Pitru Paksha or Shradh is a Hindu religious ceremony in which people pay homage to their ancestors by offering food. This year Shradh is being observed from 5th September to 19th September 2017.
Pitru Paksha or Shradh is a Hindu religious ceremony in which people pay homage to their ancestors by offering food. This year Shradh is being observed from 5th September to 19th September 2017. This period is also known as Mahalaya Paksha and Apara Paksha, as per India.com. In Southern and Western India, Shradh falls during the second paksha of the Hindu Lunar month of Bhadrapada and the fortnight after Anant Chaturdashi or Ganesh Visarjan, as per NDTV.
Here is the importance and why Shradh rites are performed:
1. Pitru-Loka, is the place where the souls of three preceding generations reside. It is a realm between heaven and earth. This realm is led by Yama, the god of death. Hindus believe that when a person from the next generation dies, the first generation is taken to heaven, as per NDTV.
2. Another interesting story behind the importance of Shradh is from Mahabharata. After his death, Karna’s soul was taken to heaven where he was offered gold and jewels. But in heaven Karna wanted food to eat, he then asked Indra, lord of heaven, why he was served gold. Indra, then told him that all his life he donated gold but not food to his ancestors during Shradh, as per NDTV.
3. However, Karna again got the chance to amend his mistake and was permitted to return to earth for 15 days. After returning, he again performed shradh rites and this time donated food and water in their memory, as per NDTV.
4. It also helps attain salvation after death by liberating souls from the repetitive cycle of birth and death.
Here are the precautions to be taken while performing Shradh Puja:
1. You should only use cow milk products like curd or ghee for the puja and food preparations
2. The food must be offered in silver utensils. Silver is believed to resist the evil forces.
3. It is auspicious to use barley, Kaangani, peas and mustard in the puja.
4. Sesame is one of the essential items for the puja. It brings good luck and fortune to the family.
5. Kheer must be prepared and offered in the puja, as per NDTV