In Indian Culture, the day starting from Purnima ( full moon night ) of Shukla Paksh of Bhadra Pad month till the Amavasya ( No moon night ) of the Krishna Paksh of Ashwin month is believed to be the devotional duration dedicated exclusively to our departed ancestors. This period of 16 days is recognized as "Pitra Paksh or the Shraadh Kaal". This period is said to be very sacred for performing special rituals known as "Shraadh Karma" for appeasing our belated Ancestors and gaining their blessings. These rituals of Shraadh Karma are supposed to be done by every person irrespective of caste, creed and culture as they are treated as a Verdict from Ancient Vedic Texts which everyone should follow compulsorily. To get a Shraadh Karma Puja or Pitru Paksh Puja performed, please click here
The Following are the day & dates for the Shraadh Paksh in the year 2023 :
29th September 2023 (Friday) - Purnima Shraddh / Pratipada Shraddh
30th September 2023 (Saturday) - Dwitiya Shraddha or Dooj Shraddh
1st October 2023 (Sunday) - Tritiya Shraddh
2nd October 2023 (Monday) - Chaturthi Shraddh / Maha Bharani Shraadh
3rd October 2023 (Tuesday) - Panchami Shraddh
4th October 2023 (Wednesday) - Shashti Shraddh
5th October 2023 (Thursday) - Saptami Shraddh
6th October 2023 (Friday) - Ashtami Shraddh
7th October 2023 (Saturday) - Navami Shraddh
8th October 2023 (Sunday) - Dashmi Shraddh
9th October 2023 (Monday) - Ekadashi Shraddh
11th October 2023 (Wednesday) - Dwadashi Shraaddh
12th October 2023 (Thursday) - Trayodashi Shraddh
13th October 2023 (Friday) - Chaturdashi Shraadh
14th October 2023 (Saturday) - Sarva Pitru Amavasya or Amavasya Shraddh
In our religious Hindu culture, parents are given status equivalent to Devatas (Gods) out of respect. Therefore as per Ancient Vedic Texts, even the Gods become happy and are tempted to shower their blessings on a person who serves his parents. According to Brahma Purana, a person who performs Shraadh Karma whole heartedly appeases Brahma, Rudra, Ashwini Kumar, Sun, Fire, Air in addition to his Ancestors and is thereby blessed with Health, Wealth and Happiness. As per our Ancient Texts, the Elder son is considered to be the authorized person to carry out Shraadh Karma for his parents which benefits the entire family.
As per Ancient Hindu Vedic Texts, after the death of a person, his physical body remains in this world while his soul (Aatma) goes to Brahma Lok, Vishnu Lok, Swarg Lok or Pitra Lok depending upon the Karmas (deeds) of a person during his/her lifespan. It is believed that the souls residing in Pitra Lok undergoes Hunger and Thirst but sadly they are helpless and not able to satisfy the same since they do not have a physical body to perform Karmas. Due to this, Lord Yamraj who is the God of Death permits these souls to visit the Prithvi Lok (Earth) during the period of Shraadh Paksh so that they can feed upon the foods offered by their off springs while performing the Shraadh Karma.
These souls of Ancestors return to the Pitra Lok after they are satiated and they happily give their blessings on the person performing Shraadh Karma due to which he is blessed with Wealth, Peace, Happiness, Progeny, Name, Fame and Prosperity. However, those people who do not perform Shraadh Karma for their Ancestors have to encounter many kinds of unexplained problems and sufferings because the souls of their ancestors who have come to them during the Shraadh Paksh with great expectations have to return back disappointed and dissatisfied without any offerings, foods, etc. and they are destined to remain hungry and thirsty till the next Shraadh Paksh.
It is said that a person is indebted to his ancestors and he can get free of those debts known as "Pitra Rin" only if he performs Shraadh Karma during the Pitra Paksh or the Shraadh Paksh. If any of his ancestors have not done these Shraadh Karmas on their part then these unfulfilled Karmas get transformed into Doshas known as Pitra Doshas and they are reflected by placement of certain planets in the horoscope as well as due to certain problems and sufferings which affects the entire family. A family with Pitra Dosha, faces following kind of problems :
- Diseases occur unusually more often in such family affecting one or the other member at all the times. Sometimes it is difficult even to diagnose the actual cause of the disease.
- They face persistent financial problems due to disturbances and losses in Business / Jobs / Services.
- There is absence of Peace & Harmony in the family due to which there is always a situation of stress, tensions & restlessness.
- At times, the progeny may have defects by birth or there are no children in the family.
- Marriage related complications, delay in Marriage, etc.
- Unknown and Unexplained fears and Phobias due to which there is constant restlessness, problems and obstructions, feeling of negativity and depression in family especially affecting the head of the family.
Gaya - The most auspicious place on Earth for performing Shraadh Karma
Gaya ji is a place in Bihar, State of India which is considered to be the most sacred place for performing Shraadh Karma of Ancestors and it is said that if a Shraadh Karma of any ancestor is carried out at this particular place with all the proper rituals, then he is relieved of all his miseries and attains freedom from Pitra Lok.
As per our Ancient Vedic Texts, there used to exist a very powerful demon with the name Gayasur who was very ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu was impressed with his worship and asked him for any boon (Vardaan).
The Demon Gayasur humbly requested Lord Vishnu to make him even more pious than any other God for which Lord Vishnu obliged. However, due to this, even the utmost sinners started getting themselves absolved of their sins by merely paying a visit to Gayasur and thereby becoming eligible for the Swarg Lok (Heaven). This uprooted the entire balance of Universe and therefore all the Gods made a plan and arranged a Yagna, in which they asked Gayasur to donate his body. Gayasur being a staunch follower of Lord Vishnu readily agreed to this and he lied down on Earth with his Legs in North direction and Face towards South direction. The place where Gayasur sacrificed his body and became a very sacred region and began to be known as Gaya ji. It is said that various Landmarks like Lord Vishnu's footprints are located in this region and doing Shraadh Karma here is considered very auspicious since Lord Vishnu is the giver of Moksha or the Salvation (ultimate freedom) from the Chakras of Life and Birth.
Precautions that should be taken during Shraadh Karma :
A Shraadh Karma is performed for sake of providing peace and satisfaction to our Ancestors. The following points regarding the Shraadh Karma should be taken care of to assure that our ancestors are properly satisfied and we get auspicious results of this Karma.
- A person performing the Shraadh Karma should remain totally dedicated & pious by his body and soul.
- It is auspicious to invite relatives as well as one's Guru for participating and having food after Shraadh, hence highly recommended.
- Absolute hygiene should be observed in preparation of the food and also while offering the food to Brahmins in whose body, the souls of Ancestors are supposed to have visited us.
- The Shraadh Pinds (Pind Daan) is supposed to be fed to a cow or a goat or a Brahmin.
- A person performing the Shraadh should restrict himself from consuming beetle leaves or any other addictive materials like Tobacco, Liquor, Cigarette, etc. on the sacred day of Shraadh.
- The entire procedure of Shraadh Karma should be done with genuine faith, from bottom of the heart and without any kind of interruption.