As more and more joint families give way to nuclear families, many of the time-tested traditions and rituals in Tam Brahmin families are also at the risk of getting diluted. Sons and daughters moving to foreign countries for job/ higher education is a common trend now. Parents get older, feel debilitated, suffer from loneliness pangs and lose the drive to do a venkatachalapathy samaradanai or sumangali prarthanai or kula deiva pooja. Then they face issues in lives which make them scurrying around…
Nothing can be more painful for parents to see their children suffering from any ailment or their married children unable to give them the pleasure of playing with their grandchildren. There is no readymade solution to this – however following the rituals of ancestors can, to a great extent, redeem us of the guilt that we are besieged with when we ignore customs and traditions.
Here is an extract from a real life experience of a devotee when he interacted with Kanchi Maha periyava:
1. Deities and temples are there in all cities, towns and villages across India. Then what is so special about kula deivam?
2. There are so many hotels and resorts all around – but why is our home so special to us?
3. Why is it that we are unable to forget our ancestral homes in our village?
4. What is it that pulls us towards our village where we were born and grew up before employment opportunities from elsewhere beckoned us?
When a girl gets married into our families, there is a change in her “gothram”. Children are born, raised and married off and then the vamsavriddhi continues. Kula-deiva pooja enables this “vamsavriddhi”. This has been the practice in our communities. Most of us do not know the names of our grandmothers and great grandmothers and their husbands.
There may be people who have done a lot of good and there may be people who have committed many sins. But when they all propitiate the kula deivam, there is a great amount of synergy. The negatives get balanced out by positives. It is as though we are joining a queue where our ancestors have already stood. So, when we do the kula deiva pooja, it is a given that our ancestors and forefathers and their blessings would be there to guide us. If kula deivam is pleased with us, we will be blessed with what we want – good health, prosperity, abundance of peace and positive energy.
Praying to all other gods except kula deivam is like keeping your parents in the old age home and doing social service for senior citizens.
Today, temple priests are quite savvy and digitally enabled. They are accessible on Whatsapp and can reach the temple on time thanks to their driving skills. Priests in rural areas, often, are simple people still unpolluted by urban air that is filled with avariciousness. Yet they also have access to digital media which is indeed a great blessing.
Even those suffering from ailments and unable to physically go to their ancestral villages can still be in touch with their kuladeivams. They can send their contributions to archanai/ abhisekams. They must insist that their children (whichever location they are in) to visit the kula deiva temples and do whatever is needed.
Our ancestors and forefathers are long gone. There is no way we can meet them in person. But we can stay connected with them through our rituals and kula deiva poojas which they themselves had conducted.