--> Skip to main content

Tarpana Ritual To Hindu Gods And Goddesses In Hinduism

Tarpana is a ritual offering to gods and goddesses and sages in Hindu religion. Tarpana is a Sanskrit word derived from the root ‘trp’ (to please). Tarpana is an anga (subsidiary activity) in a nitya or naimittika (main act). The nature of nitya decides the practical performance of tarpana.

In religious parlance, it means an offering of water or milk or wine to the deity or sage with sesame and other items. Nityatarpana is offered at the time of taking a daily bath, performance of Brahma Yajna by a Brahmin (twice born), following Vedic ritualistic practices. The reference to tarpana is found in the earliest works of Dharmashastras by Gautama, Bodhayana and Manu.

Sacred mantras are recited at the time of tarpana. Tarpana is offered by mentioning specific names of the persons or groups of persons to whom it is addressed, e.g., ‘I offer this tarpana to the stage Kahola’; ‘I offer this tarpana for my grandfather, who belongs to this gotra (lineage)’. The suffix sarman (males) and devi (females) is added to the names in the Tantras where tarpana is done with milk, wine or blood of prescribed animals. Blood is used especially by practitioners of Tantra.

The authority to offer tarpana is generally denied for a jeevat pitrika (person whose father is alive). As for the jalatarpana (offering with water), there is no restriction. Tarpana is made on specific occasions like amavasya (new moon) and eclipse, and at special places like the oceans and confluence of rivers.

Generally, only the right hand is used for tarpana. In tantric rites, the left hand is used. In some vratas (observances of austerities), tarpana is where water is poured from the conch over the leaves of tulasi (basil), held along the flow of water. The position of yajnopavita in tarpana is decided by the recipient.