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Gaya shraadh by Ms Srinivasan pne

Gaya shraadh by Ms Srinivasan pne

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Important information about Gaya srarththam
Important information about Gaya srarththam

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Published by: Venkatachalamsubramanian on Aug 13, 2008
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11/27/2012

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Srinivasan (Cnu-Pune) shares his collections on Gaya Shraardh
Recently I have gone through beautiful article by Shri AUM ji and rendered in PDFby shri Raman. This has rekindled my thought of visit to this place in 1997 duringMahalaya Paksha. I am just giving an english synopsis with little pictorialillustration collected from web sites for the information of my friends.A Lot is told in this form regarding performance of Sraddah, Tharpanam\par etc.After performing Sraddah at Gaya we are explained that the dead\par souls arereleased from Pithru loka to Devaloka. This Gaya Sraddaha is\par done after theSraddahas at Prayag and Varanasi. (We are offering\par pindas not only toparents but to all deceased dear and near too
Memoirs
" If one wants to stay at Karnataka Bhawan, that is also possible but convenienceshave to be shared with everyone and privacy may not be possible. We were takento another place near a river, which did not have water and I was told most of theyear, except some brief periods, the river will not have water. Our ladies wereasked and helped out in cooking Prasadham in a pot over a native fireplace. Thegents were asked to bathe and guided to perform a Tharpanam for the ancestorson the lines we do Amavasya, Masa tharpanam, etc. By the time the tharpanamwas over, the ladies brought the fresh cooked prasadham (Sadham). They wereasked to make a number of pindams out of it. (The no. is determined by thePurohit who was acting as Bruhaspathi depending upon our answers to hisquestions). Actually, the no. of pindams exceed 30 or 40. After the pindams wereready, we were asked to do pinda tharpanam and offer the pindams after theceremony to cows standing there in plenty. Again we did more pinda tharpanamsand carried the rest of the pindams to a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu andoffered the pindams in a big pit to the Asura said to be there. (It was said if pindams were not offered on any day, The Asura will rise from his rest and if thathappens, all the people living in Gaya will go to moksham and that is not allowedunder the Sastras. To contain the Asura, it was ordained that pindams be offeredto him after the ceremonies in memory of our ancestors. This place is known asVishnu Padam as the Asura is kept under the Holy Feet of Lord Vishnu to ensure hedoesn't rise.\parAfter the above ritual, we went back to Karnataka Bhawan where we did thesraddham as we normally do in our houses as Pratyabhdika Sraddham. Then theBrahmana Bhojanam. We had fed 6 brahmins (three on my account and three onmy co-brothers account). We gave them new Dhoties to wear before sitting forbhojanam. After that was over, we went to another place called Akshaya Vadam;.First we offered the pindam earmarked for the Crows near a tree and then wereseated in a row, where a ritual was performed by the Bruhuspathi who told storiesas to the importance and significance of the Gaya Sraddham. Only at this point,the brahmanas who took bhojanam say "Thripthosmi". We were then asked tosurrender one Vegetable, Fruit, Leaf and we after surrendering that cannot havethem during the rest of our lives. (I and my wife surrendered Kothavarankai,pomogranade Fruit and Ala Ilai). The bruhuspathy said we should not surrenderbanana, pala, etc. and we have to choose other than those that can't besurrendered. Then under a tree, we made some offerings and that tree is called
 
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Akshaya Vadam. The rituals and ceremonies were then over and we came back toKarnataka Bhawan for taking our food. After food we disbursed. The above ritualsand ceremonies started around 9 a.m. and by the time we took our food it was 4p.m. Everything ended there. I do not recollect having done BarehaniTharpanam.\par
THE IMPORTANCE OF
"SHRAADH" 
 
