SHRAADH- CHAPTER 2
HOW DOES SHRAADH REACH AND WHO DELIVERS IT?
Yesterday we learnt the meaning of Shraadh and it was also explained that during the ritual we are able to invoke our ancestors with vedic mantras . They are accompanied by Aryama the lord of PitrLok. BUT we are not able to SEE them.
The entire life of Man is dependent on the grace received from the ancestors.
The doubt is raised sometimes that if they do accept the food offered to them then why do we not see a decrease in the quantity of the food offered??
If a bowl of rice pudding is offered we see that after sometime it weighs just the same and there is no decrease in the weight AT ALL. If they do not eat then how are they SATISFIED??
It would be wrong to doubt the Brahmin who says that after the invocation of vedic mantras the Pitrs are here to partake the food offered.
This unique POWER God has given the ancestors as well as certain insects etc.
We see that when an ant eats something there in no increase in the weight of that ant!!
An elephant swallows a fruit called WOOD APPLE and then defecates it JUST AS IT WAS. There is no change in it at all! If an animal has the power to do that then why cannot our ancestors do the same??
As told earlier that the Lord says that all the manifestations in this world are indeed His Glory and thus the ancestors are also His Vibhuti(glory).Like the Lord they can also do anything!
The Lord has used His powers differently in all His creations.
The Honey bee extracts the nectar from the flowers and gives us honey BUT there is no alteration in the way the flower looks after the visit of the Honey bee!
The Bumble Bee also spends all day amidst the flowers and yet there is no change in the flowers .
It is therefore important that we keep FAITH and accept the fact that INDEED the PITRS are partaking the food that is offered to them.
If we ask how do the Pitrs take what they want of the food and leave the rest AS IT IS behind we can take the example of a particular insect that stays in the water.
It has the power to extract the bad blood out off the body of a human and leave the good blood behind .
In the case of the Pitrs it is just the opposite as they extract the goodness in the food and leave the rest behind.
Let us take another example and that is of the HANS (swan) which has this exceptional quality of separating the milk from the water and drinking just the milk. There is no method by which we can do that !
This world is indeed strange and we can speak of many such case .We have to just know that the energy and the power that the Lord bestows on his creations is unique to it. We should not have any doubts about it.
There is one plant which closes when we touch it as if it were SHY by the touch.
The magnet has the power to even make a non living piece of Iron dance to its tune when kept close to it.
No scientist has answers for all these unique properties!
Hence we should not doubt the presence of the Pitrs during Shraadh ceremony.
By the word Pitrs we are invoking not only the ancestors but also their protector and presiding deities Vasu, Rudra and Aditya.
When we address someone by his name for instance—– Girdharilal ——–we are calling out to the Jeevatma and to his physical form.
After his death we cannot call him–
”O Girdahrilal come here”He was Girdharilal only till his body was pervaded by the Jeevatma.
The Jeevatma can be called by his name only till such time he identifies himself with his body.
A proper noun can be used for a particular person and not the same noun to all!
In the same way when we say Pitr that is not only OUR ancestors but also the presiding deities.
There are thus 2 kinds of Pitrs-
1.those who are are our father and forefathers.
2.those who are already there in the Pitr Lok.
( Eternal Pitrs—Vasu,Rudra ,Aditya etc)
When we offer anything during the ceremony and invoke the Pitrs they come accompanied by these deities.
The explanations given earlier should not sound like a farce to you all. We never speak of anything without giving proof .
In olden days the wise Rishis who had great wisdom INTIUTED (sakshatkaar) these facts which are preserved in the scriptures.
The teachings of the Rishis are Sanaatan (ever new) and yet people of today doubt their teachings, and do not follow the path they ordain.
Therefore there is a need to illumine this light (knowledge) in the minds of people.
When there is knowledge then Man will never fail and is sure to achieve the highest goal in life.
In the Manu Smriti(3-284) it is mentioned that
VASU is Father
RUDRA is Grandfather
ADITYA is Great grandfather
First the above Lords are satisfied and then our Pitrs.
One example to illustrate the above is——–
A householder goes to the market and buys some food and gives it to his pregnant wife.The lady gets satisfied and also the baby in her womb is nourished.
