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Monday, September 5, 2011

pitru paksha - 2011 (Mahalaya paksha 2011)

Pitr Paksha (Mahaalaya Pakshaa ) is about to begin from September 13, 2011 (This holds good throughout the world except for those living in American continent; those living in American continents - all countries in North America and South America, should begin observing pitru paksha from September 12, 2011 itself).

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.

Austerities during Pitr Paksha (applicable to those who have lost atleast 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; obviously it may not be possible for everyone due to current secular life restrictions (like office policy requiring an executive placed in a cutting-edge responsibility to be clean shaved). Even in these cases, shaving should be avoided at least on the thithis of one's ancestors.

4) Performing obesquities (shradh) on the thithi of the ancestor'sdeath 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 as already stated)

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 asoul), Nachiketa story from Upanishads (where Yama Gitaa is there -it contains Lord Yamaa's elucidation of the journey of a soul whichwas 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. In fact these recitals can be done even by those who have parents alive! (The other rituals like tarpanam should not be observed by those who have parents living). These are auspicious and do not come under the category of shraardha - but at the same time have the potency to give peace and happiness to the souls of ancestors of one's dynasty when they are recited. Those who cannot recite them personally may organize such recitals in honour of their ancestors with the help of vedic/ puranic experts.

Some important days during the pitru paksha

The following are auspicious days to perform shraardha to pitrus - irrespective of the thithi of their demise. Those who cannot observe the ritual procedures/ restrictions outlined above through the pitru paksha may at least observe the ritual guidelines on these auspicious days in honour of their pitrus.

1) Mahaa Bharani - This falls on September 17, 2011. This happens to be Shadsheethi punya kaalam also, and so shraardhs done on this day are very powerful.

2) Madhyaashtami - This is to be observed on September 21, 2011 throughout the world.

3) Mahaalaya Amaavasya - This should be observed on September 27, 2011 by persons throughout the world except those living in U.S.A, Canada, and other countries of the American continents who must observe this on September 26, 2011 itself; Even for those living in U.S, Canada, etc. those who live in regions following EST must observe the Mahaalaya Amaavasya on September 27, 2011.

Some controversial issues regarding the observance of pitru paksha rituals/ shraardham and dharma shastraic clarification for the same

1) There are many persons who feel that Mahaalaya paksha rituals need not be done in honour of step mother (called Sapatnii maataa - by shaastraas); doing it for just one's mother and father is enough. There are some who feel that only the eldest son of the second wife of one's father needs to do the shraardha if the first wife of the father died without issues.

Clarification: Though the eldest son is the first Adhikaari for rituals, when property has been divided among the brothers or when they have started living apart from each other as separate families, shraardha and other pitru rituals need to be done by each brother individually. The same holds true for honoring the Sapatnii maataa (Step mother who has died without issues also). Just think....will that Honourable Mother have taken care of just the eldest son and left the other sons in the lurch if she had been alive and the biological mother had been dead? Please use this logic for your clarity in this regard. Just as the step-mother cannot ignore the other children (nor should she!), the children also should not be partial towards performing rituals in Her Honour for Her Soul - especially if she had died without issues. This applies more sternly in cases where the eldest brother of the family is not alive. Unfortunately many families do this mistake of leaving the poor step-mother (the first wife of one's father who died without issues) after the eldest brother is dead. As long as at least one brother is alive, the sapatnii maataa should be honoured during pitru paksha on the day when you do the shraardha of your father (you can invoke one Brahman priest to represent the step-mother's lineage just as you do for your own mother's lineage). Please note that this guideline does not apply in cases where the other woman has voluntarily left one's father (say divorce), or has been indicted by a dharma parishad for undesirable behaviour and hence denied karma benefits in accordance with dharma shastraic principles after giving ample opportunity to exonerate herself. In cases where the father has done an injustice to another woman (who is no more) and has married one's mother, the son who performs rituals in honour of that wronged woman (father's first wife - who is deemed one's saptnii maataa) redeems himself from that dosha. A righteous son should try to do what he can to set right the wrongs done by his deceased parents - as and when he comes to know of that possibility. Though each person is answerable to his/ her own karma and sins, family doshas do arise out of adharmic activities of one's ancestors and these doshas do affect the family for many generations to come (usually seen as Stree saapa in the horoscope of many members of a family). Such doshas are cleared when that wronged soul is honoured appropriately in consultation with dharma shastraic experts in this regard.

