The Significance and Ritual of Shraaddha Created by mansijbhatt on 9/26/2012 5:20:46 AM
The Significance and Ritual of Shraaddha
(Excerpts from Satsang of Pujya Bapuji & Scriptures)
The next life of a jiva is essentially determined by its previous Samskaras. Shraaddha, as such, is performed with the objective that a jiva may attain a better life in its next birth. The ritual, that is carried out with faith, accompanied by recitation of Mantras for satiating the manes, is known as Shraaddha. In this process, ‘Pindadaana’ is made to the manes with ‘Shraddhaa’; hence it is called ‘Shraaddha’. We gratefully perform Shraaddha for the manes who in turn help us circumvent obstacles in our lives.
In the Varaha Purana, Markandeya Rishi has described the ritual of Shraaddha to Gaurmukh Brahmin in the following words:
“O Excellent among Brahmins! One should invite Brahmins who know all the six Vedangas, who perform yajnas, who carry out penance in the midst of five fires and who adore their parents. One should also invite one’s sister’s children, daughter’s sons, father-in-law, sons-in-law, maternal uncles, an ascetic Brahmin, disciples and relatives
The Vayu Purana states that, “One should not invite a Brahmin who betrays his friend, who has uneven nails or black teeth, who has illicit relationship with girls, who is an arsonist, who is held in disgrace by society, who sells ‘Somrasa’, a thief, a backbiter, the village priest, one who earns a living as a teacher, the husband of a remarried woman, one who has deserted his parents, one who raises low caste children, one who has married a Shudra woman, and one who makes a living by conducting worship in temples.”
The performance of Shraaddha naturally inculcates the noble trait of gratefulness in its performer and helps him along the path of salvation even after death. The performance of Shraaddha satiates gods and the manes; and one, who performs it, also experiences a sense of inner satisfaction. Our ancestors have done a great deal for our well being and therefore if we work for their salvation, it is sure to give us a great sense of satisfaction and fulfilment.
Aurangazeb had imprisoned his father Shahajahan and would give him a meagre quantity of drinking water in a broken earthen pot. Shahajahan then wrote to his son, “Blessed are the Hindus who offer sweetmeats, puris and puddings even to their dead parents and here is my son who cannot even give proper drinking water to his father who is alive. The Hindus are far better than you for they try and serve even their dead parents.”
Indian culture espouses not only the welfare of the family and immediate clan, its concerns are not limited even to society or the nation rather, it aims and endeavours for the good of the entire universe.