After 9 months the householder is happy to see the face of the healthy baby.
In the same way those who offer the Shraadh to their ancestors with Gratitude and feed food to the Brahmin are blessed by the ancestors and the accompanying Lords.
Now we must think how do they get satisfied ?
Do they clean up the plate of ladoos and jalebis?
Man cannot understand this on his own He has to take the proof and support his belief from the Shaastras.
Devtas do their work in a different way.
Neither do they drink nor eat
They merely see the food and water and are satisfied.
Pitrs too do the same as they are a part of the devtas.
NEXT DOUBT arises in the minds of people is maybe there is a confusion in reaching the oblations to the Pitrs .If the doer of the ritual performs it in a systematic way there will be no confusion and the Pitrs are sure to receive the oblations.
WE drop a letter in the letter box and it reaches the addressee in any part of the world.
The Post Master sees to it that it reaches the proper destination.
He takes the responsibility of the registered letters, money orders and insurances also.
In the same way the food offered in the name of the Pitrs reaches them as ARYAMA takes the responsibility for that.
There could be human errors in our world BUT there is no error in PitrLoka.
The devtas of PitrLok keep proper accounts.
The all powerful JAGDEESHWAR only makes them take care of all the matters concerning PitrLoka.
BUT if we do not put the proper address or not put the letter in the letter box or hand over the money order to the wrong person then it is sure not to reach the destination.
The fault would be of the performer of the Shraddh if the oblations do not reach his Pitrs .the devtas of PitrLoka are not to blame.
These are some of the small doubts raised by people, but frankly people do not know how to raise the correct DOUBTS.
The Rishis raised doubts and then removed them also to establish the facts so that there would be no room for doubt in the minds of the coming generations.
NOW LET US NOTE THE DOUBT
There is a quotation from the MATSYA and the PADMA PURANA where the following doubt is raised
The doer of the Shraadh offers articles(HAVYA) and food(KAVYA) to his ancestors ——–but who reaches it to them?
The Devtas are offered HAVYA and the Pitrs are offered KAVYA.
The devtas who accompany the Pitrs are spoken about here in the Purana.
The second doubt is—–
If by feeding someone the other gets satisfied then why does a person who is traveling carry food with him??
Can his relatives not feed someone at home and expect the traveler’s hunger to be satisfied?
The traveler is on this earth so it would be easier to do that than satisfy the Pitrs who are in a different world.
The third doubt is a quote from SKAND PURANA
If a deceased person is satisfied by the food offered to the Brahmin then why can’t we light a lamp by merely adding oil to it?
The lamp will only light if there is FIRE in it .
We may add litres of oil but if there is no AGNI the lamp will not light.
So,it seems very doubtful that the dead receive the food.
The 4th doubt is as quoted in the
SKAND PURANA(Naagar Khand)
Why is the Shraadh offered on Amavasya (No Moon day) and other specific days?
The Deceased would have taken rebirth in different species as per the karmas done by them .
How do they come to the house of the son when the Shraadh is performed from the place of their NEW BIRTH?
NOW I SHALL REMOVE THE DOUBTS ONE BY ONE—
The question is how do the havya and kavya reach to those whose names we affirm at the time of the shraadh ?
The Brahmin says a few sentences and we repeat after him.
The name of the year ,month, day, gotra, name of the doer of the ritual and the name of the deceased and his relationship with him and the name of the devta of Pitrloka and
lastly the person affirms —-
THAT I THUS OFFER THIS TO MY PITRS (Samarpayami)
If this did not make any sense why would it be said?
The MATSYA and PADMA PURANA have proof regarding this claim.
By saying the name of the Pitrs and their Gotra with Vedic Mantras the articles and food reaches them.
But when will it reach?
It will reach when it is done with total surrender and in a proper method.
Our letter will not reach the destination if we put it in a Charity box. It has to be put in a letter box.
Nowadays Shraadh is also done by Christians, Muslims Jains Hindus and other religions but in different ways.
The Christians build huge mansions in the memory of their fore fathers.
