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Shradh Puja: Five Facts you should Know about Death Anniversary Ritual In Hinduism

It is stated that by offering this puja to the forefathers and departed dear ones, their souls feel gratified and they bless the person with happiness and prosperity

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Shradha puja_Pitru pooja
A man performing Hindu rituals- shradha puja. Wikimedia
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Shradh Puja Date In 2017:

5th September – 19th September’2017:  Shradh Puja also known as  Pitru Paksha is a sixteen lunar days period in Hindu Calendar when Hindus pay homage to their ancestors especially through food offerings. The Puja Includes Individual Puja, Sankalp, Brahmin Bhojan and Dakshina.

Legend of Pitru Paksha

According to Hinduism, the souls of three preceding generations of one’s ancestor reside in Pitru-loka, a realm between heaven and earth. This realm is governed by Yama, the god of death, who takes the soul of a dying man from earth to Pitru-loka. When a person of the next generation dies, the first generation shifts to heaven and unites with God, so Shradh offerings are not given. Thus, only the three generations in Pitru–loka are given Shradh rites, in which Yama plays a significant role. According to the sacred itihas , at the beginning of Pitru Paksha, the sun enters the zodiac sign of Libra (Thula). Coinciding with this moment, it is believed that the spirits leave Pitru–loka and reside in their descendants’ homes for a month until the sun enters the next zodiac—Scorpio (Vrichchhika)—and there is a full moon. Hindus are expected to propitiate the ancestors in the first half, during the dark fortnight.

Meaning of Shradh Pitru Paksha

Pitru Paksha is considered to be very auspicious by the Hindus. Shradh marks an important time for performing the ritual of Tarpan. Performing Tarpan in Shradh is way to remember and privilege the ancestors for whatever they have passed on to the present generation. Tarpan is considered to be a way to communication with the ancestors to let them know that they are still an integral part of the family and they still alive in our memories.

Manu Smiriti : The Law Of Manu

Time of the year when Pitru Paksha or Shradh Puja observed:

In the month of Ashwin each year, during Krishna Paksh, i.e.  15 days commencing from Purnima (full moon) to Amavasya (dark night) “Shradh” days are observed. In the year 2017, it will start from 5th September 2017 and end on 19th September 2017.  Shradh is the ritual carried out to gratify one’s ancestors. It is stated in the ancient texts that a person who does not execute the Shradh of his departed paternal and maternal near and dear ones has to bear much in life and even after.

pindaan
Hindu Rituals. Wikimedia

Significance of Shradh Puja or Pitru Paksha

I.  In Hindu mythology, it is believed that ancestors are with us, they are protecting us from all the hurdles of life, keeping us away from problems, but simultaneously they also want us to pay them respect and remember them. The rituals of Shradh is a way to pay a tribute and gratitude to our ancestors. It is believed that if the rituals are performed us with full faith, love and respect our ancestors get happy and bless us with all the good fortune.

II. We inherit the assets and properties of our ancestors, but at the same time we also inherit the results of their misdeeds. Sometimes, their misdeeds do not allow them to attain the peace after death. This disturbance of their souls can sometimes affect the present generations of the family. The rituals of Shradh helps them in attaining the peace of soul and paying for the misdeeds of their lives.

III. Shradh is considered significant to remove the effects of the unnatural death of family members and attain peace of those souls.

IV. Kaal Sarp Dosh is a kind of sin in the birth chart of an individual. People with Kaal Sarp Dosh are likely to face problems related to money and fertility. Performing Shradh rituals is likely to reduce the effects of this dosh.

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  • Rules of Shradh Puja

I. When and where : The Shradh is performed during the lunar days of the Ashwin month. The Shradh is performed only at noonday, usually on the bank of a river or lake.

II. Who and for whom, Shradh Puja is : It is essential that Shradh is performed by the son–customarily the eldest or the male relative of the parental branch of the family for the preceding three generations.

III. Food: The food offerings made to the ancestors are usually cooked in earthen vessels and placed on a banana leaf. The food must include kheer, rice, dal, vegetable of spring bean, and a yellow gourd.

