Pitra Sadh

This draft version is prepared by Sri Satayandra Prasad, 1 Feb 2014. Consultations is being carried out with pundits and in due time this section will be completed and verified.

What is Pitra Shradh?

Shradh or atma shradh is a ceremony (pooja) performed for the benefit of deceased relatives and dear ones, for atma shanti. It is a ritual for expressing one's respectful feelings for the ancestors with devotion. It allays the sufferings of your departed dear ones. Pitra Kriya is more rich in significance or implication than Dev Kriya. Garud Purana, Matsya Purana, Vishnu Purana, Vayu Purana and other sacred scriptures as Manu Smriti etc. give an account or representation of Shraddh.

The word 'Pitr Paksha' comprises of two words 'Pitr' which means ancestors and the 'Paksha' which means phase of the moon. The auspicious period in the dark fortnight of Ashwina (September-October) is known as Pitr Paksha or Mahalaya Paksha. It is a 16-lunar day period and is also known as Pitri Pokho, Pitru Paksya, Sola Shradha, Kanagat, Jitiya and Apara Paksha. This is an occasion to pacify the departed ancestors by performing rites to repay debts to the ancestors.

When is Shraad Observed?
Pitr Paksha is observed from the Ist day or Tithi of the Ashwin month and continues till the following new Moon day (Amavysya) which is known as Sarvapitri Amavysya, Mahalaya Amavysya or simply Amavysya. Typically, this is around the months Sep to Oct each year. During this period of 15 days, the Shradha or Tarpan of the ancestors is performed on the Tithi on which they met eternity, i.e. on their death anniversary . Apart from this, each day is dedicated to the Tarpan of all the ancestors in this period. If one does not know the dates of passing, the person should perform Shradh on the moonless night(Amavasya) every month or must in the month of shraadhs.

Akal Mrityu - Death before time

Death caused by some unnatural reason, it is called as Akaal Mrityu(death before time) and for them "Shraadh" is observed on last day of Ashwin month i. e., Amavasya. For ancestors whose death may have been caused by a weapon, poison or accidents, their Shradh is performed on Chaturdashi and for ancestors who died on Chaturdashi, their Shradh is performed on Amavasya.

Why do anything during Pitra Shradh?

It is believed that performance of this ceremony for ancestors would bring good fortune to their descendants and thereby receive positive energies for progress. The descendants also benefit by receiving blessings from the pitra/forefathers to assist them in material gain. It can help the individual to progress spiritually as the material obstacles or problems are eradicated. It may also impact on health and curing of serious diseases. This is being done for getting recovery from chronic diseases and other body aliments. It is also believed that the ceremony is especially suitable for success in business, career, and protection from evils and enemies.

Advantages of Shradh and Pitra Dosha Puja and Daan are :

    To promote financial prosperity and stability.
    To obtain power/immovable property.
    To accerlerate/smooth functioning of business.
    To minimize the malefic effect of afflicted Jupiter.
    To obtain sidhi.
    For overall materialistic and spritual development.
    For excellent results and higher education of students.

What should one do during Pitra Shradh?

This ceremony is performed by two sadhaks (brahmins) according to the prescribed rituals by offering clothes and food, etc and blessings are sought. Libations and offerings of pinds (cakes or balls of meal made from flour or rice) are offered to spirits of ancestors by the nearest surviving relatives). Gifts of food are offered to Brahman officiates and to relatives. After the ceremony it is customary to feed the poor, such as providing meals to 108/1008 poor people.

What are suggested Text and readings: Garud Puran

Shradh in view of Garud Puran - in the ancient Indian religious text Garud Puraan and other Puraans, it is stated that by offering this pooja to the forefathers and departed dear ones, their souls feel gratified and they bless the person with wealth, children, knowledge, joys, pleasures and with long and healthy life.