Relevance of performing Shradh for ancestors

We honour parsadam only after offering all we eat ( satvik Food ) to the deities at home. We offer the Prasadam by praying to Srila Prabhupada to take it to Lord Krishna and also to our ancestors and other loved ones who have passed away. After following such practice, how relevant it is to perform Shradh for our ancestors and other loved ones who are no longer alive? 

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  • Sevak

    Hare Krsna

    In Srimad Bhagavtam Lord Sri Narasimha Himself recommends performing of Shradha ceremony  by His devotee Prahlada after delivering Hiranyakashipu

    kuru tvaṁ preta-kṛtyāni
     pituḥ pūtasya sarvaśaḥ
     lokān yāsyati suprajāḥ

    My dear child, your father has already been purified just by the touch of My body at the time of his death. Nonetheless, the duty of a son is to perform the śrāddha ritualistic ceremony after his father’s death so that his father may be promoted to a planetary system where he may become a good citizen and devotee. ( SB 7.10.22)

    Although the lord Himself states that by His touch, Hiranyakasipu is liberated. Still the lord advises Prahlad to perform Sraadha ceremony. This highlights importance of the performing Sraadha. 

    Hare Krsna

  • Hare Krishna Prabhu ji,

    A man when born in this world is born with Panch Runa the 5 debts. 1. Pitru Runam 2. Matru Runa 3. Deva Runa. 4.Rishi Runa. 5. Bhuta Runa.

    Pitru Runa-- gets cleared when the child performs the final rituals of the father upon his demise.[he is free from debt of the father]

    Matru Runa-- does not get cleared at all [ one can never repay what a mother does to his child . We are all ever indebted to a mother for having brought us into this world bearing all the pain and nourishing us selflessly]

    Deva Runa --is cleared by performing our duties as worship

    Rishi runa-- is cleared when we make correct usage of our knowledge and teach it to an able disciple.

    Bhuta runa--can be cleared only by proper use of materials made available to us by God ,whether it is fire ,water ,air , house utensils and grain and other objects .[By not polluting them and respecting them in its correct usage avoiding abuse and ill distribution]

    There is one more Manushya runam also as Matru Runa cannot be cleared. maybe giving fire to the chitta gives her peace. Even doing Shaardha karma gives peace..

    Pitrus' when satisfied bless their family with good progeny, long life, fortune and all opulences.

    What you are doing is very good appreciated by all pitrus and devatas and guru's also.

    But it is nitya karma not Shaardha karma. 

    Performing Shraddha is a part of obeying Dharma, as per science of Dharma. Ancestors’ soul becomes satisfied only after receiving pinda and water from their son.

    The son protects his ancestors’ souls from the Hell named ‘Puta’. Therefore Lord Brahma himself has named him as ‘Putra’.

    Puta is a name of a Hell u come across this in types of hells described in Garuda Purana.  A son who performs Shaardha karma  ( offering ancestors' water and till every amavasya) Pitru can be satisfied and ascend to higher planets.

    Chapter 1 TEXT 42  BG--Due to the evil deeds of the destroyers of family tradition, all kinds of community projects and family welfare activities are devastated.

    The four orders of human society, combined with family welfare activities as they are set forth by the institution of the sanatana-dharma or varnasrama-dharma, are designed to enable the human being to attain his ultimate salvation. Therefore, the breaking of the sanatana-dharma tradition by irresponsible leaders of society brings about chaos in that society, and consequently people forget the aim of life—Visnu. Such leaders are called blind, and persons who follow such leaders are sure to be led into chaos.

