Uncategorized https://www.vedicgrace.com Sun, 28 Apr 2019 08:11:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.10 Navratri | Navadurga Pujan https://www.vedicgrace.com/navratri-durga-puja/ https://www.vedicgrace.com/navratri-durga-puja/#respond Wed, 10 Oct 2018 08:17:47 +0000 https://www.vedicgrace.com/?p=1753  

Navratri | Navadurga Pujan

 

Navratri is a nine-night celebration of Durga, the Hindu mother goddess.  Navratri comes from the Sanskrit Nava, meaning “nine” and ratri, meaning “nights.” The festival is also called Sharada Navratri or Maha Navratri, meaning “great Navratri.”

There are four Navratri celebrations throughout the year. However, in practice, it is the post-monsoon autumn festival called Sharada Navratri. Sharada Navratri is the largest and is, therefore, known simply as Navratri. That is the most observed in the honor of the divine feminine Devi Durga. Devi Durga represents Shakti, or female divine energy and purity. It is believed that Durga fought a nine-day battle against the demons (like Raktbeej, Sumbh Nisumbh, Mahisasur etc), at the end of which she was victorious, this symbolizing the victory of good over evil.

Navaratri is celebrated as  Durga Puja in the eastern states of India, wherein goddess Devi Durga battles and emerges victorious over Mahisasur which symbolizes the Victory of good over evil. On the other hand in the Northern and Western parts of India, the festival of Navratri is synonymous with “Rama Lila” and “Dussehra” which is also celebrated as the victory of god Ram over Ravana. In southern states, the victory of different goddesses, of Rama or Saraswati is celebrated. In all cases, the common theme is the battle and victory of Good over Evil based on a regionally famous epic or legends such as the Ramayana or the Devi Mahatmya.

Navratri ceremonies include colorful clothing, dancing, fasting and rituals. In the yogic tradition, the holiday is a time for spiritual practices, meditation, and discipline, honoring the Divine. During the Navratri statues of Devi Durga are placed in beautiful stages called Pandals. On the 10th day, which is called “Vijayadashami” or “Dussehra”, the statues are immersed in the water body such as river, pond or in the sea. In the evening the statue of Ravana, Kumbhakaran, and Meghnath, symbolizing the evil are burnt with fireworks marking evil’s destruction. This also starts the preparation for Diwali, the festival of lights.

Sharad Navaratri begins on the first new moon in early autumn – usually late September or early October in the bright half of the Hindu calendar month Ashvin. Sharad Navaratri 2018 in India began on Wednesday, 10th October and ends on Thursday, 18th October. During Navratri, the goddess Durga is honored in her nine forms.  Each day is associated with an incarnation of the goddess;

  • Day 1: Shailaputri
  • Day 2: Brahmcharini
  • Day 3: Chandraghanta
  • Day 4: Kushmunda
  • Day 5: Skandmata
  • Day 6: Katyayani
  • Day 7: Kalratri
  • Day 8: Mahagauri
  • Day 9: Sidhidatri

 

Performing Durga Saptashati Yagya during Navratri gives very beneficial results as per astrology. Sri Durga Saptasati Yagya is more beneficial in Navratri. This Yagya will help to get the inner and outer fulfillment of desires and will power.The Sri Durga Saptsati Yagya is a very unique, rare and elaborate Yagya. This Yagya is a unique sacrificial rite involving powerful Saptsati mantras.

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Navratri Day 1: Devi Shailputri 

The first night of Navratri is called Pratipada and people worship Goddess Shailputri, also known as Bhavani, Parvati or Hemavati, on this day. ‘Shail’ means mountains and ‘putri’ means daughter. She is the embodiment of the collective power of Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh. It is in this form that the goddess was worshiped as the consort of Shiva. The color of the first day is red–it depicts action and vigor.

Mantra – (108 times recitation suggested)

देवी शैलपुत्र्यै नमः॥

Om Devi Shailaputryai Namah.

