Days of remembrance of our ancestors.
Days of clearing and cleansing our minds about our ancestors.
Days of expressing our gratefulness towards our ancestors.
Let me begin by saying that these are the most auspicious days of human life as these days are of remembrance. Remembering the Love and warmth of our parents, grand parents and great parents. Days of remembering the Rishis, Acharyas and all those who worked for our upliftment and social upliftment. And if we have to do all this, then how can we have social functions? Social gatherings? And so the practise or the the social custom of not doing any other work except our routines and remembering our ancestors. But then people consider these days inauspicious.. How can the days when we think about our ancestors be inauspicious? Just that we don’t want to do anything else and interfere in our remembrance is what it is.
It’s such a beautiful concept and belief given to us by Rishi Atri. It is said that it is he who explained Shraddha to Rishi Nimi, who started practising the ritual. Rishi Nimi started offering to various Gods through Agni and so the ‘Havan’ finds its place in the rituals. Agni is considered the mouth of God’s. Also it tells us that we need to cook our food before eating it. The presence of Agni in every Vedic ritual is also out of gratedulness about the people who first found the use of fire. This led to the strengthening of the civilisation which we all call as Humanity, now.
The ritual also has a practise called the Pind Daan. Westerners call the Pind as balls of rice, due to the literal translation of the word. But atleast we Indians should know that they are not balls of rice, but signify our ancestors. (Will write someday about the rituals dine on the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th day of a person’s death in some other blog). The process of Pind Daan is so tremendous and has such a deep psychological meaning hidden in it. But we all just do it out of routine and are not interested in listening to the mantras being recited. It’s a matter of pride that our ancestors find a place with the great Rishis and Munis on these days. And when we realise this, we become satiated about our ancestors and we feel their presence with us through the great Seers.
Another myth which needs to be clarified that it is the son only who can do Pind Daan. Maybe we have become a patriarchal society after the coming of Moghuls and British, but originally we are not so. A daughter too can perform the Pind Daan of her parents in absence of a brother or if the brother is not interested. After all, these rituals are for each and everyone. Nowadays the daughter’s even give Mukhagni to their parents. And it was and is never banned in our society. A daughter is treated equally as a son in our society.
The last day, 16th day, the first day of Navratri, is the day of Matamaha Shraddh. It is for the married daughter’s who are at their in-laws and want to perform Shraddh of her parents. One needs to do Namaskaars to our Rishi’s who gave this right to the daughter’s as well. Always had this question in my mind about parents who have no sons. A few years back I got the answer. My elder sister ( Dhanashree Talwalkar – Athavale), Didi, performed the last rites of Pandurang Shashtriji Athavale and till date performs Her duties towards Her ancestors every year. She brought this outlook to our knowledge.
So, my readers, Let us remember our ancestors during these days and offer them our tarpan.
Let us try to understand the meaning of these days and many such days given to us by our Rishis.
Let us make their sankal, ours and try to be a good son or daughter.
Let us all try to pass on the right things to our next generation.
That would be the true Shraddh of our Rishi’s and Acharya’s.