When the human beings die, it’s just their body which transforms into dust but the immortal soul remains trapped in the cycle of birth and death. In order to relieve the departed souls of our ancestors from this cycle, Pind Daan is performed. The wandering soul achieves stability in the blissful abode named Pitra lok, after the completion of shradh ceremony. Pind daan kriya is done to achieve ultimate salvation (moksha) of the departed soul, especially who died of unnatural death. When vedic scholars or Brahmins are offered food of the choice of the departed soul, it is referred as Brahmin Bhoj to give a send off to our family members.
Significance of this puja:
For the salvation of our family member, especially who had an unnatural death it is necessary to perform this ritual. Generally the eldest son of the family performs this ceremony and the entire family is blessed with the fruits. Childless couples are blessed with a baby by the grace of Lord Narayan. Any such continuous problems in the family are resolved and stability is maintained in the native’s life when Pind daan kriya is performed for the departed soul.
Legends associated with Pitr Paksh
As per Hindu mythology, a zone called Pitr loka exists between earth and heaven. All the departed souls or Pitrs dwell at this place. This zone is governed by Lord Yamraj or god of death. In this zone the soul serves out its karmic correction sentences. Here Pitras are not able to get relief from the sensory demands and conditions of the body such as hunger, thirst, heat, cold, fatigue, pain etc. They are waiting to be liberated from their condition so that they can once again get a material body through which they may create positive karma to progress towards their freedom from the karma syndrome.
In search of relief, they are attracted to living entities on the earth planet that are their descendants from previous and current lifetimes and are karmic debtors to them. The ancestors are fed once a day (once in 24 hours) according to their time zone. This is equivalent to every 12 months on the earth plane. This once-a-year period is recognized as the ‘Shradh’ period.
The Pitra Paksh starts with Sun entering the zodiac sign Virgo. At advent of this Paksh the departed souls or forefathers leave the Yamaloka and descend to earth to acknowledge the rites performed by their descendants and remain here till Sun-Moon conjunction happens in Sign Virgo.
It is believed, that during this period Lord Ganesha’s withdraw certain energies from the planetary surface transferring it to the core of the earth thus permitting the Pitras to approach their descendants very closely. In this context taking note of Symbolic representation of Lord Ganesha, his belly represents the whole cosmos, the seven realms above and below. Further seven oceans are inside Ganesha’s cosmic belly. These are held together by the cosmic energy (kundalini) symbolized by the huge snake around him. The snake that runs round his waist represents energy in all forms.
The ‘Ganesha-Visarjan’ Ananta Chaturdashi is an acknowledgment of this event.
As per another legend, Daanveer Karn (supposedly brother-akin to Pandavas) did numerous charity of jewels, currency, land etc during his life span. When he died and ascended to Pitra loka, he received all that he gave in form of charity in multiples. But, he didn’t obtain meal in view of the reality that he did not give food-charity. He starved for days and eventually requested “Yamraj” to find an opportunity to create for this deficiency. Yamraj granted him 14 days return to earth and do the needful charity. These 14 days had been used by Karn to provide numerous meal-charities.When he again returned again, there was plenty of meal obtainable to him.
Things to be done and donated
1. The rituals of Shraddha are generally performed by an eldest son or an eldest male member of the family.
2. While performing Shradh, one should pay special attention to three things – piety, control over anger and avoiding hastiness. Meditation, mantra repetition and prayerare done for the peace and attainment of salvation by departed soul.
3. Bhramins are offered food, new clothes, sweets, fruits and dakshina, for it is believed that whatever is given to the Brahmins reaches the departed souls.
4. In addition one can also do Mahadaan. The Mahadaan offerings give relief to the ancestor, person get freed from curse of Pitra Dosha or did not face hardships on
account of cursed by pitras. In additional this bestows positive luck to descendants. The Blessings by Pitra’s can greatly help the individual to progress in life andhis/her problems are reduced to a Great extent.
The items of Mahadaan consists of Ganga Jal , Mustard Oil , Ghee , Rice ,Wheat , Salt ,
Sugar ,Chana ,Kali Urad Dal ,Umbrella , Shoes/socks or chappals , Steel utensils-