According to the Hindu mythology, the body is mortal but the soul departs from the body and it never dies. When a soul is released from the body after a person breathes his last, it communes with god and hence redeemed. But there are some ritualistic practices that has to be performed by the people who is survived by him on earth in order to help his soul trade the path to redemption.
Karma plays a major role here because whether or not your soul will be one with god, the eternal being completely depends on your good deeds that you have performed on earth.
In Hinduism, when our lives end, our bodies are burnt as a means of cremation to ensure that the soul is released and it is on its journey to the heaven. It is also said that a person can't achieve redemption if he has no son to perform his Shraad.
Shraad is a ritual in which the ancestors are offered rice, fruits and water which not only helps their soul to rest in peace but also the ensure lifelong prosperity for the person who is performing it. When you are performing the Shraad of your ancestors, you are staving off all the evils from harming you and spell ruin on your life.
Read: Shradh Puja (24th September - 8th October 2018)
This ritual is the harbinger of peace and prosperity for your family too. Also, the person that has just died can't denounce his earthly attachment right away, performing Shraad is a way to ensure that the soul is free from earthly and materialistic attachments so that communion with god becomes easier.
It is one of the most important and noble ceremonies of the Hindu religion which satiates the ancestors. This is the most coveted way also to offer your gratitude towards them because we adore our elders a lot in our culture.
According to the old scripture, when a person is living on this earth, he is burdened with a lot of debts and son always has the Pitra Rin that is his duties or debts towards his father who has not only brought him in the Earth but raised him into a successful individual by providing him all the resources.
Read: What are three historically established phases of Shrdha?
Pitra rin has pretty mighty effect on you so you have to make sure you pay off the debt in your lifetime only. The only way you can pay your Pitra Rin is to offer Pind that is widely known as Pind Dan across sacred religious places of India.
The kinds of debts you have:
There is a vociferous mention of this debt in Mahabharata where it says that your life will be unfulfilled if you fail to clear these debts in your lifetime. You should aspire to free yourself from these debts by offering pind to your ancestors.
Read: पूर्णिमा श्राद्ध पर इन मुहूर्त और विधि से करें पितरों को प्रसन्न
Dev Rin: This is your obligation towards lord Vishnu which you can fulfill by various donations.
Rishi Rin: This is your obligation towards Lord Shiva which you can pay off by gaining knowledge and sharing it with others.
Pitra Rin: This is your obligation towards Lord Brahma which you can pay off by offering Pind or performing Shraad for the ancestors. In three steps this ritual is performed that are pind daan, tarpan nd Shraad which relieves the departed soul from hunger and thirst.
Who can perform Shraad?
Anyone from the seven generations of the same lineage that is survived by the departed soul can perform his Shraad that comprises of son, daughter, grandson, great-grandson, brother, wife, daughter's son, nephew, cousin's son, father, mother, daughter-in-law, son of sisters, maternal uncle that belong to the family domain are entitled to perform the Shraad.
Read: Why should every son perform ritual of Shradh?
The types of Shraad that are performed:
There are three prevalent types of Shraads such as Nitya(everyday), Naimittik (occasional), Kamya (performed with an objective). However, there are two other types of Shraads such as Nandi Shraad and Parvana Shraad.
Nitya Shraad: This is performed everyday and hence called Nitya Shraad. You will have to perform Tarpan which is offering water in a specific way to appease your ancestors. Black sesame seed is the key requirement for this.
Naimittik Shraad: Ekoddishtha Shraads fall in this category.
Kamya Shraad: This Shraad is performed for achieving specific objectives and it ensures fruitful results of your efforts. You will get good fortune, victory over enemies, fulfillment of desires, health and long life.
Read: Pitru Paksha Puja Vidhi and Procedure
Purnima Shraad: The best date for performing Purnima Shraad in 2018 is 24th September Monday. This kind of Shraad is also known as Shraadhi Purnima or Prosthapadi Purnima.
Dwitiya Shraad: The best date to perform Dwitiya Shraad on 2018 is 26th September Wednesday. This kind of Shraad is performed for those in the family who died in the Dwitiya tithi.
2018 Shraad dates in India:
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