Thursday, September 19, 2013

What is Pitr-Paksha?

What is Pitr-Paksha?
Pitru Paksha is dedicated to our ancestors
The dark fortnight which falls during the Hindu calendar months of Ashvin and Bhadrapad (September to October) is known as Pitr-Paksha, or Mahalay Paksha. This fortnight is a time for performing rites, Shraaddha, to deceased ancestors to keep their souls gratified for years.
It is believed that during Pitr-Paksha deceased ancestors from Lord Yamaraja's (the lord of death) region are able to visit their homes during this time. Therefore, performing Shraaddha during this time helps to repay debt and pay thanks to ancestors to gratify their souls. 

Literally translated, Shraaddha is an act performed in all sincerity and faith. In particular, it is the ritual made by Hindus to pay homage to dead ancestors and especially dead parents. The ritual allows Hindus to express gratitude and thanks to their parents and ancestors for helping make them what they are today. Shraaddha is performed separately for each parent.

Pitru Paksh in 2013

Shradh Pooja during Pitru Paksh is very significant for Hindus. Performing proper customs, rituals and offering food bestow complete peace to soul of dead ancestors and forefathers. The near & dear relatives pay homage to their Pitra during Pitra Paksh. Know here why shradh pooja is very important during Pitra Paksh of Bhadrapad-Ashwin month.
Pitru Paksha in 2013 is from September 19 to October 04. It is the sixteen lunar day period which is dedicated to our ancestors and forefathers. Pitru Paksh begins on poornima (full moon day) of Bhadrapada (September) and ends on Amavasya (no moon day) of Ashwani month in Shukla Paksh (waxing moon period). During this period people pay homage to their pitra (ancestors), as Pitru Paksh is 'fortnight of ancestors'. And offering food and performing rituals for dead ancestors is also known as Shradh Pooja. They perform pooja and rituals for the departed souls of dead forefathers or ancestors. Pitru paksh is performed by children or relatives for their dead ancestors and forefathers. For other religious purpose, this period is considered inauspicious. It means Hindu people do not initiate or start any important work during period of Pitri Paksh. Beginning day of the Pitra Paksh is considered as 'Poornima Shradh'. On this day, Mahalvya pitru Paksh begins and last day of Pitra Paksh is considered as Amavasi Shradh. Mahalvya Pitru Paksh ends on this day. However, Hindu people can perform rituals for Shradh in all Amavasi or no moon days. But Pitra Paksh of Bhadrapad-Ashwin month which lasts for 16 days is considered the most important period for performing Shradh. Tarpanam, Shradham, Pitri Paksh, Sola Shraddha, are various names used for Pitru Paksh. The customs and rituals attached to Pitru Paksha Shraddh vary from region to region. Many close relatives also observe fast on the shradh day for peace of soul of their dead ancestors. Most people avoid non-vegetarian food during the occasion of Pitra Paksh. While some people do not cut their hair or shave relatives perform customs and rituals under the guidance of a learned person or priest. After shradh pooja food is offered to dead forefathers.

Why relatives perform shradh pooja for their ancestors during Pitru Paksh?

It is strongly believed by Hindu mythologists that performing pooja or rituals during Pitru Paksh certainly and immediately pleases dead ancestors. In some holy Hindu Scriptures, importance of shradh pooja during Pitra Paksh has also been mentioned, especially in words of Yama-the Lord of death. During Pitra Paksh close relatives heartily perform shradh pooja and pay homage to their dead forefathers to bring peace to their soul.

Significance of Shradh Pooja during Pitra Paksh

Offering Shradh Pooja to dead ancestors and forefathers is very important. It is believed that only shradh Pooja can provide peace to soul of dead ancestors. The dead person who did not receive shradh pooja after his death wonders on the earth aimlessly and his or her soul often scare people. Therefore, shradh pooja ensures close relatives that the soul of dead ancestors will not wonder on the earth aimlessly. Shradh Pooja during Pitra Paksh also benefits all dead forefathers or ancestors.
Shradh pooja cleans all sinful acts committed by their dead ancestors when they were alive. This way shradh Pooja makes soul of dead ancestors pious.
Relatives should perform Shradh pooja with pious heart and mind. It gives proper result in shradh pooja of their dead ancestors. Shradh pooja holds a very important place for Hindu people. And many consider this obligatory. Hindu people believe that after death it is earnestly important to have peace of soul. And therefore, Shradh Pooja is religiously performed in temples, shrines and places near the banks of holy rivers.
May this Pitra Paksh 2013 bestow abundant peace to the soul of your dead ancestors!
Shraaddha are performed to ensure a smooth passage from physical existence to the subtle planes, allowing the soul to attain salvation and rest in peace.

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