How to perform Shraddha ?

The Shraddha rites & rituals are a salient feature of the continuation of funeral rites outlined in Hindu Dharma. Hindu culture teaches that just as we serve our parents and close relatives when they are alive as part of abiding by our Dharma, we are duty-bound to help them after their death too. The Shraddha rites provide us an excellent opportunity to fulfil these duties and repay our debts unto the pitars (departed ancestors). They are necessary so that the afterlife of our departed dear ones is comfortable, without any distress, and that they acquire sadgati (Momentum for moving to the next higher region). Neglecting the these post funeral rites and rituals leaves the desires of our pitars unfulfilled. Negative energies make easy victims of such desire-riddled pitars and enslave them.

The Mahalaya paksha or the Pitru paksha is also known as the fortnight of the ancestors. Pitru paksha is observed in the dark fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Bhadrapad. In 2023, Pitru paksha will be observed from the 29th of September to the 14th of October. It is an opportunity for us to perform the Mahalaya Shraddha ritual, appease our departed ancestors, and obtain their blessings.

What is Shraddha, and why is it important?

Shraddha, or post funeral rites, are a way to repay our debt to our ancestors (known as pitruruna). This in turn helps us also repay our debt to the Gods (Devaruna) and Sages (Rishiruna). Today, many people are under the impression that the Shraddha rites and rituals are meaningless and would rather donate food or help schools financially in the memory of their beloved departed. But if you are diagnosed with a grave but treatable disease, what would you rather do – get it treated or start donating to schools and food drives? You will try every treatment possible. Similarly, the potent mantras that are chanted during the Shraddha rites and rituals have the power of providing momentum to the subtle bodies of the deceased ancestors. This helps them progress to a higher sub-plane of existence.

Pitru paksha or the Fortnight of the Ancestors

The dark fortnight in the Hindu lunar month of Bhadrapad is termed as Pitru paksha. This is the time when our departed ancestors leave the Pitrulok and come to this plane, close to us (their descendants). Performing Shraddha rituals during this period, satiates them and they bless us. So who are the ancestors who come to visit us? What types of Shraddha should be carried out during this period? If you have such questions, these articles have the answers.

Types of Shraddha Rites

While Shraddha itself has been prescribed as an essential rite in the scriptures, there are certain merits of performing Shraddha rites on a certain day of the month. Also, there is a simple ritual of performing Tarpan that you can perform to appease not just your ancestors, but even God and Sages. Read on to find out…

Essentials of Shraddha rites

There are certain substances like darbha, sesame seeds, and certain leaves that are essential in the Shraddha ritual. The spiritual significance of these substances is outlined below. Another important part of the ritual is the type of food and the way food is laid out on the leaf. The underlying reasons are given here.

Overcoming obstacles in performing Shraddha

At times there may be some obstacles in performing the Shraddha. But our scriptures have given immense importance to appeasing our departed ancestors. Hence the scriptures have also provided numerous alternatives that can be used to overcome these obstacles.

Clarification of doubts regarding Shraddha

There may be many questions in your mind regarding the ritual of Shraddha or post funeral rites. These articles, as well as the answers to the queries posted by our readers below the articles will help you clear misconceptions and perform the rituals with complete faith!

Participate in Dharmaprasar !

During Pitrupaksha, use this image as your DP on your social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc., and create awareness about chanting the name of Dattaguru.

To download this image, simply click on it and save the larger image that opens up.

Chant Deity Datta’s Name in Pitru paksha

Deity Datta (or Dattaguru) is the Deity who takes care of our departed ancestors. If you have reason to believe that your departed ancestors may be stuck in their afterlife, praying to and chanting Deity Datta’s Name helps. Deity Datta will provide the necessary energy to your departed ancestors to move on and protect us.

1. Shri Gurudev Datta

2. Om Om Shri Gurudev Datta Om

We have provided the audio of these two chants on the link below.

Chanting of Deity Datta’s Name – Shri Gurudev Datta

If you want to chant along with the audio, we suggest you download our free Chaitanyavani app for these chants (and many more). Click here to download the app


Performing Shraddha in Pitrupaksha during adverse times

During adverse times or conditions, it may be possible that you will not be able to perform Shraddha the normal way. In this case, the scriptures mention several alternatives to satiate your departed ancestors.

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