 

ह्रीम श्री शैलपुत्री दुर्गायै नमः |

Om Hreem Shri Shailaputri Durgaaye Namaha|

 

Maa Shailputri Prarthana Mantra

वन्दे वाञ्छितलाभाय चन्द्रार्धकृतशेखराम्।
वृषारुढां शूलधरां शैलपुत्रीं यशस्विनीम्॥
Vande Vanchhitalabhay chandrardhakritshekharam
Vrisharudham Shooldharam Shailputreem Yashasvineem

 

Maa Shailputri Stuti Mantra

या देवी सर्वभूतेषु माँ शैलपुत्री रूपेण संस्थिता।
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः॥
Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu Maa Shailaputri Rupena Samsthita |
Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah ||

 

 

Navratri Day 2: Devi Brahmacharini 
On the second night of Navratri Devi Brahmacharini is worshiped. Goddess Parvati took birth second time at the home of Daksha Prajapati. Goddess Parvati was great sati in this form and was worshipped as goddess Brahmacharini. The provider of all fortunes, Mangal (Mars) is said to be governed by Goddess Brahmacharini.

Mantra – (108 times recitation suggested)

देवी ब्रह्मचारिण्यै नमः॥

Om Devi Brahmacharinyai Namah॥

ह्रीम श्री ब्रह्मचारिणी दुर्गायै नमः |

Om Hreem Shri Brahamacharini Durgaaye Namaha

 

Maa Brahmacharini Prarthana Mantra

दधाना कर पद्माभ्यामक्षमाला कमण्डलू।
देवी प्रसीदतु मयि ब्रह्मचारिण्यनुत्तमा॥
Dadhana Kara Padmabhyamakshamala Kamandalu।
Devi Prasidatu Mayi Brahmacharinyanuttama॥

 

Maa Brahmacharini Stuti Mantra

या देवी सर्वभूतेषु माँ ब्रह्मचारिणी रूपेण संस्थिता।

नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः॥
Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu Maa Brahmacharini Rupena Samsthita।
Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah॥

 

 

Navratri Day 3: Devi Chandraghanta
Devi Chandraghanta is worshiped on the third night of Navratri. According to Hindu mythology, Devi Chandraghanta is the Goddess of spirituality and internal strength. Devi Chandraghanta is also known as Chandrakhanda, Chandika or Rannchandi. This form of Devi Chandraghnata is peaceful and welfare. By her grace all the sins, distresses, physical sufferings, mental tribulations and ghostly hurdles of the devotees are eradicated.

Mantra – (108 times recitation suggested)

देवी चंद्रघंटयई नमः |

Om Devi Chandraghantayayi  Namah

ह्रीम श्री चंद्र घंटे दुर्गायै नमः |

Om Aim Hreem Chandraghantay Durgaaye Namah ||

 

Maa Chandraghanta Prarthana Mantr

पिंडज प्रव्रुद्ध चण्डकोपास्त्रकैर्युता |
प्रसादं तनुते माध्यम चन्द्रघण्टेति विश्रुता || 

Pindaj Pravaarudh chandkopastrkairyuta |

Prasadam Tanute Madhyam Chandraghanteti vishrutaa ||

Maa Chandraghanta Stuti Mantra

या देवी सर्वभूतेषु माँ चन्द्रघण्टा रूपेण संस्थिता।

नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः॥

Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu Maa Chandraghanta Rupena Samstita |

Namastasyay Namastasyay Namastasyay Namo Namah ||

Navratri Day 4: Maa Kushmanda
With the fourth night begins the worship of Devi Kushmanda, possessed of eight arms holding a weapons and a mala (rosary). Devi Kushmanda Puja represents Anahata Chakra in spiritual practice. The divine blessings of Maa Kushmanda help you improve your health and wealth. She removes all the hurdles and troubles from your life and enables you to get rid of all sorts’ sorrows in life. Maa Kushmanda brings light into darkness and establishes harmony in your life.

