(Shraaddha Paksha: from 16th to 30th September)
The dark fortnight of the Aashwin month in the Hindu calendar is called “Pitri Paksha” or “Mahaalaya Paksha”. Our one month is equal to one day of the Pitri Loka (the manes’ world). Performance of Shraaddha only once in a year satiates the manes of an entire lineage.
Why should Shraaddha be performed?
According to the Garuda Purana (10.57 – 59) “A timely performance of Shraaddha makes everyone in the entire family absolutely immune to all sorrows. By worshipping manes one attains longevity, son, fame, heaven, renown, health, strength, good fortune, animal wealth, happiness, opulence and abundance of food grains.”
The ‘Haarit Smiriti’ states:
न तत्र वीरा जायन्ते नारोग्यं न शतायुषः ।
न च श्रेयोऽधिगच्छन्ति यत्र श्राद्धं विवर्जितम् ।।
“Those households wherein no Shraaddha ritual is performed are never blessed with a heroic son, and none enjoys a good health. They do not live long and fail to attain true welfare and peace (some problem or the other continues to plague such families).”
Sage Sumantu has asserted, “For the householders, nothing is as propitious as the ritual of Shraaddha. Therefore, a wise person should perform Shraaddha by all means.”
How does the Shraaddha reach the Pitri Loka?
During the days of Shraaddha, a relevant resolve is made accompanied by recitation of mantras while holding the sesame seeds (Til), unbroken rice (Akshat) and water in the hand; whereupon the manes are satiated by the power of the mantras. Their mental sheaths are pleased and resultantly, holy souls are born in the family.
“We perform Shraaddha by taking the names of our father and grandfather while also mentioning the name of our lineage (Gotra); next, we serve the meal (Kheer) to a Brahmin in the prescribed manner, and that Brahmin should be of good conduct and in no case a debauchee; then our Shraaddha reaches our manes. Babaji, we perform Shraaddha in this world. How does it reach the world of our manes?”
As a money order inscribed with the correct address of the recipient reaches him. Same way, when Shraaddha is performed by duly naming the manes and their lineage while offering oblations for their satisfaction after making the resolve: ‘Today, I am performing Shraaddha for such and such manes of mine belonging to such and such lineage.’ –it reaches them. The gods and manes have the competence to gain satisfaction by receiving our feelings and resolves even from a distance. Through our chanting of mantras and the activated Sun channel, the subtle essence of the offered food reaches our manes according to divine providence.
“Maharaj! How is it received by them in that world when we are offering the food here?”
You deposit rupees in India and it is received as dollars in America or as pounds in England. If a human government can change your currency, then no wonder if the divine Nature (Prakriti) that works for the pleasure of God also makes such arrangements! You should not have doubts in this regard.
As are your feelings, so are the fruits
Gods, manes, Rishis, Munis, etc. all have divine consciousness. By satiating them selflessly you will develop love for God. Whereas by satisfying them with a cherished desire you shall find pious souls taking birth in your family. Lord Krishna had declared even more than five thousand years ago:
यान्ति देवव्रता देवान्पितॄन्यान्ति पितृव्रताः ।
भूतानि यान्ति भूतेज्या यान्ति मद्याजिनोऽपि माम् ।।
“The worshippers of the Devas or gods go to the Devas; to thePitris or manes go to the ancestor-worshippers; to the Bhutas or the ghosts and spirits go worshippers of the Bhutas; but My worshippers come unto Me. (Therefore, My devotees are not born again.)” (The Gita: 9.25)
The benefit one gains from an idol, mantra, sacred place, god and Guru is directly proportional to the quality of the feelings one has towards them. If you want to go to the world of manes and you have worshipped them for that reason, you will definitely meet your desire; and if you have no desires but have worshipped them dutifully and selflessly for their own good, only to please God, then you shall attain divine joy within, and you may also succeed in attaining God both in His formal and formless existence if your yearning is intense enough.
It is good if you perform a ritual for the emancipation of theBhutas, i.e. ghosts and spirits; but if you pray them with a desire, ‘O ghost or spirit, give me this thing’, and thus you develop permanent faith in them and think of them, then remember the teaching of the Gita: ‘To the Bhutas or the ghosts and spirits go worshippers of the Bhutas.’
An easy procedure to make the Shraaddha ritual fruitful
Swadhaa goddess is capable of satiating the manes. So you have to chant a mantra for her. Chant the following mantra three times while performing the Shraaddha ritual:
Om Hrim Shrim Klim Swadhaadevyai Swaahaa(ॐ ह्रीं श्रीं क्लीं स्वधादेव्यै स्वाहा ।)
Those for whom Shraaddha could not be performed for some reason, and if the definite date of their death is not known, thenShraaddha for them can be performed on Sarva Pitri Amavasya.
(For detailed information about Shraaddha Karma please read the book ‘Shraaddha Mahima’ published by the ashram.)
You may take benefit of “Collective Shraaddha”
“Collective Shraaddha” ritual is organised in different branches of Sant Shri Asharamji Ashram on the Sarva Pitri Amavasya (30th September 2016). You can participate in it. Please register by 23rd September at your nearest ashram. For further details please contact your nearest ashram in advance. If you have no financial constraints, you may get the Shraaddha ritual performed even at your home.