Essence Of Dharma Sindhu -11

Essence Of
Dharma Sindhu  



Shraaddha Shabdaartha: Pretaan Pitrunapyuddhishya bhojyam yatpriyamaatmanah, Shraddhayaa deeyatey yattu tacchaadram parikeertiyam/ That was how Marichi Maharshi defined the shabda of Shraaddha. Pitraadinmrutaanuddhishya vihitey kaaley deshey Pakkannaamaanna hiranyaananyata mudrayasya vidhaanaa daanam Shraaddham/ (Shraddha is denoted as the offerings to a dead parent at the prescribed time of death by way of Cooked rice and Suvarna- Dravya daana). Homascha Pinda daanam cha tathaa Brahmana Bhojanam, Shraddha shabdaadidheyam syaadekaminnoupachaarikam/  (In this Karma, the significant parts are Agnoukarana, Pinda daana and Brahmana Bhojana. These are the integral and formal parts). Even if there is some deficiency of Sankalpa Vidhi and Pinda Daanas, Bhojanaadis are indeed the essentials. Brahmanaarchana is very important to Rigvedis, Pinda Daana is essential to Yajurvedis and Saama Vedis. In any case : Ashraddhayaa Pitaro nasanteeti matwaa Shraddha kurvaanasya riktam Pitarah pibanti/ (Those who have Naastika Buddhi and Ashraddha or        dis-belief and intolerance ignoring the Shraaddha Karma would be targetted by Pitru Devatas by drinking their blood eventually!) Shraaddha Bhedas: Shraddhas are of four types: Paarvana, Ekoddhishta, Naandi Shraaddha and Sapindeekarana. The Paarvana vidhis are of three categories: One is performed to the dead father-mother etc. called Pratyaabda or done on the Tithi annually and this involves only one Paarvana; those which are performed on Amaavasayaadis of ninety six times a year as Nitya Shraddhaas as also of  Mahalaya and Anvashtaka Shraddhaas involve  two Parvanas since they are addressed to Sapatneeka Pitaadis and Sapatneeka Maataadis; and the Third Parnava is for those involving Sapatneeka Mataa mahaadis. Ekoddhishta:This has one ‘Uddeshya’( target) of one Pinda only.This is of three kinds viz. Nava Sanjnaka, Nava Mishra Sanjnaka and Purana Sanjnaka. The Nava Sanjnaka or Ahnika Shraddha is as per the count of the day of death to that of the Tenth and thus called the Nava Sanjnaka / Ahnika Ekoddhishta; the Nava Mishra Sanjnika or Ahnika as per the count from the Ekadasha to the Nunaabda Paryanta is called Nava Mishraka /Ahnika Ekoddhishta; this is without Vishvadeva. The Purana Sanjnaka Shraadda is in reference to the younger brother’s death  by Shastras and is held on the Chaturdashi Tithi of the death by way of Ekoddhista nature. Some call it ‘Sapindaananta Parvana Purana Sanjnaka’. Nandi  Shraaddha: This is performed on the auspicious occasions of Putra Janma, Vivaahaas etc. and is called Vriddhi Shraaddha. This is also performed in connection with Pumsavana- Seemantaas, Aadhaana and Soma Yaga and such other Karmaanga or Ishti Shraddhaas  in which Kratu Daksha Sanjnikaas  are Vaishva Devas; this is of Vriddhi Sanjnaka in which Satya and Vasu  Vishvedevaas. In this, one has Parvana Trayaas. This is because of another reason viz. that on the twelfth day of the dead one has to perform Arghya and Sapindeekarana and here too there would be Shraddha by way of Parvana and Ekoddhishta. Now to three kinds of Shraddhaas,viz. Nittya-Naimittika-Kaamyaas. Nitya is a daily routine and in this case Parvana Dwaya and Vishva devas are not involved as explained above. The Naimittika Shraddha is what is performed at the Solar and Lunar Eclipses and this involves Shad Devatas; and the Kaamya Shraddha is what is peformed out of volition and desire seeking a benefit like the Vratas on the Panchamis and in the Nakshatras like Krittika. Shraaddha Deshaas:Shraddhas are to be performed in the Dakshina Disha on a clean, cow dung washed, and without unclean material like worms, hair, bones and other doshas. This could preferably be done in Tirtha Pradeshaas like Kuru Kshektra, Prabhasa, Pushkara, Prayaga, Kashi, Ganga, Yamuna, Narmadaanadi Teeraas; Naimisha Vana, Ganga Dwara, Gaya Seersha, Akshaya Vata and such illustriuous Places. It is stated: Shamipatra pramaanena Pindamdayadgayaa shirey, Uddareytsapta gotraani Kulamekottaram shatam/  (In Gaya, even if a small Shami-Patra sized Pinda is given away Seven Generations-full of Pitrus would get liberated!)  Pitaa Maaaaaatacha Bharyaacha Bhagini Duhitaa tathaa, Pitru Maatrushvasaa chaiva Sapta Gotraanivai Viduh/ (The Seven Gotraas of Father, Mother, Sister, Aunt and Mother’s Sister are of Sapta Gotras; once counted, these Gotras respectively consitute twenty four, twenty, sixteen, twelve, eleven, ten, and eight male members totalling one hundred and one and indeed all these would be liberated. Of these, the members of the Pitru Kula would be twenty four ie twelve of them in the Poorva and another twelve in the Paraa generations! Moreso: Tulasi kaanaanacchaayaa Shaalagraaasya Sannidhih, Chakraanchitasya Saannidhyameshu yatkriyatey Nareh/ Snaanam Daanam Tapah Shraaddham Sarvamakshayyataam vrajet/ (The cool shades of Tulasi Gardens, the propitious Manifestation of Shalagrama Shilas signifying Bhagavan Himself, and the Presence of Chakraankita, besides the countless Snaana-Daana-Tapa and Shraddha Karmas would indeed bestow an Endless Auspiciousness!) Such indeed is the Signficance of Shraaddhas! ShraaddhaNishiddha Desha-Kaalaas: Places occupied by Cows, Horses, Elephants and other animals or where Persons like Mlecchaas visit frequently are certainly prohibited to perform Shraaddhas. If performed in other’s houses, then the Pitruganas of that house would claim part of the Phala. If need be, the house owner be given compensation before hand. Forests, mountains, River Beds, Siddha Grihaas, Caves and such uninhabited Places are convenient for the purpose. Shraddha should never be performed with Eka Vastra, or Jala Madhya, or in a House Top; in fact any Karma involving Shruti-Smriti Karyas are forbidden in such circumstances. As regards the Shraaddha Timings,  it is well known and as mentioned in the previous pages, the appropriate Shraaddha Kaalaas include Amavasyas, Sankrantis, Yugaadis, Manvaadis, and Mahalayaas; additionally the following are being added:  Maha Tirthas, Vyatipata Yoga, Chandra-Surya Grahana Dinaas, availability of Shrotriya and Pandita Brahmanas, Ardhodaya, Kapila Shashthi, Alabhya Yogaas, Graha peeda, Dusswapna darshana, Navaanna Praapti Dina, Nutana Jala Labhyata and such other Nimitta-Shraddha Kaalaas. Shraaddhaas in the PadmaYoga or the time-junction of Vishti- Vyatipaata-Ravi -Vaaraas are stated to be more fruitful-ie. four times more- than even Uttaraayana Kaala Karyas. In fact, Sharaaddhaas are  to be observed in every Krishna Paksha; one view is that in the Paksha, Shraddha be done daily; others say Panchami onward Shraddha Karma is fruitful; another view is that in the Krishna Paksha at least on Darsha Shradda be done. Darsha Shraaddha: In the event of inability of performing Darsha Shraaddha every day in the month, it may be done at least on the days when Surya is not present in Kumbha-Kanya-Vrisha ie on three days, at least without Homaagni and with Pinda Pitru Yagna; in that way, only Brahmana Bhojana and dhana- dhanya daanas are required. Further, in Krishna Pakshaas in a year, Mahalaya Paksha  is stated to be of far reaching significance. In this connection, attention on Mahalaya Pakshas in the Bhadrapada Maasa be drawn in the previous pages of the Dwiteeya Pariccheda of this very Script). If during the fifteen day period of Mahalayas, be there an occurrence of Ashoucha unfortunately, there might be a Mahalaya Viphalata or failure. Hence, after the Ashoucha period and of Shuddhi, even one day’s Mahalaya Shraddha be observed. Likewise, if there is inability to observe the Mahalaya Paksha Shraaddhas from Panchami onward  due to any reason, one could perform the Shraddhas through a representative rather than fully losing the opportunity of a Year! In the event of a dead paternal uncle or elder brother having no sons, it would be opportune that during  the Mrita Tithis of the concerned departed ones, Mahalaya Shraddhaas be performed by assuming the role of a Jeeva Pitra and offering a Paarvana only.  Also one could perform Shraddhas on any of the twelve Purnimas occuring in a Year, especially the Maagha, Shaavana, Bhadrapadaas. Also, Shraddhas could be executed on any Krishna Praatipadaas or during Krittika upto Bharani days, or during Vishkam -bhaadi Yogas or during ‘Babaadi’ Karanaas. Thus several Maasa-Paksha-Dina-Nakshatra Yogas are among the fruitful timings to perform Shraddhaas, provided one’s desire and determination is assured!

