Remembering our departed near and dear ones on their death anniversary and performing the Shraadh ceremony and Anna Daan to Brahmins and the poor is an age old custom of India. Whether it is our parents or brothers or sisters or children, once in a year on the day of their departure they re-visit us. It is believed that if we also remember them and perform a Puja for their soul and give charity in their name, they bless us and depart happily. It is believed that this ceremony helps the departed soul\’s progress in the journey in the other world.
Given ahead is a list of items that are prohibited in a shradh.
- Onion, garlic, salt, brinjal, green gram, cooked rice named harik and pulak, rajgira (A rass and its seeds), horse-radish, carrot, pumkin gourd, a wild plant called vavding, meat, black cumin seeds, black pepper, bidlon, shitpaki, grains that sprout, water chestnut, purple coloured putrid and rotten food items.
- Water which is foul smelling, salty, stale, cannot quench the thirst of a cow, from a puddle or stored overnight.
- Milk of a cow which has no calves or one which has not completed ten days after delivery.
- Powder of animal bones, water from a leather vessel, citron, lemon, food not offered to Vaishvedev, food not offered to Shrivishnu, red gram and meat are the eight prohibited food items.
Brahmans invited to the shradh
- For a Mahalaya shradh, one Brahman should be invited to represent each pitar.
- Two, four or five Brahmans should be invited to a shradh. If there are two Brahmans, one should sit in the place marked for the Deities and the other in the place marked for the pitars. If there are four, one should represent the Deities and the remaining three the pitars. If there are five, two should represent the Deities and three the pitars.
- If only one Brahman is available he should be made to sit in the place marked for the pitars and a Shaligram (A sacred black stone) or Idol of Balkrushna should be placed in the place marked for the Deities.
- If the required number of Brahmans is not available or the Brahman is not suitable for the rites, an Idol of Balkrushna should be placed in the place marked for the Deities and darbha in the place marked for the pitars, or darbha can be placed in both the places. This is called chata or Darbhabatu. A shradh performed by arrangement of ‘chata’ is called Chata shradh.
Puja service includes:
Tarpan, Pitra Puja, Brahman bhojan (8 brahmins), Vastra, Daan/dakshina to brahmins.