Om! Gam! Ganapathaye! Namaha! Om! Sri Raghavendraya Namaha! Om! Namo! Bhagavathe! Vasudevaya! Om! Ham!

Hanumathe Sri Rama Doothaya Namaha!

PITHRU YAGNA
(The Glory of Mahalaya Pithru Paksham)

Significance
As per Hindu Philosophy, it is said that having taken birth on this sacred Earth one should get discharged mainly from three types of Rinas (Debts) viz. Deva Rina, Rishi Rina and Pithru Rina (that also includes Mathru Rina). For the purpose of this article let us confine ourselves to the third one that is Pithru Rina. It is said and believed that one will get discharged from Pithru Rina by begetting a son (continuity of generation), by serving the Parents and also by performing Pithru Yagna (sacred rites to forefathers). It is the duty and responsibility of a son to serve his parents not only when they are alive but also after their death. One may get a doubt as to how one can serve his parents after their death. This is where Vedas/Upanishads come into picture and prescribes certain rituals to be performed in a Vedic way to please not only the forefathers but also the Pithru Devathas. We find many sacred texts (Puranas) like Garuda Purana, Vayu Purana, Agni Purana, Matsya Purana, Markandeya Purana etc… referring about the sacred rites to be performed to forefathers and its merits and also implications of not performing. As we approach towards the middle of Bhadrapada Masam as per the Lunar Calendar, it is time for us to worship the departed souls (fore fathers). This worship is held for a period of 15 days during the waning period (dark period) of Moon in the second fortnight called as Krishna (Bahula) Paksham during Bhadrapada Masam that generally occurs in the months of September–October. This period of 15 days (fortnight) starting from Bhadrapada Bahula Prathama to Bhadrapada Bahula Amavasya is called as Pithru Paksha or Apara Paksha or Paksha Masam when Sun will be in Kanya (Virgo) raasi in the zodiac. This period is totally dedicated and earmarked for worshipping departed souls (fore fathers).

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It is also called as Mahalaya. Maha means great or big or large. Laya means destruction. Mahalaya means great destruction. It is said that on one of the occasions of Deva and Asura Sangrama (war between Deities and Demons) large number of Devathas and Rishis had died at the hands of Rakshasas starting from Bhadrapada Bahula Paadyami to Amavasya. This Mahalaya is also called as Sasthrahatha Mahalaya. These Deities and Rishis are like our forefathers and it is befitting to worship the departed souls during this fortnight that coincides with Mahalaya. Hence, this period of 15 days has become very sacred and celestial for performing sacred rites to forefathers. The period of Dakshinayana that represents Pithrus also coincides with Pitru Paksha. Dakshinayana is also called as Pitrayana. It is said and believed that Pitrus descend on Earth during the period of Dakshinayana waiting for their off-springs to perform sacred rites enabling them to attain better placement in the other worlds. Hence, lot of significance is given during this period for performing Pitru related activities. Pitru Paksha also coincides with Chaturmasam the most sacred period for worshipping both Deities as well as Pitrus. It is the most auspicious time to pay our obeisance and salutations to our forefathers. Hence, it is referred to as Pithru Paksha. As per the Hindu time element one month for human beings is equivalent to one day for Pitru Devathas out of which Sukla Paksha (waxing moon days) 15 days is the day time and Krishna Paksha (waning moon days) 15 days is the night time for Pitrus. It is believed and said that sacred rites and rituals like Thila Tarpana and Pinda Pradhana (offering of rice balls) performed act as food for the departed souls that will be adequate for them through out the year. At this stage one may get a basic doubt of why only worship fore fathers (departed souls) during this period? Why not on other days? Actually it is prescribed to be performed on a daily basis. Here, we recollect the famous Hindu sloka Mathru Devo Bhava, Pithru Devo Bhava, Aacharya Devo Bhava and Athithi Devo Bhava. Worshipping these four categories is given highest significance and importance in Hindu Dharma. Among the four, Mathru (Mother) and Pithru (Father) have attained greater prominence since they are the people who are responsible for our birth, culture (samskara) and existence.