Saamvatsarika – Maasika Shraddha Nirnaya: Having given an account of the meaning of Shraddha, Shraaddha Bheda-Nishiddhas and Shraaddha Desha-Kaalaas, now would be a decision of Yearly and monthly Shraddhaas. To facilitate that decision, one might divide a day into fifteen Muhurtas while three Muhurtas each comprise five sections of a day, viz. Praatah Kaala, Sangava kaala, Madhyaahna, Aparaahna, and Sayaahna. Of a Muhurta, the Fifteenth Part of a Day, the Saptama Muhutra is Gandharva Sanjnika, the eighth Muhurtha is of Kutapa, and the Ninth Muhurta is Rohina Sanjnika. Darshaadi Shraddha Nirnayas are often in these Time-Slots. Since Katyayanadi Saagjnikas decided to carry out the three Karmas viz. Anvaadhana, Pinda Pitru Yagna and Darsha Shraaddha on the same day, then the day has to devote itself to the three Karmas and as such the turn of Darsha Shraddha would necessarily have to occupy the third slot of the day ie. during the Aparaahna. Hence the Ekoddhshta has to be performed during the Saptama-Ashtama-Navama Muhurtas that is in the Madhyana or in the Kutapa-Rouhina Sanjnas  or the Ashtama-Navama Muhurthas as these are the Mukhya Kaalaas for the purpose. This Tithi has therefore to be considered as of Purva Dina although it has spread out to Para Dina technically. In the context of Purva-Para Dina, the determinant factor is Madhyahna Sparsha or Madhyahna Vyapti and thus the Dina Dwaya argument is decided in favour of the Purva Dina. In any case, Paarvana Shraddha has to be of Aparaahna Praapti. In fact, this Kshaya Dina Nirnaya dispute is common in most of the Pratyabdika,Maasika, MritaTithis.Also in Shraaddhas, Bharanyadi Nakshatra and Vyatipata yogas, the Parana Shraaddhas have got to be of Aparahna Vyapti. Some say that a Nakshatra of Shukla Paksha be a ‘UdayaVyapi’and  should be extended to Krishna Paksha’s ‘Astama Vyapi’and the Yoga be taken as of Kutapaadi  Kaala and as such Parvana Shraddha be within the Kutapaadi Pancha Muhurtas. But Parvana should in any case be forbidden at Saayaahna and Raatri nor at the Praatah or Sangava Muhurtas. However Parvana in respect of Pinda Pitru Yagna could be done at the Saayaahna too. If for any definite reason, there might be obstacles to complete the Saamvatsarika Shraaddha, then as a very distinct  exception it could be accompished latest by the First Prahara of the Raatri, since any extension of the Marana Dina of the person whose Shraaddha is under reference would be fraught with ‘Chandalatwa dosha’! And this has  to be kept in view by all the concerned participants of the Shraddha Karma! Shraaddhas in connection with Grahanas, Darshaas, Maasikas, Vaarshikas and so on need to be performed on the same day either by way of Anna Shraaddha or Dravya or Hiranya but not on the next day. Prathamaabdika may even be performed in the Trayodhashika Mala Maasa. The Dwadashika Maasika would be in Shudda Maasa and thus the Prathamaabdika be reckoned as in the Trayodashika Mala Maasa. If Adhika Maasa occurs in Dwadasha Maasas, then the Chaturdasha Shuddha Maasa be considered as Prathamaabdika. In Dwiteeyaadi or Mala Maasaas too dwiraavritti be performed and the Pratyabdika in Shuddha Maasa only. In the same way, Mahalaya Shraddha be performed in Shuddha Maasa and not in Adhika Maasa. In case the death occurred in Mala Maasa then again when that Mala Maasa recurs,  the Pratyabika would be performed in that Adhika Maasa only and not in Shuddha Maasa. If on the Darsha Dina itself, the Vaarshika dina falls, the latter be done first and then the Pinda Pitru Yagna and then Darsha Shraadha with Anna Paaka. Alternatively, first perform Pinda Pitru Yagna and then Paaka Yukta Darsha Shraaddha. In respect of  the Maasikaadi Shraddhaas too, the same procedure be followed. This is the Prathama Vaarshika Vichaara. After Sapindeekarana, for three years the ‘Shraaddha-Maatra Bhojana should not be consumed: Sapindeekaranaa dvurdhvam Yaavadabda trayam bhavet, Taava Deva na bhoktavyam tadeeye Shraaddha Maatrakam/ Prathamaabdesthyaadi bhojee dwiteeye Maamsa bhakshakah Triteeye Rakta bhojeesya- cchuddham Shaddham chaturthakey/ ( For the first three Shraarthaas, Shraaddha Maatra Prasada should not be consumed for three years successively since that bhojana is to be considered as that of the departed Soul’s bones, the second year as his ‘maamsa’and the third like his blood; there after in the Chaturtha Shradda, the Bhojana would have been purified and eatable). Paarvana Shraadha consists of two parts, one is Suvaranaanna and Aamaanna or the Golden half and the Ordinary half and thus the first part be considered as suitable for the Shraaddha purpose. For all types of Shraaddha, the Time and Tithis are specified.  Vriddhi Shraaddhaas: The specified time is in Praatah Kaala or Sangava Kaala; Madhyahna Kaala is stated to be Gouna Kaala and Aparagna Kaala is forbidden. If a Vivaha is scheduled in the night, the Vriddhi Shraaddha which needs to be done in Pratah Kaala could as well be done in the night. ‘Grahana nimitta Parvana Shraaddha’ and ‘Putrajanma nimittika-Jaata karmaanga Vriddhi Shraaddha’ could also be performed in the night. Pitru Shraddhaas: These are performed by Putras addressed to Pitru-Maataas by specifically detailing the Naama- Gotraas by Mantras as these are instantly responded; Pitraadis present themselves in different forms as Devatas in Deva Swarupa; as Gandharvas in Bhogyata Rupa;  Pashutwa in Trina / Grass Swarupa; Sarpatwa in Vayu Rupa; Yakshtaswa as Paana Rupa, Danavatwa in Maamsa Rupa, Preatatwa in Rudhira Roopa, Manushyas in Anna Rupa and so on. Tasyatey Pitarasshrutwaa Shraddha Kaalamupasthitam, Anyonyam Manasaadhwaataa Sampatanti Manojavaah,Tey Brahmanaih Sahaashnanti Pitaro Vaayu rupinah/ (As soon as the Shaaddha Karta invokes the Pitru Devatas at the Shraaddha Kaala in his own mind, the latter would arrive instantly by the speed of wind and eat the Shraddha Bhojana along with Brahmanas.) This is how, it is stated that when Shri Rama performed Shraddha, Devi Sita witnessed Dasharatha in the form of  Brahmanas! At the end of the Rainy season, the belief is that Yama Raja empties the Yama Loka and allows the Pretas and Pitru Devatas to line up to Bhu Loka who await the opportunity to enjoy the Payasa-Madhu Bhojana and having waited till such time Surya is in Kanya Raashi at the Putra dwaara till that time upto Amavasya and in the event of no offer for Shraddha being made by the Putras  return back to Yama Loka with immense disappointment and curses to the Putras! That is why the Putras need to perform Shraddha as per one’s own ability by offering even Kanda-Moola-Phalas or at least Jala Tarpanas! The Bhuta Prapancha from Brahma to Krimi-Keetakas would be contented by such Shraddha Karmas, since what is significant is to make the Shraaddha with Shraddha. Preta-Pitrus as Pischaacha Swarupas are satisfied with even Vikiraanna, Vrikshaadi Swarupas are satisfied with Snaana-Vastrodakaas, and other Pitras crave even for Ucchishta Pindaas! Shraaddha Devata Vichara:  The Karta should meditate Pitru Pitamaha Parapitaamahaas in Vasu-Rudra Aaditya Swarupa by way of each Paarvana and in Ekoddhisdhta Prakaara perform Sarva Shaartha in the formof Vasu Rupa. Some consider Pitru-Pitamaha- Prapitaamahas as Pradyumna-Sankarshana- Vaasu Deva Swarupas. Some others pray to them as Varuna- Prajapati-Agni Rupaas. Still others consider as Maasa-Ritu-Vatsara Rupas. Pitraadi parvanam yatra tatra Maataa Mahaadayah, Sarvatraivahi Kartavyaanaabdikey Maasikeshucha/ Maasikeshu twaabdikey cha Tri Daivatyam prakeertitam, Vriddhou Teertheynvashtakaasu Gayaayaamcha Mahaalaye/ Tripaarva -naka matreshtam shesha shat pourusham viduh/ ( Wherever Pitraadi Parvana is done then always Maataamahaadis are always to be included; however, in Masikas and Vaarshikas the Mataamahadis are not required since on these occasions there is the concept of Tri Daivatwa only. In Vriddhi Shraaddha, Tirtha Shraaddha, Anvashtaka Shraddha, Gaya Shraddha and Mahalaya Shraddha, the TriParvanaka Shraddha is preferred. In respect of the rest Shatpourusha Shraddha is understood;) Sapatnika Pitaadi, Sapatnika Maataadi would total Shatpourushas.  Kshayaaham varjiyitwaikam Streenaam naasti Prithakkriya,  Anvashtakaasu Vriddhou cha Gayaayaamcha Kshayehani, Atra mMaauh Pruthak Shraaddha manyatra Patinaasaha/ (The basic rule is that excepting when the Shraddha of a mother is performed exclusively on her Mrita Tithi, otherwise Strees have no role in any of the Mantras of the Shraddha Proceedings; they however figure again in the case of Anvashtaka -Vriddhi-Gaya Shraaddhas); in other words, the mention of Strees is  the only way of Saptneeka- Ucchaarana otherwise.   

