The Sarva Pitru Shradh is the ideal time designated by the Hindu Shastras to offer Tarpan (Oblations) to the departed ancestors in a family. It is believed that the ancestors residing in the Pitruloka ( the world of the departed souls) are permitted to visit earth (Bhulok), especially during the Pitru Paksha in a year to accept the offerings given by their descendants. Therefore the offerings are necessary to help them out and attain their blessings.
Significance of Pitru Paksha
The Sarva Pitru Amavasya is also known as the Mahalaya Amavasya (Maha means large and laya means destruction) which is performed during the Lunar Period that occurs between the months of September and October as per the Gregorian calendar. According to the Amavasyant calendars, Sarva Pitru Amavasya is performed on the new moon day in the month of Bhadrapada. It falls in the month of Ashwin according to Purnimant calendars. It is observed by Hindus irrespective of which community they belong to.
It is the most important day of Pitru Paksha. Pitru Paksha is a Sanskrit word that literally stands for ‘fortnight of the ancestors. Pitru means ancestors and Paksha means fortnight. Therefore, Pitru Paksha is a 15 lunar day period during which the Hindus pay homage to their ancestors mainly by offering food to them. The period commences with the full moon day or Purnima that takes place immediately after Ganesh Chaturthi and ends with the new moon day or Amavasya known as Pitru Amavasya or Mahalaya Amavasya. This last day is the most important and highly sacred day.
Shradh 2023 start date and end date
Shradh Pitru Paksha 2023 will begin on 29th September 2023 and will end on 14th October 2023.
History of Sarva Pitra Shradh
Legend has it that there was an occasion in Hindu mythology that a fierce battle took place between the Devtas (Gods) and Rakshasas (Demons) in which a large number of people from both sides were killed. This war took place from Bhadrapada Bahula Padyami to Amavasya. This period is also known as Sastra Hatha Mahalaya and the Gods and Demons who perished during the war are paid homage to.
Another ancient story relates to the Mahabharata hero, Karna. During his lifetime, the generous Karna donates all kinds of gold and silver but not the food. Thus, after his death, when he went to the higher regions, he received a lot of money in the form of gold and silver instead of food. The distressed Karna prayed to Lord Yama, the God of death and with his grace, he returned to the earth during this Paksha or fortnight. He donated plenty of food to the needy one on all fifteen days. On the last day, he went back to the Pitru Lok with full satisfaction and fulfillment. For this reason, Annadaana or food donation is regarded as most auspicious on these days.
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Pitru Paksha 2023: पितृ पक्ष 2023 (श्राद्ध की तिथियां)
29 सितंबर (29 September) - पूर्णिमा श्राद्ध ( Purnima Shraddha)
30 सितंबर (30 September) - प्रतिपदा ( Pratipada)
1 अक्टूबर (1 October) - द्वितीया ( Dwitiya)
2 अक्टूबर (2 October) – तृतीया (Tritiya)
3 अक्टूबर (3 October) - चतुर्थी ( Chaturthi)
4 अक्टूबर (4 October) - पंचमी ( Panchami)
5 अक्टूबर (5 October) - षष्ठी (Shashti)
6 अक्टूबर (6 October) - सप्तमी ( Saptami)
7 अक्टूबर (7 October) - अष्टमी ( Ashtami)
8 अक्टूबर (8 October) - नवमी ( Navami)
9 अक्टूबर (9 October) - दशमी ( Dashami)
10 अक्टूबर (10 October) - एकादशी ( Ekadashi)
11 अक्टूबर (11 October) - द्वादशी ( Dwadashi)
12 अक्टूबर (12 October) - त्रयोदशी (Trayodashi)
13 अक्टूबर (13 October) - चतुर्दशी श्राद्ध ( Chaturdashi ShradhaM)
14 अक्टूबर (14 October) - सर्वपित्र अमावस्या ( Sarva pitru Amavasya)
How to Celebrate Sarva Pitra Shradh
On this day, Shradh and Tarpan rituals are performed for the deceased members of the household who died on the Tithis of Chaturdashi, Purnima or Amavasya. The performance of Sarva Pitru Amavasya rites can also compensate for any Shradh ceremony apart from those following the tithis which have been skipped during the year.
Shradh 2023 date is considered as fruitful and sacred conducted in the holy city of Gaya, which is regarded as a special place to perform such rites.
Generally, a Shradh is performed by the eldest son or any male relative of the paternal branch of the family limiting to the three preceding generations. However, on Sarva Pitru Amavasya or Matamata, the daughter’s son can also offer Shraddh for the maternal side of the family if there is no male in the mother’s family. Some castes perform the Shraddh for only one generation. However, before performing the ritual, it is mandatory that the male child should have undergone a thread ceremony.
According to the Hindu religion, it is widely believed that a person should repay three types of Rinas or debts to attain life without any agonies. The three Rinas are Deva Rina, Rishi Rina and Pithru Rina which is a debt to God, guru, and ancestors.
It is regarded as the responsibility of the son to serve the parents when they are living as well as after their demise by performing the Pitru Paksha Shraddha to relieve the departed souls. The importance of these rites and rituals are mentioned in the Puranas namely, the Garuda Purana, Vayu Purana, Agni Purana, Matsya Purana, and Markandeya Purana.
The benefits of the Amavasya Pitru Tarpan are as follows:
- The rituals help to gain the blessings of Lord Yama.
- The family will be protected from all ill effects and obstacles.
- It relieves the souls of the deceased ancestors.
- The children are blessed with a long and prosperous life.
- In case a person is too desolate to donate the offerings and perform the rituals, he can ask for forgiveness and promise to make the same once he is in a better position to offer.
- People even pray to the forefathers to cure the hereditary ailments which may result in the sickness and/or death in the family.
It is believed that the souls of the departed loved ones wander aimlessly on earth. Thus, it is important to appease these souls as their anger and curse could result in great destruction of the family. On Shradh 2023 date, the elder boy in the family is also expected to learn and perform the rituals as they are believed to be the ones to look after the past and the future of the family.
The Mahalaya in Bengal
In Bengal, Mahalaya marks the beginning of the Durga Puja festivities. It is believed that on the day of Mahalaya, the goddess Durga descended to Earth. Traditionally, the Bengali people wake up early in the morning on this day to recite shlokas of Devi Mahatmyam or Chandi scriptures. There are offerings made to the ancestors in homes and at puja mandaps. Mother's father or Dauhitra or Daughter's son also marks the first day of the month of Ashwin and the start of a luminous fortnight ahead.
Pind Daan is a mandatory puja for all Hindus and Hinduism followers. It is considered that no work can be successfully performed without the blessing of the ancestors and doing of Pind Daan as it brings the blessings of the forefathers. The performing of Pind Daan as per the specific rituals at Gaya, Haridwar, Badrinath, Kurukshetra, Allahabad are considered as highly auspicious.
It is believed that people who wish to express their gratitude to their lineage for having been born into this world will perform the Sarva Pitru Amavasya ritual. From an astrological point of view, those who have Pitru Dosha or Putra Dosha in their horoscopes must perform these rituals to get rid of the dosha. People who have back to back problems in life especially to do with debt, disease, and ailments are highly recommended to perform these rituals on Sarva Pitru Amavasya.
We highly recommend you to book a Pitra Dosh Puja to provide peace & contentment to your ancestors and get their auspicious blessings which are a must for living a prosperous, successful and blissful life.