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Hindu Dharma prescribes that they should be worshipped on a daily basis while they are alive and also when they depart from this world. When they leave this world it becomes the Vedic duty of their descendants (sons) to worship their departed souls on a daily basis apart from the specific days like New Moon day, Eclipse Days, Parva Kala (Uttarayana, Dakshinayana), Pushkara Days, on the specific day (thithi) of their death, on visiting any Theertha Kshetra, during Paksha Masam and while performing marriage of a son or a daughter. It is believed that the souls will attain peace with the rituals/rites performed during Pithru Paksha and Pithrus will bestow their blessings to those who perform, for the welfare and prosperity of their Vamsam. It is said that departed souls for whom these rituals/rites are not performed will wander aimlessly on the Earth. It is believed and said that performing sacred rites to forefathers will also work as a remedy for various mundane problems one is facing related to marriage, progeny, health etc. I take this opportunity to appeal to one and all eligible to perform these rites, please, perform them without fail, without counting upon the benefits one has derived from fore-fathers. If not started earlier please, start doing at least now. Better be late than never. Hindu Philosophy is rich in its legacies and traditions. Perhaps Pitru Yagna is one of the best traditions that have descended from Vedic days. Some people who have visited Gaya Kshethra and performed Gaya Shraddha are under the impression that they need not further perform Pitru Shraddha. Even then, Pitru Karya (Shraaddha/Tarpana) should be performed as long as one is alive. In this materialistic modern world with changing perceptions, when the Dharmic duties and responsibilities are slowly getting vanished, when people don’t even remember the names and Gothra of their ancestors, it is a rarity to find person/persons observing these rituals of Hindu Dharma. Ignoring forefathers (Pithrus) the Moola Purushas of one’s lineage is ignoring one’s own existence since today’s alive are tomorrow’s forefathers. For such of those who cannot observe these rituals on a day to day basis, perhaps this Paksha Masam or Pithru Paksha comes as a boon to make up these lapses.

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Mahalaya Pithru Paksha Useful information (FAQ)
Where to perform the Paksha Cermonies? As per the sacred texts it is suggested to perform the Paksha cermonies on the banks of sacred rivers or in sacred and celestial places like Gaya, Kasi, Prayaga, Kurukshetra, Naimisharanya, Rameswaram etc. If it is not possible they should be performed at least in one’s house. But in view of several practical difficulties involved we find they are being performed at various temples and religious mutts specifically meant for that purpose. For example all the branches of Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt across the country provide such facilities to the Karthas. Who can perform these Ceremonies? One who is a Dwija (who has undergone the process of Upanayanam) should start performing these cermonies only after the death of one’s father. In such a case it should be performed by the son and not be the daughter. When more sons are available it should be performed by all collectively in case, they are staying together other wise, individually at their respective places. In case a person doesn’t have sons but only daughters, the grand son (daughter’s son) can perform these rites called as Dauhithru Shraaddham that is to be performed on the first day of Aaswayuja Masam (Aaswayuja Sukla Prathama thithi day) To whom the Cermonies are to be performed? The ritual should be addressed or performed only for the deceased persons and not for the persons who are alive even though they fall in the eligible list. Apart from one’s kith and kin it should be performed to one’s Guru, Teacher, Priest (Purohit), Friend or to any person whom one has come across in life and from whom has received help. How to perform these cermonies? Unlike other rituals and festivals, procedure to perform sacred rites to forefathers is totally different and it also differs according to one sampradaya. In view of the intricacies involved in the concept, they should