IV. Rites of shradh Puja: The males who perform the Shradh should take a purifying bath beforehand and is expected to wear a dhoti. He wears a ring of Kush grass. It is considered that the ancestors are invoked in that ring. The Shradh involves Pinda-Daan which is an offering to the ancestors, accompanying the release of water from hand.

Advantage Of Shradh Puja/ Pitra Dosha & Daan:

Shradh Puja and Pitra dosha Puja and daan is very effective for achieving success in the following

  • To promote financial prosperity and stability
  • To obtain power/immovable property
  • To accelerate/smooth functioning of business
  • To minimize the malefic effect of afflicted Jupiter
  • To obtain Siddhi
  • For overall materialistic and spiritual development
  • For excellent results and higher education of students

 

by Enakshi Roy Chowdhury of Newsgram. Twitter: @enakshirc58

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Copyright 2017 NewsGram

  • Antara

    Hindu rituals are really amazing!

    • ravi shankar

      yes. Its deep & every ritual has a profound meaning.

  • Anubhuti Gupta

    Really informative article. The significance of Shradh was something that I wanted to know

  • Vallabh

    Dear sir, how long we perform the rites tarpan after death of our ancestors and how we know that our ancestors are fulfilled?

Next Story

Is The observance of Valentine’s day a Commination For The Indian Culture?

India has always been at the centre for world cultures, religions and traditions but we now see a visible decline in the indigenous culture due to this marketing campaign of western festivals and culture

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Exchanging gifts on Valentine's day has created this materialistic view of love on this day. Wikimedia Commons
Exchanging gifts on Valentine's day has created this materialistic view of love on this day. Wikimedia Commons
  • Valentine’s Day is said to be a day for expressing affection for your loved ones
  • Many people can be seen looking out for unique Valentine Day ideas to please their partner
  • Valentine Day is marked to honour the martyrdom or honouring of Saint Valentine who was beheaded by Emperor Claudius-II

One can spot excited lovebirds everywhere as the week of love starts. Shops like Hallmarks and Archie’s are brooding with love tokens. The essence of ‘love is in the air’ can be felt very easily. The Valentine’s Day is said to be a day for expressing affection for your loved ones. The day falls each year on 14th February and holds a great significance for the people worldwide. Things like cupid hearts, roses, chocolates, and red heart-shaped balloons can be seen in every florist and gift shop. Many people can be seen looking out for unique Valentine Day ideas to please their partner.

In India, along with all these romantic accessories and lovebirds, an uproar by political parties is also created every year. The party people go to different restaurants and places where the day is supposed to celebrate to wipe out Valentine’s Day decorations. These political parties also demand that this day this day not be celebrated, as it is not a part of Indian culture. Like every year, this time also the RSS, Bajrang Dal, VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) and Hindu Mahasabha with the plan to ruin all that the lovebirds might have planned ahead. The couples which are been held on by such ‘social moral-police’ forcibly marrying them by accusing of expressing love in public or even on social networking sites. To counter the aggression of such groups, Chhattisgarh made it official that 14th February will now be celebrated as ‘parents worship day.’ Such is the plight of democracy in our country.

 

Also Read: 20 best valentine’s day gift ideas for him & her

Valentine’s Day History

Majority of people in India do not even know about Valentine’s Day origin and what exactly does it stand for. If we see historically then Valentine’s Day has really got nothing to do with individual love. It is marked to honour the martyrdom or honouring of Saint Valentine who was beheaded by Emperor Claudius-II. Therefore, 14th February is also known as the St. Valentine’s Day. There are many other stories associated with it but in the end, the day is associated with the tradition of courtly love which was an act of chivalry of Knights for their ladies.

Valentine Day is marked to honour the martyrdom or honouring of Saint Valentine who was beheaded by Emperor Claudius-II. Wikimedia Commons
Valentine Day is marked to honour the martyrdom or honouring of Saint Valentine who was beheaded by Emperor Claudius-II. Wikimedia Commons

Valentine’s Day Meaning

The Valentine day is well accompanied by Chocolate day, Hug day, Rose day, Slap day, Kick day, Breakup day etc. etc. So, now the lovers celebrate a Valentine week. If we see in the Indian context then it holds no sense of celebrating a day that too when its history has nothing to do with our society. It is understood if Indians who are Christians are celebrating it as it can be considered their festival.

The question arises, what is so wrong with celebrating Valentine’s day or expressing love in public?

