Traditionally, we perform tarpan kriya either daily or yearly for our ancestors so that they either become free from their karma phal or it's effects are reduced. However, with increasing modernization and especially in context of parents migrated out of India, often children are not much interested in following dogmas of Sanatan Dharma. Those parents although having performed tarpan for their ancestors, worry about their own aatmik journey through this universe. Same would likely be true for parents with no children.

What would be writings in context of tarpan for such parents? What should they do or how is their fate affected by their situation? Thank you.

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    For both cases (childless parents and one with spoilt children) The option is to perform Shraaddha of themselves while they’re alive. It’s called Jeeva Shraaddha. Another option is to give daan of as many things as possible throughout life because they say whatever daan is given is received by us later too. If none of these options are acceptable, people need to get over the “Nowadays, times are changing” mentality and jolly well teach their children to do tarpan well in time - without thinking - what’s all this? They’re still kids, etc etc. Parents need to make the effort from beginning!
    – Adiyarkku
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 3:40
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    Related Q: Couple without a a son in any form is never freed from Pitr Rina
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    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 3:48
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2 Answers 2


In case of childless couples or of parents whose children are uninterested, they must get the Jeeva Śrāddha (their own antyeshti) done and perform as much donation as possible.

The same has been provided in the Preta Kāṇḍa of the Garuḍa Purāṇa.

When Garuda asks Lord Vishnu about the kriya for childless couples or the absence of persons authorised to perform it, he replies as follows:

When the there is no authorised person, or there is no definite agreement/ consensus (niścaya), then while alive, a person should give Śrāddha for himself.
Chapter 8 verse 10

Oh Garuda, just as wealth buried in the earth comes to use of a person at any time, in the same manner, donation given by ones own hand is received after death. Despite being poor or childless, one desirous of moksha must definitely do his antyeshti kriya himself. Kriya done with even less money still gives everlasting benefit as offering of ghee made into fire.
Chapter 14 verses 8-10

The Jeeva Śrāddha described in the Purana has almost the same procedure as normal kriya, except the starting part where:

  1. One performs a yajna for Lord Vishnu.
  2. One calls Brahmins, feeds them, donates cows, (water) and summons the Viśvedevas.
  3. One must burn a grass figure symbolically, since we are alive.

Then the remaining procedure of summoning Yama, observing aśauca, giving Tilanjali, Daśagātra, all the rituals for one year including ṣoḍaśa Śrāddha and Sapiṇḍīkaraṇa is the same (as per Chapter 8 verse 28-32).

Despite whatever is written above, it is advisable to consult the family panditji or any other knowledgeable person to help with the rituals.

As regards donation, the following has been recommended, with Vrishotsarga carrying utmost importance:

Whatever one gives with his own hands is available to him in the other lokas. Delicious food, cows, land, gold, clothes etc., whatever is given with one’s hands are available to him in whichever yoni he might be.
Chapter 13 verse 19-21

Whatever is given as donation to help in one’s forward journey, taking that, the jeeva goes happily along the great journey. One who does not have these items goes through it in a troubled manner. Knowing this a person should definitely do the Vrishotsarga. A person without a child, who does not do Vrishotsarga cannot attain mukti. Thus a childless person must definitely do this kriya. The sadgati and punya obtained by Vrishotsarga is far greater than that obtained by the performance of Agnihotra and other charitable Yajnas. Hence this is the best yajna and everyone must strive to do it.
Chapter 14 verse 13-16

Oh Tarkshya, sesame (til) seeds, iron, gold, cotton clothes, salt, seven kinds of grains, land and cow are considered as purer than the other. In a Śrāddha one should, along with a vessel filled with sesame seeds, donate a bed (shayyadanam). One should give poor or orphaned people dakshina too. Either a childless person or one with children, whoever does this, get benefit as what a brahmachari gets.
Chapter 14 verses 43-46
[Note: This shayyadanam has been recommended after the Sapindikarana rite]

Thus we can see that the scriptures have provided a solution to do ones own Śrāddha while alive and donate as much as possible so that the benefits can accrue after death, and regular Shraaddha and tarpan are not required.

On a side note, rather than worrying about their sadgati, modern parents must teach their children about the tradition continuing since ages, the same that their own parents taught them. The idea that ‘times are changing’ and ‘today’s children’ are not interested is irrelevant with respect to these basic traditions. If parents make a conscious effort to teach them, children will automatically follow the tradition regardless of location. As the Garuda Purāṇa says in Chapter 14 verse 46-47, one must continue the nitya naimittika karma till one is alive. Shraadha, tirthayatra, Vrata, all these bestow everlasting benefits even later on.


Archit is right

Alive Shraddha is also done, in south india , specially in maharashtra-tryambekshwar and bihar, haridwar also. Wherever there is Divine River (Ganga Yamuna Godavari...), it can be done there.

Another thing those parents can do Naamjap : "Sri Gurudev Dutt"

Lord Dattatraya gives Sadagati to all our departed ancestors and, if we jap, for us too it's beneficial.


  1. How Can We Help Our Departed Family Members in the Afterlife?
  2. What is the significance of chanting Shri Gurudev Datta? See the link below :-
  3. Functions and special features of Shri Dattatreya
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