Mantra – (108 times recitation suggested)

देवी कूष्माण्डायै नमः॥

Om Devi Kushmandayai Namah॥

ह्रीम श्री कुष्मांडा दुर्गायै नमः ||

Om Hreem Shri Kushmanda Durgaaye Namaha ||

 

Maa Kushmanda Prarthana Mantra 

सुरासम्पूर्ण कलशं रुधिराप्लुतमेव च।

दधाना हस्तपद्माभ्यां कूष्माण्डा शुभदास्तु मे॥

Surasampurna Kalasham Rudhiraplutameva Cha।

Dadhana Hastapadmabhyam Kushmanda Shubhadastu Me॥

 

Maa Kushmanda Stuti Mantra

या देवी सर्वभूतेषु माँ कूष्माण्डा रूपेण संस्थिता।

नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः॥

Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu Maa Kushmanda Rupena Samsthita।

Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah॥

 

Navratri Day 5: Maa Skandamata
Day five is dedicated to goddess Skandamata. Lord Kartikeya is known as Lord Skanda and hence goddess Parvati is also known as Skandamata. She displays three eyes and four hands; two hands holds lotuses while the other two hand display defending and granting mudras, respectively. It’s said, by the mercy of Skandmata, even the fool becomes an ocean of knowledge. The goddess rules planet Budha (Jupiter).

 

Mantra – (108 times recitation suggested)

देवी स्कन्दमातायै नमः॥

Om Devi Skandamatayai Namah॥

ह्रीम श्री स्कन्द माता दुर्गायै नमः|

Om Hreem Shri Skanda Mata Durgaaye Namaha

 

Maa Skandamata Prarthana Mantra 

सिंहासनगता नित्यं पद्माञ्चित करद्वया।

शुभदास्तु सदा देवी स्कन्दमाता यशस्विनी॥

Simhasanagata Nityam Padmanchita Karadvaya।

Shubhadastu Sada Devi Skandamata Yashasvini॥

Maa Skandamata Stuti Mantra

या देवी सर्वभूतेषु माँ स्कन्दमाता रूपेण संस्थिता।

नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः॥

Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu Ma Skandamata Rupena Samsthita।

Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah॥

 

Navratri Day 6: Maa Katyayani
The Day 6 is dedicated to goddess Katyayani. According to the scriptures, goddess Parvati took the form of Katyayani to destroy Mahishasura, who was a demon. And, Katyayani was the most violent form of goddess Parvati. She holds shining Chandrahasa (Sword) in Devi’s hand and one hand is depicted as giving the blessing. She rides a magnificent lion. This form of Maa Parvati is also known as the warrior goddess.

Mantra – (108 times recitation suggested)

देवी कात्यायन्यै नमः॥

Om Devi Katyayanyai Namah॥

ह्रीम श्री कात्यायनी दुर्गायै नमः |

Om Hreem Shri Katyayani Durgaaye Namaha

Maa Katyayani Prarthana Mantra 

चन्द्रहासोज्ज्वलकरा शार्दूलवरवाहना।

कात्यायनी शुभं दद्याद् देवी दानवघातिनी॥

Chandrahasojjvalakara Shardulavaravahana।

Katyayani Shubham Dadyad Devi Danavaghatini॥

Maa Katyayani Stuti Mantra

या देवी सर्वभूतेषु माँ कात्यायनी रूपेण संस्थिता।

नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः॥

Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu Ma Katyayani Rupena Samsthita।

Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah॥

 

Navratri Day 7: Maa Kalaratri
On the seventh day of Navratri, Maa Kalaratri Devi is worshiped. As mentioned in the Skanda Purana, Lord Shiva goes to his wife, Parvati to help the gods as they are terrorized by the demon-king, Durgamasur. Parvati sends Goddess Kaalratri, a bewitchingly beautiful female to help. Some sources say that Parvati removes her golden skin, to reveal her Kaalratri black-skinned form and goes forth to help.

