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The Significance of Pitra Paksha

Two years ago, in one of my blogs, I tried to make a point in Hindu ritual of Shradh. It was due to my curious bone, I researched about it. Ever since my childhood, I have been observing people maintaining the significance of Pitra Paksha. For those who don't know what Pitra Paksha is, in Hindu culture 15 lunar days before Navratri is considered as "Pitra Paksha". People do a special ceremony called "Shradh" during this time of Pitra Paksha. Based on my studies, I found that Shradh is just another way of doing Charity. Our ancestors were very perceptive and visionary. They made customs around things which people easily ignore, and charity is one of such things. We all believe in this noble cause of helping needy and poor. But very few of us do it faithfully and religiously. However, when there is a custom of doing food charity every year during Pitra Paksha, most of the people follow it. Some of them want to continue it as their family culture, and a few do it in fear of curse from their for predecessors.



I always feel every Hindu custom has a hidden purpose behind it which is to serve humanity or nature some or the other way. In this post, I am sharing my findings why we celebrate and ceremonialize something called "Pitra Paksha". The word Pitra means our ancestors or forefathers who are dead. Scientists say that human beings and their ancestors have existed on earth for 20 million years. All these hundreds of thousands of generations that lived on this planet before us have given us so many things. The language that we speak, the manner that we use, our clothes, our food, our buildings, almost everything that we know today has come to us from generations before us. And Pitra Paksha is for making an offering to express our gratitude to all the previous generations who have contributed to our lives.

When life on our planet started, we all were animals. Life was only about survival, eating, sleeping, reproduction and eventually dying one day. Slowly we evolved to better humans. One extraordinary person out of many common, started standing up and from there we started moving as we walk today. Similarly, one started using his/her mind above being an animal, and since then, the human mind is unstoppable in terms of thinking out of the box. Then we learned to use tools, and suddenly our ability to do things multiplied. Then slowly shelters came up, clothes came, civilization came and many good things happened on earth because of human beings. Our ancestors structured lives and because of those intelligent people, we are who we are today. From learning to make fire out of stones, we now are landing on the moon. Credit all goes to our forefathers. 


We often take all the things that we have today for granted. But without the generations that came before us, we would not have all the things that we have today. So, we rever these 15 days of Pitra Paksha. Commonly a few rituals are being performed during this time to pay homage to one’s dead parents. But it is actually an expression of gratitude for all those generations of ancestors who lived before us. This is a way to show our respect and thankfulness to them. I hope I am able to convey that Pitra Paksha is a special way to celebrate our life givers. 
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Comments

  1. We do take things for granted. Not many know about Pitra-paksh or devi-paksh. Nice informative post

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