Shraaddhas are the vital rituals most dearly observed

By the offspring of the (Pitr) deceased

For those deceased relatives of ours who have departed

From us to the lands unknown

 Thus presently are not with us

To bestow us guide and to offer solace

And deliver us from our present state.

Now, as they have turned to Pitr domain

It is our duty, the bounden one

To remember their contribution

For our present wellbeing and condition

In which we’re placed presently.

Besides recollection of their role

We are duty bound to repay the debit

For bringing to this world

And showing us the dawn of the day

By observing Shraaddhas

With complete faith and full of emotion at our command

So that our (Pitras) ancestors

Who might be in the dark regions

After their deaths

Are able to move from dark recesses

To the lights of the heaven

By attaining liberation or Moksha

By the performance of Shraaddhas.

Shraaddha or Shradha is the Sanskrit word which literally means Shradha of faith/belief and any act that is transacted with all the honesty and sincerity at our command according to pre-determined goal besides it has got sanctity faith/belief attached with it. Our emotional faith (Bhav) is a must for getting full benefits of the Shraaddas. Shradhas are observed for 15 days (in the Hindu month of Ashvin) termed as the Pitra Paksh Period is very auspicious to offer Pinddaan so that the departed souls may get liberation from births and deaths. Mention of this has been in the ancient scriptures like Upnishads.

This year these are observed with effect from 25th  September 2018 (Puranmashi – Full Moon Da to 8th Oct 2018 (Dark Night – Amavasya). On these days, we Hindus reminisce our dead forefathers/ancestors due to which we are there on this earth. In other words, it is expression of our gratitude to our dead (Pitras)  and pay them due homage for their contribution towards them. In other words, it is expression of gratitude to our ancestors (Pitrs) due to whom we are on this planet. Today, I am conducting the Shraaddha rituals for my father today, partly for the expression of my gratitude to him and partly to remember him for giving me the first lesson to me the purpose of life.

It is based on the date on which our parents or grand-parents have left for their heavenly abode. The date for the shraadhas are observed based on the death anniversary – on the Shraadha Paksha (Fortnight of ancestors).

These Shraadhas are also observed after the death of an individual (after the left out ashes are immersed in the holy water of river Ganga). These Shraddhas are performed accompanied with chanting of Mantras for the departed soul. The Sharaaddha ceremonies are also performed at Kurukeshtra (A Holi place in Haryana) in a waterbody where there was a huge battle between Pandavas and Kauravas and Holi Song of Bhagwad Gita originated.

The Shraaddha rituals could be performed in Gaya (Bihar) the waterless river containing Phalgu (A type of sand) but water could be extracted from any spot by digging 2-3 feet at any part of this waterless river. While I visited Gaya and offered prayers at the famous Lord Vishnu temple and performed Shraaddhas for the departed souls of my parents, my brothers and grand-parents, and of course, for my relatives and friends who had left for their heavenly abode. I was spellbound by the air of Godliness everywhere there. It is believed that Sita Maa had performed her Shraaddha rituals for her father-in-law Dhashratha at Gaya. It has been mentioned in Purana in great details.

The Shraddha rituals are performed not merely for our deceased parents, grand-parents but also our close relatives including small children who departed from this earth suddenly due to sickness or due to some unfortunate accidents. As these Pitrs (departed souls) have departed to their heavenly abode or may be not got Liberation or Moksha, due to one reason or other, the Shraddha performed with wholeheartedness will help liberate these departed souls.

Shraddha rituals are conducted during Shukla Paksh and Krishna Paksh in the following way:-

  • Place where these rituals are held. First of all, it is essential that the rituals are held at a place which is known for performing these sacred rituals. It could be places like banks of river Ganga, Yamuna, Gaya, Baranasi etc. For these, there is no need of appropriate time like Shraddha Period (15 days).
  • Pinddaan. This constitutes the offering consisting of baked rice, cow’s milk, desi ghee, honey, barley flour. All these are mixed together so as to make balls of contents as mentioned. This should be done with intense faith and belief with emotional attachment.
  • Tarpan. It is the offering of clean water mixed with sesame, barley, and flour; in these, Kusha (grass) forms an important part. By adopting right approach besides absolute faith and belief, our ancestors could get the benefits for their onward journey from dark or negative region to brighter one.
  • Offering to the Animals and birds. Before offering meals to the priests (Brahmins), it is considered a good omen or auspicious to offer the prepared vegetarian meal, prepared without use of onions and garlic, khir (prepared with cow milk, rice, sugar, dry fruits etc.) to the cows and birds. If the offering of Khir is taken by the crows, it is consider auspicious.
  • Feeding to the Brahmins. Subsequently, the prepared meal is offered to the priests (Brahmins) with utmost reverence and emotional faith.
  • Clothes and donation. After Priti-Bhoj to the Brahmins, they are offered clothes and cash so as to cover their expenses to reach the place of Shraaddha rituals.