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be performed only under the guidance and supervision of learned purohits who are specially trained for this purpose. What are the materials used for these ceremonies? Dharbha (Kusa Grass), Cooked Rice, Black Sesame (Thil seeds), Water, Thulasi leaves, Pavithra (made up of Dharbha), Vishnu Padam (Foot print of Lord Maha Vishnu), Kalasha, Poorcha, Dharbha (Kusa Grass), Areca nuts, Coins, Betel leaves, Plantains (Bananas) On which day of Paksha Masam Ceremonies are to be performed? It is prescribed that during Pithru Paksham the rituals (shraddha) should be performed on all the 15 days except on Ekadasi day. Since it is not practically possible to perform on all the 15 days, it should at least be performed for one day preferably corresponding to the Father’s Thithi (death) day. Rest of the days at least Thila Tarpana should be given to Sarva Pithru or at least to Dwadasa Pithru (Three generations on paternal side and three generations on maternal side). On the day of Mahalaya Amavasya Thila Tarpana should be given to all the eligible forefathers. In case a person due to some reason misses to perform the rituals on the said date, or doesn’t know the Father’s death thithi, it can be performed on one of the specified days viz. Ashtami or Dwadasi or on the day coinciding with Bharani Star, or on the day when Vyatheepatha Yoga is present during the fortnight, or on the day of Mahalaya Amavasya. If one misses to perform even on the day of Mahalaya Amavasya, still one can perform on any day before Aaswayuja Sukla Panchami. Even then if it is not possible, one can still perform the Paksha Shraaddha on any of the specified days mentioned above in Thula Masam when the Sun is in Thula Raasi (Libra) and before He transits into Scorpio (Vrischika Raasi). These cermonies should not be performed on the day of Ekadasi (Day of fasting). If father’s death corresponds to Ekadasi Day the rituals should be performed on the next day (Dwadasi) or on any of the specific days mentioned above. In case of those whose day of thithi corresponds to Chaturdasi, the Paksha cermonies should not be performed on Chaturdasi day. However, it can be performed on any other specified days as mentioned above.
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Performing Paksha cermonies on Chaturdasi day is earmarked for only those who had accidental death. This day is known as Ghaatha Chaturdasi. Similarly Pournima thithi also doesn’t fall in the Krishna Paksha. Hence, for those whose death thithi happens to be Pournima, the rites should be performed on any of the specific days mentioned above. Brief about the Ritual! The ritual that is performed is called as Paksha Shraddha. Literally Shraddha means one that is performed with utmost sincerity and devotion. While the essence remains the same the procedure, customs and rituals may differ from region to region. The type of Shraaddha to be performed depends on one’s ability, patience, age, physical fitness of Kartha etc… It is prescribed and suggested to perform this ritual always as Anna Shraaddham/Pinda Pradanam (offering of rice balls) which is considered to be the most sacred and meritorious. It is believed and said that the rituals performed reach the departed souls through the rays of Sun God and Vasu, Rudra and Aaditya act as intermediaries. That is why the three generations of fore fathers are identified as Vasu, Rudra and Aaditya. We find people also opting for other types like Hiranya Shraaddham, Sankalpa Shraaddham according one’s convenience. Apart from performing the rituals one should also offer Anna Dana along with Thaamboola + Dakshina at least to five Brahmins on that day. What is Avidhava Navami? Vidhava means Widow. Avidhava means not a Widow (Sumangali). Navami is a thithi in the Lunar Calendar. Avidhava Navami in the context of Pitru Paksham is the day on which cermonies/rituals are to be performed for those Women (Mothers) who died as Sumangali. It should be performed by the son on the Navami thithi day during Pithru Paksha and the ritual is different from regular Paksha Shraaddham. What is Dauhithru Shraaddham? Shraddha performed by a daughter’s son to his maternal grand parents is known as Dauhithru Shraaddham. This is possible only when a person doesn’t have a son but has a daughter, in such a case, daughter’s son can perform this ceremony. This is an exceptional case where, a person (Jeevat

