Performing Mandatory Hindu Rites for the Deceased
Shrarddham is the Hindu rites performed usually by the son for the deceased in one’s family where they pray that the souls of their ancestors be appeased, forget any animosity and find peace. Shrarddham is prayers for the immediate three generations before: parents, grandparents and great grandparents. This ceremony is performed:-
- Sixteen days after the demise of a parent and, subsequently, on the anniversary each year from then onwards.
- Apart from this, there is also a fortnight-long period each year called Pitru Paksha (“fortnight of ancestors”), when the family remembers all its ancestors and offers “Tarpan” to them. This period falls just before the Navarathri or Durga Puja in September/October each year. (Tarpan is the offering of water, etc. to God, Sages, ancestors’ souls and human beings, and thus, believed to satisfy them through this ritual).
The Legend & History of Shrarddham
King Bagiratha was able to lift Sage Kapila’s curse on his 60,000 ancestors – they had been cursed to become wandering ghosts three generations before, during the reign of his ancestor King Sagar.
King Bagiratha performed severe penance to Lord Shiva to invoke the celestial Ganges to descend to earth from the heavens. The descending, purifying Ganges washed over their ashes, thus liberating their hitherto trapped souls. (This state of existence in the ghostly realm is akin to Purgatory in the Christian sense or Naraka or Hell in other religions). Since then, historically, all Hindus have adhered to the practice of ensuring the soul’s liberation for departed ancestors by performing Shrarddham rites at the Ganges in Haridwar, Benares or Ganga Sagar in the north or Rameshwaram in the south, or at the banks of any of India’s holy rivers.
Why Perform Shrarddham Ceremony ?
Shrarddham and Tarpan stands for the offering of water to God, Sages, ancestors’ souls and all human beings, and thus, satisfying them through such ceremonies.
The objective of performing tarpan is so that God, deceased ancestors’ souls or those whose names are pronounced while performing tarpan, will bless and bestow happiness on the descendants of the deceased souls.
Many countries throughout the world perform such ancestral rites and “worship” for the appeasement of the souls of the departed as well as to beget their blessings upon the families performing such rituals.
In India, many sacred venues are specially allocated due to spiritual, geographical and historical reasons over the centuries, the main ones being: Haridwar, Benares (or Kasi), Rameshwaram and Ganga-Sagar in Calcutta, Bengal.
In fact, there are families of Pandas (priests) in Haridwar who, till today, hold the genealogical diaries of many many families with the names and particulars of these families. These ancient records are of those families who perform such rites faithfully during a demise in the family or during the Pitru Paksha each year in Haridwar. The amazing records are updated even till today by these generations of Pandas.
Custom-made Shrarddham Yatras with Hamsa-Vahini
Since 1986, Hamsa-Vahini has had the unique experience of learning from His Holiness Swami Shantanand – it’s Founder/Patron – to take countless groups on such sacred pilgrimages to perform these ancestral rites and ceremonies in Benares, Haridwar, Rameshwaram and many other holy locations in India.
Our experience and invaluable contacts will thus ensure that you and your family members can travel with peace of mind.
We provide custom-made Shrarddham Yatras to fit your requirements and budget and will provide the necessary invaluable advice and assistance in ensuring a hazard-free pilgrimage from your doorstep to the steps of the holy Ghats of India where you will perform these special rites.
The blessings of your dear departed ones will be with you even when you start thinking of making such a trip on their behalf.