Vishwa Devas: Unless specified in the context of Parvana Shraaddhas, the Vishwa Devas are of the Pururava-Ardrava Sanjnikas. In Kaamya Shraaddhaas, the Vishwa Devas are known as Dhuri-Vilochanaas. In the Naimittika Shraaddhaas and in Ashtakaa Shaaddhas done on Ashtami Tithis, the Vishwa Devas are called of Kaama-Kaala Sanjnikas. In Ekoddishta-Sapindikarana-Naimittika Shraaddhaas, the Vishwa Devas are of Satya Vasu Sanjnikas. In respect of Naandi Shraaddha as the Anga or Component of Garbhaa daana-Pumsavana-Seemantonnayana Samskaaras as also the Ishti Shraadha Sanjna Naandi Shraddhas as the Anga in Agnyaadhaana Soma Yaagaas, the Vishwa Devas are called of Kratu- Daksha Sanjnikas. In the eventuality of one’s father and maternal grand father being alive but not his mother, then the Nandi Shraddha is to be done only addressed to Maatru Parvana, then there would not be the need for Vishwa Deva at all. Similarly in the case of Pitraadi Paarvana Traya, if Maatru Paarvana Shraaddha is also coincidental, then too the Naandi Shraaddha would not have any Vishwa Deva. But Naandi Shraadha is required to be done with three Parvanas on three days in the  exigency; alternatively three Parvanas be done on the same day but separately.

Brahmanas  for Shraddhas: Uttama Brahmaanas are considered as experts in Veda-Vedaanga-Meemaamsa-Purana-Dharma Shastra-Karma- Tapo-Yoga-Nityagnis and Pitru Maatru Guru Sevaka-Shiva Vishnu Bhaktas. Madhyama Brahmanaas are Bandhus, Sagotras and Mitras otherwise qualified as among the Utaama Brahmanas to a good extent.The Varjita Brahmanas are Rogis, Anga viheenaas, Nastikas and of questionable conduct and background.

Shraaddhaarha Dravyaas: Kushaa Mukhyaajha, Kushaabhaavey Kaasha Durvousheera Trunaadayah,Tatra Kaashou Durvaarbhivaa kruta Pavitra hastonaachamet/  (Kushas are indeed important but in their absence Kaasa or Durva be used but cannot  perform Achamana  by wearing Pavitra). Two Pavitraas of Darbhaas be worn on the right Anaamika Finger. All the Karyas like Snaana-Daana-Homa- Swaadhyaaya-PitruKarmaadis must be accompanied with the Pavitra and not otherwise. The requirement is that in the Asana there should be two kushas, in Pitru Karma one should have moola-sahita chaturdarbhaas and in Daiva KarmaAgraYukta Darbhas of small size.   It is said that all the Pitru Karmaas upto Sapindikarana stand proof by the darbhas worn by the Karta as prescribed. The Prescription states: Yecha Pindaashritaa Darbhaayaihkrutam PitruTarpanam, Mala Mootrotsarga kaley Mala Mutraadya medhaaa Maargeybidaa Yangabhumou sthitaaye starana -asaney, Brahma Yagnenaye darbhaastyaa gaa haassarva yevátey/ ( Darbhaas as recycled after use on the Pindaas, after Pitru Tarpanaas, picked up at or handled by the self or others at the Bahirbhumis or otherwise, say at Smashanas or Yagna Bhumis or discarded after Brahma Yagnas should never ever be utilised again). It is stated that the Pavitras made of Kushas and Durvas are not even of the worth of sixteenth of those made of Gold!

Shraaddha Havi/Bhojana Padaartha:Vreehi Yava Tila Maasha Godhumashyaamaakapriyangu mrudaga sarshapaah prashastaa, chanako vikalpitha, Yaavanaalopi vikalpitah/ ( Dhanya, yava, tila, maasha, wheat, chaama, mustard are essential, while Chanakaadi are also useful). Agodhumancha  yacchhaartham Musha mudgavi varjitam, Taila pakvena rahitam krutamapya krutam bhavet/                        ( Shraaddha is considered as a waste without the products of Godhuma, Musha, Mudgavi and cooked padardhas in oils). Patolam badarama amalakam Kharjuriphalam chichaadrakam shunthi moolakam Draaksha Lavgangailaa patrakaani jeerakam hingu daadimaphalamikshuh sharkaraa gudam karpuram Saindhava Saamudrey Lavaney poogiphalamTaambula patramiti Shraaddhey proktaani haveemshi, Gavey Dadhi dugdhey Ghritam Gavyam Mahishamcha/ ( Cucumber,  jujubi fruit, Myrobalan, Date fruit, tamarind, ginger, radish, draksha or grapes, cloves, cardamom, jeera, hing or asafoetida, poagranate, sugar cane, sugar, jaggery, camphor, Sea Salt, arica nut / betel nut, betel leaves, cow / buffalo’s milk- curd- ghee etc. Such is the illustrative list of materials that could be offered as Havish to Agni in the Shraaddha Karmas).   In all the Ishta Purti Karyas, Mrita Tithis, Darsha-Vriddhi and Ashtaka Shraaddhhaas, Yogya Brahmanas can never be offered ‘Dushta Bhojana’. Such Bhojanas must include ideal Bhakshya- Bhojya-Lehya- Choshya- Rasa-Paaneeyas. Kathamchidyaadi Viprebhypona dattam bhojaney Madhu, Pindaastu naiva daatavyaah kadaachin -madhunaa bina/ ( In whatever way if honey is not offered in Brahmana Bhojana or on Pindas the offering is utterly inadequate). Referring to the quality of drinking water, it is stated: Durgandhi phenilam kshaaram pankilam pallavodakam, Nabhaveydyatra Gotruptirnaktam yacchaapahritam Nagraahyam tajjalam Shraaddhey yacchaa bhojyani paanajam/ (The water which suffers from foul smell, frothy, pungent to drink, muddy, and from a small pond which could not satisfy even a cow, stored overnight is indeed undrinkable in Shraaddhas). Daaturyadyat priyantatthaddeyam nindyam na cheddhitam, Ajaavi Mahishi kheeram tad vikaaraam cha varjyayet/  (Whichever material is normally longed for might all be offered and whatever is not liked be avoided!) Dharma Sindhu gives a very comprehensive and meticulous list of the  do’s and don’ts of the Shraaddha Bhojana!