2) Some think that if the annual shraardh is done properly, Mahaalaya paksha (pitru paksha) shraardha/ tarpanam need not be done!

Clarification: If you get double-increment will you say "I already got one; so please ignore me for this increment!" No one does that. Yet, when it comes to accumulating spiritual merit, we often tend to say "I have done that and so I need not do this." This attitude of excusing ourserlves from dharmic duties should be overcome consciously. Rather, we should think that the Mahaalaya paksha is a God -Given opportunity for us to honour our pitrs yet again. In fact, Mahaayalaya Paksha shraardh is mandatory, and there is no way out of it, and the benefits accruing out of Mahaalaya paksha shraardha/ tarpanam are actually more than what can accrue out of annual shraardha. The pitru paksha observance gladens our pitrus and we should not miss it for any reason. If we are unable to offer the shraardha/ tarpan on the thithi of our father, we should at least do it on the other special days like Mahaa Bharani, Madhyaashtami, or Mahaalaya Amaavasya (any one of these days). We should not miss it giving any excuse - because no such excuse exists!

3) There are some who think that if Gaya Shraardha has been done, there is no need for Mahaalaya paksha shraardha/ tarpanam.

Clarification: Gaya Shraardha is definitely a wonderful ritual for satisfaction of pitrs. But, having done that is no excuse for exempting oneself from Mahaalaya paksha tarpanam/ shraardha and annual shraardha. These should be continued as long as one is alive (or at least till one is healthy enough to carry on the rituals). Only those who are bed-ridden are exempt this due to obvious reasons! It is a sin to skip these rituals in mistaken sense of having attained a level where these are not necessary - no human being living an ordinary life is exempt these karmas. Even great rishis who were highly spiritually evolved and avatars like Shri Raama, Shri Krishna, have observed these, and obviously we are not above all of them in our spiritual standing! Only sanyaasins are exempt these because they don't have karmaa adhikaara (ritual right to perform a karma). Everyone else who has karmaadhikaara (due to death of one's parents) should observe this - even if they have done the Gaya Shraardha and Akshaya vata pinda daan.


I hope these clarifications help our members to get this matter in the right perspective.

May our members observe these dharmic guidelines in connection with Mahaalaya paksha (Pitr paksha) and become recipients of the Grace of pitrus - our Benevolent Ancestors who have the capacity to shield us from the dangers of existence and improve our luck with their Blessings.

Those who want to offer special recitals for pitru trupti (satisfaction of deceased ancestors) might click on the links below for sponsoring such recitals:

Ganga Avatarana sarga recital
Enter name, star, gothra

Blessed be.

Astrological and Remedial consultant


Unknown said...


I am live in Jacksonville, Florida, and I follow the EST. If Mahalaya Paksha starts on 12th Sept. 2011 for USA, then 26th should be the Mahalaya Amavasya, but in your article, you mention that 27th Sept. 2011 is Mahalaya Amavasya for the whole world. Can you please help in correct dates, tithis and nakshtra, for me to perform this correctly.

You can also e-mail me at

Looking forward for your reply at your earliest.


Pandit R. DAKSHINA MOORTHI said...

Dear Shri. Balaji:

Please read the article more carefully; your query is already answered there. In the U.S., for people living other time zones EXCEPT EST, Mahalaya Amavasya is to be observed on September 26, 2011; For those following EST, Mahalaya Amavasya should be observed on September 27, 2011.

You won't understand the subtleties of such calculations; so, please don't confuse yourself with the technicalities (the thithis should be operational at certain time periods on a day for them to be observed; there are elaborate rules and exceptions regarding that).

I appreciate your concern that you wish to follow the austerity on the correct day and hence I have replied to you; but if you had read the article more carefully the query itself won't have come up. The article is clear enough regarding those dates.

Blessed be.

(PS: A formal way of address would be more respectful for people from vedic traditions; Beginning with Namaste Panditji or Namaste Guruji or at least a "Dear Sir" would have been more respectful. when you are requesting a dharma shastraic clarification, the person who answers you is in the protocol of an Acharya - regardless of his age/, that protocols are best given for the welfare of everyone. This is for future reference).

xxx said...

My wife is pregnant now (5th Month), are we eligible to do the Tharpanam during this period?. Please help us clarify. We have to do this for both our parents

Pandit R. DAKSHINA MOORTHI said...