Mantra – (108 times recitation suggested)

देवी कालरात्र्यायी नमः|

Om Devi Kalratryayi Namah

ह्रीम श्री काल रात्रि दुर्गायै नमः |

Om Hreem Shri Kaala Ratri Durgaaye Namaha

Maa Kalaratri Prarthana Mantra 

एकवेणी जपाकर्णपूरा नग्ना खरास्थिता।

लम्बोष्ठी कर्णिकाकर्णी तैलाभ्यक्त शरीरिणी॥

वामपादोल्लसल्लोह लताकण्टकभूषणा।

वर्धन मूर्धध्वजा कृष्णा कालरात्रिर्भयङ्करी॥

Ekaveni Japakarnapura Nagna Kharasthita।

Lamboshthi Karnikakarni Tailabhyakta Sharirini॥

Vamapadollasalloha Latakantakabhushana।

Vardhana Murdhadhwaja Krishna Kalaratrirbhayankari॥

Maa Kalaratri Stuti Mantra

या देवी सर्वभूतेषु माँ कालरात्रि रूपेण संस्थिता।

नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः॥

Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu Ma Kalaratri Rupena Samsthita।

Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah॥

 

Navratri Day 8: Maa Mahagauri 
On the eighth day, known as Ashtami Mata Mahagauri is worshipped on this day. Mahagauri means extremely white “maha” meaning great and “gauri” meaning white or fair. The name derives from the fact that Parvati had a fair complexion. Here she rides a bull and has four hands. Mahagauri radiates peace and compassion. She is often dressed in a white or green sari. She holds a drum and a trident.

Mantra – (108 times recitation suggested)

देवी महागौर्यै नमः॥

Om Devi Mahagauryai Namah॥

ह्रीम श्री महा गौरी दुर्गायै नमः |

Om Hreem Shri Maha Gauri Durgaaye Namaha

Maa Mahagauri Prarthana Mantra 

श्वेते वृषेसमारूढा श्वेताम्बरधरा शुचिः।

महागौरी शुभं दद्यान्महादेव प्रमोददा॥

Shwete Vrishesamarudha Shwetambaradhara Shuchih।

Mahagauri Shubham Dadyanmahadeva Pramodada॥

Maa Mahagauri Stuti Mantra

या देवी सर्वभूतेषु माँ महागौरी रूपेण संस्थिता।

नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः॥

Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu Maa Mahagauri Rupena Samsthita।

Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah॥

 

Navratri Day 9: Maa Siddhidaatri
The last day of the festival also known as Navami, people pray to Devi Siddhidaatri. There are eight Siddhis, they are- Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakamya, Iishitva & Vashitva.  She is believed to possess and bestows all type of Siddhis. She is the grantor of 26 different wishes to her Bhaktas.  She has four hands and sits on a lotus.

Mantra – (108 times recitation suggested)

देवी सिद्धिदातरयायी नमः |

Om Devi Siddhidatryayi Namah

ह्रीम श्री राम नवमी दुर्गायै नमः |

Om Hreem Shri Ram Navmi Durgaaye Namaha

Maa Siddhidaatri Prarthana Mantra 

सिद्ध गन्धर्व यक्षाद्यैरसुरैरमरैरपि।

सेव्यमाना सदा भूयात् सिद्धिदा सिद्धिदायिनी॥

Siddha Gandharva Yakshadyairasurairamarairapi।

Sevyamana Sada Bhuyat Siddhida Siddhidayini॥

Maa Siddhidaatri Stuti Mantra

या देवी सर्वभूतेषु माँ सिद्धिदात्री रूपेण संस्थिता।

नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः॥

Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu Maa Siddhidatri Rupena Samsthita।

Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah॥

 

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The Meaning and Significance of Swastik https://www.vedicgrace.com/meaning-significance-swastik/ https://www.vedicgrace.com/meaning-significance-swastik/#respond Sat, 29 Sep 2018 07:55:19 +0000 https://www.vedicgrace.com/?p=1744 The Meaning and Significance of Swastik

The Swastik is a geometrical figure and an ancient religious icon. Swastik has been Sanatan Dharma’s symbol of auspiciousness – mangalya since time immemorial. The name swastika comes from Sanskrit (Devanagari: स्वस्तिक, pronounced: swastik) and denotes “conducive to wellbeing or auspicious”.

