Pitru Paksha is an important time period of 16 days in Hindu culture.

Pitru paksha
Pind Daan During Pitra Paksha, Source – Wikimedia Commons

Namaste!

Welcome to the world of divine and meaningful readings at www.onindianpath.com. Today, I am going to talk about Pitru Paksha in Hinduism.

Introduction

There is a room for everyone in Hindu mythology. Like Hinduism, forefathers are considered divine and protective angels in other cultures too. This 16 days long time is dedicated to the Shradh of ancestors.

Moreover, it is also called shradh and Kanagat at may places.

Key points of Pitru Paksha

a) The last day of Pitru Paksha is known as Mahalaya Amavasya, which is considered the most significant day for performing these rituals.

b) Hindus consider Pitru Paksha as the time of year to remember their passed away relatives and ancestors and pay respect to them through various rituals.

c) Hindus perform various rituals and ceremonies to offer food, water and prayers to their deceased ancestors.

d) Pitra Paksha, Pitru Paksha, Kanagat or Mahalaya Paksha, is a 16-day lunar period in the Hindu calendar( hindu panchang) in the month of Bhadrpada. As per Gregorian calender, it falls in the month of September-October. Literally speaking it falls in 2 paksha of Bhadrpada of Vikram Samwat. It is dedicated to pay homage and honoring one’s ancestors or departed souls.

e) However, it is believed to help the souls of the late ancestors to find peace and liberation.

What is Shradh?

You must be wondering what is this shradh? So, the answer is -the word ‘shradh’ is derived from the Hindi word ‘shraddha’, which literally means sincere faith.

What is the need of Shradh?/ Why do we perform Shradh?

l) Bhagwad Gita says that Atma is eternal and immortal. Although Aatma is indestructible, that does not make it omnipotent. Atma can not decide which body it may get into and even can not leave and re-enter the body again. And, atma is still a concentration of energy searching for a body to reside in. Some find a body, but others don’t, thus it is believed that these atma are said to wander in the wilderness of the spirit realm.

II) So for the peace and salvation of such spirits, we observe Shradh. Hence, the period of Shradh is time for the spirits of our ancestors descend from the spirit realm to Earth.

III) As per age old text, these shradhs are offering made in the realm of the Earth to these spirits. The essence of shradh is to devotedly offer our gratitude to these ancestral spirits.

Vedas and puranas also mention pitra paksh amongst the 16 sanskaras.

Dates of Pitru Paksha

Apparently pitru paksha will start from September 17, 2024 and ends on October 02, 2024.

Significance of Pitru Paksha

Further, ancient text suggests that every Hindu is born with some kind of debt on him which he has to repay in his life time. One of them is a pitru reen which is loan to ancestor. Morever pitru Paksh is a time of the year where the person can repay that loan to his deceased relatives.

Furthermore, ancient texts suggest that there is a ‘in between realm’ between the spirit realm and real realm of Earth.

And, that is called pitrloka and 3 generation of a family tree resides in that Pitraloka. Also, it is stated in the holy books that during the 16 days of pitru Paksh the god of death Yama accepts the offerings made by the son of ancestors.

Hindu believe that it is inauspicious time of the year where they do not involve in any kind of auspicious and prosperous event like marriages, starting of a new business or a house warming party.

Let’s read about other important aspects of Shradh.

Karta of Pitru paksha

Firstly, the male member of the family performs all the important rituals of Sharad, is called the Karta.

Hinduism even allows a daughter to perform all the rituals of shradh to perform on the last day that is Mahalaya amavasya.

Cleansing bath

Secondly, Karta has to take a purifying bath before performing the rituals of Sharad. And he has to wear the traditional clothes. However wearing traditional clothes shows a sign of respect to the ancestors.

Brahman bhoj during Pitru Paksha

Thirdly, the Karta of the family invite a Brahmin to the house to perform the important rituals of Sharad where he offers food, money, clothes, donation and Hospitality to the priest (Brahman).

Pind Daan

Specifically in many parts of the country and different geographical location the ritual of Pind Daan is performed in pitru paksha. Pind daan is done when the karta mixes seaseme seeds, rice and flour to make a pind out of it and offer it to the priest.

Tarpan at Pitru Paksha

Particularly Karta mixes milk, barley and gangajaal  with water to make ‘Tarpana’ which is presented to the gods every day throughout Pitra Paksha.

People also make traditional food items like kheer, poori etc on pitru paksha.

Hence, firstly the food is divided into 4 portions and offered to a cow, dog, crow and brahman on the specific tithi of the death of the ancestor.

Conclusion

Hereby, you must be aware of what pitru paksha is all about. I Have a blessed day ahead.

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