Pitru Paksha 2021: Meaning and Importance
By: Future Point | 15-Sep-2021Views : 1585
Pitru Paksha 2021: The full moon of Bhadra month is called Rishi Purnima. On this day, offerings are made to the Agastya muni- a renowned saint in Hindu mythology. This worship marks the beginning of Pitru Paksha.
What exactly is Pitru Paksha?
According to Hindu calendar, every year Pitru Paksha starts from Pratipada Tithi of Krishna Paksha of Aashwin month and lasts till Amavasya Tithi. Our ancient scriptures mention “Shradh” as a time period to show our respect and reverence for our ancestors. The importance of the day is also found in the Puranas. According to the Puranas, Yamraj makes the departed souls or our ancestors free for these 15 days so that they can come on the Earth and be satisfied by accepting food, water and other offerings made during Shradh from their families.
This year Aashwin month Krishna Paksha will start from 21st September. But Pitru Poojan will start from 20th September and will end on 06th October. Let us know about the important things related to this day.
The date of shradh is generally decided by the priest or pandit, who after keeping in mind the date of death of the person for whom the shradh is being performed, makes necessary arrangements. Some food is also fed to the animals like dogs, cows, crows and cats as it is believed that the ancestors come to our house that day in their forms.
It is believed that if Shradh is not performed, then the souls of our ancestors do not get peace. It is believed that by making offerings regularly in Pitru Paksha, Pitra Dosh if present in anybody’s horoscope gets removed. Pitra dosh is an affliction in kundali which when gets formed creates hurdles in life and longevity of the family members is also affected. Shradh and Tarpan are the significant rituals performed in Pitru Paksha.
Major dates of Shradh
Pratipada Shradh – 21 September
Shashthi Shradh – 27 September
Navami Shraddha – 30 September
Ekadashi Shradh – 2nd October
Chaturdashi Shradh – 5 October
Pitru Amavasya Shradh – 6 October
Legend behind Pitru paksha
As per the legend, Kunti Putra Karn, also known as Danveer Karn made end number of donations in his life, be it jewels, currency, land, clothes, etc. The only thing he never got a chance to offer in charity was food. Thus, when he died and ascended to Pitra Lok, everything that he gave in charity came back to him in multifold. But he didn’t get any food. He actually had to starve for days and later requested Yamraj to give him an opportunity to offer food in charity to the needy. It was then Yamraj granted him 14 days return to earth and do the needful charity. He performed numerous meal-charities during these days, and when he returned, there was abundant food for him to satisfy his hunger. These 14 days are considered to be a part of Shraadh Period and it is believed that whatever we donate during this period, comes back to us multifolds.
Significance of Bhadra Purnima
Bhadra Purnima will be on 20 September 2021. The first taparna will be given on this day. This day is called Rishi Purnima. On this day, offerings are made to the Agastya muni. To protect the sages, he drank one of the oceans and ate two asuras. Therefore, on the day of Bhadra Purnima, as a mark of respect, tarpan of Agastya Muni is done and after that the Pitru Paksha starts.
According to religious beliefs, during this time cows, dogs and crows are fed with food. It is believed that doing this pleases the ancestors and bestows blessings, peace and prosperity.
According to the Brahma Purana, the ancestors get salvation by performing the rituals on the Pitru Paksha. It is also said that whatever is offered during Pitru Paksha is received by the ancestors. Pitrus are satisfied by getting their share and are pleased and bless their predecessors. Those who do not perform Shradh, their ancestors do not get salvation and then Pitra Dosh gets formed in kundali. To get rid of Pitra Dosh, it is necessary to perform Shradh or worship to the ancestors.
If one performs shradh properly then the ancestors bless the natives with a progress in the family and increase in the lineage. Pitru Paksha has a special place in Hinduism. On the days of Shradh, when the ancestors come to the earth and if their Shradh is not done properly, then their soul remains unsatisfied and they go back after getting angry and cursing their descendants.
It is said that by offering oil to the ancestors at the time of Shradh, making offerings through lighting lamp helps in destroying malefic affects of Shani and Kaal Sarp etc. If milk, sesame, basil, mustard and honey are offered during Shradh, then it reduces the struggle of life.