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Pithru) performs ceremony when his father is alive. This ceremony is performed on the first day of bright fortnight during Aaswayuja Masam. What is Maha Bharani Shraaddham? Mahalaya shraddha performed on the day coinciding with Bharani constellation during Pithru Paksha is known as Maha Bharani Shraaddha. It is said and believed that it gives the merits equivalent to Gaya Shraaddha. How to address forefathers while performing ceremonies? Each Pithru is to be addressed with their name and Gothra. If one does not know or remember the name and Gothra of forefathers, they should be spelled as Yagnappa (Male), and Yagnamma (female) and Gothra to be spelled as Kashyapa Gothra. Male Pithrus are to be addressed as Sarma and female Pithrus to be addressed as Dham suffixing their names for example male as Yagnappa Sarmanaam and female as Yagnamma Dham. In case Pithru Paksha falls during Adhika Masam? That means if Adhika Masam occurs during Bhadrapada Masam, then the Mahalaya Shraaddha that is required to be performed during the dark fortnight (Krishna Paksha) of Bhadrapada masam is to be performed twice both in Adhika masam as well as in Nija Masam. Though Dharma Sindhu differs in this regard Dharma Shastra Dharpana of Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt, Mantralayam has confirmed the same. Those who would like to differ may follow according to their sampradaya. In case, annual ceremony of Pithru falls during Paksha Masam? In such a case Pithru’s annual ceremony has to be performed on the said day (thithi) and Mahalaya Shraddha has to be performed on any other specified days. How to dispense with the Pindas (rice balls) after the ceremony? In this regard following tradition or sampradaya is in vogue. Feeding to the Crows Dropping them in water preferably in a river or a canal Feeding to a Cow Digging an earth pit about one foot depth and burying them in it One of the above may be followed according to convenience. However, they should not be thrown into garbage.
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Sarva Pithru list to whom Mahalaya Shraaddha-Tharpana to be performed Dwadasa Pithru
On the Paternal Side 1. Pitha (Father) 2. Pithamaha (Grand Father/Father’s father) 3. Prapithamaha (Great Grand Father/ Father’s paternal grand father) 4. Maatha (Mother) 5. Pithamahi (Grand Mother/Father’s Mother) 6. Prapithamahi (Great Grand Mother/ Fathers paternal Grand Mother) 7. Saapatni Janani (Step Mother) On the Maternal Side 1. Grand Father (Maata Maha/Mother’s father) 2. Great Grand Father (Maathu Pitamaha/Mother’s paternal grand father) 3. Great-Great Grand Father (Maathu Prapithamaha/Mother’s paternal G.Grand father) 4. Maatamahi (Mother’s mother) 5. Maathu Pitaamahi (Mothers paternal grand mother) 6. Maathu Prapithamahi (Mother’s paternal G.Grand Mother)

Others
Pathni (Wife) Sutha (Son) Bhratha (Brother/s) Pithravyam (Father’s brothers) Mathula (Maternal Uncle/s) Duhitha (Self daughter) & Her husband (Jamaatha) Dauhithram (Daughter’s son) Bhagini (Sister/s) – Her husband & Her sons (Bhagineyam) Pithruswasa (Father’s sister) & Her husband Maathruswasa (Mother’s sister) & Her husband Sashur (Father in law & Mother in law) Shalaka/Bhavuka (Brother in law) Guru (Vidya Guru) Aacharya (Purohit/Priest) Sishya (Disciple) Mithra (Friend)

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Above list is also useful while performing Kshethra Shraaddham and during Parva Kala. Tharpana and Pinda Pradhana have to be done in the order as per the given list. Step Mother is included along with the Dwadasa Pithru in order of priority. What better could be done in a situation when the shraaddha can not be performed? As far as possible don’t avoid performing sacred rites on the scheduled date or at least on the specified days. In a given situation where, it is not at all possible due to circumstance beyond one’s control, one can adopt one of the following... Perform Pithru Thila Tharpanam Observe fasting on that day Give Saaka/Paaka Dana to a Brahmin in a temple along with Dakshina. Feed a Cow with grass/plantains When nothing is possible pray fore fathers and offer a sincere Namaskara.

Mahalaya – Amaavaasya Tharpana Vidhi
Before performing Tharpana, proper Sankalpa sloka should be recited after performing Aachamanam and Pranayamam facing east. Depending on the day, time and occasion Sankalpa sloka may differ slightly.

Tharpana Sankalpa Sloka
Sri Govinda - Govinda! Sri MahaVishnor Aagnaaya, Pravarthamanasya, Aadya Bramhane, Dwiteeya Parardhe, Sri Swetha Varaaha Kalpe, Vaivaswatha Manvanthare, Kaliyuge, Kali Prathama Charane, Bauddhavathare, Salivaahanasakhe, Jambudweepe, Meror Dakshina bhage, Bhaaratavarshe, Bharatha Khande, Godavari Dakshina theere, ………. Sannidhau, Asmin Varthamane, Vyavahaarike, Chaandramanena, Sri Virodhi Nama Sanvastare, Dakshinayana, Varsha Ruthau, Bhadrapada Maase, Krishna Pakshe, ……..Thithau, ……… Vaasare, Vishnu Nakshatre, Vishnu Yoge, Vishnu Karane, evam guna visheshana visistayaam, Punya thithau,
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Praacheenavithi (Yagnopaveetham in apasavya position)

Samastha Pithrunaam Akshaya Punya Lokaavaapthyartham Kanyagathe Savithari Aashadyaadhi PanchamahaApara Paksheshu Asmin Pithru Pakshe SakrunMahalaya Sraaddhanga Saddhyah Thila Tharpanam Karishye.
While performing Pithru Karya Yagnopaveetham should be in Apasavya position and one should face the South direction. Pithru Karya should be performed only by wearing Pavithram made up of Dharbha (Kusa Grass) to the right hand ring finger.

