Shradh - Remembering the Departed Souls
'Jiva Jivasya Jivanam'
The living entity survives by feeding upon another living entity who in turn survives by feeding on another living entity
Popularly known as Pitru Paksh, Shradh Paksha is a ‘15-day’ traditional Hindu ritual performed by the family members to appease the departed souls of dead ancestors. This ritual is observed during the period of Krishna Paksha fortnight in Ashwin Mass (September / October), that is, from the 1st Tithi of the Ashwin Maas (Full Moon) and continues till Amavasya (New Moon/ Dark Night).
According to Hindu mythology, soul of the person lives on the earth even after his/her death. And Shradh is a way to pay homage to these souls and make sure that they happily depart for their journey to heaven.
Did you know if your ancestors had committed sins or misdeeds, then the bad karma of that sin will be passed on to the living members of the family? These karmic debts, also known as Pitra Dosh, are reflected by the malefic effects of Jupiter in one’s horoscope. And Shradh is the classic way to purify you of any bad karma that has been passed on to you by your ancestors.
Shradh is an important ritual to gratify the departed soul even if the death was because of unnatural causes such as suicide, accident or murder. For instance, if someone from the family died in an accident (Akaal Mrityu), then Shradh is performed on the last day of Ashwin month i. e., Amavasya. If a family member has died due to any weapon or poison, their Shradh is performed on Chaturdashi and for those who have died on Chaturdashi, their Shradh is performed on Amavasya. Moreover, people with Kal Sarp Dosh can negate the effects of the dosha by performing a Kal Sarp puja during the time of Shradh. It not only helps one to overcome big problems and tough situations in their life but bless you with fruitful returns or gains.
Based on Hindu calendar, this year Shardhpaksha is starting from September 24 and ends on October 8. Following four time zones or yoga that will be considered auspicious during this time.
Generally deemed to be an inauspicious, families are not expected to participate in any festivities during the Shradh period. Keeping in mind the sanctity of the ritual, one should religiously follow these rituals on the day of Shradh:
- The first time time zone - the Amrit Sidhi Yoga - will occur from September 24 from 12.30 pm to sunset. During this time, you can shop and even buy new clothes.
- The second time zone - the Ravi Yog - will occur on September 28 from 9.21 am onwards and will last till noon on the same day. This time zone is considered to be very powerful and you can execute all your pending ideas and work during that time.
- The third time zone - Sarvasidhi Yoga - will occur on October 2 from 6.16 am onwards and will last till noon. Praying to God during this period will bring you loads of auspicious results.
- The fourth time zone is a continuation of the third time zone and will continue on the same day, on October 2 from 2 am onwards. It will begin from October 2 and end on October 4. This period is ideal if celebrations and festivities.
- Have a purifying bath (using Gangajal) and wear white clothes
- Do pind daan (pay homage to the soul of the deceased) with full devotion
- The prayers must not be offered later than afternoon
- Cook pure vegetarian food
- Cook the favourite food of the deceased to make their soul happy
- Worship Tulsi to please the ancestors
- Feed the shradh food on banana leaves
- Refrain from alcohol, non-vegetarian food
- Black urad, chana, masur, sattu, black jeera, radish, cucumber, black salt, bottle guard, black mustard, and impure fruits should not be used
Shradh Puja and daan is effective for achieving success in the following aspects of life:
- To reduce the malefic affects of planet Jupiter
- To strengthen financial prosperity and stability
- To obtain immovable property
- To accelerate smooth functioning of business
- For better higher education of students
- To protects you and your family from accidents, and health issues
According to Vishnu Purana, one day in the heaven is equivalent to one year on earth. Thus, Shradh Paksh ritual is done once in a year, so perform it with full devotion to alleviate the suffering of departed ancestors who might be waiting in Pitraloka for their rebirth.