Monday, April 6, 2015

Carpe Diem #701, Ancestors

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This episode will be not an easy one, because of the idea that there is no afterlife as is told in the Bhagavad Gita. Why afterlife is mentioned here? I will try to explain that.
One of the rules which were given to the world on mount Sinai, the ten commandments, says honor your father and your mother. Is that also meant for worshiping them after they have died? This episode is about ancestors, who we need to cherish, because they were once the seed from which we grew.

It's very common around the globe to worship your ancestors, we have to praise them for all they have done for you ... They have made you who you are now, but what tells the Bhagavad Gita us about this ancestor-worship? Let us take a look at one of the 'verses' in Chapter 9 "The Yoga of The Kingly Science & The Kingly Secret" in 'verse' 25 Lord Krishna says: "The worshipers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshipers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshipers; My devotees come to Me".

In this we can read that ancestors have to be cherished in your thoughts, but not to be worshiped, because they (the ancestor-worshipers) will go to the manes, the shadow world between life and death, they will never inherited the heavens, or Atman.

This looks very similar with the commandment "to honor your father and mother", when they have left this temporarily life the will inherit Heaven, but we have to honor them always.

What does this tell us? As I stated in our for last episode, hypothetically seen, Christianity has grown, evolved from Hinduism. There are so much similarities .... but that's not for me to say ... scholars will say that and they surely will research it.

Credits: Ancestor Worship

There is a wonderful haiku composed by Issa about worshiping ancestors, the Japanese are very much into ancestor worship they even have a festival for it "O-Bon". The haiku which I love to share here is the following:

tama-dana ni kanarazu kaze no fuku to iu

on the ancestors' altar
without fail
a lucky wind blows 

© Issa

This haiku refers to the O-Bon festival which you can see as similar with our Western "All Souls Night" (Halloween) ... "All Souls Night" is a celebration of the ancestors, of the loved ones with have lost .... in a way .... this western celebration can be seen as ancestor-worship ... and it's based on the Biblical commandment "honor your father and your mother".

Ancestors we cannot live without them, because without them we didn't exist at all. So ... unlike what Lord Krishna says in the above mentioned verse from the Bhagavad Gita ... ancestor worshipers don't go to the shadows between life and death. To worship your ancestors is part of our life ... I can say that I do honor my ancestors, not in a way of worship, but in the way of cherish their memories who are close to my heart.

on the credenza
the images of ancestors
lighted by a candle

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until April 9th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our next episode, a new Ghost Writer post, later on.


  1. I like the added candle to the ancestors' images- the glow sending prayers for them upward.

  2. we carry them forward - it is an honor!