Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma is an Indian religion. Hinduism believes that individual souls are immortal, that is soul is neither created nor destroyed and the ultimate goal of the soul is to achieve moksha.
Pitrupaksha Shradh is a time period where hindu's pay homage and respect to their ancestors through food and by offering prayers. Shradh is 16 days long practice that starts from Bhadrapada purnimaand ends on sarvapitru amavasya. This time is not considered auspicious and no auspicious work is done during this period.
It is believed, the person performing shradh should follow some rules and should avoid some activities during this period in order perform all the rituals successfully.
- It is advisable not to buy new items during this time.
- The person performing rituals should avoid having haircut or shave and should avoid nail cutting.
- One should not consume non vegetarian food.
- Tobacco chewing, cigarette smoking and alcohol drinking should be prohibited during this time.
- One should not indulge in bad practices, it hampers fruitful results of performing shradh.
- It is believed that pitru can visit the house in any form during pitrupaksha so no creature should be disrespected and everyone should be offered food and hospitality.
- Shradh should not be performed during evening or night. The pooja should be done in the morning.
- Food is offered to brahmins as well as cows, dogs, ants, cats, and Ravens.
- It is said that performing Shradh karma at pilgrimage places like gaya, prayag, badrinath gives salvation to ancestors. But if one is unable to perform rituals at these places then they can perform karma at their place/plot only. Ancestors don’t receive donations given from other person’s door.
PitruPaksha is considered inauspicious so no good and auspicious deeds are done during this time.
Shradh rituals are performed under careful guidance of knowledgeable pandits or brahmins and need careful consideration as well:
Perfect day to perform Shradh
Shradh karma is performed on the specific lunar day when the ancestor usually a parent or parental grandparent died. These dates are specific for every individual and depends on the day and time of the death of the ancestor.
Importance of Sarvapitriamavasya
Pitru amavasya is considered as the most important day of pitru paksha. It is intended for all the ancestors, irrespective of the lunar day they died. Shradh performed on this day is very fruitful and gives benefits of performing them on any pilgrimage.
Food offered to ancestors are usually cooked in metal utensils like silver or copper and served on a banana leaf or any other available dried leaves. Food plays an important role and it is believed that food is directly offered to ancestors. Kheer is one of the most common preparation used as offering.
Shradh is often performed by the eldest son or male member of the family. It is a time to pay respect and gratitude to the ancestors. This time is not considered good to perform any auspicious rituals and is only utilized to remember ancestors.