Significance of Pitri Paksha- Legends and Rituals Related To Shraddh

Shraddh is a ritual performed by Hindus to repay the debts of their ancestors. According to belief, when ancestors (Pitrs), gods (Devas) and ghosts (Pretas) get satisfied, they bless us and bestow wealth, health, longevity, wisdom and salvation to the native.

The Shraddh which is done during Pitra Paksha consist of giving things as gifts to three preceding generations. It is done by taking their names along with the name of their family tree or Gotra.

According to Hindu belief, our physical body gets destroyed but our soul is eternal. It can neither be created nor destroyed. Lord Krishna in Bhagwat Gita clearly states, “The soul is unborn, eternal, ever existing and primeval.” It is a fact that the rituals of Pitru Paksha helps in freeing a soul from the vicious circle of life and death thus enabling the departed souls to attain salvation.


According to the Hindu mythology, a place called Pitru Loka exists between the heaven and earth. The departed souls or Spirits live in Pitru loka. The Pitru loka is ruled by Yamaraj, also known as god of death. In this place, Pitras are not able to refrain themselves from the sensory demands of the body like thirst, hunger, cold, heat, fatigue and pain etc. They wait to be released from their condition so that they can get a material body again by which they can do positive karmas to step ahead towards their freedom from the karma syndrome.

The departed souls get attracted to living body on the earth, their descendants with their karmic debts for finding freedom. The ancestors are offered food once in 24 hours as per their time zone. This is similar to every 12 months time space on the earth. This once-a-year period is regarded as the ‘Shraddh’ period.

The Pitru Paksha starts begins when the Sun enters the zodiac sign Virgo. With the advent of this Paksha the departed souls or our ancestors leave the Yamaloka and come to earth to grant the rituals performed by their descendants and stay here till the combination of Sun-Moon takes place in Virgo.

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It is believed that during this time Lord Ganesha withdraws certain forces from the Earth’s surface and send it to the core of the earth thereby allowing the departed souls to come close to their descendants. Lord Ganesha and his belly represents the entire cosmos and the seven realms above and below. The seven oceans are inside cosmic belly of Lord Ganesha. They are held together by the cosmic energy known as kundalini and is symbolized by the huge snake surrounding him. The snake that surrounds him around his waist is a symbol of energy in all forms.

The ‘Ganesh-Visarjan’ Anant Chaturdashi is an representation of this event.

There is another legend, where Daanveer Karna made huge charity of currency, jewels and land etc during his entire lifetime. After he died and went to Pitru loka, he received everything that he gave in form of charity in multiple amount.

But, he didn’t get any offering of food as he did not give food-charity in reality. After starving for several days, he requested “Yamaraj” to find a solution this deficiency. Yamraj granted him 14 days life to return back to earth and do the needful charity. during these 14 days, Karna offered numerous meal-charities. When he returned to Pitru Loka again, there was plenty of meal available to him.

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Category: Astrology

Sep, 26 2015 06:17 pm