Importance of Shraddh in Sanatan Dharma

Importance of Shraddh

A major specialty of Sanatan dharma is that while alive, it not only tells us the ways to uplift a human being through various rites and rituals, but after death, even after the funeral rites, it tells us about the rites that should be performed for the salvation of the living being.

In Sanatan dharma, each and every child offers gratitude towards their parents. A person of the Hindu religion not only serves his living parents, but even after their death, he works for their welfare and tries to complete their incomplete auspicious works even after their death. ‘Shraddha-Vidhi’ is based on this feeling.

By performing Shraddha, the gods and ancestors are satisfied and the conscience of the person performing Shraddha also experiences satisfaction. Our elders have done a lot for our progress, so if we do something for their salvation, we will feel fulfilled and satisfied in our hearts.

When Aurangzeb imprisoned his father Shah Jahan, Shah Jahan wrote to his son: “Blessed are the Hindus who even satisfy their dead parents with kheer and halwa-puri and you are not even offering a pot of water to your living father !! Those Hindus are better than you, who even serve their dead parents.”

The importance of Shraddh is mentioned in Garuda Purana:

कुर्वीत समये श्राद्धं कुले कश्चिन्न सीदति।
आयुः पुत्रान् यशः स्वर्गं कीर्तिं पुष्टिं बलं श्रियम्।।

पशून् सौख्यं धनं धान्यं प्राप्नुयात् पितृपूजनात्।
देवकार्यादपि सदा पितृकार्यं विशिष्यते।।
देवताभ्यः पितृणां हि पूर्वमाप्यायनं शुभम्।

“By performing Shraddha on time, no one in the family remains sad. By worshiping the ancestors, man attains everything long life, son, fame, heaven,  strength, wealth, happiness, etc. Pitrakarya has special importance even more than Devkarya. In Shraddh paksha, it is more beneficial to please the ancestors than the gods.”

On the day of Amavasya, the ancestors are present at the door of the house in the form of air and wish for Shraddha from their relatives. They stand there, distraught with hunger and thirst, until the sun sets. After the sunset, they become dejected and go to their respective worlds with a sad heart. Therefore, Shraddha must be performed with effort on the day of Amavasya. If the sons and relatives of their ancestors perform their Shraddha and go to Gaya-Tirtha and engage in this work, then they get the right to reside in Brahmalok along with those ancestors. They never feel hungry or thirsty. That is why a person must make efforts to perform Shraddha for his ancestors with the help of Shakapat as per the rituals.

Lord Vishnu says to Garuda – “Those who worship their ancestors, gods, Brahmins, and Agni, they worship me who is present in the inner soul of all living beings. By performing Shraddha as per his capacity, the man makes the entire  world happy and delves within the Brahma.”

“O  Garuda! The ancestors born in the Pishachas (Sanskrit: पिशाच, Piśāca)life which are flesh-eating demons in Dharmic religions,  are satisfied with the food scattered on the earth by their relatives during Shraddha. The water that falls on the earth through the wet clothes after taking a bath in Shraddha, satisfies the ancestors who have attained the stage of the tree. The fragrance and water that falls on the ground at that time bring happiness to the ancestors who have attained the divine birth. Those ancestors who are not capable of performing rituals, are devoid of values and are destitute, all of them eat the water of Kiran and Marjan during Shraddha. The ancestors get satiation from the water that Brahmins consume after having food during Shraddha which is offered achaman and refreshment. Those who have got the form of pishachas, worms, or insects and the ancestors who have got the human form, all of desire the food used in the offerings given in Shraddha on earth. They get satisfaction from the offerings offered during the rituals of Shraddh.”

“Hey Garuda! In this world, whatever food, money, etc. is donated by one’s relatives for the sake of Shraddha, all of these are received by their ancestors. The Shraddha, performed as per one’s capacity through food, water vegetables, etc. is for the satisfaction of all the ancestors.” – Garuda Purana

Shraddh is also known as pitru paksh

With the sacred blessings of the divine ancestors, divine souls can incarnate in the family. The Shraddha should be performed selflessly to fulfill one’s social duty towards those ancestors, who have put in so much effort throughout their life and given us so many resources and values. 

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