Hindu mythology is rich in its legacies and traditions. Of the many rites, rituals,festivals and ceremonies, Shraadhs appear to be quite different. Shraadhsconstitute 'a debt of the dead' which ought to be repaid assuming the dead onesas being alive and living with us.During this period called pitrapaksha, the lord of death, Yamaraja enables all whoshed their mortal frames to come back to earth and receive offerings from theirdescendants. For ages, it has been associated with such offerings being made tothe dead christened pretas (spirits) and pitras(forfathers).It is believed that one owes three main debts. First its Devarina (debt to thegods), second is Rishi rina (debt to the guru) and the last but, not the least is thePitra rina (debt to the forefathers). It is ordained that one must pay off thesedebts with utmost humility and respect.During the fortnight of the Ashwin month, Hindus offer ablation to their ancestors,While most people observe shraadhs at their places, the more devout of themprefer to perform the rites at the designated holy places but Gaya in Bihar (India)is considered the holiest. A pinda daan is supposed to liberate all souls from thecontrol of Yama and help them attain moksha.Gaya derives its name from al demon called gayasura. Legend has it that after asevere penance demon Gayasura pleased Vishnu and was granted a boon thatwhoever would touch him will be allowed a place in heaven. This angered otherGods and they hatched a conspiracy.One day when the demon sat for worship on the banks of river Phalgu, the Godsnot only put a stone over his head to render him immobile but even persuadedVishnu to put his feet on the stone.On seeing Vishnu, Gayasura asked for another boon. He stretched his body to fouryojans (approximately 32 miles) and requested that the place be named after him.At Gaya there are as many as 45 sacred Vedis where shraadhs are performed. Inancient times, Gaya was a holy place for offering obseuies for merits of parentsand was divided into two distinct areas, dharamanya and dharmaprastha. Indharamanya were contained the Aswatha tree near Phalgu. Buddha Gaya was theplace where pinda is offered by the Hindus from all over India, as par of theShraadh rites. There is also the Sita Kunda where lord Rama, accompanied byLakshmana and Sita, is believed to have performed the shraadh of his father,Dasrath.
 
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Shraadhs seem to be the outcome of the Karma theory to which all Hindussubscribe to rather fruitfully and maintains relationship till eternity. Like KingMahabali who visits Kerala during the Onam celebrations to prepetuate the ties forever onwards, so the shraadhs seem to build bridges between the living and thedead.Gone are the days when shraadhs were observed in a spirit of true indebtedness.The Brahmins were invited, served with rice meal and a hefty dakshina amid pujarecitations but now not many even know what shraadh mean to us. Not even thePandits accept the invitation with pleasure which indeed is unfortunate, becauseour values are being squandered away.Little wonder then, that even devouts of other religions pay their respects to theirancestors by remembering them on the birth and death anniversaries and byraising memorials and offering flowers at the graves. Christians, Muslims andBoudhs all observe the ritual. The example of the world famous Taj Mahal at Agracan also be assumed to be something akin to a shraadh.The Chinese, Japanese and some other Asian partners honour their ancestors inmuch the same sense of gratitude and remembrance.While there are lots of people whose descendants remember and honour theirancestors, there may be millions who die n harness. Hindu religion evenremembers those who die in wars and other natural calamities, even the unseenand unheard of insects and other creatures and upholds the highest celestialstandards.Funny though it may seem, the shraadh code of conduct provides for observanceof a shraadh in one's own life time at Gaya. Should one, therefore, anticipate, asituation that there is no one after him to perform the pinda-dan rite, he could goahead to have one done for himself for mutual peace and propensity.
Shraaddh
 Shraaddh are celebrated annual to honour the dead and their souls. people visitholy places to honour the departed souls and pray for the souls to rest in peace.This period is not considered auspicious to start any new ventures. Marriage donot take place during this time. Shraaddha are also known as Pitris paksha.Paksha is a fortnight and the pitris paksha always takes places when the Moon isin its waning phase, Krishna Paksha. Shraddha usually take place 10 days afterGanesha Chathurti. This fortnight is left to pray to the dead. The New moon inVirgo signals the end of the Shraaddh. Shraddha means faith and reverence. It isone of the important duties of every person according to the Hindu belief.Shraddha are performed in the Krishna paksha (waning Moon fortnight) before thenew Moon is Virgo. The rituals performed during this time give great religiousmerit. The ancestors are worshipped and every effort is made to satisfy theirwishes so that they can rest in peace for the rest of the year.For Shraddha ceremonies, it is important to know the tithi of the death date of your ancestor. Tithi is the lunar day. For Shraaddh purposes, even if yourancestors died on a shukla paksha, you only consider the tithi. Corresponding tithi

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