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I feel cut off from my Iyer roots- I need help.

Greetings,
My parents are Iyer Brahmins who relocated from India to America in the Late 1990s, and I myself was born in 1999.
Although we have retain some degree of connection to our cultural tradition, I feel very deracinated and cut off.
Both my parents have family roots in Thanjavur along with Kumbakonam, though I do not know anything more than this.

I had my Upanayanam in 2011, and I on occasion recite Gayatri mantra. Sometimes I do Sandhyavandanam.

Beyond this, I have practically little knowledge of rituals, pujas, ceremonies, prayers. I know practically nothing about our Iyer Brahmin culture and traditions.

I would appreciate any guidance I should I proceed with this, as I feel quite lost on how to approach this.
 

prasad1

Gold Member
Gold Member
I have been in the USA for the last 45 years.
I was raised in North India, but my ancestral roots go to Thanjavur.
I am not a traditionalist.

So when you say you are lost, I counter it with my own question.
How can you lose something when you did not have it, to begin with?

Google is there to find whatever you want. Books are available on any topic you desire. The search facility on this site can help you find all the answers. I am sorry that your parents did not answer all your queries.
In every corner of the USA, you can find a temple, an ashram, or a Guru. Please visit them and find a person who might help you. If you want to immerse yourself in "tradition" find a matt in India and spend some time.


I just attended some lectures at Arsha Vidya Gurukulam in Pennsylvania. The priests there, are very knowledgeable about traditions. But the Gurus are well versed in the "knowledge" aspects of the religion.

There are many centers around the globe to help you, but you must know, what you want.
Good hunting.
 

sravna

Well-known member
There is no real cause for concern. Forget google or other search facilities. They really cant help you. The search has to happen in your own self. Caste is just an external sheath. You can just be a good and conscientious person and in one stroke you will be a good brahmin and good of everything.
 

Tkudi

Gold Member
Gold Member
Brahminical traditions that include rituals, pujas, ceremonies , prayers,etc are passed from one generations to another : by grand parents to parents , parents to their children and so on. If your parents themselves have forgotten their roots , then you cannot do much about it. In the last 50 years or so, number of Brahmin families have migrated to the West in pursuit of their career and professions . As they get immersed in their pursuit, they hardly have time for dwelling into their culture or roots except occasional visits to the temples in India on holidays . This being the case, the only source available now is the digital media where number of learned pundits explain the various scriptures , rituals etc. But it will be difficult for an uninitiated person to grasp and understand the nuances. Being educated in the West, some may try to apply science or logic into these discourses and will get disenchanted. A relatively long stay of 6-12 months in India and visits to some of the well known mutts and ashrams will throw enlightenment. Once the person is thus initiated by a worthy guru ( not the commercial one) , he will find the path much easier to progress on his own. Even in India, many Brahmin families have left the traditions in the name of modernity and do not follow the brahminical culture as it was known. But once material progress is achieved and fear and insecurity take over, many try to find solace by falling back into the culture and tradition as means of escapism.
 

Tkudi

Gold Member
Gold Member
Greetings,
My parents are Iyer Brahmins who relocated from India to America in the Late 1990s, and I myself was born in 1999.
Although we have retain some degree of connection to our cultural tradition, I feel very deracinated and cut off.
Both my parents have family roots in Thanjavur along with Kumbakonam, though I do not know anything more than this.

I had my Upanayanam in 2011, and I on occasion recite Gayatri mantra. Sometimes I do Sandhyavandanam.

Beyond this, I have practically little knowledge of rituals, pujas, ceremonies, prayers. I know practically nothing about our Iyer Brahmin culture and traditions.

I would appreciate any guidance I should I proceed with this, as I feel quite lost on how to approach this.
I recommend you to listen to the discourses on the YouTube by Dr Karnam Aravinda Rao on a variety of subjects on Hinduism and religious practices. He holds a doctorate in Sanskrit and a very learned man . His previous avatar was Director General of Police, Andhra Pradesh. But he never gave up his brahminical culture, tradition or practices. After retirement , he has been giving discourses in simple, easy to understand language on very challenging subjects like vedas, upanishads , bhagavatham, Gita , etc. Once you listen to him , many of your doubts and confusion will melt away.
 

thebigthinkg

Active member
Greetings,
My parents are Iyer Brahmins who relocated from India to America in the Late 1990s, and I myself was born in 1999.
Although we have retain some degree of connection to our cultural tradition, I feel very deracinated and cut off.
Both my parents have family roots in Thanjavur along with Kumbakonam, though I do not know anything more than this.

I had my Upanayanam in 2011, and I on occasion recite Gayatri mantra. Sometimes I do Sandhyavandanam.

Beyond this, I have practically little knowledge of rituals, pujas, ceremonies, prayers. I know practically nothing about our Iyer Brahmin culture and traditions.