Dear Member XXX:

You CAN do tarpanam even when the wife is pregnant; tarpanams are mandatory karmas that are to be performed on certain stipulated days/ thithis/ periods. Mahalaya paksha austerities come under this category - and unless there is ritual impurity arising out of birth/ death in close family circles, Mahalaya paksha tarpanams are done - even if wife is pregnant. And yes, it can be done to both sides (i.e. if your wife does not have brothers who can do the tarpanam for her parents, you must do it on her behalf in their Honour).

Hope this helps.

Blessed be.

khushi26 said...

with all due respect to you, i would like to know if i can continue my mantra japping of 1008 of the parvatri swayamvar during this pitr season please.
Thanking you in advance.
You can email me at

Pandit R. DAKSHINA MOORTHI said...

Dear Ms. Kushi:

First things is best to avoid an over-casual "Hi" when you request a spiritual query to an expert...because that expert who guides you is in the post of a spiritual mentor (Acharya), and respect of Acharyas/ Gurus comes first before all other austerities. It will be always best to begin with a Namaste or at least the English formal "Dear Sir/ Respected Panditji" instead of with a "Hi," which is best restricted to pally interactions:)

I won't even sit before people whom I consider as my spiritual inspirations (even if they have not directly taught me anything!) - just to put matters in perspective regarding the protocols between spiritual people.

Regarding your query, you can continue the Swayamvara kala Parvathy japa even during Pitr paksha. No issues about that.

Blessed be.

Ravi said...

Hari Om Panditji,

Thank you so much for this information. This is indeed helpful.



follower said...

Namaste Panditji,

My wife's both parents are alive, but my father is no more. Does my wife need to follow Pitrapaksha? Thanks,

Pandit R. DAKSHINA MOORTHI said...

Dear "Follower":

In ideal vedic traditions, when a woman is married, she considers her in-laws as per parents, and so the ritual observances ordained to the husband apply to the wife also.

So, on the lunar phase of death of your father (thithi), when you observe shrardh or offer tarpan as per your traditions, your wife will accompany you in those rituals and observe the ritual purity indications applicable to you.

It might be interesting to note for a woman, when her own parents expire, the ritual impurity period is only for 3 days after their death - but in the case of death of in-laws, the ritual impurity is for 10 days.

Similarly when a woman dies, her own parents and siblings will observe period of mourning only for 3 days while her brothers-in-law, male cousins of husband, and father/ mother-in-law would observe mourning for 10 days!

In short - yes, your wife must also observe pitru paksha ideally; but if she is not willing to observe it, don't force her into it - but you just observe the rituals on the thithi of your father in His Honour.

If the austerities cannot be observed throughout the 15 days, you might just observe that on the thithi of your father as already said, and on that day she can also cooperate with you. If she happens to have her monthly periods on such a thithi, the austerities must be observed on Mahaalaya Amavasya.

Blessed be.

Intern said...

Dear Panditji,
I have a query about performing Mahalaya paksha tarpanam. My sister just gave birth to a baby on Sep 9. So can we perform the tarpana after the punyajanam i.e. on or after Sep 19?


Pandit R. DAKSHINA MOORTHI said...

Dear Shri. Sriram:

Yes, the tarpanam can be done after Sept 19, 2011 after the punyajanam is over.

As Sept 20, 2011 itself happens to be Madhyashtami, tarpanam might be considered on that day itself.

Hope this helps.

Blessed be.

sk sankararaman said...


One of our ancestors had two wives (we call 1st one for identity) who did not have any issues, and the other (called as 2nd one for identity) who had issues.

In course of time the 1st one was left at the mercy of god and the 2nd one lineage went on. In my generation, I discovered that our lineage suffers from a continual curse from the 1st one.

Our sincere attempts of doing tila homams and other pitru karyams, homams at Rameswaram and all other rituals such as homams, tharpanams, gaya sradhham, kasi tharpanam, maha bojanam at kasi, gaya, rameswaram, giving ko, bo, and other dhanas etc. are not helping. The curse continues. Since no names are available, cleansing of this seems quite difficult.

Request your holiness to provide valuable insight to

Pandit R. DAKSHINA MOORTHI said...