Origin

The word Swastik has a definite etymological origin in Sanskrit. It is derived from the roots su – meaning “well or auspicious” and as meaning “being”.

Su asti yena tat swastikam

Swastik is that symbol through which everything auspicious occurs.

Scholars believe the word’s origin in the Vedas, known as the Swasti mantra;

Aum swasti na indro vruddhasharvaha swasti nah pusha vishvavedaha

Swastinastarkshyo arishtanemihi swastino bruhaspatirdadhatu.

O famed Indra, redeem us. O Pusha, the beholder of all knowledge, redeem us. Redeem us O Garudji, of limitless speed and O Bruhaspati, redeem us.

This can be represented as a figure in the manner discussed below.

 

Swastik’s cosmic origin

The swastika represents the living creation in the whole Cosmos. Hindu astronomers divide the ecliptic circle of the Cosmos in 27 divisions known as Nakshatras (asterisms). They are named after a prominent start or asterism in respective part of the Zodiac.

Opposite Chitra nakshatra lies Revati, the last and 27th asterism. Its presiding deity is Pusha.

Midway between Chitra and Revati, lies the 22nd, Shravan nakshatra. Its presiding deity is Vishnu, represented by his vehicle Garud (cited in the mantra above as arishtanemi)

Midway from Revati, towards Chitra lies Pushya, the 8th nakshatra, whose presiding deity is Bruhaspati.

In this manner, across forms in four directions in the celestial sky. At the center of this cross is Dhruva (Polestar).

In a line from Dhruva, the starts known as Saptarishi can be observed. Saptarishi means seven rishis (sapta – rishis). In the present yuga of Vaivasvat Manu, the seven rishis are

  1. Gautam
  2. Bhardhvaj
  3. Vishvamitra
  4. Kashyap
  5. Jamadagni
  6. Vasishtha
  7. Atri

A smaller start lies next to Vasishtha, which is Arundhati, his wife.  These Saptarishis revolve (perform pradakshina) around Dhruva.

By drawing a line connecting the cross and the Saptarishis, the swastika is formed. In this way, the whole cosmos is incorporated in the swastika. When the swastika is imprinted during a Puja ritual, the underlying sentiment is of veneration to all the living creation in the whole Cosmos, represented by the seven rishis.

 

Swastik in Rituals

  1. Being an auspicious symbol with such inherently profound sentiments, the swastika is therefore used during puja rites and ritual by Hindus. They imprint this using dry or wet kumkum on new articles, appliances, vehicles, entrance of a new business premises or home, etc. The underlying sentiment is that “let the article (being offered pujan) be redemptive (kalyankari) in life, not only for mundane purpose but also to aid one on the spiritual path, towards moksha. Ultimately, for an aspirant any article, whether a PC or a car, should enable him/her to progress towards moksha. This is in consonance with Sanatan Dharma’s idea of attaining the four endeavors (purusharthas) of life; dharma, artha, kama and moksha.

  1. The swastika symbolizes mangalya – auspiciousness, peace, harmony and success in all ventures embarked upon in life.
  2. Swastik is a symbolic form of Aum-kar.
  3. It is a symbol of sacredness which wards off evil elements and heralds good fortune.
  4. Swastik is imprinted on doorways of houses and ingrained in the flooring of mandirs as a symbolic form of auspiciousness.
  5. It depicts; Surya, the “wheel of life” and four directions.

In India, the swastika has eternally embodied the following sentiments;

  1. Kalyan (ultimate liberation) – swasti – auspicious, kalyan, ka – doer – one that bestows kalyan
  2. Man’s quest to attain spiritual knowledge
  3. Prayer on behalf of all jivas for moksha
  4. Encompasses the whole cosmos.
  5. A symbol of Lakshmidevi of wealth.
  6. A symbol of Vishnu. Its four bars represent Vishnu’s four hands and Vishnu is the protector of the four directions (Vishnu Purana)
  7. Protection from the four directions.
  8. Symbol representing Sanatan Dharma and its sentiment of peace and moksha for all mankind.

