Srardh (श्राद्ध)

“Shradyapitranudishyavidhinakriyateyatkarm tat shradham” – Whatever acts or deeds you perform with devotion for your near and dear ones who have died is called Srardh

Srardh (Puja/Prayers for ancestors) is one of the matured and rich rituals that our Vedic Rishis has imparted. What other thing that we can do for our beloved parents and ancestors, who have played an important role in our upbringing. What we are today is all because of our parents and ancestors and we need to show gratitude towards them.

A beautiful portrayal of this can be found in a verse recited in a महालयश्राद्ध:

आब्राणोयेन्द्पतृर्ंशजाताःमातुस्तथार्ंश्भर्ामदीयाः।र्गवद्वयेsन्द्स्मन्ममदासभूताबृत्यास्तथैर्ान्द्श्रतसेर्कािं।न्द्मत्रान्द्णसख्यःपशर्िंर्ृक्षादृष्टािंपृष्टािंकृतोपकारः।जरमारतरेयेममसंगतािंतेभ्यःस्र्धान्द्पण्डमहंददान्द्म।

Beginning with Lord Brahma we are indebted to many including those unseen, unknown people whose largesse benefitted us in our present / many of our previous births. When they are with us, we express these qualities of head and heart by touching their feet, waiting on them and fulfilling their desires. Alas! We cannot do any of these when they are not with us. But, we can certainly relish reminiscences of their life, express our gratitude and savour a sense of fulfilment and delight. Revisiting our parents’ contributions to our upbringing, cherishing supreme love and affection showered by them and adoring those others (animals, flora and fountain included) whose mere presence was blissful would be more meaningful and simpler than spotting divinity in a photo, statue, idol.

A typical श्राद्ध (Srardh)involves

(a) sacrificing cooked rice into the consecrated fire,

(b) feedingBrahmans– a minimum of two and

(c) offeringPindadana

However depending on the time, place etc. there are many types of Srardhs such as:

  • TarpanaSrardh – Giving oblations in terms of water and sesame seeds
  • HirarnyaSrardh – Feeding Brahmins and giving them prayer
  • MahalayaSrardh – Srardh performed during the 15 days of Bhadrapada month(PitruPaksha) etc.

The importance of Srardh is mentioned in many vedic texts. In some religious texts, it is considered more important to do PitraKriya (ritual for a forefather) than Dev Kriya (ritual to please a God). The importance of shradh is mentioned in ancient scriptures like Garuda Purana, MatsyaPurana, Vishnu Purana, Vayu Purana and Manu Smriti, which underscore the benefits of performing shraadh. They say our ancestors bless us with all the joys of life – like marriage, children and material wealth.When Pitras are satisfied, the Hindu belief is that the Devatas known as Vasus (incharge of wealth), Rudras (incharge of protection and courage), and Adityas (incharge of health), will be pleased and grant favours accordingly.

Srardh ritual is not something to be feared that it is a very detailed ritual which will take time and money. It is a simple ritual, and what all matters is faith and sincerity with some Vedic mantras to pay respect to our ancestors.

Please reach out to gurujipune81@gmail.com to help or consult on the Srardh related rituals in your family.

 

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