Pay homage to ancestors on Pitru Divas

Shraddha Tarpan in India
Shraddha Tarpan in India

Pitru Paksha (fortnight of the ancestors) is wrongly considered by Hindus to be inauspicious, given the death rite performed during the ceremony, known as Shraddha or Tarpan. By and large, people consider that these days are not favorable to start any good work, religious rituals, or purchase any valuable things or property. This is totally a wrong notion.

We are following Shastras made by people rather than the actual Shastras due to lack of knowledge, time, comfort and selfishness. There is no Shastra that says Pitru masa is an unfavorable masa. How can a Pitru who gave birth to you, cared for and served you throughout their lives become unfavorable or inauspicious after death? We are existing because of them; our family name, culture, values, and traditions are continuing due to them.

So, perform your Pitru Divas as a festival and pay homage to them with utmost dedication and remember their whole life contributions with real gratitude. According to Ramayana and Bhagawat, even Lord Ram and Jagat Pati Krishna performed their Pitru Divas. We all need their energies and blessing as our Vedas also said ‘Pitru Devo bhava, Matru Devo bhava, Acharya Devo bhava, Atithi Devo bhava’. Unfortunately, performing Pitru Pujan before any ceremonies at home has lost its importance in the name of modern busy life.

In our Hindu culture, we believe in the theory of reincarnation which says the reasons of our comfortable or uncomfortable situations in life lie in the activities or deeds undertaken by us during our earlier lives.

It is the law of nature that we reap what we sow. According to Hindu mythology, everyone owes three Rina in life that is an obligation to pay money or goods or services or do something by one person to another. They are Deva Rina, Pitra Rina and Acharya Rina. Deva Rina can be fulfilled by performing required religious rituals, Homam, Pujas, Abhishekam, Archanas, and charities especially of your Kula devata and Devi.

Acharya Rina can be paid back by following his teaching, principles, and philosophy without any compromises. In our daily lives also we need to build a good character, share his knowledge, participate in welfare activities of the society, love and care for all living creatures without any discrimination.

Pitra Rina exists in two forms 1) Rina of living parents and 2) Rina of deceased parents, grandparents, great grandparents and all forefathers in the parental lineage.

In case of living parents, follow their teachings, fulfill their wishes and dreams, and make efforts to provide them with all possible comforts and respect and honor them in all aspects as living gods. In case of deceased forefathers, you should conduct Bhagawat Katha, Path of Ramacharitamanas, Gita Path, and Gayatri Japa by a Brahman. On their respective death Tithi day perform Pujan, Tarpan, Homam, and give charities to temples, Goshala, Anath Ashrams, blind and special need children schools, prisons, mental and leprosy hospitals in the name of your ancestors.

Those who do not know the Tithi of their ancestors’ death can perform their Tarpan on Sarva Pitra Divas that is on the day of Amavasya of the Pitra Masa. You need to maintain purity of place, body and thoughts on this day. Cook Satavik Bhojan of your ancestors’ liking and make 4 different plates with all dishes for a Brahman, Dhenu (cow), Svana (dog), and Bakasana (crow).

If it is not possible to offer food to these animals then give those plates to Brahman himself or to the temples.

Wash the feet of a Brahman and offer him Bhojan along with Dakshina. If you do not find a Brahman, then you can offer charities to your Kula Guru, or Behan (sister), Beti (daughter) Buva (Father’s sister), Bhanja (sister’s son) and Damad (son-in-law). Along with these rituals, you need to follow your family culture, rituals, traditions, and values in order to fulfill their Rina. These actions of yours protect you from all the adversities and misfortunes and improve internal relationships of your family members as well.

Everybody’s life is invigorated by the energies of our Stars, Vastu, and Pitru. So diseased ancestor’s pictures should be mounted on the south walls of your houses to get their proper energies and vitalities. Sometimes, energies of Stars and Vastu are controlled by their position or movement but not Pitru energy as it always flows to you because they love and care for you wherever you are. Hence, to get their energy and blessings, Pitru Divas should be not be performed as a formality. All close genetic relations should be present for the Pitru Divas ceremony and then eat the bhoga as Prasadam.

Hindu Mandir of Lake County is organizing Bhagawat Katha in this Pitru Paksha by a well-known Bhagwatkar Acharya Mridul Krishan Goswami Ji who is the Vanshaj of Swami Haridas Ji of Brindavana. This Katha starts from 8th September for a week.

Those who cannot perform Pitru Pujan have an opportunity to get the benefit of Pitra Krupa by sponsoring one day Katha pujan or Prasadam. Your kind charities help your ancestors to get promoted from Pitru Loka to Moksha Marg. The following is a Sloka from Narada Vishnu Purana:

Aspota yanti pitro
nritantichaa pita maha
mad vansho Vaishnava Jaat
nastran ta bhavishyati

Once Narada Maharishi went to Pitru Loka. He saw some Pitru dancing and laughing in happiness while some other Pitru were sitting quietly. He asked those happy Pitru what is the reason for your happiness. They told him that their family members on earth have performed religious rituals and made some worthy charities in their names so that with the help their charities they will soon be promoted to Moksha Marg.
I invite everyone on behalf of Mandir to come to this event with your family members and friends to listen to our beloved Acharya Ji and obtain the blessings of your Pitru Krupa and assist their souls to rest in peace by making your generous charities.

Pt. Anil Joshi

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