    presently it is time actually called Pitru paksha in the month of Bhadrapada masa ..Is perfect timing to do this Shaardha Karma. If one cannot do yearly shaardha karma for all the ancestors it could be done once for all in this auspicious month. 
    Esp. Mahalaya amavasaya.
    pitru loka's one day equals one month on earth. that's why they do tarpan every amavasya. If possible.
    Daily doing pooja for Lord offering Krishna bhog and then offering to guru Maharaj and then taking the same to ancestors and then partaking it is a nitya karma. It is nice but Shaardha karma should not be stopped. If you have no time do do every Amavasya.. you could do it on special days like Mahalaya amavasaya, or on solar eclipse.  You must do more research on this and ask from poojari in the temple. They can guide you.
    Krishna is called Yagna and yagna bhokta all offering to His is like offering to all entire universe .. Draupadi fed him with one single grain. "A single grain of rice, if offered to God with love and humility, becomes the beeja (primordial seed) which feeds and satiates the whole universe." He then ate that single grain of rice, and at that time, for that day, the whole universe was stomach-full and satiated. 
    But still Pirtu runa has to be removed by the son. 
    In one ekadashi story we come across a story.. Mokshada ekadashi. 
    you can go thru. This ekadashi relieved the suffering of pitru who are in hell because of sinful activities he performed and was relieved when his son performs this ekadashi and transferes his credits to his father. Then the father could ascend to higher planets.
    In this story even the King ( SON) was a great Vaishnava bhakta then why did he had to do this ekadashi to relieve his father of sufferings?
    You being a devotee and offering Krishna bhog is not sufficient.
    In my opinion you must do atleast Mahalaya amavasya if you cannot do every month and in case you don't rememeber the exact day time and  ( nakshatra) of the ancestors passed. You can offer to all ancestors on this day by telling their names and leaving tarpana ( water with till) on the Pinda.  You must talk about this more with some learned brahmin pandita and do it.
    Hare Krishna.

    Mokshada Ekadasi
    Mokshada Ekadasi is a very special Ekadasi in two regards; the all auspicious day on which Lord Sri Krishna spoke the Srimad Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna…
    • Hare Krishna Gayatri Mataji
      Thanks a lot for your detailed analysis of the issue involved. I understand the prescription of Garuda Purana with regard to performing the Shraadh for ancestors to seek their deliverance. However, being in Krishna Consciousness, we have been advised by our founding spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, that it is advisable to water the root only to get the required results. I am reproducing the text of one of his lectures on the verse of Bhagwat Gita , quoted by you, for your consideration:
      "So even if we have violated the jāti-dharma and kula-dharma... That is a fact. We have done so. There is no denying this fact. Every one of us, we have done that. Then what is the next duty or remedy? Because we have violated everything. So that, for that purpose, in the Bhāgavata gives you direction. Here is the verse: devarṣi-bhūtāptaṁ nṛṇāṁ pitṝṇām [SB 11.5.41]. Pitṛ, pitṛ piṇḍodaka-kriyāḥ. So we are obliged to offer piṇḍa and water to the pitṛs. But here is an, what is called, an outlet. Devarṣi, we are indebted to the devatās. Ṛṣis, we are indebted to the great sages. Devarṣi, devarṣi bhūtānām. We are indebted to so many other living entities, bhūtānām, and nṛṇāṁ. We are also indebuted to the human society. Nṛṇāṁ, pitṝṇām. We are indebted to the pitṛs, forefather. Pitṝṇām. So na kiṅkarā nāyam ṛṇī ca rājan. One becomes freed from the servitude of all these personalities, devarsi-bhūtāpta nṛṇāṁ pitṝṇām [SB 11.5.41]. How he can become? Sarvātmā yaḥ śaraṇaṁ śaraṇyam. One who has fully surrendered unto the lotus feet of the Lord, śaraṇyam. Śaraṇyam means here is the real place where one can surrender fully. Others, if I surrender to a cats and dogs, what he will help me? Therefore they are not śaraṇyam. But, by mistake, if they take shelter of such cats and dogs, what benefit they will get? Therefore śaraṇyam, the worthwhile surrender is to the lotus feet of Mukunda. Therefore it is said, sarvātmā yaḥ śaraṇaṁ śaraṇyaṁ gato mukundaṁ parihṛtya kartum [SB 11.5.41]. We have got so many duties, but in this age, we have lost everything. Therefore, our only duty is to surrender unto the lotus feet of Mukunda, Kṛṣṇa. That will save us. Kṛṣṇa says—it is not story—Kṛṣṇa says ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi [Bg. 18.66]. "I know that you have violated your family tradition, your past regulations, everything you have done for which you are to be punished, sinful activities, but I give you assurance, if you surrender unto Me, then ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi. I shall give you deliverance from all the reactions of sinful activities." Therefore at the present moment, because we have lost all culture, we have done so many sinful activities, if we want to be saved, it is, the only remedy is to surrender to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, and thus become saved." 
      In this lecture, Srila Prabhupada jee has referred to the verse 11.5.41 of Srimad Bhagwatam:
      SB 11.5.41
      devarṣi-bhūtāpta-nṛṇāṁ pitṝṇāṁ
       na kiṅkaro nāyam ṛṇī ca rājan

