SRaaDH`DH: Genesis of acknowledging one's aa`tmaa's (soul) gratitude to its connection to Creation
Rites and Rituals: Vedik prescription to keep the mutually beneficial interrelation of gods and humans going
Posted by Champaklal Dajibhai Mistry. Last updated on September 3, 2003.

om brhmah namah:

SRaaDH`DH
THE ETERNAL AND EVERGREEN
EXPRESSION OF
CONTINUITY & GRATEFULNESS
IN CREATION

In chapter 1.14 of naarad puraan dharma-raajaa, otherwise known as yam-dev, the god of death, teaches the following as part of sva-dharma (one's own dharma). dharma-raajaa offers this teaching as part of ved and shaastra outlined in smruti (ved revealed transmitted through memory):

"Once every year, one shall greet with satkaar (hospitably) one's deceased father and mother by pranaam (obeisance) and abhivaNdaN (salutation with reverence) by performing a SRaaDH`DH.

This SRaaDH`DH is performed without reference to devo. In this SRaaDH`DH, piNda is offered. The uddeshya (the intention and aim) in every piNda at the time of offering the piNda should be offering to both the father and mother. The offering should also be in the names of up to six pitruo (father and grandfather and great-grandfathers).

Three piNda should be offered. The person who offers three piNda thereby becomes free from the effects of maayaa's moh which is delusion of not seeing satya.

The deceased mother is fed along with her deceased husband who is the father of one performing SshraaDdh. Along with them the devo, the grandmother, the great-grandmothers are fed with their husbands in SshraaDdh. A woman is separated from her birth family gotra (lineage) after taking the seventh step in the sapta-pad vidhi (ceremony) in her marriage. The offering of water and piNda should be made to her in the name of the gotra of her husband."

Since brahmaa created pitru-devo and mrutyu (death) at the beginning of this creation cycle of 4.32 billion years humans have performed vidhio which are rites, ritual and ceremonies to acknowledge our relationship with aadi-devo, pitru-devo and pitruo, collectively called as pitruo....pitru means an ancestor of one's family lineage... and humans also have been acknowledging the relationship they have with their pitruo with a variety of offering through various rites, rituals and ceremonies...to suit their culture, region, place of residence, and family traditions.....

The first day of kruSHAN pKSH (second half or dark half of a lunar month) starts the SRaaDH`DH fortnight in bhaadarvo maas....when all vedik peoples remember their pitruo with different vidhio for the whole fortnight....

GENESIS OF SRaaDH`DH

In vedic lifestyle this relationship based on offerings of SRaaDH`DH to pitru-devo and pitruo starts with the sixteenth and last sanskaar (life term sacrament) of a life term which is called antyesti sanskaar meaning funeral ceremonies when one moves on to the next life term....performance of offering of SRaaDH`DH continues for seven generations in a family lineage.....shraadh will continue to be offered for the next 7 manvantra of this kalpa (creation cycle) which is for about 2.16 billion years......

In vedic lifestyle, starting from the desire to conceive an offspring with the union of a human sperm with a human embryo through the entire life term till one moves to a new life terms, 16 sanskaar are performed. A sanskaar is vedic rites and ceremonies ordained by shaastra to purify and sanctify the body, manas (mind) and budhhi (intellect) of a human being from pre-conception to the time of marriage for preserving the bond between the body and aatmaa. The sanskaar at each stage also prepares the person to become a participating and contributing member in a community as per the aashram of the person life. The sanskaar also acknowledges the person's position of responsibility commensurate with the age and aashram of life. The sixteenth antyesti sanskaar is the funeral ceremony preparing the person's aatmaa for its next life journey in the lok (world) which is realized from the fructification of one's all the karma of previous life at the time of this death. SRaaDH`DH is the continuation of the antyeshi sanskaar to provide trupti which is the fulfillment of the thirst and hunger, most likely in hell, of the departed aatmaa during the wait time till the next life cycle begins.

SRaaDH`DH is a ceremony in which offering is made to the pitruo. pirtuo consists of one's departed paternal ancestors ....father, grandfather and great-grandfather and great-great-grandfathers. The word putra which expresses a son of a father also means one who saves the father from hell. A putra is ordained to offer shraadh. This definition is from the history of SRaaDH`DH described in the write-up which follows.

The start of SRaaDH`DH offering resulted from an adharmik act of firstly created devo by prajaapati brahmaa-dev, the grandfather of the entire creation.

Also SRaaDH`DH is offered for our creator and sustainer devo called pitru-devo. The history of pitru-devo is related by suta-muni in dharma-shaastra.

brahmaa-dev created devo in the process of creating the creations so that these devo would perform the subsequent work of creating as sub-creators. It is the sacred rule of creation they the creator be worshipped by the creations....this is why children have to worship their parents.....