 

Swastik in other cultures

Swastik was known and often commonly used as a symbol of fortune and prosperity in many other ancient cultures and lands as found on various artifacts discovered worldwide in different countries like Egypt, Greece, Italy, Japan, England, and the USA.

In 1889, Flinders Petrie discovered Greek pottery fragments with a swastik in Naucratis, Egypt of the 12th dynasty, circa 3000 BCE. The oldest painted swastika appears in a Paleolithic case dating back 10.000 years. It was also found on early Christian tombs and on 2000 years-old Jewish temples in Palestine. Though the swastik may have been used as a religious symbol in these religions, it did not have the same meaning of being redemptive (kalyankari), as it does in Hinduism. Neither did these religions have an exact etymological (relating to the origin and historical development of words and their meanings) origin for the word “swastik”.

Such ubiquitous occurrence of only one symbol, the swastika, throughout the ancient world from Europe, North, Central and South Americas to China and Japan, presents a compelling proposition; that of migration of people out of India. In his well-researched book, The Swastika, Thomas Wilson, in 1896 posited precisely this theory:

“If the Swastika was a symbol of a religion in Indian and migrated as such in times of antiquity to America, it was necessarily by human aid…. Is it not equally strong evidence of contact to find the same sign used in both the counties as a charm, with the same significance in both counties?”

Furthermore, considering the probability of independent invention, Wilson opined, “….the chances of a duplicate invention by different persons in distant countries, without contact or communication between them, are almost as one to infinity”.

The Swastik then can well be presented as a tangible and contributory piece of evidence along with other findings which have recently emerged, for the case of people migrating out of Bharat and not invading it. In their recent book, Hidden Horizons – Uncovering 10,000 years of Indian Culture, (2006), N.S. Rajaram and David Frawley present irrefutable and impressive scientific evidence supporting this event, from diverse sources such as the human genome project, natural history, satellite images of the great Vedic Saraswati river’s palaeo channels, flora, fauna, and climate in the Vedic literature and astronomical events in the Vedas.

The Swastik is one of the 16 sacred signs found on the lotus-feet of the Supreme Reality – Parabrahman Purushottam Narayan, the Supreme God, present in many different forms. In the Padma Purana, Brahma describes these to Naradji. Swastik is one of the eight signs on the right sole. In his Vaishnavatoshini commentary on the Shrimad Bhagvatam, Jiva Goswami cites that of these 16 signs, the more the number found on the soles of an avatar, whether two, four, five, the greater the avatar.

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Significance of Shraddh in Hindu Religion https://www.vedicgrace.com/significance-of-shraddh-in-hindu-religion/ https://www.vedicgrace.com/significance-of-shraddh-in-hindu-religion/#respond Wed, 26 Sep 2018 07:01:08 +0000 https://www.vedicgrace.com/?p=1735 Significance of Shraddh in Hindu Religion

 

 

Shraddh (Offerings to ancestors)

Shraddh is a ritual of offering food to please the pitrus (manes) and for their spiritual beneficence. Vasus, Rudras, and Adityas are devatas and pitrus of shraddh (Yajnavalkya smruti I/269). They are gratified by the offerings, which they pass on to the pitrus wherever they may be. Respectively, the three deities represent the father (pita), paternal grandfather (pitamaha) and paternal great grandfather (prapitamaha) (manu smurti 3/284).

The shastras cite that the ritual of shraddh originated with Vishnu during his Varaha (boar) avatar and that Vishnu dwells in the three pins offered to the three aforementioned pitrus (Mahabharat shanti parva 345/14-21, Vishnudharmottar I/239/14-16)

Belief

The act of offering food balls to the three ancestors necessarily requires that in an ethereal body they are still able to enjoy the tanmatra-essence-of the balls, years after demise. The pitrus being pleased then bestow on their living descendants, children, health, wealth, longevity, knowledge, prosperity, moksha and swarg (Agni Purana 163/41-42, Padma Purana, Srustikand 34/217-218).