      sarvātmanā yaḥ śaraṇaṁ śaraṇyaṁ

       gato mukundaṁ parihṛtya kartam
      O King, one who has given up all material duties and has taken full shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, who offers shelter to all, is not indebted to the demigods, great sages, ordinary living beings, relatives, friends, mankind or even one’s forefathers who have passed away. Since all such classes of living entities are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, one who has surrendered to the Lord’s service has no need to serve such persons separately.
      I have spoken to a number of senior devotees in our Hare Krishna temple at Toronto and all of them have commented that as long as you are surrendering to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, you need not do any other ritual .
      I request you to give your valuable thoughts onto the above submission and advise.
      • this lecture talks of "fully surrendering" to Krishna. according to some, devotees  who are living at home in grihasta ashram are not "fully surrendered" although they may think so. i don't have much knowledge so i may be wrong

        • Hare Krishna Prabhu ji

          You are absolutely right , as I cannot consider myself to have fully surrendred to Lord Mukunda and given up all material duties, I shall have to perform the rituals prescribed in the Vedic scriptures in connection with Shraadh for ancestors.

          Thanks a lot for your comments.

      • Well, believe in something or someone and go ahead. It is the belief only that can take you ahead. Don't question urself again and again and feel " have I done wrong?" "I should have done " should not enter into the mind at all.

        Krishna is whole and sole sarva karna karanam. ( as I said previously also Draupadi fed Him only one grain and whole universe was satiated) keep faith in Krishna and guru and do what your heart says. don't ask anyone now. Only trust and faith is most essential.

        I am prepared for tomorrow. I know being in USA ..tomorrow my child wont do for me any pinda pradhana or will do any shaardha karma.. I somehow doubt tomorrow's generation. I might be put in an electric cremetorium and without any rituals burnt to ashes. For me I have no fear of any hell... I take Lord's holy name and believe in Krishna  and  I read bhagwatam now and do sincerely ekadashi vrats.

        By parents have done and are still doing shaardha and pitru karma regularly for the deceased  ancestors but coming to my generation  the rules and regulation have been much violated. I don't expect our son to do all this. It is all out of fashion for this generation. Maybe I must not depend on others of my last rights also. 

        I am prepared for that. I will atleast request my son to do a Bhagwat saptah in my name as a last wish. If he cannot do any shaardha karma is it fine....Atleast the people who come to the ceremony will be benefited by hearing one word of bhagwatam also. 10 people atleast get benefited out of my death and 10 people eat and bless my son. It is enough for me. Even my son would atleast hear one verse of bhagwatam it would be beneficial for him. I know my son would be alone in this world tomorrow only bhagwatam can save him also.

        Hare Krishna.

        • Hare Krishna Gayatri Matajee

          Thanks a lot for your guidance on the subject and I really appreciate your wish for your son to Organise a Bhagwat Saptah in your name which will certainly benefit a lot of persons who will hear the Bhagwatam and get blessed. I feel very fortunate to have devotee association which shows me the right path whenever I feel bewildered. All the references to the Vedic scriptures are provided by my devotee friends and I found them to be fully convincing. On this issue, it was difficult to do away with a ritual which we had been performing since the time immemorial. I am now fully convinced with my understanding of the issue. Thanks a lot to you for your contribution in letting the illusion go.

          Hare Krishna

          • You could do  Bhagwat Saptah or gau daan ( giving cow in charity to a eligible Brahmin) also in ur ancestors name which is also an alternative who cannot perform all these rituals.

            Jai Sri Krishna.

  • Sevak

    Hare Krsna 

    Could you please clarify on this - We offer the Prasadam by praying to Srila Prabhupada to take it to Lord Krishna and also to our ancestors and other loved ones who have passed away.

    How is this this done ? Are there specific mantras or prayers that are recited for prasadam to be offered to ancestors everyday ?

    I am uninformed on this please let me know 

    YS Bharat

    • Hare Krishna

      We have been following this practice considering little understanding we have on the teachings of Bhagwat Gita.

      Based on the teachings of Bhagwat Gita 9.16 which reads as under:

      ahaṁ kratur ahaṁ yajñaḥ
      svadhāham aham auṣadham
      mantro ’ham aham evājyam
      aham agnir ahaṁ hutam

      But it is I who am the ritual, I the sacrifice, the offering to the ancestors, the healing herb, the transcendental chant. I am the butter and the fire and the offering.
      Since the offerings to ancestors is also Krishna, we offer Prasadam to the Supreme Personality of Godhead by reciting Pranami Mantra, followed by a request to accept the same and take care of our ancestors too.  
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