Pitru Paksha which is commonly known as Shradh is a 16-day event that is dedicated to the departed souls. This event is observed across India and there are many popular destinations like Gaya (Bihar), Varanasi (UP), Kurukshetra (Haryana), and Pushkar (Rajasthan) where the shradh ceremonies are performed. This period of 16 days is considered a gloomy period and is spent performing puja, havan, pind daan and dakshina. During Shradh people often refrain from performing auspicious activities, shopping and indulging in any kind of celebration. It is a popular belief that buying new things, starting new ventures, or doing anything auspicious will be a big failure because this time period as it is dedicated to the ones who have left for the heavenly abode.
In a nutshell, let's go through the history of Shradh and how it started. According to an ancient story, Pitru Paksha finds its roots back in the time of Mahabharata, when Karna, Kunti’s son died on the battlefield and reached heaven. In heaven, when Karna wished to have food and water, Lord Indra told him that he can only have gold and precious jewels because he just donated that, all his life and never donated anything in the memory of his ancestors. After that, Karna was sent to earth for a period of 15 days to perform pujas and donate food and water. Since then this period of 16 days is termed as Shradh.
No one knows when this auspicious festival, which once was an event to seek the blessings of our ancestors, turned into a ‘no non-veg’, no drinks’, ‘no shopping’, ‘no happiness’ kind of 16 bland days in the month of September. We spoke to 3 self-made ‘modern in outlook but traditional at heart’ individuals to share their views on Shradh and here is what they have to say:
“The word ‘Shradh’, over a period of time, has taken all negative connotations in the mind of people. The main cause of it is the lack of knowledge and indifference towards the understanding of spirituality. In my opinion, the period of Shradh is an annual fortnight when we take some time out from our busy lives to remember and seek blessings from our forefathers and loved ones who were a part of our journey at some point in time. Imagine how sad it is that we, gradually, due to blind faith have changed an auspicious event of our life into an inauspicious one. My view on this is that all times are equally good and auspicious. So, let’s follow religion in true spirit and not by our changed perception or negative belief. And, for the younger generation, I would like to say that Shradh has nothing negative or inauspicious about it so do get that thought out of your mind. Respecting our elders, living or dead, has been an integral part of our culture so continue the tradition. Our elders have always been our well-wishers and would only love to see us move forward in life.”
“As a working parent who is juggling too many balls at the same time, I have a different perspective on Shradh. We are living in a very competitive world where we gather a lot of negativity from our interactions with others. Shradh, to my mind, is a time period where we should learn to 'Let Go' of these negativities and as we are letting something go, acquiring new things at this time contradicts our own actions. For instance, when we expel waste from our body every morning, we don't eat at that same time. Similarly when we wire our mind to 'Let Go', we should restrain ourselves from adding worldly possessions. Secondly, this is the time of year when we remember and pay our respect to our dear ones who have left us for the heavenly abode. Shradh is a time to remember them because we and our existence is here because of them. It's time to pay our respect to them and thank them for what we are and what we have. In the process, if we are able to feed or take care of some needy people, what better way could be to do our due for society!”
“In the Current evolving world, the bonds, shackles, and boundaries are not defined by caste, creed or sex. We are currently living in an open society where people are influenced by global thoughts. The educated people are not only limited to the youth but also middle-aged people like us who are influenced by our traditions but are looking forward to possible changes to make us happier and satisfied individuals. The concept of Shradh should be treated as an auspicious time when we think about our ancestors and seek their blessings. It should be treated as the time when we spare time out of our mechanical and busy routine to think about our glorious hierarchy and pass this message to our next generation. I also do not feel that we should bind ourselves to " No Non Veg" or "No Drinks " during this phase. My thought process is to develop and practice humanity, compassion, brotherhood, tolerance, and patience to my society and my family, it doesn't matter whether it is Shradh time or Navratra. We should first groom our inner self for 365 days and round the clock so that this becomes a BETTER WORLD FOR ALL.”
At Adotrip, we believe that its time to be the change that we want to see! Join hands with us to free Shradh from all the taboos, negativity and myths around it. We believe that this 16-day event of Pitru Paksha is an opportunity for us to remember our ancestors and wish them peace wherever they are in this world. In our opinion, shopping, or performing any auspicious work during this will have no harm as our ancestors will always bless us in all that we do and wherever we go. So, make the most of this festival and seek your ancestor's love and blessings.