A question then arises, of how food offered to a brahmin is availed of by departed manes (jivatmas)? Vedic mantras chanted with faith convey the offerings made to the pitrus:

Shraddhaya diyate yatra tachchraddham parikiritam – Marichi in Chandrodaya (Nirnayasindhu III, p.372) that which is offered with faith is called shraddh.

It is believed that the jivatma of a deceased does not leave the vicinity of his house for twelve days (Matsya Purana 18/5-7). After cremation, the jivatma attains a vayavya body.  Prayer is offered to Agnideva – the deity of fire, to take the jivatma to Vishnu (Rig Veda X/15/3). In the worlds of pitrus, the departed atma enjoys food offered in shraddh with the utterance of the word svadha (Vishnudharnmasutra 20.34-36)

The Kurma Purana states that on atmas, the darkest and moonless day of Hindu lunar month, pitrus assume the vayavya body and arrive at the door step of their homes. Here they long see whether their descendants are offering shraddh. They remain till sunset. If nothing is offered then hungry and thirsty they depart solemnly. Shraddha (faith), from which shraddh is derived, is the most important factor of shraddh (Skand Purana VI.218.3). One entertains firm faith that, what is given to the Brahmin for pitrus will reach them. And pitrus are appeased only with shraddh offered through Brahmin (Skand Purana, Nagar, 221/47)

 

Types of Shraddh 

There are 4 main types of shraddh:

  1. Sapindikaran – Performed after the antyeshti samskaras, to propitiate father, grandfather and great grandfather.
  2. Ekodishta – performed once a year on the death tithi of the parents.
  3. Parvanshraddh – performed on an auspicious day or festival for fulfilling mundane desires.
  4. Vruddhishraddh- performed during yagna, vivah, murti pratishtha, yagnopavit, samavartan, garbadhan, pumsavan, simant, jatkarma and at samnyas diksha.

Of the above, the most meritorious is one in which one’s Ishtadeva is offered food every day.  The shastra stipulate that the family from which the person has become the sadhu has performed all shraddh. This is because his whole life is spent in bhakti and paropakara (for good of others). One hundred One generation of such person is uplifted (Vachanamruta gadhada I-75).

 

Time for shraddh 

The dark half – Krishna paksha of Bhadrava is considered appropriate for pitru shraddh, when the sun is in middle of dakshinayan, in the Kanya Rashi (Virgo).

However whether the day is appropriate for shraddh or not, when a person reaches to piligrim or tirth, he should always bathe and perform tarpan and shraddh (Padma Purana, Srishtik and 34/218-219) \

Twelve days after the impurity of the death, on the 13th, sayyadan is performed. In this fruits clothes and Kapila cow (brown colored) are given to brahmin or a mandir.

Bhadarva vad 13 is considered especially auspicious for pitru shraddh. Bhadarva vad, known as shraddh paksh. In Gaya and other holy places, any tithi is considered auspicious except 14th. For a person who has died by injury, Shurapura shraddh is performed on 14th.

 

Offerings and Rituals

The pind balls are made up of eight items- ashtangam pindam uchyate– milk, yogurt, ghee, flour (rice or barley), sesame, flower, aushadhi (herb) and chandan. To bind the food balls, the water of darbha grass (darbhodak) is used. Usually, pinds of cooked rice flour are offered to Brahmins. The three represent the three ancestors described above in sapindikaran sharaddh. Lentils, wheat, barley, sesame, milk, ghee and dan of wealth earned lawfully, also please the pitrus for a long period. Khir- a sweet of rice cooked in milk is also an important offering. Those who are poor can offer the shak shraddh – just vegetables. If unable to afford this, they may offer grass to a cow. If still more destitute, a person can raise his hands and offer his prayer.