Tharpana procedure
Tharpana should be given with water + Black Sesame (Thil) Seeds. Pithru tharpana should always be performed with the right hand. Take black thil seeds in to the palm, pour water from the Kalasa with the help of Uddharani (spoon) and drop the water along with thil seeds into the tharpana plate by chanting the tharpana manthra so that water should fall from the space in between the index finger and the thumb by tilting the palm to the right side. While performing Pithru Karya, each Pithru is to be addressed with their name and Gothra. If one does not know or remember the name and Gothra of forefathers, it should be spelled as Yagnappa (Male), and Yagnamma (female) and Gothra to be spelled as Kashyapa Gothra. Male Pithrus are to be addressed as Sarma and female Pithrus to be addressed as Dham suffixing their names. The word Asmath should be spelled before the name and Gothram after the name. For example, in case of Father (Male) as Asmath Pitharam, Yagnappa Sarmanaam Kashyapa Gothram and in case of Mother (Female) as Asmath Maatharam, Yagnamma Dham Kashyapa Gothram. The three generations on paternal and maternal side should be addressed as Vasu, Rudra and Aaditya roopa and all others should be addressed as Vasu Roopa.
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Typical example of Tharpana to a Father Asmath Pitharam, Yagnappa Sarmanam, Kashyapa Gothram, Vasu Roopam, Swadhanamah Tharpayami -Tharpayami -Tharpayami. Tharpana and Pinda Pradhana have to be done in the order as per the given list. Tharpana and Pinda Pradhana should be performed only to the deceased and not to the living even though they figure in the eligible list. After the Tharpanam is complete following sloka should be recited Yeekecha Asmath Kule Jaatha Aputhra GothrinoMruthah They Gruhnanthu Mayadattham Soothranishpeedanodakam (Afterwards Yagnopaveetham should be sanctified by dipping the Brahma Grandhi of Yagnopaveetham in water) Samarpana Anena Maya, Pithru Paksha SakrunMahalaya Kruthena, Sarva Pithru Thila Tharpanena SriMadhJanardhana Vaasudevah Priyathaam Preetho Varado Bhavathu, Sri Krishnaarpanamasthu Kaayena vaacha manasendri yairvaa Buddhyaatmanaa vaa prakrite swabhavath Karomi yadyat sakalam parasmai Naarayanayethi samarpayaami After completing the whole process, Pavithram should be removed. On the day Tharpana is given, one should take only one time meal. Night meal should be avoided. In case of Sraddha Thithi including Mahalaya, meals should be avoided on the previous day night also. Above procedure can also be followed for performing Pithru tharpana on the days of Amaavaasya (Darsha), Eclipse, Uttarayana and Dakshinayana Parva Kala, and at Theertha Kshethras by appropriately making alterations in Sankalpa manthra. On normal Amavasya day Tharpana should be given to only Dwadasa Pithru (serial # 1 to 13).

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How to address the Pithrus During Tharpana or Pinda Pradhana

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

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11 12

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14 15 16

How to address the Pithru Father Pitharam (Vasu Roopa) Grand Father (Father’s Father) Pithamaham (Rudra Roopa) Great Grand Father (Father’s Prapithaamaham Grand Father) (Aaditya Roopa) Mother Maatharam (Vasu Roopa) Paternal Grand Mother Pithaamahim (Rudra (Father’s Mother) Roopa) Paternal Great Grand Mother Prapithamahim (Father’s Grand Mother) (Aaditya Roopa) Step Mother Saapatni Maatharam (Vasu Roopa) Maternal Grand Father Maathamaham (Vasu (Mother’s father) Roopa) Maternal Great Grand Father Maathu Pithamaham (Mother’s paternal Grand (Rudra Roopa) father) Maternal Great-Great Grand Maathu Father (Mother’s Great Grand Prapithaamaham Father) (Aaditya Roopa) Maternal Grand Mother Maathaamahim (Vasu (Mother’s Mother) Roopa) Maternal Great Grand Mother Maathu Pithamahim (Mother’s paternal Grand (Rudra Roopa) Mother) Maternal Great-Great Grand Mathu Prapithaamahim Mother (Mother’s paternal (Aaditya Roopa) Great Grand Mother) Wife Pathneem Son/s (self) Sutham Daughter – in - law Snushaam
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Relationship