Shraaddha Dina Krityaas: The Shraaddha Pradesha has to be purified with Gomaya and water and readied in all respects to facilitate proper seating arrangements to Brahmanas and the Karta(s). There  should not be any eating allowed in the house till the act of Pinda Daana and Brahmana Bhojana; this has to be ensured as even Devatas, Yatis, Brahmacharis and even children; to very young kids, there has to be provision of food service in a neighbour hood or so. The entire place of Shraddha should be spread over with Tilas. The Anna Paaaka is to be cooked preferably by the a Karta or wife or close relatives. The cooking of the Paaka should be of any metal excepting iron or preferably in new earthen pots. Excepting iron vegetable cutter and cooking utensils, the cooking place has to be non-cluttered. Grihyaagnoutu pachedannam  Shraadheeyam Loukikepivaa, Yasminnagnou pachedannam tasmin homo vidheeyati/  (Shraaddha Paaka could be cooked in Gruhyaagni or Lokaagni but the homa has to be made to the same Agni.) Cooking in the Aouposhanaagni is in fact the best possibility. Further to the Pratah kaala homa, some Agni is added to the Agni in which the Shraaddha Paaka is cooked. After the Paaka is cooked, some Agni is added to the Gruhyaagni and  ‘Agnoukarana Vaishwa Devaadika’ performed. This is the method followed by the Kaatyaayanas of cooking the Gruhyaagni Paaka. Ashvaalaayanas however make the Paaka in the Upachayaagni itself. Now the Kartru Bhoktru niyamas: Both the Karta and the Bhoktas have the regulations of avoidance of Stree Sangama on the Shraddha Dina and the Purva Dina, Punar bhojana, Anruta bhashana, Kshavara, and Taambula Bhakshana.  Shraaddha krucchuklavaasaasayaan   mouneecha vijitendriyah, Upavaasam Paraa na mcha Aoushadham cha vivarjatet/ ( Shraaddha Karta wear clean clothing, keep silent, exercise Self-Control, discard outside Bhojana and avoid medicines). Both the Karta and the Bhoktas must follow a dress code : Avastram Malavadvastram Koupeenatvam kaccha heenatwam Anuttaree -yatwam Kaashaaya vastratwamaar dravastratwam dwiguna Vastratwam Rakta Vastratwam Dagdha –vastratwam Syuta vastratwamititye kaadashaavam ardha nagnatwam Katrtru bhoktuyaam Varjyem/ (Thefollowing Eleven ways of dress code viz. Vastra heenata, impure vastra, koupeena, kaccha heenatwam, anuttareeyam, Kashaaya Vastra, wet clothing, double vastra, red clothing, burnt clothing, and sewn clothing should be discarded.) Kartha’s Urthwa Pundraadika Tilaka and Bhokta’s Tilaka are optional.Chandana Tilakas are however forbidden to Karta. Aamantritastuyo viprou bhoktumanyatra gacchati, Narakaanaam shatam gatwaa chandaaleshwabhijaayetey/ Aamantritastu yasshraaddhey vilambam kurutey dwijah Devadrohi Pitru drohi pachyatey narakeshu sah/ (If the Brahmana Bhokta who has accepted the invitation to a Shraaddha goes away to another Shraddha would be punished  in several Narakaas and gets repeated births of Chandalatwa). Similarly, the invited Brahman arrives late for the Shraaddha too would be punished like wise. Both the Karta and Bhoktaas should strictly observe the regulation of fasting on the previous and the same night besides restraint from stree sangama. They should not quarrel but practise refrain from loud and loose talk. The women engaged in the Shraddha Karma especially in the cooking should also observe quietness in all respects, lest the visiting Pitru Devatas are bound to get disappointed with the  visit to the Shraaddha.

Shraaddha Brahmana Sankhya: While the requirement of Brahmanas might be nine ( Two to represent Vishva Devas+ three for the representation of  Pitru Devas of three generations + four for Pitru Parvanas), there might be a dispensation of three Brahmanas minimum in view of the following viz. Satkriyaam Desha Kaalou cha drayva Braahmana sampadam, Shoucham cha vistaaro hanti, Iti Pakshye Ashaktou vaa Devai Ekah Pitru parvaney chaika iti Dwou Viprou/ (Keeping in view the Satkara, Desha, Kaala, Dravya, availability of Brahmanas and limitations of Shoucha, there could be one in Deva Sthaana and one for Pitru Sthana). Bhagavata Purana also confirmed as follows: Dwou Daivey Pitru karye Tri nekaikamubhayatravaa, Bhojayetsusamruddhyopi na kuryaacchaadra vistaram/ (Representation of Vishwa Devaas could be two or one,  and for Pitru Parvana one might replace three Brahmanas; even if a Karta could afford, one should not extend it beyond). ‘Vishwa Devaartha dwaya’ Brahmanas be seated Purvamukha and the Pitru Parvanas as Uttaraamukha and offer  the Anna to Agni meant for Vishwadevaas.For Pitru Parvana, one Vipra is adequate.  In case of the limitation of Brahmanas, then Brahmacharis wearing Kushas might state ‘Presha’ and once the reply of Anupresha is secured from the Brahmanas, then Bramahmacharis might as well  participate in the Shraaddha proceedings further till the end. Thus the problem of Brahmana Sankyha could be overcome. Having made the selection, the Karta addresses the Brhmanas as follows: Akrodhanai ssoucha paraissatatam Brahma vaadibhih, Bhavitavyam bhavadbhis chamaya cha Shraaddha  kaarinaa/  (Hey Brahmanas! As I should be,  you too should kindly be with maximum cleanliness  and more importantly, without anger and peacefulness in the various Karyaas ahead).
Some basic precautions in the Shraddhas:While performing Archana to Vaishwadevas, the Karta has to bend  his knee and at the Pitru Sthaana the left knee. All concerned Daiva Kriyas are to be performed with ‘Pradakshina’ from left to right and the Pitru Karyas with ‘Apradikshina’. Darbhas being given at the Pitru Sthaana be so done that they are in twos that too twisted, while in Deva Sthana there is no need  for doing the twist of darbhas. While leaving water at the Deva Sthaana the Karta should be ‘Uttaraabhimukha’ or facing the North but at the Pitru Sthaana he should be ‘Dakshinaamukha’. While making Sankalpa, offering Padya-Asana- Avahana-Arghyadaana- and Aacchaadana viz. the Panchopachaaras to Pitra Devatas as also at Anna daana-Pinda daana-Anjanaabhyanjana, Akhshaya Vaachaka and Swadhaa Vachana, the Karta has to state the Pitra Sambandha-Gotra –Namas clearly and separately in respect of the generations; Sakaarena tu vaktavyam gotram sarvatra dheemata/  Hence the Karta would have to utter as example: Haridasa Gotra/ In respect of Brahmanas the suffix of Sharma be added to the concerned name of the Pitras.If the Karta does not remember the names of the further generations at least the ‘Uccharana’of Pitru-Patamaha-Prapitamaha designations be stated clearly. In respect of Ashwalaayanaas the concerned three generations are given as Prithivishat-Antarikshasat-Divishat/ In the case of Strees the suffixes to the concerned names are Savitri Da-Devidaa-Devidaa again. It is stated that the Shraaddha Karmas are fructified only when the Uccharanaas of the concerned Pitras are given with not only the name but also with Vibhakti Niyamaas.The Nirnaya is as follows: Shashti vibhaktyaa Sankalpah Kshaanaaschakashayya Karmacha, Shasthyaa vaasyaccaturthyaa vaasana daanaam Dwijataye/ Dwiteeyayataya vavaahanamsyaadwi Baktistu Chaturthikaa, Anna Daaney Pinda puja Swadaa swastiti Vaachaney/Pinda daaney tu Sambuddhiryechatvettetwaaditah puraa, Tatah Param Chaturdhicheytyubhayam Sarva sammatam/ Sheshaani Sarva Karmaani sambuddhyam tairyadha -ayudham, Idantey Idamvovaa prayujjaaiva samaacharet/ ( Shashthi Vibhakti is used in respect of Sankalpas and Kshana and Akshya Karmas; Chaturthi Vibhakti is used for Asanaa and other Services; Dwiteeya Vibhakti for Avaahana; Chaturthi Vibhakti is used in Anna daana, Pinda Puja, Swadhaa Vachana and Swasti Vachana. In the case of Pinda Daana Sambuddhi, the Prathma Vibhakti is used before the expression of Ye cha twaa and that would be followed by the Chaturthi Vibhakti. In case of other Karyas, the concerened Services would be as per the exigency stating : Sambudhyam etc.Daivaardha Kriyas are offered in Savya Position of the Upaveeta, but the Pitru Karyas with ‘Anupaveeta’ or ‘Praacheenaaveeti’ position. However, all the tasks intended for Vipraas are to be performed in the Savya position only. Savyena Daivam kramasyaadapasavyena Paitrukam, Vipra pradakshinam Vipra Swaagatam chaarghyadaanakam/ Suktastotra japonnasya Paatreshu pariveshanam, Aahwaanamanna syaaghraanam  tathaa cha Swasti Vaachanam/ Taambula Daana maaabhyaa Samaapteyriti Paitrukam, Pradakshinaadyetaduktam Savyenaivasamaacharet/ ( While all the Deva Karyaas are to be executed in the Upaveeta position, the Paitru Karyas are in Anupaveeta position. But all the Pitru Karyas addressed to Brahmanas right from Pradakshina-Swagata-Arghya daana-Anna Sukta Stotra Japa-Patrapariveshana-Aahvaana- Anna Ghraana-Swasti Vaachana- and Taamboola Daana should be performed in Savya itself.  A few other precautions in the Shraaddhas are that while doing ‘Pitraadyarchana’ the Karta has to commence the Archana from the head to shoulders to knees to feet where as the ‘Devaarchana’ should be the other way round ie. from feet to knees to shoulders to head. All the Pitru Kriyas -excepting  Akshayya, Aasana, and Arghya Daana- are required to be done with ‘Swadha Shabda’; in the case of Deva Pujas or oblations, the Swaha Shabda should be resounding! Yet another requirement is that Deva Tirtha is to be offered to Vaishwa Devas, while Pitru Tirtha is provided to Pitraadikas.

