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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mahaalaya Paksha (Pitru paksha) 2008

Dear Members:

Pitrs (Pitrus) refers to deceased ancestors from one’s lineage who are in Soul Form. Propitiation to them in the form of tarpans (offering water with proper mantra recitals) and shraardhas (either as Homam for Pitrs, or in the form of offerings with specific mantras) can invoke Their Blessings. When Pitrs are satisfied, the Devataas called Vasus (in charge of Wealth), Rudras (incharge of protection and courage), and Aadityaas (in charge of Health) will be automatically pleased. There will be no dearth of any required materials in the life of a person who Honours Pitrs appropriately.

Pitrs should be Honoured every month on Amaavasya day, once a year on the thithi of their death, and during Mahaalaya Paksha. Honouring Pitrs during Pitru paksha can give merits which are beyond human capacity to explain. There is an opinion that Pitru paksha is even more important than the annual Shraadh of parents.
It is a powerful period for propitiation of manes (ancestors). Pitrus are said to Grace the households of their descendants with Divine Permission from the other Planes of Existence and are waiting to Bless any descendant who is willing to Honour them in whatever little way they can.

Pitr Paksha (Mahaalaya Pakshaa ) is about to begin from September 16, 2008 and ends with Mahalaya Amaavasya on September 28, 2008 for residents of India.

Pitru paksha guidelines for other places in the world

1) USA/Canada/ Caribbean Islands – Mahalaya begins from September 15, 2008
2) Europe/ Gulf Countries – Mahalaya paksha begins from September 15, 2008
3) For countries to the East of India (like Malaysia, Bangaladesh, Singapore, Australia, etc.) – Mahalaya Paksha begins from September 16, 2008.

Austerities during Pitr Paksha (applicable to those who have lost at least one parent) include:

1) Not eating non-veg (in case of non-vegetarians).
2) Not eating onion, garlic, outside food, processed foods, drumstick, etc (for pure vegetarians). 3) If possible avoiding shaving for the entire fortnight till Mahalaya Amavasai.
4) Performing obesquities (shradh) on the thithi of the ancestor's death to the extent possible or at least offering "anna dhaanam" (offering food) to poor persons/ priests as per one's convenience. (On this day, you should not shave)
5) Abstaining from carnal intercourse with members of opposite gender during the fortnight as a mark of respect to Pitrs.
6) Doing recitals like Garuda Puraanam (depicting passage of a soul), Nachiketa story from Upanishads (where Yama Gitaa is there - it contains Lord Yamaa's elucidation of the journey of a soul which was first revealed to the devoted Nachiketaa), and Gangaa Avatarana chapter from Shrimad Vaalmiiki Raamaayan. These recitals are stated to grant satisfaction of Pitrs and thereby ensure their blessings upon us.

Some important dates during Mahalaya Paksha (applicable to residents of India; residents of other countries, please get in touch with Pandits of your area in this regard to conform to local traditions and usage).

1) Mahaa Bharani –September 19, 2008.
2) Madhyaashtami – September 22, 2008.
3) Sanyastha Mahaalayam (for ancestors who have become ascetics) – September 26, 2008.
4) Sastrahatha mahaalayam (for ancestors who were killed by weapons) – September 27, 2008.
5) Mahaalaya Amaavasya – September 28, 2008. (Mahalaya Amavasya is observed on the same day in the US, Europe, Gulf, etc. also. Countries to the east of India will observe Mahaalaya Amaavasya on September 29, 2008). 29th September 2008 is observed as Pradakshina Amaavasya (when Aswatha tree is circumambulated) in India. Navarathri begins in India from October 1, 2008.

Note: It is found that there are some variations in the reckoning of these observances based on the views of different Pandits and so you may find that the recommendations in your panchangs may vary with the above dates on certain matters. I have used my interpretation of the classics in this regard for giving the above recommendations, and these are in conformity with the decisions arrived at by the delegation of Pandits and Panchang experts in the Panchang Sadas held at Kanchipuram.

Recital of Gangaa Avataarana chapter on your behalf

Those who are interested in having this recital done of the original Shrimad Vaalmiiki Raamaayan on your behalf can get it done by me personally. Please note that this is not a substitute or alternative for the tharpanam that should be done by you personally. This recital is only a supplementary special prayer that adds to the efficacy of your own tharpanam performance on the thithi of your ancestors.

If you are interested, give details like your name, your ancestors' names (father and mother or anybody else), their relationship with you (father, or mother, or adopted father/ mother, father's first wife, or whatever), Gothra, your star, your ancestors' star (if known), and thithi of their death (if known), and any specific wish/ boon that you would like to request from them (progenic happiness, general prosperity, protection during critical periods, or whatever you would like to request). I will do the sankalp (ritual declaration) on your behalf and perform the recital for the satisfaction of your ancestors and invoke their Blessings for you on the thithi/ day mentioned by you.

If thithis of death of your parents are not known, the chant will be done on Mahaalaya Amavasya day (September 28, 2008). You may book the recitals for more than one thithi also (like if you wish to offer special chants on the thithi of your father and mother separately, you may do so).



Please note that it your "shraddha" that is most important to manes(pitrus). If you are not in a financially sound position to do elaborate rituals, just offering a handful of green grass to a cow, or a handfull of grains to birds praying to your manes will satisfy them. These simple acts of charity will be blessed by your pitrus and accepted as a complete shraadham. But, those who are capable of spending money on charities should try to do these rituals as elaborately as possible by approaching learned pandits in your respective areas (we should cut down on other luxuries if necessary and gather money required for this performance, if need be. Those who are in stable financial condition should not cite heavy expenditure as excuse for not performing these elaborately).

Blessed be.

1 comment:

Ram said...

Dear Sir

My mother is away living with sibling.

Is it alright to have them do the pooja for Dad, while I just pray in Bangalore?

Due to the travel costs involved etc, I am not doing the trip.


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