Dear Shri. Sankara Raman:

A prashna does indicate afflictions arising out of improper conduct of karmas to the 1st wife. If she died as a sumangali, and you people happen to know her shraardha thithi, you may try organizing a sumangali pooja every year on the day of her shraardha (unless a person who is equivalent to her son - i.e. any of the 2nd wife's sons - are alive, you can't offer direct shraardham to her anymore; so, the best alternative will be to offer sumangali pooja in Her Honour and ask for Her forgiveness for the pain caused to her soul knowingly or unknowingly, and invoke Her Blessings).

If she did die in widowed condition, any of the surviving descendants (including yourself) might organize recital of Raamaayana in full in Her Honour, and at the end of that performance, offer some amount in charity to old age homes/ charities catering to the needs of destitute old persons. I feel one time performance of such a remedy would clear your family off the debts of that deceased ancestor. If you are unable to organize such a recital of Raamayana with suitable pandits, you may - yourself recite the 42nd, 43rd, and 44th chapters of Baala Kaandam of Shrimad Raamayanam daily for a period of 48 days daily. During those periods, you may need to follow an austere life style (like not indulging in carnal intercourse, not consuming onions/ garlic, not eating outside food, etc.). Once that is done, you may consider the remedy as done completely (as you have already done various dhaanams, and including Tila Homam), and there is nothing else we can do about it - except asking for heart-felt forgivness to the possibly aggrieved soul [sometimes we descendants do kriyas with faith - but the aged deceased soul possibly still feels difficult to forget the past pain - when it was left to Divine Providence without any support from those who should have taken care of that poor soul. Ramayana chapters recital can release that soul from its bondage in such temperamental state and once that soul attains peace, its curse won't trouble you any longer - and if the soul - Heavens Forbid - still is not appeased, we can't do anything about it - except asking for daily heart-felt forgiveness - which will one day appease it suddenly and your family will be free from the curse].

All the best in this attempt to get cleared from ancestral curse.

Blessed be.

TKC said...

Namaskaram Panditji,

I have been married for the last two and a half years. we have been praying for a child and my recent consultation with a very learned astrologer revealed that she has Pitru dosham and he has asked me to perform few rituals for the same.On inquiring few elders of my wife's family, I learnt that there was an instance of unnatural death of a young lady at her husband's house ( suicide due to in laws torture ) some 3-4 generations ago. In addition, I also learnt that one of the family members acquired property of an old blind couple by deceit ( this again is some 3-4 generations ago but none sure about this incident but there is a mention )- am told for this reason, everyone in their family for the last 2-3 generations have some eye defect and most of them wear spectacles ( including my wife ).

I am concerned about doing the pind daan ritual as I am not in the direct lineage/ blood relationship to the deceased. More importantly, I have my parents living with me and my wife's parents are also alive- hence because of these two reasons, I am confused if it is appropriate to do any ritual.

I did learn about few alternative ways to reduce the effects like parikrama of pipal tree (108) on a somvati amavasya, feeding rice with ghee and sesame seeds on saturdays to crows and fish- but not sure of these.

Request your grace and help in guiding me on this.

Many Thanks.


Pandit R. DAKSHINA MOORTHI said...

Dear Shri. TKC:

You cannot do the pitr karmas directly as you have elders living in the family. BUT, you CAN do things like organizing a "sumangali Praarthana" in Honour of that deceased woman in your wife's family.
This can be done on any Friday - where you can invoke all the deceased sumangalis of both lineages (both your side and your wife's side) and pray for blessings and removal of all doshas.

Regarding the karma that possibly follows succeeding generations due to usurping the property of a blind couple.....take a vow that once you are blessed with a child you will offer some charity to organizations catering to the needs of the poor blind (like donating money to eye banks or sponsoring part of the costs involved in free eye operation for poor).

Hope this helps.

Blessed be.

TKC said...

Namaskaram Panditji,

Thanks for the quick response and guidance. Will follow your instructions.

Many thanks again.


Unknown said...

Namaskar guruji
I m not sure if this thread is still being followed by you. But in hope of guidance, I m submitting my query. My wife is 7 months pregnant and we plan to get delivery at her mother' house. My father's tithi is sixth day of paksha. Can we undertake journey after sixth day or shd wait for entire mahalya amavasya to get over?
My second query is if I m doing shradh on sixth day which is my tithi, can I do pind daan at gaya on amavas day also?
Many thanks

Pandit R. DAKSHINA MOORTHI said...

