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Shradh 2017: Stories and Significance, Why we Offer food to Ancestors

Shradh 2017: Stories and Significance, Why we Offer food to Ancestors
Written by Shilpi Gupta

Shradh 2017 , According to Hindu book Garuda Purana, after death soul starts its journey for Yamalok after 13 days of death. It takes 17 days to reach Yamlok and then travel to court and it takes 11 months to reach there. So it is about 12 months of the journey for the soul after death. During this 1 year soul has no food and water. So it is important to follow the rituals in the first year of the death of the family member to make their journey easy.

Many stories are linked with shradh rituals, according to Hindu mythology. Let’s look to some stories behind the importance and rituals of shradh

Shradh Story at Gaya

Gaya is a holy city in Bihar in India. According to Hindu mythology, gaya is a name of a demon called Gayasur. His body was pious and pavitra. He was given boon by lord Vishnu, because of that Gayasur disappeared. Lord bhrahma performed the sacrifice on Gayasura’s headless body. But it started shaking then devtas decided to place dharmavtara stone on the body. lord Vishnu was heartily torched by the sacrifice of Gayasur.  Gayasur asked Lord Vishnu to lay his body on Lord Vishnu’s food print and also asked for lord Vishnu Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma to stand on his body until eternity. So that Gayasur’s body would free all of their pain and obstacles.

Shradh story in Ramayana

During Pitra Paksha, Lord Rama and Maa Sita visited Gaya for Shradh and pind daan for their father (king Dasharatha). As It is important to perform Shradh ritual at the bank of a river, so, Maa Sita waited near the banks of River Phalgu and Lord Rama went to bring some things for the rituals. During this time that late King Dasharath’s hands appeared asking her to maa Sita for Pind Daan as the mahurat for Shradh would be over soon.

Maa Sita immediately offered the sand balls as she had nothing because lord rama did not come by all things.  King Dasharath accept that balls and received Moksha. When Lord Rama returned, Maa Sita told him about this incident.

Shradh Story in Mahabharata

In Mahabharata, Karna was known to be a very good king, as he was always offering charity and donating gold to the needy. He was also known as Daan Veer. After dying in the battle of Kurukshetra, his soul traveled to heaven where he was always offered gold and silver as food. Karna asked Lord Indra why they give him gold and silver rather than actual food. Lord Indra told Karna that he always offered gold to the people but he never donated food to his ancestor. Karna begged forgiveness and say he wasn’t aware of to donated food.

After realizing of his mistake, Karna could return to earth for 15 days to follow rituals to give food to their ancestors, that period of the 15 days are known to be Pitra Paksha period and Shradh.

About the author

Shilpi Gupta

Food Technologist by Profession and Blogger by Destiny. love to write articles on food technology, spirituality and social issues.