Hari Krishnamurthy's blog

Saturday, 5 September 2009

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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