Sunday, September 23, 2018

Consider special puja to honor your Ancestors:


For most of us, what happens after death is very mysterious. Most Hindus and persons in Asian religions believe in reincarnation. But what happens between births?  The Vedas indicate that our ancestors go the world of the pitrs.  There they enjoy better or worse circumstances depending on the good or bad they did in this life.

On the anniversary date of a parent's death, or during the special two week Pitru Paksha period that begins this year on September 5, many Hindus will make offerings to their ancestors. It is felt that these offerings bring happiness to the ancestors, who send their blessings to their progeny here on Earth.

Sometimes, due to some sin, an ancestor may be suffering terribly in the 
next world. Although we may think we are separated from our close relations at death, Vedic science says this is not necessarily so.  Sometimes the pain felt by our forefathers in the afterworld gets reflected onto us in this life. Perhaps for no apparent reason, we start to feel their 'drishti' (vision) and experience lots of difficulties.  
To make our deceased parents and their parents happy in the afterworld, offerings are made to them in a process called Hiranya Shraddam. It needs to be performed in person at the Temple with a priest.  Once started, it should be done every year. 
Materialistic people do not believe that anything exists beyond death. Thus, they ignore their deceased ancestors. Wise people recognize that the soul continues after death. Our parents gave so much effort to nourish and educate us; now it is our responsibility to nourish and make them happy in the afterlife!  This two-week period of Hiranya Shraddham is the best time to do so.  
A 'paksha' is 15 days. When the Sun enters 'kanya rasi' (Virgo) in Krishna paksha, the period is termed as 'Mahalaya Paksha'. It is said that our ancestors get Yama's permission and descend from Pitru Loka during Mahalaya Paksha and receive with satisfaction the offerings of their progeny. People who have lost their father can perform Tarpanam on all 15 days, else at least on one of the days Hiranya Shrarddham has to be performed.
This year, the Paksha starts on Tuesday, September 24th, 2018. 
During the two-week period, Hiranya Shrarddham can be performed for one's ancestors and to any departed soul of choice, other than one's own pitrus. It can include making the ceremonial offering for someone who does not have issues. This is referred to as 'Karunyaka Pitru Tarpanam'. Shrarddham can be performed on any day during the two-week period, on the same thithi as the passing away of one's ancestors'. Maha Barani, Maha Vyatheepadham, Madhyashtami, and Gaja Chaaya are significant days to perform the Shrarddham.

To schedule and perform Hiranya Shraddham with the guidance of a qualified priest, please email HIRANYA SHRARDDHAM or call  512 297 3746.  The ceremony takes about 45 minutes and must be done either on the person's anniversary thithi, or during this two-week period, at the Temple, in person.