Thursday, February 9, 2012

Welcome, Great Grandson!

After identifying the "Five Milestones in LIFE", we embarked on a journey of life through "First and Second Milestones"  and  "The 1000th FULL Moon" (Click on the respective titles to read these three blogs).  After these three important stages, the fourth milestone of "Prapoutra Darshana" or "Arrival of Great Grandson" is due to be scaled now.  I am using the word scaling instead of crossing, deliberately.  The next two milestones are like going uphill and they are nothing short of scaling peaks of mountains.

This milestone "Prapoutra darshana" is different from the other four milestones and hence it is indeed special.  Why is it different and how is it special?  Some explanation is required to understand its specialty and specific significance of this milestone.  There are two basic reasons making this special and distinct.  First reason is the order of its occurrence.  Second reason is the practical difficulty in reaching it.

The other four identified milestones are arithmetical possibilities and occur at specific time intervals which is automatically  fixed at the time of the birth of the child itself.  When the child is born, for example say in February 2012, the four events occur in 2072 (60 years), 2082 (70 years), 2094 (82nd year) and 2112 (100th year).  Further, all these four milestones have to occur one after the other in the same order for everyone.  But "Prapoutra Darshana" or the arrival of "Great Grandson" may sneak in between any of them or it may never happen at all during the life time of a person even though he may live for 101 years.  If a person gets married very early and has a son, and the same continues for the son as well as grand son, great grandson may arrive even before the otherwise first milestone of 60 years!  Marriage at 18, a son at 19, grandson at 38 and a great grandson at 57 or 58 is a define probability, though it may not happen in the present day situation of late marriages where arrival of the grand son before the end of their life's journey itself is a doubtful case for many.  But this was a definite possibility in yesteryear.

I have myself seen five generations of women in one place in my childhood, when girls were married at 12 to 14 years, though five generations of men eluded me.  The photograph given alongside picked up from one of our family albums was taken in the year 1981.  This photograph shows five generation of women; from L to R: great great grandmother, great grand mother, grand mother and mother holding the daughter of one year plus.  I have heard from my father that he had indeed seen such cases of five generation of men during his lifetime.  This makes it not just prapoutra (great grandson) darshana, but prapoutrasya putra (grandson of grandson) darshana!

A reasonable good health and some luck would possibly ensure achievement of the other four milestones at 60, 70, 82 and 100 years.  It is somewhat like a individual event in Athletics or Tennis Singles matches.  The crossing of these four milestones depends on the person himself.  Arrival of great grandson is like a team game.  Having a child is reasonably in the hands of the couples themselves, except in rare exceptions for various reasons.  It is expected to happen in the normal course unless too much of control is imposed and natural happenings are deliberately avoided.  But having a grand child is not in the hands of the couple and it is the prerogative of the children.  Arrival of a great grandson depends on the grandchildren.  Thus this milestone can be crossed only when the team of three generation of couples desire and succeed in having at least a child.  The chain can be broken at any of the three levels rendering the crossing of the milestone impossible.

The first two issues of  order of occurrence and requirement of team work in achieving this distinction are  physical and realistic events and cannot be disputed.   There is a third and emotional dimension also attached to this.  This is a question of belief and applied logic.  Nobody knows for sure the existence of another world or life after death.  Atheists like Charvakas even say,  "Bhasmeebhootasya dehasya punaraagamanm kutaha?" meaning "How is it possible for a body burnt down to ashes coming back?".  But there are many shraddalu people (who believe in God and the next world as well as rebirth) who believe in one's kriya-karma after death.  Some of these people believe in pinda pradana, offerings to dead people by their successors like sons, grandsons, great grandsons etc.  Each dead person waits in the queue for proceeding to the next world and the living member of a family makes offering of pindas to his earlier three generations - father, grand father and great grand father - every year.  Thus there is a line of three generations waiting to be promoted and proceeding to heaven.   When the present son performing this kriya dies, he joins the queue and his great grand father who is at the top of the queue is released from waiting and proceeds to heaven.  For this purpose, a special ritual called "Sapindeekarana" is performed on the 12th day from death of a person.  During this ritual the three pindsa for the elders is prepared and a long pinda in the shape of cucumber is prepared for the son who has recently died.  The cucumber pinda is trifurcated and merged with the other three and the eldest is given "Swarga Patheya",  a packet of items for use during his further journey to heaven.  Birth of a "Prapoutra" means the great grand father is able to see,  in physical form and during his life time, the one who will ultimately ensure his own release from the queue  in due course, through his son.  This whole concept may look absurd for those who do not believe in this theory, but for shraddalu people this is ultimate success of their life.