I would appreciate any guidance I should I proceed with this, as I feel quite lost on how to approach this.
If you are defining the 'rituals, pujas, ceremonies, prayers' as the 'cultural roots', then you have to learn your cultural roots from your family elders/relatives who stayed back in India. All these vary family to family. They can tell you what, when and how to conduct them.
 

indianassault

Active member
Greetings,
My parents are Iyer Brahmins who relocated from India to America in the Late 1990s, and I myself was born in 1999.
Although we have retain some degree of connection to our cultural tradition, I feel very deracinated and cut off.
Both my parents have family roots in Thanjavur along with Kumbakonam, though I do not know anything more than this.

I had my Upanayanam in 2011, and I on occasion recite Gayatri mantra. Sometimes I do Sandhyavandanam.

Beyond this, I have practically little knowledge of rituals, pujas, ceremonies, prayers. I know practically nothing about our Iyer Brahmin culture and traditions.

I would appreciate any guidance I should I proceed with this, as I feel quite lost on how to approach this.
You could volunteer at Sringeri temple (SVBF) if its in your area. They are still quite conservative in their rituals and could help you learn something. If you want to learn about our ancient stuff, you could listen to Nochur Venkatraman and Velukudi Krishnan on youtube. They give you beautiful lectures on stuff like Upanishads, Vedas, Vishnu Sahasranamam, Advaita but not about rituals, which is typically learnt from elders.

I dont recommend any temples because they are as good as temples we have in India. None of the tamil temples have tamil majority on the board.
 

mangalam

Member
Dear vedic fury

Where are you living now ? Are you a single child ? Do you live with your parents ? do you have Indian friends ? what do you'll do together, I mean past time ?
Based on your answers we can give some ideas on recovering your cultural heritage
for instance there will be a brahmin koottam who will do avani avittam as a group in western cities. Finding them and joining them is a good way to find connections. They may contain very old to very young. Also hopefully you live in a town with a temple, ask the priest how to get in touch with any groups.
for example https://nyganeshtemple.org/upakarma/
Happy aavani avittam
 

renuka

Gold Member
Gold Member
Greetings,
My parents are Iyer Brahmins who relocated from India to America in the Late 1990s, and I myself was born in 1999.
Although we have retain some degree of connection to our cultural tradition, I feel very deracinated and cut off.
Both my parents have family roots in Thanjavur along with Kumbakonam, though I do not know anything more than this.

I had my Upanayanam in 2011, and I on occasion recite Gayatri mantra. Sometimes I do Sandhyavandanam.

Beyond this, I have practically little knowledge of rituals, pujas, ceremonies, prayers. I know practically nothing about our Iyer Brahmin culture and traditions.

I would appreciate any guidance I should I proceed with this, as I feel quite lost on how to approach this.
I am not a Brahmin but I would like to share some practical advise.

From what I notice in your post, I feel its more of a spiritual calling rather than just wanting to identify with being an Iyer.

But as humans we usually relate a spiritual calling to our heritage.

So firstly let me congratulate you..you are a young person aged 23 and in this present era when other youths are not into spirituality, you are indeed a blessed person.


My advice to you is hear your inner calling..start with what you know.
Since you had an Upanayanam so that means Sandhyavandanam is part and parcel of your life.

Revive that first...be regular in your Sandhyavandanam.
Gayatri mantra is the ultimate mantra for a Hindu.
Keep doing that..be regular.
Slowly you would notice that some amount of rewiring takes place and we develop a sense of balance.

Then visit temples at least once a week to gain brotherhood concept to bond with other Hindus too.

Take part in fun religious functions..religion is meant to be fun too.

Next is to gain knowledge.
Try to read up simple books first, then progress.

It isnt hard to get books these days and many online platforms too have some learned Swamijis who share true knowledge.

Then is lifestyle..keep good company, eat healthy and balance meals..dont drink or smoke, stay on the right track..be physically fit..exercise and do some yoga or martial arts to keep in good shape.


Best of luck
 

sravna

Well-known member
I am not a Brahmin but I would like to share some practical advise.

From what I notice in your post, I feel its more of a spiritual calling rather than just wanting to identify with being an Iyer.

But as humans we usually relate a spiritual calling to our heritage.

So firstly let me congratulate you..you are a young person aged 23 and in this present era when other youths are not into spirituality, you are indeed a blessed person.


My advice to you is hear your inner calling..start with what you know.
Since you had an Upanayanam so that means Sandhyavandanam is part and parcel of your life.

Revive that first...be regular in your Sandhyavandanam.
Gayatri mantra is the ultimate mantra for a Hindu.
Keep doing that..be regular.
Slowly you would notice that some amount of rewiring takes place and we develop a sense of balance.

Then visit temples at least once a week to gain brotherhood concept to bond with other Hindus too.

Take part in fun religious functions..religion is meant to be fun too.

Next is to gain knowledge.
Try to read up simple books first, then progress.

It isnt hard to get books these days and many online platforms too have some learned Swamijis who share true knowledge.

