Shraadha and Pithrupaksha


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Dear Friends,
For general information I would like to submit that Shraddha is required to be performed not only during Pitr Paksha but also on the respective anniversary Thithi in the respective anniversary Paksha and respective anniversary month of one`s father and mother,if they are not alive. In South India, Sraddha is observed as above. This is known as Pratyaabdika Sraddham. It calls for certain voluntary restrictions and sacrifices on the part of the karta and elaborate rituals with Homam and offering of Vastra, Bhojanam ( as per family tradition) and decent Dakshina to the Brahmins who officiate as pitr and visvedeva apart from appropriate Dakshina to the family or other priest who conducts the Shraddha proceedings. Pitr Paksha Sraddha involves offerings also to Karunika Pitrs i.e., relatives who died and for whom there were no issues or for whom there is none willing to perform Shraddha rites. Pitr Paksha Sraddha is far simpler and less
time consuming as compared to annual Sraddha referred to above. In Pitr Paksha Sraddhas normally 5 Brahmins of which one has to be a priest are required. One of the brahmins is nominated as Karunika Pitr. In place of meals as in Pratyaabdika Sraddham , in Pitr Paksha Sraddhams they are offered rice,dal and some vegetable like raw plantain and any other thing as per custom. In USA and other offshore lands, very few freelance priests are available as in SOME MAJOR CITIES IN India. It is also difficult to get more than one priest at a time, at places where they are available, since most of the priests are working for Hindu temples. But the temples allow the priest for house visit or for performing rituals in the temple complex itself. There are prescribed scales of fees for various rituals to be paid to the temple. Over and above this one cay pay any gratis amout to the priest. The list of items to be given as danam to the priest included milk, curd,ghee,3
varieties of fruits and 2,3 varieties of vegetables in addition to those listed above.

Coming to the question as to what can be done if one is located at a place where no priests are available, one should do at leastPitr tarpanam, if one is accustomed to performing Tarpanams on Amavasya, Sankramanams, Grahana kalams and all other Punyakalams. Essential requirements for Tarpanam are Yagnopaveetham, Dharbha Grass,Black til (2,3 grams) and a rice(2 grams). If one is not performing these prescribed(ordained ) rites, he needs to seek kshama from Pitrus on that day for non-performance and at the earliest possible occasions contact a Guru or Purohit and seek advice on remedial actions. It is permissible to perform Shraddha on some other occasion. Pl. consult the Purohit in this regard. My suggestion is at least feed poor people or Brahmins on the day of Shraddha. Unquestionable faith (shraddha) is a must in such ceremonies. Do not give Dakshina to priest grudgingly. Have faith and belief that the pitrs get pleased by doing the
prescribed rites.

