Pitra Paksh - The fortnight of Ancestors
In Indian Culture, the day starting from Purnima (full moon night) of Shukla Paksh of Bhadra Pad month till the Amavasya (No moon night) of the Krishna Paksh of Ashwin month is considered to be the period dedicated to our departed ancestors. This period of 16 days is known as "Pitra Paksh or the Shraadh Kaal". This period is said to be very auspicious for performing special rituals known as "Shraadh Karma" for appeasing our departed Ancestors and getting their blessings. These rituals of Shraadh Karma are suppose to be done by every person irrespective of caste, creed and culture as they are mandatory for everyone according to Ancient Vedic Texts.
The Following are the day & dates for the Shraadh Paksh in the year 2019 :
13th September 2019 (Friday) - Purnima Shraddh
14th September 2019 (Saturday) - Pratipada Shraddha
15th September 2019 (Sunday) - Dwitiya Shraddha or Dooj Shraddha
17th September 2019 (Tuesday) - Tritiya Shraddha
18th September 2019 (Wednesday) - Maha Bharani or Chaturthi Shraddha
19th September 2019 (Thursday) - Panchami Shraddha
20th September 2019 (Friday) - Shashti Shraddha
21st September 2019 (Saturday) - Saptami Shraddha
22nd September 2019 (Sunday) - Ashtami Shraddha
23rd September 2019 (Monday) - Navami Shraddha
24th September 2019 (Tuesday) - Dashmi Shraddha
25th September 2019 (Wednesday) - Ekadashi Shraddha, Dwadashi Shraddha
26th September 2019 (Thursday) - Trayodashi Shraddh
27th September 2019 (Friday) - Chaturdashi Shraddha
28th September 2019 (Saturday) - Sarva Pitru Amavasya or Amavasya Shraddha
In our Hindu culture, the status of parents is considered equivalent to Devatas (Gods). Therefore as per Ancient Vedic Texts, even the Gods become happy and shower their blessings on a person who serves his parents. According to Brahma Purana, a person who performs Shraadh Karma with full dedication appeases Brahma, Rudra, Ashwini Kumar, Sun, Fire, Air in addition to his Ancestors and is thereby blessed with Health, Wealth and Happiness. In our Ancient Texts, the Elder son is given the rights to perform Shraadh Karma for his parents which benefits the entire family.
As per Ancient Hindu Vedic Texts, after the death of a person, his physical body remains in this world while his soul (Aatma) goes to Brahma Lok, Vishnu Lok, Swarg Lok or Pitra Lok depending upon the Karmas of a person. It is said that the souls residing in Pitra Lok feel Hunger and Thirst but they are unable to satisfy the same since they do not have a physical body to perform Karmas. Due to this, Lord Yamraj who is the God of Death allow these souls to visit the Prithvi Lok (Our world) during the period of Shraadh Paksh so that they can feed upon the foods offered by their off springs while performing the Shraadh Karma.
These souls of Ancestors return to the Pitra Lok after they are satiated and they shower their blessings on the person performing shraadh Karma due to which he is blessed with wealth, peace, happiness, progeny, name, fame and prosperity. However, those people who do not perform Shraadh Karma for their Ancestors have to suffer all kinds of unexplained problems and sufferings because the souls of their ancestors who have come to them during the Shraadh Paksh with great expectation have to return back dissatisfied without any offerings, foods, etc. and they are destined to remain hungry and thirsty till the next Shraadh Paksh.
It is said that a person is indebted to his ancestors and he can get free of these debts known as "Pitra Rin" only by performing Shraadh Karma during the Pitra Paksh or the Shraadh Paksh. If any of his ancestors have not done these Shraadh Karmas on their part then these unfulfilled Karmas get converted into Doshas known as Pitra Doshas and they are reflected by placement of certain planets in the horoscope as well as due to certain problems and sufferings which affects the entire family. In a family, where there is a Pitra Dosha, the following may be found :
- Diseases regularly occur in such family affecting one or the other member at all the times, sometimes even diagnosis of the actual disease becomes a problem.
- Financial problems are always there due to disturbances and losses in Business / Jobs / Services.
- There is lack of Peace & Harmony in the family due to which there is always a situation of tensions & restlessness.
- At times, the progeny may have birth defects or there are no children in the family.
- Marriage related problems, Delayed Marriage, etc.
- Unexplained fears and Phobias due to which their is constant restlessness, problems and obstructions, feeling of negativity and depression in family especially affecting the head of the family
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Gaya - The most auspicious place on Earth for performing Shraadh Karma :
Gaya ji a place in Bihar state of India is considered as a most sacred place for performing Shraadh Karma of Ancestors and it is said that if a Shraadh Karma of any ancestor is done at this place with all the proper rituals, then he is relieved of his miseries and attends freedom from Pitra Lok.
As per our Ancient Vedic Texts, there was a very powerful demon with the name Gayasur who was very ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu was pleased with his worship and asked him for any favour (Vardaan).
The Demon Gayasur requested Lord Vishnu to make him even more pious than any other God for which Lord Vishnu obliged. However, due to this, even the utmost sinners started getting themselves absolved of their sins by merely paying a visit to Gayasur and thereby became eligible for the Swarg Lok ( Heaven ).This disturbed the entire balance of Universe and therefore all the Gods made a plan and arranged a Yagna, in which they asked Gayasur to donate his body. Gayasur being a staunch follower of Lord Vishnu agreed to this and he lied down on Earth with his Legs towards North and Face towards South. The place where Gayasur offered his body became a very sacred region and began to be known as Gaya ji. It is said that various Landmarks like Lord Vishnu's footprints are located in this region and doing Shraadh Karma here is considered very auspicious since Lord Vishnu is the giver of Moksha or the ultimate freedom from the Chakras of Life and Birth.
Precautions that should be taken during Shraadh Karma :
A Shraadh Karma is performed for providing peace and satisfaction to our Ancestors. The following points related to Shraadh Karma may be taken into account so that our ancestors are properly satisfied and we get auspicious results of this Karma.
i ) A person performing the Shraadh Karma should remain fully dedicated & pious by his body and soul.
ii ) It is auspicious to invite relatives as well as one's Guru for participating and having food after Shraadh.
iii ) Absolute cleanliness should be observed in preparation of the food and while offering the food to Brahmins in whose body, the souls of Ancestors are supposed to have visited us.
iv ) The Shraadh Pinds (Pind Daan) should be fed to a cow or a goat or a Brahmin.
v ) A person performing the Shraadh should not consume beatle leaves or any other addictive materials like Tobacco, Cigarette, etc. on the Shraadh day.
vi ) The entire process of Shraadh Karma should be done with full dedication and without any interruption.