Then is lifestyle..keep good company, eat healthy and balance meals..dont drink or smoke, stay on the right track..be physically fit..exercise and do some yoga or martial arts to keep in good shape.


Best of luck
Great practical advice Renuka
 

sassarma

Member
Greetings,
My parents are Iyer Brahmins who relocated from India to America in the Late 1990s, and I myself was born in 1999.
Although we have retain some degree of connection to our cultural tradition, I feel very deracinated and cut off.
Both my parents have family roots in Thanjavur along with Kumbakonam, though I do not know anything more than this.

I had my Upanayanam in 2011, and I on occasion recite Gayatri mantra. Sometimes I do Sandhyavandanam.

Beyond this, I have practically little knowledge of rituals, pujas, ceremonies, prayers. I know practically nothing about our Iyer Brahmin culture and traditions.

I would appreciate any guidance I should I proceed with this, as I feel quite lost on how to approach this.
It holds good for almost all of us in one way or other. Those who stay abroad and away from their native place, I would request them to visit once in a year or two to their native place of their parents. I am not talking about all those who say their native place is Chennai or Delhi or Mumbai etc. Many of us have migrated from their village and shifted to metropolitan cities and abroad. There is no difference of all those who stay in cities away from their village or all those who are abroad. We need to go back to our roots to get connected to our agraharam house, Kula Deivam and Kula Guru. The house of our parents and grand parents , where they lived together as a joint family lived by accepting others, accommodating others, adjusting with others and appreciating at the same time all others. They were not living with cash balance. Most of them never had a bank account. The safe lockers were all in kitchen either in the rice box or in the small box in the kitchen. The house unfortunately many of us have sold. Those houses vibrated with positive energy and there was peace at home inspite of financial deficits and economic uncertainties.
 

kamu

Member
I am not a Brahmin but I would like to share some practical advise.

From what I notice in your post, I feel its more of a spiritual calling rather than just wanting to identify with being an Iyer.

But as humans we usually relate a spiritual calling to our heritage.

So firstly let me congratulate you..you are a young person aged 23 and in this present era when other youths are not into spirituality, you are indeed a blessed person.


My advice to you is hear your inner calling..start with what you know.
Since you had an Upanayanam so that means Sandhyavandanam is part and parcel of your life.

Revive that first...be regular in your Sandhyavandanam.
Gayatri mantra is the ultimate mantra for a Hindu.
Keep doing that..be regular.
Slowly you would notice that some amount of rewiring takes place and we develop a sense of balance.

Then visit temples at least once a week to gain brotherhood concept to bond with other Hindus too.

Take part in fun religious functions..religion is meant to be fun too.

Next is to gain knowledge.
Try to read up simple books first, then progress.

It isnt hard to get books these days and many online platforms too have some learned Swamijis who share true knowledge.

Then is lifestyle..keep good company, eat healthy and balance meals..dont drink or smoke, stay on the right track..be physically fit..exercise and do some yoga or martial arts to keep in good shape.


Best of luck
excellent advice - Just rituals dont matter in the long run - they are mostly to get discipline into your mind and your lifestyle ; it takes a long time to realise that , and by then you might be too old to give up what you've been doing , and so pass it on to the others - I am reminded of a story : a very ritualistic person had a pet kitten ; when the sraartha thithis came around, he would cage it under a bamboo basket [ that it did'nt wander onto the rituals ] ; the son / d-i-l having watched it for years, thought it was an essential part of the sraarthams and used to go in search of a cat to put under a basket !
I do not demean the rituals we are obliged to do, but just as a point, and don't be too immersed in them to the cost of learning the essence of our dharma.
 

RSSARMA52

Member
Hari Om,
Please make it a point do Sandhyavandhanam 3 times a day. I understand office goers can't do Madhyanniham at noon time. No problem, just wash your hand and face and with mental purification chant Gayathri Japam.
As hopefully US holidays are seriously followed make that day as your spiritual day by doing all three time's Sandhyavandhanam. Once you prayed to Devi Gayathri the goddess makes way for your convenient situation.
Please abstain from other habits and once you long for your desire to regain your roots time will make it possible.
Try going to a temple nearby regularly at the given opportunity. That way you get good contacts for spiritual information that are happening there and conducting by some one. Try to attend it. Don't try to differentiate it now. That way you get lead to reach the path of your real desires.
One by one you step by step able to learn other spiritual culture.
Today our spiritual roots ate getting more propagated in Arabian Gulf and also other European countries as people could devote valuable time for it.
There is self learning, but getting a person to teach you will be more effective as disciple will be the basic which get inculcate when we have to report our learning to our Guru teacher.
Regards,
 

mangalam

Member
Vedic fury who asked the question has disappeared, so basically we are talking to the universe
This thread should be considered closed in my opinion
 

prasad1

Gold Member
Gold Member
Vedic fury who asked the question has disappeared, so basically we are talking to the universe
This thread should be considered closed in my opinion
That happens a lot in any forum. But discussion goes on, and that keeps the thread going.
 
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