Aachamana Vidhi: At the commencement of the Shraddha, the Karta should do Aachamana twice, wash the feet of the Vipras and of the Self and do punarachamana. The Achamana Vidhi as prescribed is once each after Devarchana and Pitraarchana, Annaaghraana, Vikira daana;  twice on ‘Paada Prakshaalana’ at Shraaddhanta, once each at Bhasma kriyantara kara shuddi, Ucchintaraantara, and Bhojanaantara. Aachamana is also done when earlier darbha are replaced with fresh ones at the time of all the Karyas like Devatarchanas etc as mentionedas also at each Darbha Tyaga.

Uha Mantra   (Sentimental Feeling for to whom the Shaddha is performed for) : The Pitru Shabda   is all comprehensive as it covers the Three Generations of Pitrus and also implies the mother if dead and even if  her Shraddha is to be done separately; that is why it is enough to leave water in the Arghya Patra by the Mantra Pitroonimaan preenaya. Even in the Shundhana Mantra of Shundhantaam Pitarah Sundhantaam Pitaamaha Shundhatamm Pra-Pitaamaha, then the Karta would have to imply: Shundhantaam Maatarah/ Also while doing Pinda Daana even for the Karta’s mother only, the Mantra is stated to be Yechatwaa manuteybhyaschah  and not Yaaschatwaa manutaabhyascha/ This is due to the clarification of Panani Sutra of Pumaan Striyaam/ However there has been the practice in some parts of the Country that when the Shraddha of Mother is only performed separately then the Mantra is indeed used viz. Yaaschatwaa manutaabhyascha as the Uha Mantra as also the Shundhantaam Maatarah/ Then the invocation is: Asmaan Matarah Pitamahi Prapitaamahi/ In any case, the Uha Mantra Prakarana requires that Vishnu Mantra is to be recited at the beginning, midway and the end of Shraddha: Daivey Pitrecha sarvatra japa homaadi karmasu, Mounam kuryaatprayat- nena sakalam phalamaampuyaat/ YadiMounasyua lopasyaajjapa homaarchanaadishu, Vyaahaareyd-VaishnavamMantram smeredwaa Vishnumavyayam/ ( In the context of Deva Karyaas, Pitru Karyaas, Japa-Homa-Archanas, one should concentrate and be silent while seeking to  bridge gaps of deficiencies and perform Vishnu Japa!). The Sentiments being expressed within the mind of the Shraaddha Karta further seek the Shield of Vishnu even before the Shraddha is initiated to accomplish the Sacred Karya so that the possibilities of deficiencies in the Shraddha Karma ahead are covered up by his Grace in the following supplication: Yasya smrutyaacha naamoktaam tapo homa kriyaadishu, Nuunam sampurnataam yaati sadyo vandetamachyutam/ ( I salute the Ever Lasting Vishnu by way of Naamoccharana, Smriti, Tapo homa kriyaas to ignore the blemishes and insufficiencies of the Shraddha Karya that is being launched). 

Shraddha Prayoga:  The Shraaddha Karta would prepare himself by commending Pitru Devatas as he changes quickly into the positions of Savya and Apasavya of his Yagnopapeeta and makes a firm Sakalpa stating Etesha mamuka shraaddham Sa Daivam Sa Pindam Parvana Vidhinaa Ekoddhishteynavaa Annenaamena vaa hiranyena vasvassadyo vaa karishye/ ( I hereby resolve to perform the Shraaddha of the concerned Pitraas of my Kula Gotra Naamas of three generations by way of Sa Daiva-Sa Pinda-Parvana Vidhi or Ekoddhishta Vidhi through the means of Anna or Hiranya Rupaas at once). Then the Brahmanas present would assuringly accord ready approval replying kurushva/ Then the Karta bends his right knees as prescribed above and commences the Shraaddha instantly: Amuka Pitrunamuka Shraaddhey Amuka Vishwa Devartham twayaa kshanah kriyataam/  The Vipras would respond with  Om Tathaa/ Then the Karta would bend his left knee and address the Pitru Devatas saying Amuka Shraaddhey Amukasya sthaaney twayaa kshananah kriyataam/ In case there is one Brahmana representing the three Pitru Sthaannas of Pitru Pitamaha Prapitaamahaanaam Sthaaneykshanah / The Karta requests the Brahmana with Akrodha naih Shloka. The further proceedings include Brahmana Snaana; Tilodaka / Yavodaka Shuddhi as per family Aachaara or tradition; with Savya perform Shuddhi to the Brahmana with Prayaschittratha Sukti Japa and Karta’s pradakshina; namaskara with Samasta sampat sama; Aachamana;Praanaayama; and individual announcements of Bhavataam Swaagatam  to both the Brahmanas,one representing the Three Generations of Pitruganaas on one hand and the representative(s) of Devaas on the other.

Padya:  Either in the court yard or the back yard of the house or near the Shraddha Desha dwaara, there should be two  planks- one as a square in the northern direction as a Deva Mandala and another in ‘vartulaakaara’ or in a circular shape the Southern direction as Pitru Mandala to enable the ‘Padya’ to the feet of the Brahmanas designated for Deva and Pitru Devatas. To the Deva-Brahmana the Karta would sanctify with Gomaya the plank  with Savya position and to the Pitru Place in the opposite direction with Apasavya.Facing the Brahmanas the Karta would worship the Brahmana Padaas with darbha-Yava or sorghum or millets / tila or sesame -gandha-pushpa-ghrita by turns in the appropritae Sayva-Apasavya positions in the respective directions and stations. The Sankalpas would vary: To Devas as Amuka sanjnika Vishwa Deva Idamvah paadyam swaahaa namah followed by washing with Shuddha Jala the upper part of the feet of the Brahmana stating shannodevi ; and to Pitru Devas as Pitah Amuka naama rupa gotra Pitru Pitamaha Prapitaamah indavah paadyam swadhaanamah followed by washing the feet with Tila Gandhodaka stating  Shanno devi again. While washing the Deva-Paada the Kartha would utter Idam vah  and to Piru Paada the shabda Idamtey/ The Pavitra should be set aside from the Karta’s right hand while washing the feet of the Brahmanas. After the ‘Paadya’ the Karta too should wash his feet too and without mixing that water, perform Aachamana twice and conduct the Brahmanas to their respective seats saying Bhurbhuvasswaha samaadhwam/ The Daiva Vipra should face East  of the Karta and the Pitru Vipra be ‘Uttaraabhimukha’ always. The same procedure is followed for Matru Shraddha also.