Somehow, the firstly created devo forsook brahmaa-dev as their father and started considering themselves as creators by stopping to worship brahmaa-dev. brahmaa-dev got angry at this behaviour and cursed them for this adharmik act. This curse made these devo loose all their indriyo (senses) and the empowering knowledge of the senses and became un-functional. This created problems with the entire creation existing at the time. The creation along with these defaulting devo asked brahmaa-dev for forgiveness and repeal of the curse.

brahmaa thus propitiated told them: "Perform praschyaa-taap (repentance and expiatory rites) for the transgression which you have committed. Ask your sons and from them you will attain knowledge".

These devo asked their sons. The sons who were dharmik explained to their fathers the verbal, mental and physical modes of praschyaa-taap prescribed by brahmaa-dev. When the defaulting devo performed the prescribed praschyaa-taap, the knowledge returned to them empowering their indriyo (senses) to function.

The defaulting devo who were pleased with their sons for rescuing them from the curse of brahmaa-dev said to their sons: "You are our pitruo (fathers). What boon should be granted to you - virtue, knowledge or love?"

brahmaa-dev who was listening to this boon granting by defaulting devo to their sons said to the defaulting devo:

"You are the speaker of the satya (truth). Hence what is spoken by you shall be so and not otherwise. This is what is uttered by you - that your sons are your pitruo; therefore your sons shall be from now on be your pirtuo. Let this boon be given to your sons." Thus the sons of these defaulting devo came to be known as pitru-devo."

Furthermore, brahmaa advised the defaulting devo as follows for their own vruddhi (prosperity) and kalyaan (welfare): "If anyone will perform any vidhi without worshipping the pitruo-devo in a SRaaDH`DH ceremony, rakshaso and daanavo will obtain the fruits of that SRaaDH`DH. The pitru-devo propitiated and prospered by means of SRaaDH`DH develop the imperishable som-ras or amrut which gives devo strength and immortality. Propitiated and prospered by you all, they will always increase."

In this manner pirtuo are devo and devo are pitruo. Devo and pitruo are reciprocally pitruo. Thus the creation continued and continues to grow and prosper in this creation cycle of 4.32 billion years.

suta-muni has further explained the scope of shraadh as expanded by prajaapati brahmaa-dev to be applied to all humans:

" Those men, who desirous of nourishment, and who perform shraadh are always granted prosperity and progeny by the pirtuo-devo and pitruo. Those pitruo, whom the performers of shraadh offer three rice balls while mentioning the names and gotra of the pirtuo up to their great-grandfather, will be present everywhere to strengthen and develop their progeny by that offering of shraadh. It is by the grace of pitruo that daan, addhyayana (study of ved) and tapas fructify. There is no doubt in this that pitruo grant you perfect knowledge. "

TIMES OF SRaaDH`DH CEREMONY

Every grahastha (householder meaning a married person) should offer SRaaDH`DH at the hour called kutap. This time is the eighth muhurat after sunrise. A muhurat is of 42 minutes duration. Therefore shraadh should be performed 4 hours and 54 minutes after sunrise. This is the time granted by brahmaa-dev to pitruo to receive shraadh. shraadh offered to pitruo at the wrong time goes to rakshaso and does not reach pitruo. In this case of shraadh offered at the wrong time, the offerer and the partaker of the shraadh bear the fruits of an a-punya or paapi karma which usually fructifies in hell.

The second or vad fortnight of bhaadarvo-maas is entirely devoted to offering SRaaDH`DH to aadi-devo, pitru-devo and pitruo on a daily basis. aadi-devo are a special class of devo who are eternal and are not affected by the times of pralay. aadi-devo continually perfrom sevaa for the well-being and sustenance of all creations from devo to a tiny atom. as they exist eternally and before anybody at the time of a creation cycle aadi-devo are called pitru-devo. A pralay is re-absorption into brahmaa-dev at the end of 4.32 billion year creation cycle. The day of SRaaDH`DH offering in this fortnight for one's pitru is the tithi (date) on which the pitru continued to the next life journey.

SRaaDH`DH is also offered on the actual day of the death anniversary of a pitru.

The ninth day of this SRaaDH`DH fortnight is called avidhvaa-navami when shraadh offering is made to the aatmaa of women who have died before the death of their husbands. This avidhvaa-navami may also be called a widower's day on which the aatmaa of the departed wives is adored and remembered.....in tune with all the other family days we have in current times. If the widower has a second wife, then this second wife performs pranaan and namah to the departed wife and inwardly wishes that she may be also fortunate to die before her husband ........

Other rules, methodology and essence of offering SRaaDH`DH and information on pitru-devo will be offered in other write-ups on this page..........

Anybody wishing to offer additional knowledge on this topic in the form of more knowledge or corrections to the write-up is welcome to email toVED PAGE: Prajaapati Vishva Aashram

(This shastra-gnan has been compiled by SRii chmpklaal Daajibhaai miisTRii from the gnaan left for the benefit of humanity by many rushio, munio and gnaanio in the naam (name) and ruup (form) of our creator, brhmah in the form of shruti and smruti. The mission of this presentation is the continuation development of ved offerings through Prajaapati Vishva Aashram Foundation on this web site as gnan -daan.)

..........om brhmah namah....pranaam our guru brhmah....
.........om tat sat......om shaanti shaanti shaanti......


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