During pitrupaksha (fortnight of deceased ancestors) devout Hindus perform the rite of shraddha. Many try to continue this tradition. Yet so-called secularists try to pollute the minds of Hindus in this regard just as they do about other festivals and take them away from Dharma. Sometimes customs are not followed out of ignorance. The following article is meant to explain the Hindu Scriptural basis of pitrupaksha and shraddha and how the objections raised by secularists are wrong.
Critical comment 1 : In this month (especially during the fortnight of pitrupaksha) many do not undertake important tasks. Those who do not wish to return someone’s money or want to postpone some task use this as a pretext
Clarification : Considering pitrupaksha fortnight or mahalay as it is called as prohibitory or inauspicious is going a bit too far. Leave aside making preparations for marriage, seeing prospective matches, fixing a marriage etc. even the word marriage is taboo during this period. The truth is that pitrupaksha is not an obstacle for basic preparations. (Reference : Sanatan’s Holy text ‘Festivals, Religious festivities and vowed religious observances’.)
The second point is that today prevalent customs are stronger than the underlying science. But the custom of not undertaking any auspicious task during this period has no Scriptural basis. (Reference : Sanatan’s Holy text : Holy Festivals , Festivities and Vowed Religious Observances.)
Critical comment 2 : When you offer food to a crow as your father and he pecks on it, it is acceptable but when 10 to 12 crows peck on it then what to conclude from it ? Also what does the same crow pecking someone else’s pinda (offering of boiled rice and black sesame seeds) signify? All this is a farce, cheating, fooling, we are doing all this to please ourselves.
Clarification : In the ritual of shraddha deceased ancestors are invoked through offering of a pinda and their unfulfilled desires are fulfilled. The desires in an average individual are high because of which Raja and Tama predominant dispersing frequencies are emitted from the subtle body. The crow is a bird which has the maximum capacity to attract odd frequencies; hence it perceives these frequencies. When the subtle body of an ancestor gets attracted to a pinda, it gets charged with unequal frequencies. The crow gets attracted to these frequencies. The crow pecking at the pinda is an indicator that the ancestor has come to the venue of the shraddha and has been satiated. Thus the crow serves as a medium to connect subtle bodies with desires and human beings. (Reference : Sanatan’s Holy text ‘Shraddha : Importance and scientific analysis)
If the science underlying this is comprehended then many crows pecking at the pinda simultaneously depicts the presence of several deceased ancestors there during the rite of shraddha. In this ritual the crow is a mere medium, it is important to understand that. In fact debt unto ancestors is one of the four debts to be repaid in life as per the Hindu Dharma. The crow has been endowed with special vision. This fortnight is not merely for deceased fathers but for deceased ancestors. That is why questioning why many crows peck at the same pinda simultaneously or the same crow pecks at different pindas is ridiculous. This is like asking how the same teacher can teach students from different classes.
Critical comment 3 : Instead of performing rites on the 10th and 13th day for deceased ancestors care for them when they are alive, that is true seva.
Clarification : When relatives are alive take good care of them. That is the duty of every Hindu according to Hindu Scriptures. So that the journey after death is happy and conflict-free and to enable ancestors to travel to further regions, the Hindu Dharma has advised the rite of shraddha. It never says harass your relatives when they are alive and perform shraddha for them after they die. Those who follow the Path of Action (Karmayoga) and those who do not believe in rebirth, may be doing such propaganda.
Critical comment 4 : If you have to serve your ancestors then trace your family tree and in their remembrance print small booklets. Undertake some constructive task in their memory. Help schools, libraries, hospitals and social organisations. Stop all old customs and start new ones in society.
Clarification : There is no objection to printing booklets or rendering social service but is that the alternative to performing shraddha ? Advising social service instead of shraddha is indeed ridiculous and akin to saying ‘use the money you would to get an operation done on a patient to do social service’. Spirituality is a science of experience and to get a spiritual experience the respective ritual has to be done or the advice given has to be followed with faith. Instead of doing this diverting from it is like asking that the taste of sugar be explained instead of tasting and experiencing it. So-called secularists from society by criticising customs and traditions of the Hindu Dharma all the time with hate are trying to create doubts about ‘shraddha’ in the common Hindu. Hollywood actor Sylvester Stallone had come to Bharat to perform shraddha of his son. In fact every year innumerable foreigners visit Bharat to perform the ritual of shraddha. This year too people from Nigeria, Russia, United Kingdom etc visited Gaya to perform the rite of shraddha. The call to stop all old customs and start new ones. Those who want to ape the West should see how many foreigners visit places of pilgrimage here and perform shraddha. In fact some of them are even performing research on it.
Instead of falling prey to the anti-Dharma attitude of so-called secularists, Hindus should look at the rite of shraddha from the Hindu Dharma positively and with a spiritual perspective.