As far as the function itself is concerned, the rituals are almost the same except for the small addition of mention of the arrival of great grandson at appropriate situations.  Deities are invoked in kalashas and pooja offered as in other functions mentioned earlier.  The holy water is sprinkled on the great grand father using a sieve to protect gold items from being washed away or misplaced.  The sprinkling is done with the newly arrived great grandson in the lead.  It is advisable to wait for two or three years after the birth of the child to enable the child to actively participate in the sprinkling part to enhance the happiness of the occasion.  If, however, the health of the great grandfather is a cause of concern, the function can be conducted even earlier.

This brings us to the last milestone; the one of the "Centenary Man".  I have not lived for 100 years.  Not yet.  Hence I cannot celebrate the event.  But this is my 100th blog post.  Crossing this milestone of 100 blog posts allows me the privilege of a blog post on "Centenary Men" as the 101st.  After all, 100 blog posts in 150 days gives a strike rate of 66.66 which is better than that of the "Wall".


  1. Excellent write ups. Keep it going.
    Congratulations on the completion of 100 blogs.

  2. Nice article Congratulations for the 100th Blog of yours.Great

  3. Congratulations on the century! Looking forward to many other centuries....

  4. You have covered many things some of which I have observed.
    Congratulations for completing the 100th blog. I am sure
    I will read many many more blogs of yours during my time.

  5. Dear Keshavamurthy, I love to read your articles. You must have gained this wisdom by sustained interest. Writing 100 blogs is only a proof of your consistant belief in quality thinking. What you have written about is the legnth of life. What you have lived is the quality of life. Keep it up. Regards: Satish Kalra

  6. Congratulations on your 100th blogpost! Keep writing!

  7. Congratulations! for completing 100, wish you complete 100x100, soon.

  8. I remember one incident my grandmother used to tell me. My Dodappa and my ajji's sister (his chikamma) were almost same age; infact Rathna aunty was some months younger to him and my great grand-mother used to shoo them away when they were playing mane aata :)
    i dont know if we can call this generation gap......
    It is really nice to see you writing a lot these days; i remember the stories you used to write when you were posted in Mysore; Congrats on the 100th blog. All the best

  9. Congratulatons on your 100th blogpost! Keep writing!
    Smt. Parvathamma is my grand mother and I am so happy to see that archive photograph, where five generations are seen together.

    Rama Mohan, V C

  10. congratulations....


  11. Congratulations on your 100 plus blogs.. A query to be answered what is Prapotra santhi? Why this santhi is performed? When this santhi needs to be performed? What are the rituals and philosophical benefits in ones life ?

  12. Congrats on ur 100 plus blogs , have a query to be cleared ? What is called yo be Prapotra shanthi ? Why it has to be conducted? What s the right time to conduct this shanthi ? What are its ritual and philosophical benefits to a persons life.

  13. Thank you Keshavamurthy sir. Wonderful narration once again. We had the privilege of celebrating Kanakabhisheka for My mother Smt.Sharadamma (92+)during the 1st birth day of her great grand son. Also my mother has her great great grand son (through her daughter lineage) and I trying to collect that photograph. Once again thanks for all the info.Lakshminarayana K