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 shastra 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 ashram of the person life. The sanskaar also
acknowledges the person's position of responsibility commensurate with the age
and ashram 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. shraadh 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.
shraadh 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 shraadh
described in the write-up which follows.
The start of shraadh offering resulted from an adharmic act of
firstly created devo by prajaapati Brahmaa, the grandfather of the
Also shraadh is offered for our creator and sustainer devo called pitru-devo.
The history of pitru-devo is related by suta-muni in dharma-shastra.
brahmaa 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 and started
considering themselves as creators by stopping to worship brahmaa. brahmaa
cursed them for this adharmic 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
for forgiveness and repeal of the curse. brahmaa thus propitiated told
them: "Perform praschyaa-taap (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 dharmic
explained to their fathers the verbal, mental and physical modes of praschyaa-taap
prescribed by brahmaa. When the defaulting devo performed the
prescribed praschyaa-taap, the knowledge returned to them empowering
their senses to function. The defaulting devo who were pleased with their
sons for rescuing them from the curse of brahmaa said to their sons:
"You are our pitruo (fathers). What boon should be granted to you -
virtue, knowledge or love?" brahmaa who was listening to this boon
granting by defaulting devo to their sons said to the defaulting devo:
"You are the speaker of the 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 shraadh ceremony, rakshaso and daanavo
will obtain the fruits of that shraadh. The pitru-devo propitiated
and prospered by means of shraadh develop the imperishable som-ras
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 brahmaa 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. "
Every grahastha (householder meaning a married person) should perform shraadh
offering 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 five hours and thiry-six minutes after sunrise. This is the
time granted by brahmaa 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 shraadh offerings to pitru-devo and pitruo on a
daily basis. The day of shraadh offering in this fortnight for one's pitru
is the tithi (date) on which the pitru continued to the next life
journey. shraadh is also offered on the actual day of the death
anniversary of a pitru.
The ninth day of this shraadh 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 shraadh and
information on pitru-devo will be offered in the coming writ-ups on this News
Board during this shraadh fortnight of bhaadarvo-maas..........
Anybody wishing to offer additional knowledge on this topic in the form of
more knowledge or corrections to the write-up is welcome to contact
(This shastra-gnan has been compiled by Shree
Champaklal Dajibhai Mistry of Edmonton,
Canada from many guruo in residence in his
ved library and from shruti and smruti - as the
continuation development of ved offerings through Prajapati Vishva Ashram
on this web site. Prajapati Vishva Ashram appreciates this gnan -daan.
Vishva Ashram welcomes one and all to contribute knowledge - current or from
ved in this manner on this web site for prosperous evolution of mankind existing
in harmony and serving each other and brhmah. )