Shradha

It is the second half of Bhadrapada, the sixth day of a fortnight, called Śraddhā; the day his mother tells him his father passed away. He really does not know, and really cared little because he is not very religiously oriented. He just is a bit curious about the culture of the family he was born in. For almost sixty years of his life, he was really never curious about it. He finds out after googling that the custom called Shradh of Hindus, is remembering of ancestors. The idea is to remember the ancestors with gratitude. Shradh is a Sanskrit word, which literally means "anything done with sincerity and faith. It is performed every year on the death anniversary of the deceased relative as per the Panchang (The Hindu calendar) or during the period of dark fortnight called Pitra Paksha. The rites of shradh are performed so that the ancestors may be satiated with our offerings made with reverence and recitation of mantras, and in turn bless us. Another advantage is that it helps in the redistribution of wealth in society. The poor are fed. Feasts, otherwise organized, have Rajasic or Tamasic food items, whereas the food, offered on the occasion of Shradh, promotes righteousness and inspires us to think of the other world is Satvic, that enhances our devotion towards 'God'. But he does not find that it is the reality. He remembers that on this day, some pundits (who are supposedly belonging to the Brahmin's caste) are fed and given some money, it is believed that whatever is given to the Brahmins also reach the departed souls.. He knows very well that brahmins used to be the set of learned but poor section of the society in olden days. They were poor because they were contented in the task of meditating and studying. Something that is rare now, in fact ever though he belonged to the vaishya caste (the traders caste) he was in fact a kind of brahmin by that classification. The Brahmins were fed and taken care of by the richer castes, on such occasions. Strange custom it is to him indeed, but it does help to remember the dead, at least one day of the year and pay obeisance to your guardians and not just treat them as a kind of good of the industrial society. Rakesh Mohan Hallen

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