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What Is the Importance of Shradh for Ancestors or Pitrudosh during Pitru Paksha?

श्रद्धया दीयते यत् तत् श्राद्धम् । (What is given with faith is Shradh.)

According to the prevailing beliefs regarding Shradh for ancestors, it is an opportunity to do charity for the peace of the Souls of the ancestors (pitru); Kaagwas is an opportunity to make an offering to the fore-fathers by feeding Kheer-puri to a crow; upon the death of a relative, by performing Shradh for sixteen years, as an heir, it is an opportunity to offer indebtedness.

Pitru paksha is for the duration of 15 to 16 days. It is believed that during this fortnight, performing shradh as pitru paksha ritual for the peace of the souls of the ancestors satisfies them. Is this the actual importance of pitru shradh paksha?

Is it true that the ancestors (Pitru) obstruct us if they are not satisfied?

The Right Understanding of Pitrudosh:

In society, such belief is prevalent that every year, at the time of pitru paksha, our ancestors come to drink water. Kheer-puri is prepared and kept in their name. It is believed that ancestors come in the form of crows and they eat and go; so they get satisfied and thus get liberated. Here, in any thinker’s mind, many questions should arise.

  • Whom to call Pitru?

    As soon as the Soul leaves one body, it takes birth in another place, without even a second's delay. So when we call our parents or grandparents as ancestors, those people have already been born somewhere else now. We too in our previous birth would be someone's parents, someone's grandparents. Then, whom should we really call an ancestor? Our fore-fathers are our Pitru or we are someone's Pitru?

    Do we remember who were our children in our previous birth? Who were our children’s children? Did we go to obstruct them? Then how would our ancestors also remember, that they would come to obstruct us?

  • Why would our fore-fathers harass us?

    How can we even think that those parents and grand-parents who bring us up with such love and fondness, they come back to harass us? If some financial or family problem arises at home, how can we blame it on our parents, grandparents, ancestors who have kept us like a piece of their heart? Where is there any logic in that? Where each one is suffering the fruits of their karma independently, then what logic does the argument that we have to suffer the faults of our parents, hold?

    On the contrary, if such a belief penetrates into the mind that it is because of my fore-fathers that the wealth in my house got washed away, then how bad do we feel within, and so much of hatred, dislike and revenge arises towards the fore-fathers! Our anger-pride-deceit-greed only obstruct us inside, no one outside comes to obstruct us.

  • Why would fore-fathers become a crow and come?


    If we were someone's ancestor in the past birth, then in this birth, do we during Shradh become a crow and go to eat kheer-puri in Kaagvaas? Then how could our ancestors come? And if at all they come, then why would they become a crow and come, why not come as a myna, parrot or a peacock?

    Human beings, after death, depending on their merit and demerit karmas, go to one of the four life-forms. Then, changing one’s life-form, how can one become a crow and come?

    Any trouble that we face is because of our unfolding demerit karma. Instead of resorting to superstitions and blaming our ancestors, we should take the name of God during such bad times and complete our penance. Efforts should be made to make peace instead of hatred, dislike, fighting. And if we have found fault with the fore-fathers, then we should repent for that mistake.

    As the real reason behind Shradh got hidden, and on being influenced by seeing each other, such beliefs infiltrated in the society. Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan reveals the real reason behind the celebration of Shradh!

The Science behind Shradh:

The real reason behind the celebration of Shradh is not our ancestors, but the Ayurveda and science. This happened a few years ago when the medicine for malaria was not yet discovered in India.

The Shradh period is of 15-16 days in the Hindu month of Bhadarva. In the olden days, during the month of Bhadarva, a cot used to be placed outside every house in the village and a sick person would be sleeping in it. He would be suffering from a high malarial fever and its effects, because in the month of Bhadarva, mosquitoes would be abundant, and due to that malarial fever would spread a lot.

Malaria is called bilious (pitta) fever. Not phlegm fever or gas fever, but it is bile fever. Sharad season and the month of Bhadarvo means the period of pitta attack. The infestation of mosquitoes is high during the monsoon days, one gets bilious fever, over and above mosquito bites him, then that mosquito goes and bites another person, so fever spreads in the other person’s body also. At that time, there was no medicine for extremely high fever, so more and more people would die. Then, such a situation had arisen that if no solution was found, then the population of India would be reduced to half!

So to resolve this pitta fever, our sages and saints made such discovery that during these days, feed people doodhpak or kheer daily. It contains milk and sugar which settles bile (pitta) and prevents malaria. Families were quite big then. So, if one wants to make doodhpak at home daily, then a lot of milk is required, hence people would not make doodhpak or kheer daily at home.


So then, in the name of religion, this custom was initiated that in pitru paksha, from Bhadarva Poonam, for 16 days, prepare Doodhpak daily and feed it to people. Not all obey the rules just in the name of religion, so along with it a social purpose was added. People said 'Sarad Saravo' (perform Shradh) in the name of fore-fathers. So then, people started performing it in the name of the relatives who have passed away in the family. In there if someone is obstinate and says that, 'I will not do it', due to the social pressure of, 'You don't even perform Shradh for your fore-fathers', finally one ends up performing the Shradh. One day, at any one house, doodhpak is prepared and they feed that to everyone. The next day, it is prepared at someone else’s house, that’s how it gets prepared turn by turn at everyone’s house. People found this convenient. Truly speaking, the fruit of the Shradh performed in this manner does not reach the ancestors, but the purpose behind involving ancestors was such.

Then, beginning from Poonam, for sixteen days, people get to eat Doodhpak every day. With this, all of the pitta subsides, due to which malaria does not happen and death also does not happen. That is why people used to say that if he remained alive after 16 Shradhs, then he would come to 'Navratri', i.e. see a new night. Hence, Navratri is not a celebration of nine nights, but it’s a celebration of one got to see a 'new night' in life!

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