The Sikh and muslims also donate money or build a memorial in the name of the deceased.
The DIFFERENCE between their Shraadh and ours is that we do it METHODICALLY and thus also receive the fruit(merit) for it.
The other religions do not do it in the prescribed way and hence do not receive happiness in this world or the other.
The purpose behind the ritual is that we pray that our Pitrs are happy and contented wherever they may be.
The intent of the other religions is also the same only the method is missing.
Another very important point is that the VEDIC MANTRAS chanted at the time of Shraadh are indeed very powerful .
These days people chant ordinary mantras that are not from the scriptures and are showing results then what to talk about the Vedic Mantras!!
By reciting the gotra and names of the people the Havya and Kavya reach the invoked Pitra.On receiving the proper invitation they come down with the deities.
The SECOND doubt—
How can the hunger of one be satisfied by feeding a Brahmin?
In the VISHNU DHARMAUTTAR PURANA
There is a shloka that says that Vasu, Rudra and Aditya and the deities are all satisfied by the food offered by the doer of the shraadh .
In the mortal world it is difficult to trace the whereabouts of a person but to trace the Pitrs in the Pitralok is not difficult as we only have to invoke them and they are there.
The two worlds are totally different so it is wrong to raise this doubt.
In several of the Puranas there are enough instances given to endorse the ritual .
AGNI PURANA (163)
There is detailed description in the above scriptures.
There is a text called CHATURVARG CHINTAMANI consisting of 1717 pages with elaborate details.
The THIRD doubt regarding the lamp being lit—–
The requirements for a lamp is not only oil and cotton BUT also FIRE and thus even if we pour oil the lamp will not be lit until fire is added to the cotton seeped in oil.
Can we cook food with only firewood?
No, the fire wood needs fire and other ingredients to light.
Thus it is wrong to compare a lamp with a dead person.
The father or grandfather maybe dead but the JEEVATMA is still there in the Pitraloka .
In that world he gets a new form and is able to enjoy all that is possible in that Loka.
The FOURTH doubt is explained by Deval Muni in a shloka where it says that wherever the deceased is reborn the shraadh reaches him in that form according to the food he can consume.
If the man becomes a devta due to the fruit of his good Karmas then ARYAMA and the other deities reach the food in the form of nectar to him.
If the man becomes a GANDHARVA he receives the oblations through the medium of fragrance like chandan.
If he becomes an animal he receives the oblations of the shraadh through the grass that he eats.
If he becomes a snake he receives it through air.
If he becomes a Yaksha (a kind of demi-god)
He receives it through matter (DRAVYA) that can be consumed.
If he becomes a Demon or a ghost he receives it through the matter that is suitable for those YONIS (births)
If he born again as a man then he receives it through grains ,rice etc through the help of ARYAMA.
When we send a money order it is not necessary that the very same notes reach the person in whose name the money order is sent. The currency can also change when we send to a different country.
In the same token if someone’s son is studying in Bombay and the father sends Rs.100 every month to his friend to buy all the things his son would need then—-
The friend can buy clothes,books or any other thing with that money.
The money was sent not the things and yet the son receives THINGS and not MONEY.
Thus it is not necessary that the receiver gets the ITEM sent in the same form.
The only rule is that it will reach for WHOM it
is meant although in a different form.
WE therefore should be convinced that the deceased receive the food during the ritual of Shraadh.
Summary of the chapter
-SHRAADH_WHO REACHES IT AND HOW?
Now you all must have understood that Pitra Loka is an independent
World by itself.
ARYAMA is the ruler of this world and AGNI, RUDRA AND VASU are his helpers.
Our ancestors go to this world after their death.
To liberate and to give them peace and nourishment the descendants offer charity of grains etc.
This is what we mean by SHRAADH.
They stay in that world under the guidance of the devtas mentioned.
Wherever they maybe and in whichever birth they may have taken the fruit of the ritual performed DOES reach them.
In return they give us abundance of everything .
Sage Yagnavalkya says the Pitrs give the following on being happy—
Different types of knowledge
Governance ( post to rule)
All the material happiness
The difficult to get seat in the HEAVEN
19TH OCTOBER 1939