Dear Shri. Anshuman:

If there is no emergency, you may ideally wait until the Mahalaya paksha is over and then leave your wife at your in-law's place. It is not as if it is not auspicious to travel during pitru paksha - just that when wife is with you during that period and you both venerate pitrus together with devotion throughout the paksha, it can be auspicious. Any karma/ pitrua karya done with wife near you gives better results for the family. Otherwise, in case of an emergency, she CAN travel after the thithi of your father is over.

You CAN offer pinda at Gaya on Amavasya after finishing your father's thithi on shashti.

Hope this helps.

If you need further clarifications or you need recital of pitru sthothra/ Ganga Avatarana sarga for thrupti of your pitrus during pitru paksha, you can contact me at

Blessed be.

Unknown said...

We are doing annual Thithi for my mother for past 7 years. I am eldest son in my family and we are 3 brothers. This year Thithi date falls on the same date when we have also planned to do my youngest brother marriage arrangements like taking new dress, etc. As i am living in different country, is it ok for me to perform Thithi on the same day, or should i postpone / prepone the dates?

Kindly clarify

Jegadeesh S

Pandit R. DAKSHINA MOORTHI said...

Dear Shri. Jegadish:

If some date is to be postponed or anticipated (preponed), it should be the date of purchase of clothes and not the mother's thithi!

Mother's annual shraddha must gain precedence over EVERY OTHER mundane thing - UNLESS there is a practical emergency rendering the observance impossible (like being caught in a war or something as drastic!).

No harm in purchasing new clothes on mother's thithi - as long as the dress won't be worn that day itself; it is traditional to avoid any "bhogya" (luxury) on thithi day of parents keeping in sync with the austere mood of the day. So, the clothes can be purchased that day - avoiding wear those that day.

More important - avoid eating outside when you go for the purchase and observe the shraddha austerity conditions strictly even if you go for the purchase; if you feel you can manage this, there is no harm in purchasing a new cloth on mother's shraddha day. Mentally dedicate the act to your mother - saying "Maa - we are purchasing the clothes today; bless this."

Blessed be.

Jarna said...

Dear Pandit ji,

My husband and I had a love marriage but were never 100% happy. My husband's elder brother and sister are divorced. Elder brother remarried but still not happy. Sister is having affair with her old married lover whom she was not allowed to marry. We both have much bad luck and suffering in our married life. No children too. Also in my husband's family, mostly no one seems happy. Can you please tell me if he has pitra dosh and what are the remedies?

DOB 9 May 1981, Time : 15:30 pm, Place : Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

In my family, I know only 4 generations of daughters. Not many daughters are born in my family but who are, are not happy. All sons are happy but all daughters are unhappy. Daughters have faced poverty, physical abuse by husband, rude husbands, cheating husbands and bad children who make them unhappy. Why so and what is the remedy so that the future daughters or those who are not yet married do not face the same problems. Can you find out from my horoscope?

DOB 7 Aug 1979, Time : 10:20 am, Place : Rajkot, Gujarat, India

Right now my husband has lost his job and can't find another and we are in much much trouble. Please help. Thanks.

Pandit R. DAKSHINA MOORTHI said...

Dear Smt. Jarna:

Kindly get in touch with me by emailing to my yahoo-id that you can find in this blog; we can see how I can help you regarding your concern.

Will do my best to help you once you get in touch.

Blessed be.

sudhakar Thiruveedhi said...

Namasthe poojya guru ji ..
Do a napumsak ( gay / lesbians/ transgender)can observe pitru paksha rituals??

Pandit R. DAKSHINA MOORTHI said...

Dear Shri Sudhakar Thiruveedhi:

They CAN also observe pitru paksha rituals.

Afterall, regardless of one's gender/ gender-orientation, one is indebted to one's ancestors for the very genesis we have had.

If orthodox priests do not support the performance, you may simply offer oblations (cleanly cooked food) by keeping it as a "bali" in some open area invoking your pitr's Grace saying "in my position, I am not able to perform a detailed tarpan or ritual to you; but, with all the shraddha I have, I am placing this bali in Honour of your souls; may you be pleased by this", and sprinkle some sesame seeds and clean water saying "Imam balim sarva pitru truptyartham daasyaami swadhaa namah" - and consider as if the rituals have been done for the pitrus.

This procedure is applicable for everyone - who cannot observe the orthodox rituals due to any practical difficulty regarding the matter.

Blessed be.

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