Aasana: The Shraddha Bhoktas are seated on the Asasanas with Poorva-Dakshina Samaaptis or ending with East and South directions. ‘Devartha-Aasana’ should have two darbhas with Poorvaagra and ‘Pitrarthya-Aasana’ should have a single Darbha.There has to be a Ghrita / Taila Deepa on the right-left sides of the Deva-Pitru Vipras. Beside the Deva Sthaana there should be a Vishnu Sthaana with an anticipation of the arrival of a Guest in Vishnu Swarupa. That Sthaana should be worshipped  in Savya position chanting Apavitrah PavitrovaVaishnavyanamah,Kashyapainamah, Kshamaayai namah; Medini loka Maataatwam – the last prayer being to Bhu Devi; and to Gadadhara at Gaya Shraaddha Kshetra with: Tadvishnoh Paramam pradam tadvipraaso/ in Praacheenaa veeti. Later on the Karta chants Gayatri Mantra in Savya, does Praanayama, Tithi Keertana, and Sankalpa in Apasavya as follows:Amuka Pitruna mupakraantamamuka Shraaddham karishye and recite Devataabhyah Pitrubhyascha, Aamuktaanaancha Moortaanaam, Chaturbhischa yasya smritwaa/ thrice over.In Apasavya there would  be tila prokshana with Apahataa and Akshata Prokshana with Uddeerata in Savya. Further acts include Paavani Mantra Pathana, Paaka dravya prokshana with the Mantras Tadvishno / Ya ddeavaa; Vaishwa Devaarchana, Devarchanaa, and Pitryarchana. This would be followed by the Asana Grahana of the Vipras: first to the DevaVipra accepting two Darbhas from the Karta with Amukeshaam Vishweshaam Devaanaam  Bhurbhuvasswa-rida maasanam/ and next to the Pitru Brahmana with the Mantra: Aasaneyshwaasanam dadyaannatu paanoukadaachana, Pitrukarmani vaamecha Daivey dadyaattu Dakshiney/ Then the Vipra accepts saying swaasanam/

Arghya Kalpana: There should be only two Arghya Paatraas in view of Daivey Pitreyai chakaikamva/ These Deva Paatras which were kept upside down are straightened by the Karta who places two Darbha-Pavitras, fills up with Shuddhodaka reciting Shanno Devi and ya vosi and with Gandha Pushpas. Some offer Gandha-Pushpaas with Gandha dwaaraam, Ouoshadhih prati medadhwam/Then Vipra’s reply would be Devaarghya paatrey sampanney, su sampanney/ The Karta touches the right leg of the Deva Vipra with his left hand and sprinkle Yavaas all over his body from knee-shoulders-head stating: Amuka Vishwaan Devaan bhavatsaavaaha ishye and after receiving the reply viz.  Aavaahanaaya, the he continues the sprinkling  stating Vishwa Devaasa Aagata/ He further prays to Bhumi with the Ruk Vishwa Devaashrunnuta and sprinkles on the Bhumi. Hiranya keshiyas and others perform Deva Pitraavaahana after Arghya pradaana as above and while doing Agnoukarana to the Dakshina of  Agni stating Yedey Vaasah and Ayata Pitarah/ (HoweverKaatiyaas perform Deva Pitraavaahana even before Arghya Kalpana).Thus having done the Arghya Prapatti and stating Swaahaarghyah, the karta hands over Arghya Pavitra to the Brahmanas stating Vishswa devaa idam vo Arghyam/ Then in the Arghya Patraas are filled up with the Arghya and milk,curd, ghee, tilas, Akshatas, Mustard, Darbhagras and Pushpas, ready for Arghya Saadhana.

Dhupa Deepa Vastra Yagnopaveetaas: To the Vipras, the Karta offers Dhupa-Guggula and Chanadana, possibly with Agaru mixed with ghee, honey and Karpura  saying Ayam vo dhupa/ Deepa has to be with ghee or tila oil offering with the statements Idam vo Jyotih or Ayamvo Deepa Prakaashah/  The Vastra has to be made of silk or cotton.Yagnopaveetam daatavyam Vastraabhaavey vijaanata,Nishkrayovaa yathaa shakti Vastraalaabhey pradeeyatey/Pitrun sakkrutya vaa so bhirdadyaaryagnopaveetakam, Yagnopaveeta daanena vinaa shraaddham tu nishphalam/( In case Vastra is not available, Yagnopaveeta must be surely provided or atleast its equivalent monetary value; in Pitraarchana, Yagnopaveeta also must be provided.

Arghya Saadhana:  To the Southern side of the Pitru Vipra, three Pitru Arghya Paatras are kept in a row and the Arghya as filled up with three darbhas are handed over to the the Vipra with the Shanno devi Mantra with Karta being Dakshinaamukha. The Aavahana of the Pitru-Pitamaha-Prapitamahas  is made: Amuka mamuka naama-gotra-Rupa mavayaahayaami;  then one by one the  Arghyas are given with the Mantras: Pitaridantey Arghyam, Pitaamahaadantey Arghyam, Prapitaamahaadantey : Swadhaanamah; Ya Divyaa/ The seshajala or the left out water is utilised for the Karta’s Mukhanjana or face-wash especially the eyes for Ayush Vriddhi. The Pitru Sthaana is cleaned up with Bhasma and Shuddhodaka and Gandhaadi Upachaaraas or Services are made saying Amuka Sharman yadha naama gotra ayantey gandhah/ All the tasks involved in the Argha Pradaana are to be made in Praacheenaaviti position and all the services like Gandha Deepas be accompanied with ‘Swadhaanamah’excepting Arghya Saadhana.

Agnoukarana : Ashvalaayanas prefer Agnoukarana in Shraddhaas in Gruhyaagni. Apastambaadis and Shroutaagnis prefer Dakshinagni. Those who have no Nityagni would  create Lokagni and after homa, do Agni Tyaaga. Rig Vedis perform Agnoukaranaa in the Gruhyagni, cook Pakvaanna charu, make two halves of it, spread portions of the Uttara Bhaga of the Charu around the Homagni in Apasavya reciting Somaaya Pitrumatey Swadhaanamah, Somaaya Pitrumata idam na mama/ and similarly from the Dakshina Bhaga perform Swaahanta-Aahutis in Savya stating Agnaye  Kavyavaahanaaya sdwaahaa, Somaaya Pitrumatey swaahaa namah/ Kaatiyaas use Gruhaagni and after Paristarana, perform three Ahutis of Samidhas with ghee stating in Savya: Agnaye Kavyavaahanaaya swaaha; and two darbha wooden pieces stating: Somaaya Pitrumatey swaahaa/ In the case of Apastambaas, at the ‘Ajyabhaaganta’ have a dialogue: Uddhreeyataam  Agnoukriyataam/ and as a reply: Kaamaa -muddhreeyataam Kaamamagnou kriyataam/ In the case of Hiranyaakeshiyas, the Prashna or the query would be : Uddhrishyaamyagnou  karishyaami/ In reply, there would be the recital of Yanmey maataa etc.with saptaahutis and six Aajyaahutis totalling thirteen Ahutis. At the ‘Aajya bhaagaanta’, the Hiranyakeshis perform ten Aajyaahutis and sixteen Annahutis while reciting Somaaya Pitrumatey.

Paani Homa. The procedure is the same for both Ashvalaayanas as also Kaakatiyas viz. by way of ‘Prashnottaraas’ or Question-Replies: Vipra paanaavagnou karanam karishye// Kriyataam/ But Ashwalaayana Sutries do not like the dialogue method. The procedure however is that the karta touches the Prityartha Vipra, does jalaprokshana and makes two Aahutis reciting the earlier said Somaaya Mantra in savya, but before that in Apasaya picks up darbha by left hand, performs Upastarana of Anna by his right hand, does Abhikarana with ghee by the left hand. On homaanta, the Karta would do ‘Parisamuhna’ and ‘Paryakshana’. Vipras would retain the remaining homaanna in the in the context of Paani Homa would deposit in their respective paatras with the Amaanupakva Mantra. While retaining the Agnoukarana sesha along with the Pinda Patra, then the service of Sarvaanna be taken up but the Agnoukarana sesha should not be mixed up with Deva Patras. But Kakatiyas think otherwise and mix up the homa sesha mix up with all the Patras on the plea : Annam Paanouhutam yaccha yacchaasyatpariveshitam, Yekeekrutyaiva Bhoktavyam prudhabhaksho na vidyatey/ ( The Anna Sesha of the Paani Homa or that which is offered to Agni as well as what is to be served has to be taken together and not otherwise!)