If we look at the general celebration of any festival in India then, almost all the Indian festivals are celebrated in a very traditional manner and none is complete if done without worshipping God. Such festivals involve family but not just couples. Like Diwali is celebrated in a very convenient way in India. We pay obeisance to God, greet our friends and families, light diyas and burst cracker. But some people on the other hand drink and gamble on this auspicious day. Is it allowed by Indian culture?

India has always been at the centre for world cultures, religions and traditions but we now see a visible decline in the indigenous culture due to this marketing campaign of western festivals and culture. Such practices make people think it is trendy to celebrate them. One has to celebrate Valentine Day because the event has been marketed in such a way that it looks special and cool for the young generation.

Also Read: Modern methods, ‘print your love’: Valentines day

Complications Involved

Basically, what matter’s is the way in which festivals are celebrated rather than their name and origin? The day in India is more likely driven by fashion and less by emotions.

Like many other cultures and festivals, Indian culture might absorb Valentine’s Day. Fundamentally, celebrating love is not harmful in itself but forgetting what love stands for and trampling the local culture and traditions as it does not resonate with the definition of globalization is certainly harmful.

The Valentine day is marked in such a way that youngsters are made to believe that they have to shower their partner with expensive gifts to keep the relationship going even when they are just students and the gift would come from their pocket money savings.

Indian festivals like Karwachauth and Rakshabandhan are being considered as a part of "patriarchy and oppression" by the western world. Wikimedia Commons
Indian festivals like Karwachauth and Rakshabandhan are being considered as a part of “patriarchy and oppression” by the western world. Wikimedia Commons

Moreover, why should there be just one special day to express your love for your loved one? This should be expressed on daily basis for relationships to go with bliss. Exchanging gifts on Valentine’s day has created this materialistic view of love on this day. Some people have started expecting benefits from this extraordinary show of love on a single day. It is extremely absurd when people start comparing how their previous date was so much better with the gifts they have received. The very idea of judging the love and affection on a materialistic platform has become a menace to the society.

The problem in India is that the society is undergoing a transformation and there are many bad elements in the society that take full advantage of such days. For some, love means only physical pleasure and nothing more than this. If this notion holds true then it is true that not only Valentine but any such festival is against Indian culture. Nothing seems wrong with celebrating Valentine ’s Day if the day is celebrated with good and spirit of the festival and we spend time with our loved ones.

Also Read: Origins of Valentine’s Day: rooted in violence and blood

On the other hand, Indian festivals like Karwachauth and Rakshabandhan are being considered as a part of “patriarchy and oppression” by the western world which has been a part and parcel of India for generations.

If someone celebrates Valentine day to realize that they are a global citizen then the aura of subconsciousness is really gone wrong. In some cases, the conversion to other religion is also seen at the behest of such festivals.

Conclusion

Emotions like love have a very deep meaning in India and most Indians try for a lasting relation who will lead to marriage and a stable life. Thus celebrating a day where you express your love for your better half is never a big deal. There are the different set of arguments for either liking or disliking this day but that doesn’t mean it gives the right to extremists to forcibly marry off couples seen expressing love in public or social networking sites. However, we should be wary of unwanted practices just for the sake of attention and let things that ruin our culture happen. But at the same time, we should also not start moral policing at everything around.

Nothing seems wrong with celebrating Valentine ’s Day if the day is celebrated with good and spirit of the festival and we spend time with our loved ones. Wikimedia Commons
Nothing seems wrong with celebrating Valentine ’s Day if the day is celebrated with good and spirit of the festival and we spend time with our loved ones. Wikimedia Commons

There are many other foreign festivals that are now celebrated in India such as New year, Halloween, St. Patrick’s day, Mother’s days, Father’s day and so on though with less vigour. It is a common conception that foreign festivals attract more people as the way of celebrating these is just like a party and it is very attractive.

Valentine Day has become an occasion of global celebrations due to various reasons. Even the cultures and communities like India that have otherwise no links to Valentine Day have also adopted it. India has a glorious tradition, a leader in spirituality and diverse culture. Now a day, celebrating Valentine Day is considered a marker of modernity. It’s up to an individual how he/she takes the spirit of love and adhere to the very idea of compassion.