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Pitru Paksha Shradh Vidhi, Rituals, and Significance

Pitru paksha is a 16 days period of Shraddha (shraddh) from Bhadrapada Purnima to Sarva Pitru Amavasya. It is also known as Shraddha Paksha.  According to Hindu scriptures, the person offering the prayers must do it next to a water body like a beach or a riverbank. Due to this, holy cities like Gaya, Allahabad, Puri, Rameshwaram, Varanasi, Badrinath, etc are very popular destinations to do Pitru Pakshashradh vidhi.

This year Pitru Paksha starts from Monday, 20 September (Purnima Shraddha - Bhadrapada Shukla Purnima) and ends on Wednesday, 6 October 2021 (Sarva pitru Amavasya or Mahalaya Amavasya).

You should know: Pitru Paksha dates and their importance

Rituals of Pitru Paksha

The Ritual of Shraddha involves the male member, usually the eldest son of a family. After taking a bath he is required to wear a ring made of kush grass. The kush grass is symbolic of benevolence and is used to invoke the ancestors. The word "Kushal Buddhi" is believed to be derived from kush. Pind Daan, the ritual of the offering of rice, sesame seeds, and balls made from barley flour is performed.

The blessings of Lord Vishnu are then invoked using another holy grass known as darbha grass. Darbha grass is known for its unhindered growth and similarly helps to remove obstacles in one's life. Food that is specially prepared for the event is offered in memory of one's ancestors. A crow, which is considered the messenger of Yama eating the food, is considered an auspicious sign. Next, Brahmin priests are offered food after which the family members have their meal.

You should know: Dos and Don'ts of Pitru paksha

Pitru Paksha Shraddh Vidhi

- First of all, we should wake up early in the morning and take a bath, and immediately after that, Pitru and Dev place should be dipped with cow dung and sanctified with Ganga water.
- Shraddh should be done only between 12 o'clock in the sunrise and it should also be kept in mind that the work of tarpan etc. should be done in the meantime.
- The women of the house also prepare food for the Brahmin only after bathing, and only the best Brahmin should be invited and wash their feet. Now the worship of ancestors should be done by the Brahmin.
- Offer cow's milk, curd, ghee, and kheer in the fire for ancestors. Before leaving the Brahmin food, take out the food items for the cow, dog, crow, deity, and ant on the leaf.
- Resolve with Pitruarth by facing towards the south and taking Kush, sesame, and water, and provide food to one or three Brahmins. Offer the food to the Brahmin only after performing tarpan etc. and after the meal donates Dakshina and other items and gets blessings from the Brahmin.

Why Pitru Paksha is so important?

It is believed that if the manes become angry then a person has to face many problems in life. Due to the unrest of fathers, they also face problems from money loss and child side. In cases of child-inferiority, astrologers definitely see Pitru Dosha. Such people must perform Shraddha during Pitru Paksha.

What is given in Shraadh?

In Shraddha, sesame, rice, barley, etc. are given more importance. Also, there is a mention in the Puranas that Shraddha has the right only to qualified Brahmins. Sesame and Kusha have the highest importance in Shraddha. In Shraddha, food should be offered to the fathers in the form of Pindi; known as Pind Daan. Shraddha also has the right to women including a son, brother, grandson, and great-grandson.

Importance of Crows in Shraddha

The crow is considered to be the form of father. It is believed that our ancestors take the form of a crow and come to our house in the afternoon on the appointed date to receive Shraddha. If they do not get Shraddha, they become angry. For this reason, the first part of Shraddha is given to the crows.

Know more: Why Crows are given food During Pitru Paksha?

Pitru Paksha Legends

When the legendary donor Karna died in the epic Mahabharata war, his soul transcended to heaven, where he was offered gold and jewels as food. However, Karna needed real food to eat and asked Indra, the lord of heaven, the reason for serving gold as food. Indra told Karna that he had donated gold all his life, but had never donated food to his ancestors in Shraddha. Karna said that since he was unaware of his ancestors, he never donated anything in their memory. To make amends, Karna was permitted to return to earth for a 15–day period, so that he could perform Shraddha and donate food and water in their memory. This period is now known as Pitru Paksha.

Significance of Pitru Paksha

The performance of Shraddha by a son during Pitru Paksha is regarded as compulsory by Hindus, to ensure that the soul of the ancestor goes to heaven. In this context, the scripture Garuda Purana says, "there is no salvation for a man without a son". The scriptures preach that a householder should propitiate ancestors, along with the gods, ghosts, and guests. The scripture Markandeya Purana says that if the ancestors are content with the shraddha, they will bestow health, wealth, knowledge, and longevity, and ultimately heaven and salvation (moksha) upon the performer.


  • 13/09/2019

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