Anna Pariveshana and Bhokta- Bhojana Vidhaana: After ‘ghritaabhikarana’, the havishanna’ could be served to Brahmanas either by Kartha, his wife or any body but with utmost Shuchi. Naapavitrena naikena hastena vinaa kusham, Naayaseynaapi paatrena shaddeshu pariveshayet/ ( The service should be done with cleanliness, without darbhas, not with one hand, and not in iron vessels). Anna, Ghee and other items should be served with laddles, but water and Pakvaana with hands. Salt must be served with spoon and never ever by hand. All uncooked or fried ‘padaardhas’ could be served by hand.Ghee vessels should not touch Bhojana Paatras. Service of items to all a line should be uniform although whatever extras are required by a person could be served again.Tilaas, hing, pepper, sonthi etc. should not be served in raw form but as bye products. Whatever items are cooked for the Pindas must be served to Brahmanas. Then being in Upaveeta position the Karta should spray Kushas and Yavas around the Deva Patra with right hand and Tilas around the Pitru Patra with left hand, recite Gayatri Mantra, do prokshana on the Anna,   parishechana without Mantra, touch the Deva Patra with the right hand and Pitru Patra with the left hand in ‘Swastikaakara’ reciting the following Mantra: Prithiveetey Patram dyorapidhyaanam Brhamanastwaa Mukhemritam juhomi Brahmanaanaam vaa Vidyaavataam Praanaapaanahorju homyaksita masivbaamaishaam ksheshthaa Amutraamushmin lokey/  This Mantra is prescribed by Apastamba Katyaayanaadis as a rule. Later after ‘Abhimantrana’, the Karta holds the Deva Pitra’s right thumb with his inverted hand and without touching the nails makes him perform a Pradakhshina of the Anna with the Mantras : Ato deva, Idam Vishnuh, Vishno havyam rakshaswa; similarly the Karta would enable the Piru Brahmana to perform ‘Apradakshina’ of the Anna by the former’s left hand with the Mantra: Apahataa/  Then the Mantra: Aamukey Vishvey Devaa Devaa Idamannam havyamayam Brahmana Aahavaneeyardhye iyam bhurgayaa ayam bhoktaa Gadaadhara idamannam souvarna paatram Akshayya vatacchaayeyam Amuka Devebhyah idamannam sopaskaram amrutarupam parivishtam pariveshyamaanam chaa truptey swahh havyam namo na mama; om tatsat/ Then leave Yavayukta jala with the right hand on the leftside of the Deva Patra saying Ye Devaasa/ Then in the case of Pitru Brahmana, touch the Pitru Paatra and repeat the action stating: Pitru Pitamahodayo yatha naama gotraa Devataa; idamannam kavyam ---Idam Raajatampaatramakshayya  vatacchaayeyamAsmatpitra Pitaamaha Prapitaamahebhyah Amuka Naama Gotra Rupebhyah idamannam sopaskaramamruta rupam parivishtam pariveshyamaanam chaa tripteh swadhaa kavyam namo namama Om tatsat/ Then the ‘Kusha tila yukta Pitru Tirtha’is dropped on Bhumi from the left hand into the right hand. In the Daiva Sthala, the mantra is Sweshta Devataayai idamannam;and Upasthaana with:  Ye Devaasa/ In Pitru Sthala with Apasavya Tilodakas are left down with the Mantra: Devataabhyah Pitrubhyascha, Saptavya, Amurtaanam, Brahma –arpanam, Havirdaataa, Chaturbhischa, Om Tatsat Brahmaarpanamastu, Yeshaamiddhistam teshaam -akshayya preetirastu/  In Savya position: it is said: Eko VishnuhAnn heenam kriyaa heenam Mantra heenam cha yadbhavet,Tatsarva macchidram jaayataam/ --Jaayataam Sarvamacchidram/---Anena Pitru Yagmena Pitrurupee Janaardana,Vaasudevah preeyataam/  and Tila kusha Jalaas are left down. Vipras are forbidden to touch the Anna till that Sankalpa. The Karta would make Pitru-Poorvaka salutations saying Ishana Vishnu,Gayaayi namah, Gadaadharaayanamah,Pundarikaakshaaya namah/  give hasta jala to the Vipras and make final prokshana thrice with Gayatri. At Pitru Sthaana he would then offer Aouposhanaartha Jala and utter the three Ruks of Madhuvaataa---ending Madhu Madhu Madhu—Om tatsat yathaa sukhamjushadhwam/ Vipras without performing Bali daana would then make Aouposhana and the Karta would recite: Shraddaayaam praaneni vishtomrutam juhomi, Shivomaavishaa pradaahaaya praanaaya swaahaa/ while the Vipras make Pancha Praana-Aahutis with Brahmanima Aatmaamritatwaaya/ and finally the sixth Aahuti. Then the Karta requests the Brahmanas to eat peacefully without hurry discarding whatever is not of liking but consuming curd, ghrita and payasa  fully. While performing Aouposhana, if the Vipras indulge in loose talk, the Pitru Devas would be disappointed; like wise without doing the Auoposhana the Vipras are forbidden to commence eating. Vipras are also forbidden to touch the Bhojana with left hand nor the feet; they are also barred from asking for more services of any item without being asked for by the Karta or his representatives. Karta on his part should be alert to ascertain as to what ever is even remotely liked for by the Vipras and put them at ease; incidentally, salt must be preserved and the Vipras should never have to ask fot it, lest the Pitras might go away in disgust. While the Brahmanas are thus eating in peace and ease, there should be the Shravana of Purusha Sukta, Rakshoghna Mantras like Krunushwa paajo rakshohanam; Indresha Soma Sukltas which are of Pitru Linga orientation; Paavamaani Sukta, Vishnu-Brahma-Rudra-Arka Stotras and so on. Also Veenaam Vamshadhwanimchaapi Viprebhya-ssannivedayet, Mandala Brahmanam Paathyam Naachiketa trayam tathaa/ Trimadhu Trisuparnam cha paavamaana yajumshicha, Aashussishaana Suktam cha Agnaye Kavya vaahanam/ (Besides mild Veena vaadaanaadi music or hand fan dhwani, there should be the Shravana of Mandala Brahmana, Trinaachiketa-Tri Madhu-Tri Suvarna-Pavamaana Sukta, Aashussishaana Sukta, Agnaye Kavya vaahana Shukta to delight the Brahmanas in the course of their Bhojana.The Bhoktas should also follow proper seating regulations of not exposing arm pits, resting arms on the knees or thighs, eating with four fingers without the thumb, making sounds of the mouth, drinking half of water in the patra and drinking again and again, biting halves and eating the rest in turns, etc as such deficiencies would land them in ‘Adhogati’ or downward trend of life. A vipra in the ‘Pankti’or the eating  line should not touch another as that would call for Dasha Gayatri soon after the Bhojana; if any padartha from one Bhojana Patra to another falls then the affected Brahmana should discard the item and after Bhojana take bath and perform two hundred Gayatris. If any other improprieties occur, the Bhokta should be replaced! After the‘Vipra bhojana’, the Karta should politely ask the Bhoktas in Praacheenaaveeti:  Triptaasthah! Then the Vipra’s reply should normally be:Triptaasmaha/ The Karta would ask the Bhoktas: Shraadham Sampannam? The Bhokta’s reply would be: Susampannam/ The Karta would query: Anna seshaih kim kaaryam! The Bhokta’s reply would be as follows : Ishtaissaha bhoktavyam/ Then the Bhoktas would  then perform Uttaraaposhana stating Amritaasi dhaanamasi/

