Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer Austerity

On Sunday we performed the final last rites ceremony, or tarpan, for Purandar Acharya prabhu's father. Usually, tarpan is celebrated exactly one year after the first shraddha ceremony; the begrieved are obligated to perform tarpan before they can celebrate any joyful rites or rituals in the family. Sundar Gopal prabhu flew in to town to perform the fire sacrifice, but the entire occasion took approximately two weeks' preparation. We had to collect and prepare all the items: ritual paraphernalia, offerings, and ingredients for the concluding pizza party.
Initially we decided that, since it is a private family ritual, we would only invite close friends or relatives. Word spread about the pizza party, however, and many uninvited guests showed up unexpectedly. It must have been Sri Kṛṣṇa's arrangement because some invited guests weren't able to attend. We ended up hosting a much larger party than we planned; more vaisnavara were received and served pizza prasadam.
The fire sacrifice was beautiful; I was very happy and relieved to perform this ritual finally. It signifies that we (extended family) are no longer in mourning, and that we can observe joyful festivals now.  We will have to wait approximately three months before we can do any celebratory samskars due to chaturmas, but hopefully we will have good news to announce soon. I don't want to jinx it so I wait until we are certain.
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