Pitrupaksha is the sixteen day period where one pays homage to the departed souls. Pitru means ancestors and paksha means period. So, that’s the period we offer prayers and food to the departed souls.
To understand Pitrupaksha we must understand the legend of Karna. Karna, the son of Kunti, was a very generous man and offered everything that he had for charity. After his death, his soul departed to heaven. There, he was given gold instead of food to eat. When he asked Lord Indra for the reason, he said that it was because he did not donate food to his ancestors and the needy in his previous birth. Karna realised his mistake and wanted to atone for his sins. He was sent back to earth for 16 days to finish off his task. These sixteen days when he was on earth is called Pitru Paksha and is considered very inauspicious. No new activities or projects are started on these days.
Also, performing Shraad Puja during this time provides peace and liberates the souls. It is said that these rituals benefit ancestors of 12 generations, sometimes even those whose names and deaths we may have forgotten. It is customary that only male members of a household observe Pitrupaksha. Each day of the sixteen days of Shraadh is dedicated for Tithi. Based on the Tithi, prayers are offered for the peace and liberation of the departed soul. The last day of Shraadh which is Amavasya is the day when prayers are offered so that the departed souls rest in peace and may find place in heaven.
Yes, we can hear you asking why we must please our ancestors after they are dead. They have left this world so why bother them. If such queries are boggling your mind, then we must tell you that you face Pitru Dosha which arises when one does not perform the rituals of Tarpan for the peace of souls of his/her ancestors. The Pitru Dosha arises only when the souls of ancestors are not in peace. Pitru Dosha can be identified by reading the birth chart of an individual. It can be cured by performing the Shraddha rituals. Also it is believed that the rituals of Shraddha or Tarpan are helpful in reducing the effect of Kaal Sarp Dosha.
The significance associated with Shraad Puja is mentioned in various Puranas such as Agni Purana, Garuda Purana and Matsya Purana. As per Garuda Paruna, the soul that does not receive Pindum, darpan etc wanders aimlessly on the Earth. The puja fulfils and satiates the discontented desires of the departed souls. It purifies their souls and cleanses their sins and helps them rest in peace.
Our Vedicfolks priests perform the Shraad Maha Puja and Yagna as per Vedic rituals based on details of birth such as name, date, place and time and Sankalpa as per your wish. This Puja is for individuals and names of your family members can also be included.
You can watch the Puja/Yagna live on our website Vedicfolks.com