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Brother/s

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Paternal Uncles (Father’s Brothers) Maternal Uncles (Mother’s Brothers) Daughter (self) Son-in-law Grand son (Daughter’s son) Sister/s (self) Brother – in –law (Sister’s husband) Sisters children Paternal Aunts (Father’s sister/s)

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20 21 22 23 24 25 26

Bhraatharam TatthPathneem Tatthputhram Pithravyam TatthPathneem Tatthputhram Mathulam Tattpatneem TatthPuthram Duhitharam Jaamatharam Dauhithram Bhagineem Bhavukam Bhaagineyakam Pithruswasa (Pithru Bhagineem) TatthBhartharam TatthPuthram Maathruswasa (Mathru Bhagineem) TatthBhartharam TatthPuthram Swasuram Swasruh Syalakam Gurum (It could be Father or any Acharya) Aacharyam Sishya Sakhayam

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Maternal Aunt/s (Mother’s sister/s)

28 29 30 31

32 33 34

Father-in-law Mother-in-law Brother-in-law (Wife’s brother/s) Gayathri Upadesa Guru (One who has performed the Gayathri Upadesa) Vidya Guru/Teacher/Purohit/Priest Disciple Friend

Above list is also useful while performing Kshethra Shraaddham, Giving Tharpana during Parva Kala (Eclipse, Uttarayana and Dakshinayana) and regular Amavasya Tarpana.
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AMAAVAASYA
(The Pithru Thithi)
As per the Hindu Lunar Calendar there are 16 thithis out of which 14 gets repeated twice in a cycle of 30 days starting from Prathipad (Paadyami) and ending with Chaturdasi. The other two thithis that occur once in a month are Pournima and Amavasya. Thus, there are 15 thithis in each fortnight one ending with Pournima called as Sukla Paksham (Bright fortnight) and the other ending with Amavasya called as Krishna Paksham (Dark fortnight). Amavasya is also called as Darsa thithi. Amavasya falling on Chaturdasi thithi is called as Sinivali and if it is falling on Prathipad it is called as Kuhu. In a Lunar Calendar year Amavasya occurs 12 times and of all the thithis Amavasya is given lot of significance is given in Hindu religion.

Significance of Amavasya
Amavasya is the darkest day of the month. On this day Moon will not be visible and it is called as New Moon day or no Moon day. On the day of Amavasya both the Sun and the Moon will conjoin together. Solar Eclipse occurs on Amavasya Day. Pithru Devathas are the presiding deities of Amavasya Thithi. Amavasya is the name given to Achhoda, Manasa Puthrika (Mind born daughter) of Pithru Devathas. Amavasya is the most favourite day for worshipping Pithru Devathas. Sacred rituals (Tharpana) are performed for forefathers on the day of Amavasya. We find people specially worshipping Goddess Durga, Lord Narasimha, Lord Hanuman and Lord Saturn on Amavasya day to ward off the problem of evil spirits and other mundane problems. We also find people fasting on Amavasya day. It is said that Lord Sri Krishna’s Niryana took place on Amavasya day. While in general Amavasya is considered as inauspicious for starting any venture, as an exception we find people in Tamil Nadu considering Amavasya as auspicious. We find people performing Tantric remedies on Amavasya Day especially on the Amavasya days coinciding with Sunday and Tuesday.

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Legend behind Amavasya Thithi
There are seven Groups of Pithru Devathas viz. Vyrajas, Agnishwatthas, Barhishadas, Sukalas, Angirasas, Suswadhas and Somapas. Achhoda is the Manasa Puthrika (Mind born daughter) of Pithru Devathas who had great devotion and respect for them. Once upon a time she performed a great penance targeting Pithru Devathas. Pleased with her prayers they appeared before her to give her a boon. When they appeared before her, Achhoda got fascinated towards one of the Pithru Devathas by name Mavasa. Due to this sudden reaction of hers, Achhoda was referred as Mavasya. As Mavasa did not show any counter reaction Achhoda was later referred as Amavasya. Because of this sudden passionate reaction in Achhoda she lost her Divinity. Sympathized with her condition and pleased with her penance Pithru Devathas gave her a boon that thence forth she will become popular as Amavasya Thithi that will be a favorite day for Pithru Devathas. Also said that, whoever performs Pithru Karya on Amavasya day, Pithru Devathas will get immensely pleased and bestow them with multiple benefits. It was a Divine Sankalpa that Achhoda took birth on the Earth in the 28th Dwapara Yuga in the womb of a fish and was brought up by a fisherman called Vasu. She was called as Mastya Gandha and later as Sathyavathi who gave birth to Lord Veda Vyasa in a divine meeting with Sage Parasara. Later she married King Shanthanu of the great epic Mahabharatha. This legend is said to be from Mastya Purana.

