A Report on this Extraordinary Event!
It is from a place of great joy, gratitude, and peace that
I submit this report of the fully-realized success that was the Honoring
Ancestors Conference 2005, held at the serene site of Kripalu Yoga Center in
Lenox , MA .
Sri Swamini Mayatitananda (affectionately, appropriately, and respectfully
called Mother) led us, the hundred or so in attendance, into our hearts and
into the perfect offering of nourishment to our Ancestors, the Pitris.
Our spirits were uplifted to the highest when Mother opened the conference
with Her grand presence, entering the hall to the beat of the drums, the
strings of the tanpura, and the showering of rose petals. Everyone in
attendance immediately felt the warm embrace of Mother's presence. During
this opening satsanga, Mother spoke of Pitri-Paksha, the auspicious time
according to the Vedic Calendar to honor and nourish the ancestors, and
illuminated the importance of this event, drawing upon Her wealth of
knowledge, humor, and personal experiences.
Mother blesses each and every participant's
ancestor photo and name cards.
Several people who had never before heard a talk given by Mother, later
spoke to me about how impressed they were by Mother's fluid speaking style
-- no notes were used and many fun anecdotes were inserted, and yet always
one point led perfectly to the next, making a cohesive whole. And some were
wholly transfixed by Mother's presence, possibly missing some of the finer
points of Mother's talk, but receiving the transmission none the less! One
of the participants, Charles from Reading , PA , reported:"since I have left
the conference, I can still feel Her words and Her presence in my heart. It
is like an enduring embrace inside of me."
Mother introduced the chants that were to be used during the ceremony,
including a pervasive ancestral mantra, OM NAMO VAH PITRIS SAUMYAH
(Obeisance to you, the gentle ancestors!), which anchored the focus of the
whole conference on the Pitris and their nourishment. Throughout the rest of
the days of ceremony and celebration, whenever the focus started to drift,
Mother would guide us back into the repetition of this beautiful mantra.
On the day of the offering, the crows could be heard cawing and the pictures
of ancestors had been arranged on the altars: directed by Mother in the
appropriate Vedic way to install the Pitris' Altar, sadhakas of the Wise
Earth School who served tirelessly through out the
conference, helped to set-up two beautiful altars with more than three
hundred pictures of the participants' forebears. This day of ceremony
commenced with Mother leading us
through a Japa meditation reciting a profound ancestral passage from the
This set the tone for the rest of the day, and planted us firmly in the
selfless space where we are one with the Pitris. From this space we took
turns offering the traditional nourishment (black sesame seeds and water) to
our Ancestors, while Mother performed an Ancestral Puja, a fire offering to
Moon, Sun, and the Pitris. After the traditional offering, Mother invited
youngest of the participants- seven year old Zane - to join Her in a special
offering of rose
petals to the Pitris. Afterwards, the food that had been offered was brought
outside on the south side of the grounds, to be received by the crows, the
worldly emissaries of the Pitris.
Words could not begin to describe the beauty and timelessness that enveloped
this ceremony, nor the peace and love that enveloped our beings. The rest of
that day was spent in joyous celebration through dance, mantra, and drumming
- all done with our awareness centered on the Pitris and their well-being.
On the following day, the last day of the conference, the tranquility and
clarity of our beings was mirrored in the azure blue sky as the sun shone
benignly on a few pure white puffs of cloud. The heavy gray sky and rain
that we had known on the previous days of the conference had been as
completely transformed as we had been.
Mother guides the making of ancestral mandala with food grains &
Mother presided over a closing ceremony in which a special grain mandala was
made for the Pitris. We were invited to make the commitment of inner harmony
as we took turns adding grains to the mandala. Even more chanting, drumming,
and dancing accompanied this procession.
We were also invited to come up to
the front to share songs from our heritage or chants that we had learned.
This included a special father-daughter duo singing a beautiful song from
the Jewish tradition. Others shared chants for Ganesha, Krishna , Rama, and
so on... too many to list! We offered the grains from the mandala to the
Mother gave a closing talk, thanking all the Wise Earth Sadhakas
and, most notably, Sadhaka Usha (Dr. Nina Molin) who was the organizer for
the event for her exceptional work. Mother also expressed gratitude to the
Kripalu team for their excellent hospitality. Mother shared how pleased she
was that the work of the Ancestors had been once more initiated in the world
and asked each participant to take the work with them to help others
remember the ancestors and the significant role they play in our lives.
After the conference, several Sadhakas reported seeing a procession of crows
lining the exit, all standing silently or walking slowly, "bellies
All have reported having a deep
inner-knowing that the Ancestors have been nourished and the perfect peace
that comes as a result. After the conference, Mother's message became
crystal clear to me that as we are to love one another, so too are we to
nourish the Ancestors.
Even when dear ones have departed from this life,
they may be honored in a way that nourishes their spirit and awakens our
awareness of their continual presence in our lives. May their spirits be
continually nourished and so too may their blessings continually pour out to
As Mother says, may we all realize our unbroken connection to the
forebears and that when we serve them we are serving the Self. And may
everyone enjoy the peace and love that all of us who attend ended the
conference felt after honoring and nourishing the Pitris.