Pitru Paksha is also known as the "Shradh" period, which goes on for 16 days when Hindus pay reverence to their ancestors. By paying homage to the forefathers, their souls are made content.
The History Behind Pitru Paksha
According to a legend, after the death of Karna (the great warrior in Mahabharata) he went to heaven. In heaven, Karna was given food which was made of pure gold. Karna got annoyed and one day he went to Lord Indra and asked why he was not being offered any food to eat and all that was offered to him was gold.
Lord Indra smiled and said that when Karna was alive, he did a lot of charity by offering gold and jewels to the poor people. However, he never offered the poor any food to eat. After listening to this, Karna realized his mistake and requested Lord Indra to send him to earth, so that he can feed the needy and poor people.
He lived on earth for 16 days, and this period is called "Pitru Paksha". Since then, people believe that during this period, one of our forefathers descends on earth to shower us with blessings.
There are a variety of rituals like Tarpan, Shradh and Pind Daan that are performed during the Pitru Paksha to please the ancestors, so that they bless us whole-heartedly.
The Pitru Paksha Rituals
The following are the main rituals that are performed during the Pitru Paksha:
1. The eldest male member of the family takes part in the Shradh rituals.
2. Firstly, he needs to bathe and put on washed and clean clothes.
3. Thereafter, he is supposed to wear a ring in his finger that has been made out of "kush grass". The kush grass signifies kindness and is used to call upon the ancestors. This ritual is also called Tarpan.
4. Next is the Pind Daan ritual, which involves offering rice, barley flour balls and sesame seeds.
5. After Pind Daan, Lord Vishnu's blessings are taken by offering him the "darbha grass". Darbha grass is famous because it grows without any obstructions and, in the same way, it helps to get rid of any kind of hurdles in your life.
6. Food is specially prepared for the Shradh and is offered to a crow. Here, the crow is considered to be Lord Yama's messenger.
7. After offering the food to a crow, it is offered to the Brahmin priests.
8. Religious books like Agni Purana, Ganga Avataram, legends of Nachiketa and Garuda Purana are supposed to be read and is considered to be favourable during Pitru Paksha.
9. Lastly, all the family members should have their meal together.
After performing the above-mentioned rituals, there are a few things that must be strictly avoided during the Pitru Paksha. They are listed below:
1. Avoid starting something new, buying something new, cutting or washing hair, shaving, etc. All these things can be postponed to a later date.
2. Buying a new home, wedding, birthday function of newly born baby or starting new business during the Pitru Paksha period is not good as per the astrologers.
3. Avoid eating non-veg food or using onion, garlic in your cuisine.
4. Offer water and food to cows, dogs and cats and never harm them during the period of Pitru Paksha.
5. During this period, refrain from the use of carrot, mustard oil, kala namak and jeera while making food preparations.
Perform all the Shradh rituals without any malice in your heart and with a positive attitude. When you pay homage to your ancestors with a positive mind, your rituals are bound to be successful.