Shradh aka Pitru Paksha, a significant period in the Hindu calendar, is a time to remember and pay respects to one’s ancestors. It carries deep spiritual and cultural significance and involves specific rituals and guidelines. This year, Pitru Paksh will begin on September 29, 2023 and end on the Amavasya Tithi of Krishna Paksha or Sarva Pitru Amavasya on October 14, 2023. As the day approaches, we share with you some special instructions for observing Shradh, its significance, and remedies for Pitru Dosha.
Observing Shradh aka Pitru Paksha|
During the Shradh period, which lasts for 16 days, individuals should observe a few important guidelines:
Maintain Inner Peace: It is essential to avoid anger, conflicts, and haste while performing the Shradh rituals. This period should be marked by tranquility and reverence.
Auspicious Donations: Offering a bull or a buffalo as a donation is considered highly auspicious during Shradh. These acts symbolize respect and gratitude towards one’s ancestors.
Shraddh is rooted in ancient Hindu scriptures and stories. Three notable narratives highlight its significance:
Mahabharata: Bhishma Pitamah conveyed the importance of Shradh during the Pitru Paksha to Yudhishthira. After the Mahabharata war, Yudhishthira performed Shraddh for the fallen soldiers.
Karna’s Redemption: The story of Karna, the legendary warrior, underscores Shraddh’s importance. When Karna reached heaven but received gold instead of food, it was revealed that he had neglected feeding his ancestors. This event marked the beginning of Pitru Paksha and Karna’s return to Earth.
Lord Rama: Even before the Mahabharata era, Lord Rama initiated the tradition of feeding crows during Shraddh, emphasizing the timeless nature of this practice.
Dealing with Pitru Dosha
Pitru Dosha arises from ancestral displeasure or specific astrological combinations. Remedies include:
Feeding the Needy: Individuals with Pitru Dosha should provide meals to the less fortunate as a way to seek forgiveness and appease their ancestors.
Pitru Tarpan: Performing Pitru Tarpan during the Shraddh Paksha satisfies the ancestors for a year and can help alleviate the effects of Pitru Dosha.
The Benefits of Pancha Mahabali
Pitru Paksha offers a unique opportunity to seek liberation from life’s challenges, such as Kaal Sarpa Dosha. Apart from providing meals to the needy, offering Pancha Mahabali can be highly beneficial. These offerings include Gau Bali (cow), Shwan Bali (dog), Kag Bali (crow), Dev Bali (Brahmin), and Pipalika Bali (ants).
By presenting these offerings, individuals express gratitude towards their ancestors and seek blessings for a prosperous and harmonious life.
During Shradh, individuals should also keep in mind the following:
Food Preparation: Avoid preparing Tamasic food during the Shradh period.
Abstaining from Intoxicants: Refrain from consuming intoxicating substances and avoid using oil, gold, perfume, and soap on the body during Pitru Paksha days.
Emotional Balance: Do not express anger, engage in arguments, or rush through the Shradh rituals.
Avoiding Auspicious Events: Marriage, Mundan (tonsure ceremony), Upanayana (sacred thread ceremony), foundation stone laying, and housewarming should be avoided during this period.
Performing Rituals: The head of the family or the eldest male member typically performs the Shradh. In the absence of a male member, any other male family member can offer water to the ancestors. Sons and grandsons can also participate by performing Tarpan.
Ritual Items: Use white flowers and essential items like Ganga water, honey, milk, white cloth, and sesame seeds during Shradh rituals.
Placement of Ancestral Photos:
When displaying ancestral photos:
- Position them facing the north with the ancestors’ faces towards the south.
- Avoid placing ancestral photos in the bedroom or drawing room to protect household members’ health.
- Limit the number of ancestral photos to one to prevent negative energy.
- Place photos on wooden stands, and refrain from hanging them or placing them in the house’s temple or kitchen.
Donations During Pitru Paksha:
To ensure the blessings of ancestors and peace for celestial bodies, consider making donations of:
- Black Sesame Seeds
- Food grains
- Shoes and Slippers
- Cow’s ghee
Shradh aka Pitru Paksha is a time-honored tradition that allows individuals to connect with their roots and seek blessings from their ancestors. Following these special instructions and rituals can bring immense benefits and foster a sense of harmony and prosperity in one’s life.
Parduman Suri is an astrologer