SNRAADDHA when we remember our departed souls with immense reverence and devotion.
In Bhagwad Gita has rightly enunciated that nobody should 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. This year these are observed with effect from 20th September 2021 (Monday) to 6th October 2021 (Wednesday).
As a person puts on new garments giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material body, giving up the old and useless ones. Bhagwad Gita.
In essence, the our forefathers, due to which we are here on this beautiful earth although are not with us in flesh and blood yet their memories are still remain fresh. As a mark of respect,, we tend to reminisce them especially on special occasion termed as Shradhas. Shraaddha has been derived from the word shradha meaning devotion or attachment. Therefore, it is the time when we show our respect to our departed souls in our own tradition. By remembering them and doing charity, we mitigate our own persisting problems. Otherwise, we may be engulfed in the Pitru Dosha which may be committed by us or by our near ancestors who no longer are with us presently.
Shraaddhas are the essential rituals lovingly conducted
By the offspring of the (Pitr) the souls who have departed
And mixed in the elements
That is have gone from us to the lands unknown
Thus presently their sweet memories remain
To bestow us guidance
Which we need in abundance
So that we’re delivered from the obstruction.
Now, as they have turned to Pitr (departed souls) domain
It is our duty, the bounden one
To remember their contribution
For our present position.
Besides recollection of their stellar part
To chart out a purposeful life of ours
For which they’ve contributed their mite
So, we’re duty bound to repay the debit
For bringing us to this world, so beautiful
And showing us the plays of Nature.
By observing Shraaddhas
With utmost Shradha or full devotion
We, in essence, showcase to our departed souls our love and affection
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 heavens
By attaining liberation or Moksha
By the performance of Shraaddhas.
SHRAADDHA BASED ON TRUE SHRADHA
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 20th September 2021 (Monday) to 6th October 2021 (Wednesday). On these days, the Hindus reminisce their dead forefathers/ancestors due to which we are here 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 beautiful planet.
The Shraaddhas are observed 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 water-body 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 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 Shraaddhas
It goes without saying that anything performed with utmost devotion and singleness of purpose, will surely and without shred of doubt gives us benefit. But it should be done with total focus and devotion. Benefits of Shraddhas 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.
- When Shraaddhas are not done for a deceased soul (Pitrs), then that Pitr remains trapped between real world and the heavenly abode.
- Those who do not perform Shraaddhas of the departed souls, it is believed that they get entangled in the Pitru Dosha like: 1. Remaining ill 2. A life bereft of peace and prosperity.3. Abnormal birth of children. 4. The family members may indulge in gambling, addiction to drinking or drugs etc.
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).