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29 September 2015

Pitru Paksha Shrāddha: Fortnight To Express Gratitude toward Deceased Ancestors

Pitru paksha has begun from yesterday. Paksha means a fortnight period and Pitru means forefathers. Pitru Paksha begins with Bhādrapada Krishna Prātipada according to the Hindu Lunar calendar. During this fortnight time, Shrāddhas of deceased ancestors and loved ones are supposed to be performed. In today's article, let's discuss the great Hindu tradition of remembering the lost loved ones.


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The Mahalaya Shrāddha in Pitru Paksha:



According to Hindu Puranas after death, every Jeeva gets a new birth or reaches to new Loka, which is reserved for them based on their Karma in the life on the earth. As a Pauranik concept, we assume that Pitru Loka is the first residence for the Jeeva after departure because we cannot recognize the definite life after death. Shrāddha means the rituals performed for a deceased person with faith - Shraddhā,  the act of gratitude performed with faith. According to the tradition, it is believed that by the special rituals of Shrāddha, our loved one in the other world can receive the food suited for that particular Loka. Shrāddha is performed every year on the death anniversary of the departed person. Pitru Paksha Shrāddha, which is also known as Mahalaya Shrāddha is an additional Shrāddha to the yearly ones.


Is Pitru Paksha Inauspicious?


Some dharmic people believe that Shrāddha is inauspicious as it is related with a dead person. Does our love ceases just because someone is no more in our lives? Life and death is a cycle destined for everybody. Then, why do we have evil feelings about deceased people? 

The Need of Pragmatic Approach in Acceptance or Rejection of Traditions:


We may question Shrāddha for a scientific proof. I personally do not like to follow or reject any tradition blindly. I don't accept the 'all-or-nothing' approach generally applied to Indian traditions in India. The best approach, I think can be raising questions and researching our doubts. Moreover, Hinduism gives the freedom to accept and follow the concepts that we feel pragmatic. (No belief is and should be forced upon anybody. Freedom is above all the faiths and traditions.)


Express Gratitude toward Deceased Ancestors:


The tradition of Shrāddha is a practice to express the gratitude toward our ancestors, an occasion to remember them. Isn't it a significant tradition? Gratitude makes our heart pure and peaceful. Remembering our departed loved ones and their love for us can be so soothing. Cherishing those moments shared together can be uplifting.You don't have to be a follower of a particular religion to love somebody and to express it. You don't need to be religious to remember and cherish the love of your ancestors. You don't even need to believe life after death or Punarjanma.

Therefore, let's make this fortnight of Pitru Paksha a sacred fortnight for remembering our deceased loved ones and expressing our gratitude toward them, receive their blessings.


Explanation of Sanskrit concepts used in the article:


Purānas: 18 Mahapuranas are present according to Indian culture. Understanding Puranas need profound spiritual research and devotion. Excluding aadhyatmic significance for the peaceful human life, the stories in Puranas may look just mythical stories. Although, it's difficult to accept everything written there in Puranas blindly, it's also very hard to reject the Puranas by naming them as mere mythology.

Paurānik: means the era or concepts related to Puranas.

Jeeva: Individual Aatman that is bounded by Karmas and Maya or the soul which is not liberated and hence has to follow the cycle of life and death.

Loka: Loka is a concept that can have somewhat similar but not absolutely same meaning of the word, "the world." Various lokas are described in Puranas with a different significance, the life, food or water present there. e.g. Brahmaloka, Goloka, VishnuLoka, Shivaloka.


This Article in Hindi:

Pitru Paksha Hai Poorvajonse Kripashirvad Paane ka Parv


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