Benefits of performing Shraddhas

It is axiomatic that anything performed with utmost devotion and singleness of purpose, it will surely and without any doubt give us benefit; it may be anything or everything. Its main benefits are:-

  • In essence, what happens to the departed soul depends on the karmic deeds or misdeeds the particular individual has done while living in flesh and blood on this earth. It has been mentioned in scriptures that after the death the purvaj may not get final deliverance (antim mukti), for this performance of Pinddaan while observing all the steps in the rituals will help the Mukti of Atma of Pitr; if it is not done already according to the Karma or deeds/actions while ling.
  • When we perform all the rituals in connection with the observance of Shraddha rituals like invoking God with spiritual emotion, the connectivity with God and our Pitras (Ancestors for whom rituals are being performed). Not only the person performing such rituals are benefited but also the deceased soul.
  • Shraddhas are the re-payment of debt for what they (Our Pitrs departed souls) have done for us by showing us the path including transferring the family traditions and value system to us. This is also an opportunity to offer gratefulness to our ancestors, family deities and the God including our Gurus who have shown us the purpose of life to us.
  • Shraaddhas help the Pitrs (deceased relatives) to move from Pitru areas (which are considered as negative regions) to higher plane for them. For this reasons may be any – may be lesser Karmic Credit during their life-time.
  • When the departed souls get their share of Pinddaan along with other important ingredients like black sesame seeds, Kusha, rice floor balls etc. including the emotionally surcharged faith/belief.
  • Bhagwad Gita has rightly enunciated that nobody should not commit any mistakes in the performance of duties towards our ancestors’ soul and the God. Those Pitrs for whom no Pinddaan is given, they remain in the negative region. Therefore, a person with intellect who knows the difference between right and wrong should not abstain from performing Shraaddhas for their ancestors.
  • When Shraaddhas are not done for a deceased soul (Pitrs), then that Pitr remains trapped between real world and the heavenly abode.
  • It should never be forgotten that the benefits of conducting Shraaddhas not only to the deceased Pitrs but also to the person perform the rituals in a systematic and with complete devotion and singleness of purpose. It should be construed as the responsibility of the offspring to offer Shraaddha to his/her deceased ancestors for their ultimate liberation (Moksha).

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  1. The Shaaraddhas are observed for our deceased close relatives. It is offerings given for the departed souls every year for 15 days. This is also to show our gratitude to the Pitrs of ancestors who are no more but their contributions in our lives remain indelible.

    Kindly appraise the blog and comment. I always love your comments.



  2. Such rituals associated with death are so valuable, regardless of religion or culture. Jackie and her two sisters place a wreath on their mother’s plot each Christmas. – she is however, often in their minds.

    1. Derrick sir, I am obviously thankful to you for appraising the blog and offering your invaluable comments..

      I am of the view that we humans are products of emotions; religion may be any but their SOURCE is the same, the ONE who is a uniting factor.

      When we remember our deceased ancestors (Pitrs), we reminisce their association with us and there contribution in our growth and development. If we have the faith (SHRAADDHA), and commemorate their association by paying respecting them; by remembering them on their death anniversary by placing a ;wreath’, it add to our connectivity with us and this helps both ways; to the deceased peace and the person who is doing so.


  3. This is such a wonderful post. It is full of knowledge and devotion. I loved every part of it – it is great that you are sharing our ancient wisdom and keeping it alive. Thank You very, very much.

    1. My gratitude to you for appraising the blog and giving your valuable commentary – an inspiring one at that.

      Today, I performed the Shraaddh of my father, observing all the rituals. I felt a emotional satiety in doing so.

      Thanks and regards

  4. Good morning and thanks for this great article, my dear spiritual friend across the oceans. I can feel that this was a very emotional moment for you as it is for me too. We both honor our departed relatives in our own special way because we are immensely grateful for giving us lour lives. In fact every morning I do my prayers in front of a picture of my grandmother Yolanda and my mother Gladys and another one depicting my father Mario ( the one that appeared in my article about him) I often dream about them and last night I had a dream with my paternal grandmother. Meme was a very educated and elegant lady that came every afternoon to teach me the alphabet in my first year of primary school. Thanks to her I can sit down and write now. She was my first mentor. I was listening to her as she gave instructions how to operate her gas stove after she was gone; of course that conversation never happened but it seemed extremely vivid to me in the dawn. It was “her way” to affectionately remind me how many delicious meals she had prepared for us when she was here. We shared many lively discussions with my father and brother at her table in the Old City of Montevideo. Gracias querida Meme. You’r e making me cry now, my dear friend…
    A big hug. Arrivederci.

    1. Good morning Dr. Sahib.

      Your commentary is really inspiring. In fact our deceased ancestors are really dear to us as we are due to them only. We always cherish our association with them, the care and protection which they bestowed on us remain indelible in our memory. Presently what we are now is solely due to them. Their mithi-khati (sweet and sour) memories are dear to us.

      We generally are swayed by their hand of protection and whenever we remember them, we surely feel emotional upsurge, like the way you have mentioned in your commentary. This is but natural.

      Tomorrow is the Birth Anniversary of a great personality; GANDHIJI. Kindly appraise the blog and give your commentary on the same.

      With warm regards

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