In our family,they tell us to worship our ancestors from where family have been started Is it right that we should worship them rather than worshipping God?? Please tell me in detail

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    Krishna says in Gita 9.25 - "Those who worship the gods go to the gods, those who worship dead ancestors go to dead ancestors, those who worship the spirits go to the spirits, and those who worship Me come to Me." – Swami Vishwananda Apr 19 '17 at 13:39
  • Worshipping dead ancestors doesn't mean you should worship them literally. You should not forget their date of death. You should offer libations of water during the days prescribed, do the karma kaanda when their death anniversary occurs. This pleases the dead ancestors. The food you offer on anniversary will be received by manes. This is important for the growth of your family. This is prescribed in scriptures not building temples, worshiping the images of them like we do to god and deities. – Sarvabhouma Apr 20 '17 at 4:31
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    @SwamiVishwananda, the original word used by Krishna - 'pitrus' is much better than simply saying 'dead ancestors'. Krishna also says, those who don't offer libations to pitrus (tarpanam, shraddham) are his drohis (traitors), are not bhaktas, nor are they vaishnavas, because this karma is all laid down in shruti/smriti, which are Krishna's own orders. – mar Apr 20 '17 at 18:06
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    Yes, you should worship them, and also worship God. Did your family say 'Worship only ancestors and not God' ? You love your parents right ? Similarly your parents loved your grandparents and so on. To repay the debts of their unconditional love and affection, we worship them through tarpana, shradham etc. – mar Apr 20 '17 at 18:11
  • @ram I think it is better to say you should honor your parents and worship God. When quoting Sri Krishna please give the scripture and verse. Too many people on this forum quote what they think is scripture. – Swami Vishwananda Apr 21 '17 at 5:32

According to Scriptures pleasing the Gods is not enough. Pleasing the Manes (Pitrus or ancestors) is also needed and is in fact even more important.

Actually, the Scriptures ordain the "Pancha Maha Yajnas" for all householders to satisfy the Rishis (Sages), Devas (Gods), Manushyas (Human Beings), Pitrus (Manes) and Bhutas (Beings). So satisfying all of them is necessary for our all round peace and prosperity. Satisfying only one or two among them is not enough.

Manu Smriti 2.176. Every day, having bathed, and being purified, he must offer libations of water to the gods, sages and manes, worship (the images of) the gods, and place fuel on (the sacred fire)

Manu smriti 5.169. (Living) according to the (preceding) rules, he must never neglect the five (great) sacrifices, and, having taken a wife, he must dwell in (his own) house during the second period of his life.

And appeasing the Manes is even more important than pleasing the Gods as said in the following verse:

Manu Smriti 3.203. For twice-born men the rite in honour of the manes is more important than the rite in honour of the gods; for the offering to the gods which precedes (the Sraddhas), has been declared to be a means of fortifying (the latter).

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    Yes. In addition - there are 3 runas (debts) we borrow when taking birth as a man - 1. to rishis, which is repaid by brahmacharyam and learning vedas.. 2. to devas, which is repaid by yagnas.. 3. to pitrus, which is repaid by begetting a son(or progeny in nowdayas of 1 or 2 kids policy) and doing tarpana/shraddam. – mar Apr 20 '17 at 18:09
  • @ram Really a son required if a couple want to satisfy ancestors? – Tat Tvam Asi Aug 21 '18 at 17:02
  • @TatTvamAsi, yes, at least for doing tarpana-shraddha, which many don't do nowadays anyway. women are supposed to assist their husbands in same above rituals, meaning for the family she got married into, not her birth family. – mar Aug 21 '18 at 18:43

The Vedas layout the attainment of different paths - Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha. If your goal in this life is the attainment of various heavens (and consequently, rebirth) then worship of others than the Lord is prescribed. In his introduction to the Kena Upanishad, Sankara says (Swami Gambhirananda translator):

Answer: No, because in the Vajasaneyaka (Brhadaranyaka) Upanishad that (combination of rites and meditation) has been spoken of as the cause of a different result. Starting with the text, "Let me have a wife". (Br. I.iv.17), the Vajasaneyaka shows in the text, "This world of man is to be won through the son alone, and by no other rite; the world of the Manes through rites; and the world of the gods through meditation' (Br. I.v.16), how rites and duties lead to the attainment of the three worlds that are different from the Self. And there (in that Upanishad itself), again, the reason for embracing renunciation is adduced thus: "What shall we achieve through children, we to whom the Self we have attained is the goal?" (Br. IV.iv.22). The explanation of that reason is this: What shall we do with progeny, rites, and meditation combined with rites, which are the means for the attainment of worlds other than that of the Self, and are the causes for the attainment of the three worlds of men, Manes, and gods? Nor are the three worlds--transitory and attainable by means as they are--desirable for us, to whom is desirable the world that is natural, "birthless, undecaying, immortal, fearless" (Br. IV.iv.25)...

And Sri Krishna says in the Uddhava Gita XII 52-58 (Swami Madhavananda translator):

  1. He should not get attached to his family, and, even though he is a householder, should not forget God. The wise man should consider the unseen enjoyments of future life just as perishable as the visible enjoyments of this life.

  2. The association with one's sons, wife, relatives, and friends is like the chance meeting of travelers. They depart with the end of each body, as dreams are inextricably bound by sleep.

  3. One who reflecting thus lives at home without attachment and egoism, like a guest, is not fettered by the home, and is free.

  4. A devotee, worshipping Me through his household duties, may lead a householders life, may retire into the forest, or, if he has progeny, may embrace monasticism.

  5. But he who is attached to his house, is afflicted by the desires for sons and wealth, and is henpecked--is foolish, and being beguiled, he comes under the bondage of "I and mine".

  6. "Alas, my parents are old, my wife has got young children; and how can she in her helpless state live, with these poor children, without me?"

  7. Thus does the foolish man, with his heart distracted by thoughts of home, continue to think of them without satisfaction. Then he dies and enters into abysmal darkness (birth in a very undesirable body).

And Sri Krishna in the Gita 9.25 (Swami Gambhirananda translator)

Votaries of the gods reach the gods; the votaries of the manes go the the manes; the worshippers of the Beings reach the Beings; and those who worship Me reach Me.

And Sankara's commentary on this verse:

...Pitr-vratah, the votaries of the manes, those who are occupied with such rites as obsequies etc., who are devoted to the manes; go pitrn, to the manes such as Agnisvatta and others...

and at the end of the commentary he says:

Although the effort (involved) is the same, still owing to ignorance they do not worship Me exclusively. Thereby they attain lesser results. This is the meaning.

Honor your ancestors, worship the Lord exclusively.

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