Pinda Daana and Pinda Nisheddhas: Pinda Daana is stated as the sixth step viz. Archanaantara,      Agnou Karana, Bhojanottara, Vikirottara, Swadhaa Vachanottara, and Vipra Visarjanottara. To     Apastamba Hiranya Keshiyas, Pinda Daana is after Vipra Visarjana while Ashwalaayanaas consider it as before Bhoktaachamaniya or later and so do Kakatiyas too. To the North of the Dwija-Ucchishtha Sthaana and nearby the Paani-Homagni, the Pinda Daana Sthala is allotted with a hand-long of straight line with Darbhas spread out with tilodakas with the Mantra of Shumdhantaam Pitarah Pitamaha Prapitamaha so that three round Pindas, representing three generations of father-grand father and Great rand Father,  as prepared by the Karta’s wife, or brother or a close relative could be placed in the distinct squares one by one as lifted by ‘Angushthangula Madhyama’ or between the thumb and the forefinger; these Pindas that are offered to the Pitras are made of the Agnoukarana seshaanvita Sarvaana with Ghrita, Madhu, Tilas. The Pindas are offered to the Pitru Devas with Mantras like Yetattesmat pitarathyaa naama gotra rupaye cha twaamanu/ Pitrey Amuka naama gotra rupaayaayam pindaswadhaa namasteybhyas cha Gayaayaam Shri Rudra Paadey dattamastu/ Then  for the satisfaction of the Karta, the Pindas are then made to contact the darbhas again and he performs ‘Anumantrana’ from the left to North stating Atra Pitaromaadayadhyam Yadhaa bhaaga maavrushaayadhwam, does Praanaayamaas possible and would do ‘Abhimantrana’ reciting Shundha -taam  etc Mantr leaving water all around. The Pindas are worshipped with Gandha- Dhupa-Deepa-Sarva Prakaara Naidedya Taamboola-Puja. Yat kinchitpachyatey Bhakshyam Bhojyamannama garhitakam, Anivedyana bhoktavyam Pinda muley kathamchana/(None should eat without performing Naivedya of all the Bhakshya Bhojyas to the Pindatraya.) Further to this, Pinda Stuti be done with Namovaha Pitarah—Paretana—Agneytamadyaashwa—Yadantariksha and such other Mantras. Then as per Apastambaas, the middle Pinda is  lifted stating: Apaamtvousha dheenaamrasam praashayaami Bhuta kritam garbham dhatswa/ ;this Madhyama Pinda is to be given to the Karta’s wife for Santaana Prapti. Alternatively, these Pindas are given to Go-Brahmana-Agni-Jalas. Vikiraanna is to be segregated  to be given away to crows with the fond hope of fulfilling the unfulfilled desires of the near and dear Pitru Devatas. Pinda Nisheddhaas: It is stated that Pinda Daana, Mrittikaa Snaana, Nitya Tarpana and Shraddhaanga Tarpanas are not to be done with Tilas, for a year after the performance of Vivaha, six months after Upanayana, three months after Choodaa Karmas, and one month after Garbha daana samskaaraas and Vriddhi Shaaddhas. But Pinda Daana has to be performed at Mahalayas, Gaya Shraddha, Maatru-Pitru Nityabdikaas, Sapndikaranas, and ‘Shodasha maasa paryanta Preta krityas’. In respect of Jeeva Pitrukarta and Garbhinisraava, Pinda Pradaana is not approved. Anukalpa Shraaddhas: In case adequate number of Brahmanas are not available , then in the Deva Sthaana the services of one Vipra be utilised: Aneka Vipraalaabhey Deva sthaaney Shaalagraamaadikam sthaapayitvaika Viprey Pitraaditrayam Maataa mahaadisahita Devataa   -shtakam chaavaahana Sarvam Shraaddham kaaryamityuktam/ Sarvathaa Vipraalaabhye Darbha Vatu shraaddhamityaadyapyutam/ (In the absence of Brahmanas, one could keep one Vipra at the Deva sthaana and perform Avahana to the Pitra traya and consider Darbha as the Vatu and accomoplish the Sarva Shraddha).

Hiranyaadi Shraddha-Anukalpaas: If for any reason, the Pratyaabdi Shraddha is not possible to be performed, then Hiranya Shraddha be made. The Karta would make the Sankalpa: Amuka Shraaddha maamena Havisha hiranyena vaa sakalpavidhaana karishye/ In this case, the prokshana is made to hiranya or gold instead of Anna. In the Sankalpa, the seven Karyas of Avahana, Arghya, Agnou -karana, Pibnda Daana,Vikira, Akshayya, Swadhaa vaachana and Prashnaas are absent, but Suvarna would be present as much as of the value of Shraddha or its multiples according to the considerations  of the Karta.

 Seshaanukalpas:Alternatives to Shraaddha include Pakvaanna Homa with Pitru Sukta etc.; sincere Upavaasa; offering Jala Purna Ghatas to Brahmanas,  grass to cows, Pitru Tarpana with Tilodakas, Swalpa Daana of Dhanya-Tila-Dakshinas, Pathana or Shravana of Sankalpaadi-Sarva Shraddha prayogas, or as a last resort perform: Namesti Vittam na dhanam nachaanyacchhaadropayogiswa pitrunnatosmi, Tripyantu Bhaktyaa Pitaro mayaitou bhujaikrutou vartmani Marutasya/(Pitru Devataas! I am unable to muster money, nor material worthy of performing Shraaddha. I can only lift up my hands with sincerity and complete veneration and faith to the Sky.May you accept my inability to perform Pitru Shraddha and condone my non-performance and may my three generations  of Pitru Devatas be contented!

Shraaddha Vighnas: Nimantranottaram Viprasya Sutakey mrutakewaa praaptey Ashouchanam na/  In case a Brahmana gets the Karta’s ‘Samantrika Nimantrana’ at a Shraadha,  he would at once become immune from any  Ashoucha due to birth or death and this is confirmed in Brahma Purana too. Further: Karthustu Paaka parikriyottora maashou chaabhaavah, Paaka pari kriyaa cha samantrakam Paaka prokshana –mityaahuh/ (Once the Shraddha Karta has done Paaka Parikriya or cooking the Shraaddha Paaka or Mantra Purvaka Prokshana of the Paaka then he would not be subject to Ashoucha) However if bhojana has aleady begun when the Karta receives the news of his Ashoucha, then has to leave the Bhojana and repeat the Shraddha only after the Ashuchi is over.But if both Karta and Bhokta were ignorant of the Ashuchi till Bhojana, then the Prayaschitta would be ‘Panchagavya praashana’or consumption of Panchagavyas. If they were aware of the Ashuchi but still continue the Bhojana, then the Prayaschitta would be intensified. In respect of Maasikas, the Karta when encounters the problem of Ashoucha has the option of redoing the current Maasika along with the next Maasika: Maasikamchoda kumbhamcha yadya dantaritam bhavet, Tattaduttarasaam tantraya danushtheyam prachakshasey/  Some experts opine that if there is a Vighna of a Pratyaabdika, then on the same tithi of the next month the Pratyabdika could be re-done.

Tila Tarpana :  When any Shraddha is addressed to Pitrus, Tila Tarpana is part of the same. In the case of Darsha Shraddha, Tila Tarpana is done before it. In Ugadi-Manvantara-Samkranti-Vaidhruti-Vyateepaata and such other Shraddhas too Tila Tarpana is done likewise. In Vaarshika Shraddha, Tila Tarpana addressed to Pitru traya is preferred on the following day as also on Mahalayas. But: Vriddhi Shraaddhey sa pindyaancha pretashraaddheshu Maasikey, Samvatsara vimokecha na kuryaattila tarpanam/ (In the case of Vriddhi Shraaddha, Sapindi, Preta Shraaddha, Anumasika and Varsha Samaapti, Tila Tarpana is not to be done). In that case, Tarpana is to be on next morning after Snaana, Tarpana be done after or even before Sandhya Vandana. Then, after announcing Sambandha-Naama- Gotras and recite: Swadhhanamat sarpayaami and offer Tarpanas either by right hand in case of Rigvedis or in the Anjalis three times by others. This is the Nitya Tarpana Vidhi. As a component of Brahma Yagna, Tila Tarpana is forbidden on Sundays- Tuesdays and Fridays and on Pratipada, Shashthi, Saptami, Ekadashi and Trayodashi as also in Bharani, Kritthika and Magha; in Ratri Sandhyas, in the houses, in Janma Nakshatras, Shubha Karyas. However,Tila Tarpana is in order at Gaya Shraddha as in Mahalyaas.

Om Tat Sat


(My humble salutations to  the lotus feet of Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Mahaswamy ji and also my humble greatulness to  Brahmasree Sreeman V D N Rao ji Philosophic Scholar for the collection)


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