Bhojan (proper meal) as a shraddh rite should be offered to the following 10 people:  nana, maternal uncle, bhanej, guru, father in law, grandson, son in law, friend, ritvij pandit and the pandit officiating the yagya (Manu Smriti 3/48)

 

Sacred Places for Shraddh

There are five tirths for Shraddh, named after the parts of the human body: Gaya, Nabhiagay, Padgaya, Kapalgaya, and Matrugaya.

  • Gaya, near Patna in Bihar (eastern India) is considered a pitru tirth. An asur (demon) named Gaya, performed austerities to please Brahma. He then offered his body on which Vishnu could perform a yagna. This place then became known as Gaya. Named after this event, there is Vishnupad mandir here.
  • Nabhigaya is today’s Jojpur in Orissa (eastern India). Here there is a mandir of Varah, Vishnu’s third avatar. Nabhi means navel. Pilgrims perform shraddh after bathing in the nearby river.
  • Padgaya, also known as Pad tirth (pad means feet/legs), is today’s Pithapuram, Andhra Pradesh. It is located near the river Pampa and is an important tirth for people in south India.
  • Kapalgaya, Kapal means forehead. This tirth is located near Badrinath, on the banks of the Alaknanda. Here there are hot water kunds. Nearby, there is a large shila (rock) named Kapal. Hence this tirth is also known as Brahmkapal and Kapalmochantirth. The above four are pitru tirths, where shraddh of fathers is performed. The fifth is the only matrutirth, in India.
  • Matrugaya, This is located at Siddhpur, north Gujarat. The actual tirth, also known as Shristhal, is Bindu Sarovar, a pond on the banks of the old river Saraswati. Bindu means drop. The pond (sarovar) formed from the teardrops which fell from Vishnu’s eyes. He was pleased by Kardam rishi’s austerities. He then granted the rishi a boon to be born as his son. Sometime later, Bhagwan Manu arrived on a tirth yatra at Shristhal. Pleased with Kardam rishi’s austerities, he gave his daughter Devahuti, in marriage to him. Vishnu’s boon then led to Kapildeva Bhagwan’s birth, who later propounded Samkhya philosophy. After his mother’s demise, Kapilveda Bhagwan performed her shraddh rites here. Bhagwan Parshuram too performed his mother Renuka’s shraddh here. Since then people have performed matru shraddh at Bindu Sarovar. These include acharyas such as Shankar, Madhav, Ramanuj and Vallabh.

It is reported that only at Bindu Sarovar do pitrus enter their relative and actually voice the type of food they desire.

The fruits of shraddh are considered indestructible (akshay) if performed in:  Gaya, Prayag, Prabhas, Pushkar, Kashi, Ganga, Yamuna and Narmada (Shankhsmurti 14.27-29). Shraddh is to be performed in a pure area, facing south, smeared with cow dung. ‘Pure’ areas include holy places. Deva mandirs, banks of rivers, mountains and forests, which do not belong to a person (Brahma Purana 220.5-7, Kurma Purana, Uttar 22/16-17).

Financial constraints and proximity of sacred places nearer home, often induce people to choose these in preference to those in distant placed. For example, people in Saurashtra and north Gujarat often perform shraddh on the seashore at Somnath. Some choose Vautha, a place near Dholka, situated on the confluence of seven rivers. Those living in the south of Amdavad perform shraddh in Chanod, on the banks of the Narmada. People in Madhya Pradesh prefer the holy river Shipra at Ujjain.

 

FAQ

Why should shraddh be performed?

Besides being an injunction of the seers, shraddh is performed to repay the debt of parents and forefathers, while nurturing children until they grow up. Shraddh relieves the offspring of their obligations. Secondly, it is an occasion to remember them. Thirdly their blessings endow virtues, as well as conferring many other benefits. Sanatan Dharma firmly believes that a person’s life on earth is not only lived as a result of his past and present karmas but also aided by the blessings of devas and his pitrus.

 

By Astrologer Vinayak Bhatt

 

 

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