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My dear friends and likeminded persons 
REG : PITHRU PAKSHA – OFFERING AND PRAYING THE DEPARTED SOULS OF THE FAMILY TREE- FORTNIGHT COMMENCING FROM 5TH OF THIS MONTH TO 18TH – WHAT DOES IT INDICATE AND WHAT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY
As per Hindu Traditional belief and as supported by several scientists of this subject, I am presenting this information for your reading and taking cognizance of it, if convinced. 
The dark days of the month of Bhadrapada Maasa as per Chandramaan calendar and Aswiyuja Maasa as per the Barhaspatya Maan Calendar as followed by most of the North India based people, the fort night till the no moon day or the Amavasya is considered as most sacred in terms of praying the departed souls in the family tree for their peace and taking blessings for the prosperity of our children and grand children.  Is it really so?  This is being questioned even by many Hindus and gradually these are considered as baseless beliefs and people are giving them up.  It is a most unfortunate state. Dr Robert gave a clear and nice presentation on this topic and his presentation is placed in my blog in the name of http://ritualsandpr ocedures. blogspot. com. 
Please refer to the pages where tarpana vidhi is updated.  However, for quick reference I am once again presenting the topic for the information of all the readers, and I am only eager that none of us should skip this great opportunity. I am giving many alternatives and the readers can accept any one convenient to them, but I appeal to you all not to miss this opportunity.  
A logical presentation is that – this has come from Vedic Order of life and Vedaas never – I repeat – NEVER – misdirect any one of us NOR the great Sages of India who worked on these sciences.  May be, we may not get a convincing answer as to how a small offering on this Mother Earth reaches one who is no more in the physical form.  It is also difficult to convince at this hour in spite of the fact that scientists like Dr Robert worked on this and give us a clear picture. Surely there is a day, where we all upkeep our eye brows and accept that the Great Sages are right and they gave us proper and right direction.  Much before that, let us go by the aforementioned logic and accept the tradition in any manner that suits us as per our place of stay and as per our circumstances. 
How this tarpana is to be done and what is the procedure. 
1)      We need to know the tidhi i.e. the day of the departed soul of the father or mother and on that day Pinda Pradana is to be done which needs the assistance of a Pundit or a Purohit.
2)      I do not get a Pundit or a Purohit and what is to be done then? Please take some black sesame seeds and take the sequence as mentioned in the order below and start releasing the water three times between index finger and thumb of right hand and for easy flow of water the hand has to be bent to the right a little. Those who wear Yagnopaveet, the position of this are to be changed to the reverse direction which is called as Apasavyam.  
3)      I do not know the names of grandfather and the great grandfather or grandmother and great grandmother either mother side or father side, what should I do?  In these cases, since names of the parents are known, please insert “Yagnappaâ€� for male or “Yagnammaâ€� for female and continue to do this and do not leave this just because the names are not known. 
4)      I do not know some of the names in the order, and then what should I do?  You can leave water and a sesame seed by just remembering them and that is the only thing we can do. But before this please try from all sources and remember it is essential for us to update the family tree and it is THE GREATNESS OF INDIAN TRADITION.
5)      I do not know the Gothra of some of the families and what should I do? I suggest you to say “Shri Mahaa Vishnu Gothra� or “Shri Mahadeva Gothra� in these areas.
6)      I do not know whether they are alive or otherwise and what should I do?  I suggest skipping this when it is not a certainty.  This is to be remembered that THIS has to be given only for a departed soul in the family tree and not otherwise.
7)      I do not get sesame seeds what should I do?  Please try sincerely and explore all possibilities (this is to be remembered that the parents and grandparents strived very hard for our future and only on account of this we are in a position to reach this stage) and for any reason the sesame seeds are not available, please do not give up this but continue to do this procedure using at least water
8)      I get only white sesame seeds what should I do?  You can make use of them and get some item prepared in the home so that it can be offered in the names of the departed souls to near and dear.  But the procedure has to be followed using water.
9)      I do not feel like doing all this and I do not believe all this, what should I do?  Please take some food items and clothing and offer them to the aged in any old age homes in the names of the departed souls and this is the least we can do on humanitarian grounds.
10)   I do not have money to do anything what should I do?  If you believe all this, offering of water does not cost anything, you can do this.
11)   I do not have time for all this, what should I do?  Please go out during day time, look at the Sun Lord and please remember all the departed souls of the family tree and pray for their peace.  You can also offer some food items in the work spot to some of your colleagues in the names of the departed souls. 
12)   Is there any direction for all this?  Yes, one should preferably sit facing south to do this when it is a must to face east while making a sankalpa and this is a basic rule for any sankalpa.
13)   I do not wish to do any of the things what I should do? – Please forgive me; I have no answer for this. 
14)   What is the order in which tarpana or the panda pradana.  Firstly – father, grandfather and great grandfather; secondly – mother, grandmother and great grandmother; thirdly – any step mother; fourth –mother side – mothers father, mothers grandfather, mothers great grandfather, then, mothers mother, mothers grandmother, mothers great grandmother; fifth – own wife; sixth – sons and unmarried daughters; seventh – brothers; eighth – fathers brothers; ninth – mothers brothers and his wife; tenth – own sisters; eleventh – grandson; twelfth – sisters son; thirteenth – fathers sisters; fourteenth – mothers sisters; fifteenth – own son-in-law; sixteenth – own brother in laws or wife’s brothers; seventeenth – daughter in law; eighteenth – father in law and mother in law; nineteenth – master and finally to whom so ever knowingly or unknowingly we are indebted – for them. 
15)   The last one – taking the yagnopaveeta at the knots and putting a drop of water on it and while squeezing, offer the drops to those in the family known and unknown, departed without having any sons or without any lineage.  
16)   I do not have Yagnopaveeta, what should I do?  You can leave a spoon of water remembering all those in the family tree. 
 
Learned people in the groups who may receive this mail may add their suggestions too.  It may not be out of order here that we, the HINDUs with all rich tradition is trying to give up these rituals by some pretext or the other.  While, it is a matter or real appreciation, in some countries and in some other religions, people give offerings duly observing “Fathers dayâ€� “Mothers Dayâ€�, “Grand Parents Dayâ€� and so on.  Unfortunately, some among the Hindus are slipping from the procedures of either in Hindu System or in some system of some other religion. It is not fair. 
 
Let us respect those who strived hard for us, let us consider this as a “thank givingâ€� or the least of it, let us maintain the family tree and remember all those in our family at least by observing this so that we can pass on the similar information to our next generation. 
 
Last, but not least, if we do not remember our family tree, how and in what manner our next generation prefers to remember all of us.  For every action, there is a equal and opposite reaction. 
 
Can we afford leaving the next generation without any knowledge of their family tree?     
Let us consider these days as “Thanks Giving Days�  at least.
  
Yours affly
HARA HARA MAHADEVA 
HARIHARAN KRISHNAMURTHY
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