What is Shraddh?
The word shraddh is derived from Shraddha meaning devotion – to God as well as our ancestors. These are the 16 lunar days period as per Vedic dharma, when we pay homage to God and our ancestors. These days are regarded as Mahalaya Paksha, Pitru Paksha meaning fortnight of the ancestors, Kanagat and Sola Shraddh meaning sixteen shraddh etc. Beginning from Hindu lunar month BHADRAPADA (sept-oct) purnima (full moon), these days end with the new moon known as mahalaya amavasya, sarvapitri amavasya, pitru amavasya or peddala amavasya.
Pitri Rin is higher than debt of Gods
Debt of pitra is of far more significance than debt of God, according to Garuda Puran. During these days our pitra is believed to leave pitru loka and remain to their descendants home in these pitra paksha. Out pitra bless us by fame , longevity, knowledge and courage after accepting the rituals done with full devotion by their generations. But if their generations does not perform the rituals, they get unsatisfied due to which their present generation has to live a struggling life filled with curse.
Shraddh is performed for the peace of souls
||Yamaduta Maharudra Karala Kushapind Gala Na Pandit Dakshina Vastrabharana Danat||
It means that the dark eyed and cruel YAMA who has long and sharp teeth do not create any trouble to the ancestor’s soul when ornaments and clothes are given.
When to perform shraddh?
Shraddh should be performed on a particular tithi or in the death anniversary of parents and grandparents on Amavasya. The lunar day of a married woman who dies before her husband will be the ninth and for those who died by suicide or poison will be fourteenth.
What should be done during Shraddh puja?
The male member of the family, the eldest son or the grandchildren should perform the rituals in the honour of their ancestors. After taking bath, the person should clean the temple with Ganga Jal, i.e, holy water. The women in the family make food for the Brahmins, feed them and give daans.
It is better to avoid shaving of beard, wearing new clothes, cutting of hair, buying new property and doing other auspicious work during pitru paksha.
Prayers offered during shradh
‘उदीरतामवर उत् परास उन्मध्यमा: पितर सोम्यास: ।
असुं य ईयुरवृका ऋतज्ञा: ते नोऽवन्तु पितरो हवेषु ।।’
– ऋग्वेद, मंडल १०, सूक्त १५, ऋचा १
Significance of shraddh in modern days
We should always stay connected with our past and ancestors and should not forget them completely. In modern days aged people are not getting proper respect and care. So we should try to remain devoted to our elders. It s after all their blood that is running in our body.
Pitra dosha or pret badha in horoscope
As per Hindu tradition, If the funeral ceremony of the dead person is not performed before the birth of the native, then pitra dosha or pret badha can be found in his/her horoscope and the dosha also spread in future generations like hereditary disease.
Problems related to pitri dosha
If there are fortunate yoga and pitri dosha together in your horoscope then you have to lead a disastrous life. Problems such as failure in job or any business, delay in auspicious activities, financial loss, childlessness, dispute in family and unnecessary conflict may arise and destroy your family.
Pitra dosha yogs
If Rahu-Ketu and Saturn gets linked with Moon, Sun and Jupiter, Pitra dosh yog is formed. Pitra dosha comes from maternal side if formed due to Moon, from paternal side when formed due to Sun and from the curse of a teacher or a saint when formed due to Jupiter.
Why Shraddha is done?
According to Garuda Purana, after thirteen days of the death soul starts its journey for Yamapuri and it takes seventeen days to reach there.
The soul travels through Yamapuri for another eleven months and only in twelfth month it reaches to the court of Yamaraj. During the period of eleven months it has no access to the food and the water. It is believed that Pindadan and Tarpan done by the son and family members satisfy the hunger and the thirst of the soul during its journey till it reaches the court of the Yamaraj.
Hence Shraddha rituals are considered very important during first year of the death.