Pitri Paksha – Guidelines, Benefits, and Significance
By: Pandit Telluckram Maharaj
When…..This is the dark fortnight in the Hindu month of Ashwin (September/October). It is a period of about 14 days following the 11 day Lord Ganesh festival and immediately before the Navratri festival.
What…During this time Hindus formally remember, honor and pray for the departed ancestors. These ceremonies are also referred to as Shraadha, (faith), and tarpan (satisfaction of the ancestor).
Why….The individual has a responsibility of fulfilling his obligations to (i) devatas (ii) rishis (iii) pitris (iv) humans and (v) animals. These are called the Pancha Maha Yagyas or the 5 great responsibilities of a person. Of these, Pitri yagya is considered very important as the ancestors were the visible Gods that directly influenced our lives.
Who… Generally the responsibility of performing the shraadha ceremonies in the name of the departed ancestors fall on the eldest son of the family. In the absence of a son, a grandson, a nephew, a wife or a husband can make the offerings. In the absence of these, a student or the family priest can do the ceremonies on behalf of a departed person. Traditionally male heirs of the family assume this responsibility.
How…The person performing the shraadha follows strict spiritual discipline, such as fasting and prayer, etc., during this time. The Lunar day (tithi) in which the ancestor passed away is reserved as the main day of the shraadha but the read more