Shraddha: One of the Most Important Rituals in the Hindu Faith
By: Future Point | 18-Sep-2018Views : 2811
What is a Shraddha?
We all owe a debt to our ancestors after they leave this world. This ancestral debt is what is referred to as ‘Shraddha’ in the Hindu faith and if one performs this ritual consistently, it removes the negative effects of even the most troubling planetary flaws present in one’s Kundli.
Once a soul departs this planet, it becomes the duty of the departed soul’s descendant/s to ensure that the soul gets nourishment. This nourishment has to reach the soul in a subtle form and for that purpose, the ritual of Shraddha is performed by the descendant of the departed soul.
What is the Significance of Shraddha?
As per various ‘Puranas’ (Holy Scriptures) when a soul departs from this planet, it travels to the ‘Yamaloka’ which is the celestial abode of ‘Yama’ the God of Death. Once the soul reaches the Yamaloka, it is assigned a ‘Loka’ or a realm for its stay as per its deeds before it takes a body again, which is called birth.
It takes the soul 11 months to reach the Yamaloka and during that period it depends on the nourishment that it gets when a family member (preferably the elder son) Perform Shraddha Puja in the soul’s name.
Shraddha Paksha or Pitru Paksh
Shraddha or Pitru Paksha is a period of fifteen days that is observed every year in the ‘Krishna Paksha’ (Waning Phase of the Moon) of the month of Ashwin as per the North Indian Purnimant Hindu Lunar Calendar and in the month of Bhadrapada as per the South Indian Amavasyant Hindu Lunar Calendar.
All the days of the Shraddh Paksha correspond to a ‘Tithi’ (Date). The shraddha ritual of a deceased is performed on the tithi that was there at the time of his/her death, irrespective of the month that he/she died in. But the shraddha is performed only on that tithi during the Shraddha or Pitru Paksha.
Shraddha Paksha or Pitru Paksha 2023
Shraddha Paksha 2023 will be observed from Friday 29th September to Saturday 14th October 2023.
Why is it important to Perform Shraddha Puja?
It is important & in fact incumbent upon a person to perform Shraddha Puja for his/her ancestors because we all owe a karmic or ancestral debt to our ancestors and it is our duty to make sure that they get the nourishment in the subtle body that they have once they leave their material body.
It must be noted that our ancestors need nourishment not just for the first year or so after they depart but they need it once every year after they finally dwell in the realms allotted to them as per their karmas.
The pitra or ancestors visit planet Earth every year in the shraddha paksha or Pitra Paksha and wait for someone from their family to perform a shraddha ritual in their name so that they get the nourishment that they need.
If there is a ‘Pitru Dosha' present in a person’s Kundli or Horoscope, then performing a Shraddha Puja will pacify that dosh. A Pitru Dosh is basically a malefic planetary combination in a Kundli that points out to the heavy ancestral debt that the person owes to his/her ancestors from past many lifetimes.
What is Pratipada Tithi?
Paratipada Tithi is the first date of a paksha (Lunar phase) both Shukla (waxing phase) as well as Krishna (waning phase).
What is the Significance of Pratipada Shraddha?
During the Shraddha Paksha, a person whose ancestor (or younger family member in many cases) passed away on the Pratipada Tithi, then this tithi will be the one to perform Shraddha Puja for him/her.
Which God is Worshipped on Pratipada?
Agni Dev or the Fire God is worshipped on Pratipada Tithi.
What are the rituals in Pratipada Shraddha?
- Pratipada Shraddha rituals involve offering tarpan to the deceased members of the family. It is a way of paying homage to one’s ancestors. Again, all the rituals must be performed by the eldest male of the family.
- After the tarpan ritual, Pind-Daan is performed and the offerings are either given to a Cow or immersed in a river.
- Pratipada Shraddha rituals are done during the suitable time so that the prasad can be eaten during the ‘Aparahna’ or afternoon time. After the completion of all the rituals, the prepared food is first offered to a Brahmin (Purohit) and later eaten with all family members.
- Charity is also done on Pratipada Shraddha for the deceased family member who died on the ‘Pratipada Tithi’.
- On Pratipada Shraddha some people even observe a fast. On all days of Pitru Paksha period, eating non-vegetarian food and drinking alcohol is strictly prohibited. Some people even do not shave or cut their hair during this time.
When is the Pratipada Shraddha in 2023?
Pratipada Shraddha 2023 will be observed on Friday 29th September 2023.