to keep his/her  body and mind pure.He/she  should keep away from all kinds of entertainment activities.Only vegetarian food has to be taken and such observances  has to be taken for those days.
Every day morning after taking bath he/she has to prepare some rice outside the house in the lawn.A handful of rice is kept on a plantain leaf supposing it as the food for the departed soul.A herb known as 'Bali Karuka' ( 'Bali Pushpam') is generally used instead of flowers and put on the leaf .Sandalwood paste,water,milk,til etc are added in small quantities, all this time praying for the departed souls and praying to the Gods to safeguard them.The contents of the plantain leaf is thrown to river or pond or given for the crow to eat.
It is believed that one year of the humans is one day for the celestial beings 'Devas'.So the departed soul that lives in the eternal abode will be satisfied if we give them food once in an year.For them it is like getting food every day.So on the death day of the person 'Bali Tharpanam' is performed there after.
There is a belief that  the new moon day in the Malayalam month of 'Karkadakam' is very auspicious to perform Bali and usually on this day most of the people perform Bali intending for  all the departed people of their family.This day is known as 'Karkadaka Vavu'.A handful of boiled rice and some prayers if make them all  happy and in turn bless the family, the living relatives of the departed souls   have the obligation to perform this easy ritual.
The departed souls are called as 'Pithru' and if they become unhappy and curse the relatives it is called as 'Pithru Sapam' which is said to adversely affect the members of the family for their betterment in many ways.
In the Bali ritual the performer takes out a thread from his cloth which he/she  wear at the time of 'Bali Tharpanam' and place it on the plantain leaf uttering the words 'Vasthram Samarpayami'(Here I am providing you  clothes).By all these acts the person who performs the Bali symbolically reveals their love,affection and remembrance for the departed soul and the readiness to provide all their needs to be happy.The departed souls and the Gods will bless the performer and the family is the belief.New moon day in the Malayalam month of 'Thulam' is another auspicious day to perform Bali for all the departed souls.Forefathers  up to 21  generation would become happy and bless the performer is the belief if Bali is performed on Karkadakam Vavu day.
For 'Karkadaka Vavu Bali' there will be heavy rush at places like Thiruvallam,Shankumukham beach at Thiruvananthapuram, Aruvikkara in Thiruvananthapuram,Varkala,Aruvippuram,Aluva Manappuram,Thirumullavaram,Thirunavaya,Payyambalam Sea shore,Thiruvilwamala,Kozhikode Sea Shore etc.
'Bali Tharpanam' provides a feeling as if the departed ones are still around with their support as well as affection  and  they are also

 happy.These obsequies also help the performer to move along the guidelines taught by them earlier  and move towards success goals not feeling alone.    

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