Some not to do’s list:
- Many beliefs are prevalent in Pitru Paksha, one of them is to refrain from cutting hair in Shraddha. The religious belief behind this is that getting a haircut during Shradh is associated with being beautiful in a way. Since this is a time of mourning, cutting hair, nails etc. is forbidden. But according to astrologers there is no such mention in the texts. These are things that are heard or inspired by someone's experience, which have now become a tradition.
- It is also advised to avoid garlic and onion during the period of Shradh. These things are included in tamasic food. Therefore, it is suggested to avoid onion and garlic during Pitru Paksha. Along with this, one should not consume meat, fish and alcohol at all.
- It is believed that during the Shraadh period, your ancestors visit your home. They may even come in disguise and thus, you should never ever refuse anyone food or water, even if they are a stranger to you.
- Though one should never hurt animals, it becomes all the more a sin to hurt animals during the Pitra Period. Animals, especially, crows and dogs, are offered the Pitra prasaad after the Shraadh, and that is why one should take extra precaution not to hurt these animals during the Pitra Paksh.
- It is said that stale food should not be eaten during Pitru Paksha. Especially the one who is being fed and the one who is making offerings should not eat stale food at all. Do not include lentils in the food. It is said that raw food like lentils, roti, rice etc. is not fed during Shradh. In such a situation, you can use urad and moong dal to make dahi bhalle and kachodi etc., but do not use lentils in any form during Shradh.
- Brahmacharya Vrat should be observed during Pitru Paksha. Husband and wife should put restraint on sexual desires. It is said that the ancestors stay in our house during the days of Shradh. In this case, it is necessary to exercise control. Keep peace in the house, stay away from fights and quarrels.
- Hindus believe that buying clothes, jewelry, cars or property is a sign of happiness and celebration, and thus, they refrain from buying these things. Even if they buy these things before the Pitra Paksh period, but it should not be used during this period and wait for Navratra to use those items.
- Auspicious activities like marriage, settling marriage, any kind of birth ceremony etc. should not be kept during this period.
- It is believed that eating as guests at other’s place during the shraadh period will transfer the host’s Pitr to the guest. This eventually attaches the host’s pitr with the guest and he eventually falls in ‘salt-debt’ of the host, which can only be balanced by performing a remedial puja.
Popular places for performing Shradh worship
Gaya (Bihar): Gaya district is situated on the banks of river Falgu, bordering Bihar. It is a religious belief that by offering Pind Daan on the banks of the Falgu River in Gaya, the dead soul gets peace and they directly attain Baikunth Dham. Therefore Gaya is considered the best place for Shradh, Pind Daan and Tarpan. Every year people come here to do Pind Daan during Pitru Paksha. However, at present, the fear of Corona can’t be ignored, so the devotees should do Pind Daan following the rules and regulations as laid down by the government.
Brahmakapal (Uttarakhand): Brahmakapal is a holy pilgrimage site for Shraddha Karma. This pilgrimage site is situated near the Alaknanda River. Here people do Pind Daan and Tarpan for the peace of their ancestors. This place is located near Badrinath Dham. It is a religious belief that by performing Shradh Karma, Pind Daan and Tarpan in the Brahmakapal, the souls of ancestors are satisfied and they attain moksha. It is also believed that by performing Shradh and Pind Daan here, there is no need to do Pitra Shradh and Pind Daan anywhere else. It is said that Pandavas also performed Pind Daan and Shradh rituals here for the peace of the souls of their families.
Narayani Shila (Haridwar): People donate bodies of ancestors near Narayani Shila in Haridwar. It is believed that Pind Daan and Tarpan are performed on Narayani Shila for the liberation of the ancestors, because Haridwar is considered the dwaar or entrance gate of Hari. According to the beliefs, both Lord Vishnu and Mahadev reside in Haridwar. It is considered the best to perform Pind daan here.
Thus, Shraadh is a very important ritual of the Hindu tradition and if performed with whole devotion, makes the ancestors satiated. They, in turn, bless their offspring with health, wealth, and all the pleasures of a wonderful life.
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