[Advaita-l] Pitru Paksha Questions

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Mon Sep 19 12:15:58 CDT 2011

On Sun, Sep 18, 2011 at 7:55 PM, Venkatesh Murthy <vmurthy36 at gmail.com>wrote:

> http://www.oldandsold.com/books/hindu/hindu-12.shtml
>  A learned Hindu professor has said that : " Ancestor worship, in some
> form or other, is the beginning, the middle, and the end of what is
> known as the Hindu religion."
> Taittiriya Upanisad has said Deva Pitru Karyabhyam Na Pramaditavyam
> You should not neglect duties to the gods and ancestors.
> But now people are neglecting Pitru Karmas. Sraddha is very important
> Karma. What is Sraddha ? Pitrunuddishya Viprebhyo Dattam
> Sraddhamudahrutam. Giving to Brahmins thinking it is for Pitrus is
> Sraddha.
> Some questions.
> 1 If father is weak and not capable of performing Pitru Karmas can son
> do them ? Can he do them with Pracinaviti  that is Apasavya position
> in the sacred thread?

The father can perform it in 'hiraNya shrAddham' mode in case of inability
to perform in the detailed manner. There is nothing wrong for someone whose
father is alive to have the upaveetam in prAchInAvIti for specific
purposes.  In fact I have heard several learned vAdhyars clarifying that
even during the daily pitR tarpaNam as part of brahmayajnam there is
absolutely nothing wrong in  prAchInAvIti by those with fathers alive.  It
is only out of wrong notions people fear prAchInAvIti when the father is

> 2 Two Brahmins are fed food in the Sraddha. Can one Brahmin be
> sufficient? If Brahmins are not available can you use Darbha
> substitute?

In some cases it is seen that the purohit himself will officiate as one of
the two brahmins.

> 3 In some Sraddhas I did not notice Pani Homa  offerings made in the
> right hand of Brahmin. Right hand of Brahmin has Agni in it. Homa is
> performed in it. Agni Mukha Vai Devaha Panimukha Vai Pitaraha. For
> gods food goes through Agni for Pitrus it goes through Brahmin.
> Satisfaction of Brahmins is pleasing to Pitrus.  This Pani Homa is
> compulsory or can be skipped?

I think paNi homa is only for Rg vedis.  For yajur vedis homa is always
performed as far as I have observed.

> 4 Some people say Sraddha must be performed in Mahalaya but some
> people Sankalpa Sraddha can be performed in Pitru Paksha but some
> people say Tarpana is enough no need to do even Sankalpa Sraddha. In
> Sankalpa Sraddha there is no Pinda Pradana. In Tarpana only Tila and
> water tarpana is offered. What is correct?

This is mostly dictated by convenience and kula AchAra.  There are even
those who perform shrAddham for the father and the mother during the pakSha
on different tithis.  Some combine both by commissioning four brahmins
(apart from the purohit) on a single day.


> 5. What is Sakrun Mahalaya ?
> --
> Regards
> -Venkatesh

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