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Hindu Prayer to Worship the Ancestors

Hindus believe that a quicker, better rebirth for their ancestors can be achieved by suitable rites and pilgrimages. The following prayer is an instruction on how to ease the woes of ancestors, relatives or former friends who have died in years past.

Said the God Brahma: 

"The city of Gaya is a sacred sanctuary. ...A man, by simply making a pilgrimage to Gaya, stands absolved from all debts due by him to his forefathers. ... 

"By passing through the hill crevice or the natural tunnel known as the Brahma- Yoni, with his mind absorbed in the contemplation of his forefathers, a man is exempted for good from the trouble of passing through the uterine canal of any woman in the shape of a child. 

Libations of water, offered by a man to his departed spirits at the shrine of Kakajangha, give them infinite and perpetual satisfaction. ... 

"Having performed a ceremonial ablution. ..the pilgrim should offer obsequious cakes to his departed spirits at the sanctuary of the hill of spirits and invoke them as follows: 

" 'On the blades of Kusa grass extended in my front, and with this libation of water containing sesamum, I invoke the presence of the souls of those who have been born in my family and subsequently died without any means of succor from the shades of the infernal region.

I offer these obsequious cakes for the liberation of those spirits who have once been born in flesh in the family of my father or mother. ...

I offer this obsequious cake for the liberation of those spirits who have been kept confined within the dark walls of the hells known as the Raurava and the Kalasutra.

I offer this obsequious cake for the liberation of those spirits who are at present doomed to the tortures of those divisions of hell which are known as the Kumbhipaka [hell of whirling eddies] and Asipatra Vanam [forest of sword blades]. 

I offer this obsequious cake for the liberation of spirits who are tortured in other quarters of hell. 

I offer this obsequious cake for the emancipation of those spirits who have been reincarnated as serpents, birds, or other lower animals, or have been consigned to the voiceless agonies of vegetable life. ...

I offer this obsequious cake for the elevation of those spirits in the astral plane who, for their countless misdeeds in successive rebirths, and through the workings of the propulsions of ignoble passions turned into dynamics of fate, are perpetually getting down in the graduated scale of life, and to whom a working upward to the plane of human existence has become a thing of rarest impossibility. ... 

" 'May the gods and Brahma and Isana, in particular , bear testimony to the fact that I have come to Gaya, and effected the liberation of my fathers from the confines of the nether world.' " 

Garuda Purana, 83-85 

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