By Yogi Baba Prem Th.D, Yogacharya, Veda Visharada
Sitting among the Native American cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde in the southwest U.S., my mind drifts back to another time; a time that many consider an ancient period for humanity though only a few thousand years ago. While it is fascinating to see the their homes, as I imagine the activities of these ancient people, something more deep, more primal, something deeply personal arises within my mind—thoughts of the ancestors. At night, I can look to the sky and see the same stars that our ancestors gazed upon. There is a connection through this process, a deep psychological connection that unites the past and present, they seem to merge together briefly within the mind.
Regrettably, very few people give much thought to the ancestors in this day and age. A few cultures, rooted in ancient traditions, are attempting to hold onto an honoring of the ancestors, but as western values, consumerism and ideology sweeps the global consciousness, these teachings are becoming lost and rarely understood. Many people are surprised to know that Yoga and its mother Hinduism has a deep and well established tradition of honoring the ancestors. In fact, Yoga/Hinduism is one of the few major traditions surviving to this day that still favors honoring one’s ancestors. While it is somewhat understandable as to why the modern mind would ask the question, ‘what is the value of honoring the ancestors?’ In reality, the answer to this question is found within oneself.
In the current age, we like to think of this as the age of individuals. As an individual, we are somehow unique. And, as an individual we believe we are somehow removed from our ancestral past. Yet, a segment of the western population seeks to self identify with their ancestral roots, as some are seeking to reestablish a link with the past as a way of deepening self identification and acknowledging their roots, so to speak. No doubt this is the result of having lost a sense of connection with the past for many. This is evident through websites that allow one to search their ancestry, and even DNA tests are now available to provide insight into ones ancestral roots. Seeking one’s roots is in a sense a subconscious need to reconnect with ones past, or at least a subconscious recognition that our unique qualities are an amalgamation of our ancestors. In reality, we are a walking record of our ancestors. We are a monument to their achievements, challenges, victories and defeats. We are shaped by their thoughts, hopes and dreams influenced by our own karmas that are combined with our own hopes and dreams in which we shape future generations. Of course all of this is recorded in our DNA-the library of the human journey. While it is true that we are individuals, one must recognize that we are also influenced and shaped by over 200,000 years of human growth and development.
While numerous cultures have historically honored the ancestors, it is within the yoga/Hindu tradition that we find the remnants of a highly evolved understanding of ancient DNA. It was understood by the yogi’s that the actions of pervious members of one’s family could and would easily carry forward to future generations. References to this appear, to varying degrees, within a variety of different religious teachings, of course the nomenclature is different from that of modern day. Our modern day application to this concept of ancestors would be the term genetics. Science recognizes that we carry genetic dispositions toward various diseases such as alcoholism and cancer as an example. We carry much of the data of actions of our ancestors. For this purpose, ancient people(s) recognized the importance of honoring the ancestors as an important form of healing, empowerment and for mental and physical growth and transformation. While we may carry the DNA from our ancestors, its manifestation is shaped by our personal karma and choices. But there are generational karmas that we often incarnate into as well. These can be powerful karmas that are linked to compulsions and behaviors that are not easily explained by social conditioning. Working with the ancestors has been a powerful tool for ancient people in attempting to address these issues. Though few know this ancient system of healing now or practice it; there are powerful systems of healing found within yoga/Hinduism that focus heavily upon work with the ancestors. These forms of healing can be an important part of a wellness program and personal healing program as well. But this is a two-fold process, we do not merely wish to heal past events recorded within ones DNA, we want to heal within this incarnation and then project forward for future generations. This concept permeates the yoga/Hindu traditions. As there are techniques for projecting positive vibrations to future generations, and one might ask, ‘who will be these future generations?’ Why they are you, and others, that reincarnate as the future generations. As we find in the Rig Veda:
ā ta etu mana punah kratve dakshāya jīvase,
Jyok ca sūryam drishe. Rig Veda 10.4.57.4
“May your spirit return again, to perform pure acts for exercising strength, and to live long to see Surya [the sun].
Or as we see in the Yajur Veda:
savitā te shridebhyah prthivyām lokamicchatu,
tasmai yujyantAmustriyāh. Yajur Veda 35.2 (Shukla)
“Savita [The Sun God] grants bodies in different births and worlds, providing a happy/ unhappy place on this earth, according to your deeds.”
Within Hinduism there are many common times for honoring the ancestors, one of the most well known might be Pitri/Pitru Paksha This is a somewhat longer cycle as it is about 16 nights in length. While commonly viewed as projecting peace for the ancestors during this period, one must remain mindful that we carry their DNA; therefore, there is a secondary benefit of projecting peace to the ancestors to bring about change within our own being as well. How does one begin to work on this important aspect of the human incarnation? An easy way is to begin with a simple offering to the ancestors. Take a stick of incense. Sit for a brief moment and set the intent that your lighting of the incense is to honor the ancestors. Then light the incense stick. Allow the incense to completely burn. This can be performed daily or weekly.
There are more powerful tools such as specific mantras that one can use. To begin a deeper experience and to build a foundation of learning these techniques, those of you inclined are invited to attend our online program. This program will teach basic mantras and tools to begin work with the ancestors. Learn more about this online program: Mantras For Obstacles in Life.
For those that want to practice deeper levels of work with the ancestors, we have private sessions that will focus upon specific techniques for your individual need. These focus upon and supplement work one may be doing regarding areas such as alcoholism and drug abuse, and are important as a part of a personal wellness program. Note: these approaches are supplements to wellness program and should not be used in place of a medically supervised treatment program. To learn more, email us with your questions.
To learn more about Vedic concepts,
we recommend reading:
To learn more about Vedic concepts, we recommend reading:
Ushas: The Divine Dawn
Ushas: The Divine Dawnby Yogi Baba Prem
From Earth to
Heaven: Secrets of Yoga, Goddess and Spirituality by Yogi Baba
From Earth to Heaven: Secrets of Yoga, Goddess and Spirituality by Yogi Baba Prem
Yogic Secrets of the Vedas
by Yogi Baba Prem
Yogic Secrets of the Vedas by Yogi Baba Prem
From the River of Heaven by David Frawley
From the River of Heaven by David Frawley
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