Pitru Paksha is being observed from September 5-19 across India. On this day, Hindus pay homage to their ancestors by offering them food.
Pitru Paksha is being observed from September 5-19 across India. On this day, Hindus pay homage to their ancestors by offering them food. During these days, people offer shradh prayers or puja to their dead forefathers. This period is also known as Shradh and Kanagat which falls during the second paksha of the Hindu Lunar month of Badrapada and the fortnight immediately after Anant Chaturdashi or Ganesh Visarjan according to Oneindia. The belief of offering food to the dead ancestors is said to free their souls from the circle of life so that they can attain salvation.
It is said that the souls of three preceding generations reside in Pitru-Loka, a realm which is believed to be between heaven and earth, according to Oneindia. This realm is presided by the god of death Yama. According to a famous belief, when a person from the next generation expires, the first generation gets to heaven which brings them closer to god, according to Oneindia. The shradh rites are offered to last three generations in Pitra Loka.
According to Hindu scriptures in Mahabharata, after Karna’s death, his soul was taken to heaven and was offered lots of gold and jewels. But Karna was hungry and he questioned Indra the reason behind serving jewellery to a man who is craving for food. Indra on being questioned said Karna that he had always donated gold and flowers in the memory of his ancestors but never offered food. Replying to this Karna said that since he was unaware of who his ancestors were hence couldn’t offer them anything.
Therefore, Karna was given a chance to return to earth for 15 days to amend his mistake and perform shradh rites and donate food water in the memory of his ancestors. This period of 15 days is today acknowledged as Pitru Paksha, according to Oneindia.
Some important things to remember while offering food:
1. One should not forget to distribute clothes or grains. This will make souls of dead ancestors happy.
2. Shradh should be performed in later part of afternoon. It should not be done in morning or in early part of the afternoon.
3. During Bhrahmin bhoj, they should be offered food with two hands and no Onion or Garlic should be used in any food items.