It is no news that the younger generation is getting increasingly distant from their culture and roots. It is only natural that the young people get stressed when they are supposed to perform a ritual or Pooja. And there are rituals like Shraadh or Pitru Karma that can even induce fear in them.
What we need to understand here is that Shraadh or Pitru Karma is not performed out of fear of the dead ancestors. It is a time to remember them and honour them for what they have left behind for us. We need to thank them not only for the material wealth that they left behind, but also the family name and the legacy. They also leave behind some of their good and bad karma which can be fulfilled by you.
It is said that the soul is in search of Moksha (liberation from the cycle of life and death) and may have to pass through many cycles before it reaches its goal. It is considered as your moral obligation to help them move forward in their journey to attain peace. In return, they bless you with all their hearts and help bring prosperity into your life.
Importance Of Preforming Pitru Karma On Mahalaya Ammavasya
When you perform Tarpan or Shraadh, the souls of the ancestors get satisfied and are able to break worldly bonds and leave us. The host who performs the Tarpan is blessed with a long life, Intellect (Brahmavarchaswa), radiance, success, wealth and food (it is not just the availability of food, but also the ability to be satisfied with it).
Shraadh is ideally to be done on the no moon day (amavasya) of every month of the year of death and is considered one among the 5 duties a man has to perform in his lifetime. But if due to any reason, a person cannot do it all the 12 months, he may chose to do it on Mahalaya Ammavasya.
The Mahalaya Paksha or the Pitru Paksha is the dark fortnight during the months of September to October ( Aswayuja). While the whole fortnight is set aside to perform rites to the dead, the last day or the Mahalaya Amavasya is the most important day for these rites and rituals to be performed.
Things You Need To Perform Pitru Karma
- Black sesame seeds
- Yogurt (optional)
- Kusha Grass ring- Durba- Darbha (Make a ring by making a circle out of the grass)
- Kusha Grass
- Sandal wood paste
- Yellow Flowers
- Bermuda grass or Karuka Cynodon Dactylon. (if you don't have take regular grass with the intension of this Bermuda grass).
- Tulsi leaves a few (or Holy basil)
- Kindi - a vessel for holding water (can use a regular glass of water if kindi is not available)
How To Perform Pitru Karma
- Avoid non-vegetarian food on the day before you perform the ritual. Consume rice based food only once, either for lunch or breakfast. You may have fruits and other grains for the other meals.
- Choose an area outside your home, in the south.
- Before starting the ritual, pray to your Guru to bless you and provide you with guidance. Next meditate upon Lord Ganesha, Aswini Devatas and Maha Vishnu to help you in the successful completion of the ritual.
- Take the Kindi (vessel that contains water) chant the following to invoke the holy rivers of India to help you perform the Shraadh.
" Gange cha yamune chaiva godaavari saraswati narmade sindhu kaaveri jalesmin sannidhim kuru"
It translates to- I pray to invoke the water of the seven Holy rivers (namely- Ganga, Yamuna, Godaavari, Saraswati, Narmada, Sindhu and Kaaveri) of Bharath (India) for performing this Ancestor worship.
- Next chant the following-
"Ayodhya madhura maaya kaasi kaaanchi avanthika puri dwaaraavati chaiva saptha ethey moksha daayaka"
Translates to- I meditate on the seven great cities when performing the worship of my ancestors.
- Now you may take the Sankalp for Mahalaya Amavasya by chanting the following-
"Khara nAma samvathsarey DhakshinAyaNe, Varsha Rudhow Kanya mAse krishna pakshe, amAvAsyAyAm puNyathithow, Bhowma vasara yukthayAm, Uthra phalguni nakshathra yukthAyAm, Suprayoga, Nagava karaNa, Evanghuna viseshena vishishtayAm AsyAm vardhamAnAyAm amavAsyAyAm punyathithow (pracheena vidhi - change your holy thread to right hand shoulder) ......(gothrANaam), vasu rudra aditya svaroopAnAm asmath pithru pithAmaha prapitAmahAnAM (not having mother) mAthru pithAmahee prapithAmaheenAm (having mother) pithAmaheepithupithAmahee pithu prapithAmaheenAm (uncle lineage)..... gothrAnAm vasu rudra Adhitya svaroopAnAm asmath sapatneeka mAtAmaha mAthup pithAmaha mAthup prapithAmahAnAm upaya vamsa pithrunAm akshayya thrupthyarhtham amAvAsyA punyakAle darsha shrAddham thila tharpana roopene adhya karishye.
- Pitru Karma should be performed by wearing the ring made of Darba grass on the ring finger of the right hand.
- Tarpan is given with Black sesame and water. The right hand should always be used. Take the sesame seeds, and pour eater using a small spoon. And then, drop the sesame seeds into the Banana leaf or plate set aside for Tarpan.
Example of Tarpan to father-
Asmath Pitharam, Yagnappa Sarmanam, Kashyapa Gothram, Vasu Roopam,Swadhanamah Tharpayami -Tharpayami -Tharpayami.
- Chant the following once the Tarpan is done-
Yeekecha Asmath Kule Jaatha Aputhra GothrinoMruthahThey Gruhnanthu Mayadattham Soothranishpeedanodakam
- Now, you may sanctify the Janau or yagnopavit if you are wearing one.