Unique Amavasya days
While Amavasya occurs in every Lunar month, certain days of Amavasya are unique and have attained lot of spiritual and special significance. They are as follows: Somavathi Amavasya Amavasya occurring on a Monday is called as Somavathi Amavasya. It is said that the significance and importance of Somavathi Amavasya was explained to Yudhistira (Dharmaraja) by Bheeshma Pithamaha in Mahabharatha. It is also said that who ever takes a dip in the holy rivers on this day would get freed from grief and sorrow. People also observe fasting on this day. It is dedicated to worshipping of Lord Shiva on this day. Women observe this as a Vratha for the longevity and happiness in their married life.
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Mouni Amavasya Mouni Amavasya occurs on the Amavasya day in the month of Magha Masam (January-February). It is derived from the word Muni, literally means an ascetic who practices silence. Fasting is observed on this day. The devotees do not talk to each other during the observance. It is considered highly meritorious to bath in Brahma Sarovar at Kurukshetra, Ganges, Prayaga, Haridwar and Sethu (Indian Ocean) on this day. If it is coinciding with Monday it is considered to be of special significance. Shani Amavasya Amavasya occurring on a Saturday is known as Shani Amavasya. Worshipping Lord Saturn on this day with Thila Thailabhishekam and giving Black Sesame (Thil) seeds as charity is highly beneficial especially for those who are under the grip of Sade Sath, Astama Shani, and Ardhaastama Shani in Gochara or for those who are under the phase of Saturn’s Maha Dasa. If it is coinciding with Chaitra Masam it is considered to be still more sacred for worshipping Lord Saturn. Mahalaya Amavasya It occurs on the last day of Pithru Paksham in Bhadrapada Masam. Mahalaya Amavasya is considered as the Mother of all Amavasyas as it is the favourite day for performing sacred rites to forefathers. Deepavali Amavasya This occurs on the festival day of Deepavali on the last day of Lunar month Aaswayuja. It is considered as the most auspicious day to worship Goddess Maha Lakshmi on Deepavali night. Solar Eclipse & Amavasya Solar Eclipse invariably occurs on an Amavasya Day. Any Eclipse time is said to be very sacred and celestial and entire period of Eclipse is called as Parva Kala (most sacred time). Any sacred rituals/rites performed during a parva kala will derive more merits than the one performed during ordinary times. Eclipse is the most opportune time to perform Snana (sacred bath), Prayer, Punascharana of Upadesa Manthra, Pitru Tharpana, and Charity. Chanting of Vedic manthras/sacred Sthothram during Eclipse will ward off the negative energy that gets activated during eclipse and protects one from all negativity. Sarva Pithru Tarpana should be performed with proper

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sankalpa during eclipse time (by those who have lost their parents) with black Thil (sesame) seeds. Bheemana Amavasya New Moon day (Amavasya) occurring in the month of Aashada is observed as Bheemana Amavasya. On this day Women observe Vratha called Pathi Sanjeevani Vratha and worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi for the welfare of all the male members of the family in general and their husbands and brothers in particular. It is said that Skhanda Purana makes a reference of this Vratha and its significance. Amavasya falling on Tuesday is called as Bhouma Amavasya and on Sunday is called as Bhanu Amavasya. Similarly Jyesta Bahula Amavasya is celebrated as Mannetthina Amavasya when Bullocks made up of mud are worshipped in households. Thus Amavasya thithi has attained lot of significance for worshipping Pithru devathas and for performing sacred rites to forefathers and is popularly known as Pithru Thithi. Sri Krishnaarpanamasthu bhargavasarma

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