Hindus are obligated by their Dharma, or religion, to pray for their ancestors’ spirits. To maintain happiness, they must pay this debt. During Pitru Paksha or Shraadh, a 16-day lunar period in the Hindu calendar that begins on September 29 this year, people offer their ancestors prayers, sustenance, and water.
Hindus believe that the deceased wander in a realm (‘Pitru Lok’) between heaven and earth. They are restless and still devoted to the material world (‘Maya’). The prayers and ritual offerings performed during Pitru Paksha liberate the souls and aid in their transition to ‘Brahmaloka’ or paradise.
The background of Pitru Paksha
According to the holy texts of the Gita and the Vedas, Pitru Paksha offerings bring peace to the souls of the deceased and aid them reach their divine destination. Pitru Paksha signifies the conclusion of a person’s physical body. For the soul, what follows is a journey determined by the karma each person accumulated during their lifespan. It connects the past and the present
Hindus believe that there are significant karmic connections between past, present, and future generations. Our ancestors are responsible for our existence today. When we pray for their souls in their reverence, we earn their blessings. When Karna (a warrior from the times of the Mahabharata) passes away, his spirit is served gold and silver foods. His consciousness discovers that this is the result of his karma. During his lifetime, Karna donated gold and silver but not sustenance.
His spirit prays and returns to earth in order to donate food for a more satisfying afterlife. In China, evidence of the earliest form of ancestor veneration was discovered in the Yangshao society of Shaanxi Province. Gai Jatra, the Nepalese festival that commemorates the mortality of the people throughout the year, was established by King Pratap Malla to demonstrate to his bereaved wife that she was not the only one who had lost a son.
In ‘Principles of Sociology,’ the English philosopher-scientist Herbert Spencer stated that ancestor worship was the foundation of all religions. On the Day of the Dead, similar to Pitru Paksha, people pray for their ancestors. UNESCO inscribed this tradition on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008.
HOW TO BE AWARE OF PITRU PAKSHA
Remember your ancestors with rituals
Consult a Hindu priest or a family elder to learn the special rituals to honor your progenitors. Water is offered alongside rice, black sesame seeds, and barley flour cakes (Pindaas).
Help the disadvantaged
During Pitru Paksha, it is believed that feeding and caring for those in need generates positive karma that aids in bringing peace to the deceased. What a fantastic method to contribute!
Educate your offspring
Tell your children that a good Hindu is respectful and affectionate to his or her parents, grandparents, and elders as you explain the significance of Pitru Paksha to them. Remind your children that obedience has its rewards.
5 METHODS TO INCREASE YOUR KARMIC BY LEARNING ABOUT PITRU PAKSHA
This 16-day period is deemed adverse for beginning a new venture, getting married, or purchasing a home or vehicle.
Those who fail to offer their ancestors sustenance and water during Pitru Paksha will receive nothing in the afterlife.
Pitru Paksha is also the time when Hindus can cleanse themselves of ancestral transgressions by performing rituals and making offerings.
A crow consuming the offerings is viewed as a positive sign because crows are believed to represent Yama, the god of death.
Pitru Paksha was traditionally performed only by men, notably fathers and sons, but times have changed. In families without males, the rituals may be performed by daughters.
PITRU PAKSHA DATES