Shraddha ritual and chanting of the name of Lord Dattatreya


Lord Dattatreya

1. Importance of doing the shraddha ritual ardently

During the shraddha rites and the meal, one should not entertain anger and meaningless thoughts. The vibrations generated due to the meaningless thoughts adversely affect the Vishvedev and the deceased ancestors (Pitars) coming to that place. That is why one should completely avoid the meaningless thoughts and the meaningless conversation with others while performing the ritual.

Spiritual experience – Experiencing the smell of Puranpoli, an Indian sweet delicacy, for five minutes; the next day a friend saying that, ‘I wanted to give you Puranpoli‘ and then having the realisation of his subtle-body getting the Puranpoli due to the intense desire of his friend: One day I got the smell of Puranpoli. Then I started getting hiccups. I felt that ‘My friend is remembering me.’ The next day my friend said, “We had made Puranpoli last night and I really wanted you to have it.” My subtle-body (ling-deha) had got the Puranpoli due to his intense desire.

This spiritual experience confirms that the holy sacrament (naivedya) offered ardently to Deities and the Pitars reaches them. Through this spiritual experience we understand that the Pitars are satiated by performing shraddha ardently.

2. Options for the shraddha ritual

  • If brahmins are not available for performing the shraddha ritual of one’s mother, then one can invite married women and perform the shraddha.
  • If two brahmins are not available then seat the brahmin on the seat for Pitars (Pitrusthan), place an idol of Shaligram or baby Krushna on the seat of the Deity (Devasthan) and make a resolve to perform the shraddha.
  • If due to some reason one is unable to perform shraddha, then he can get the shraddha performed through his son, disciple or a brahmin.
  • Invite a brahmin, after he has washed his hands and feet, offer him a seat and after worship with five substances offer him a meal.
  • In case of unavailability of money and brahmin, do a shraddha with sacrificial fire (Homa-shraddha).

The Scriptures have also delineated what a person should do who is incapable of doing any of the above stated options. They are as follows:

  • Give a pitcher filled with water to a brahmin.
  • Give some food to a brahmin.
  • Give sesame seeds to a brahmin.
  • Give some money to a brahmin.
  • Give food grains as per capacity to a brahmin.
  • Feed grass to a cow.
  • Forgoing rituals etc. merely do pinda-dan.
  • After bathing release water containing sesame seeds (Pitru-tarpan).
  • Observe a fast on the tithi of the shraddha.
  • On the day of the shraddha, recite the shraddha ritual.

If even this is not possible, then go to a forest and exposing your armpits by putting both the hands up, wave a blade of grass towards the Deities of the regions (Lokapal) like Sun etc. and pray, “I do not possess anything useful for shraddha like wealth etc. I pay obeisance to all my Pitars. Let all my Pitars be appeased with my devotion. I am helpless.”

Alternatively, go to a secluded forest and pray in a loud voice raising your hands, I am penniless and without food. Liberate me from the debt of my Pitars. If even this is not possible, then lament facing the south direction.

This shows how inevitable it is for everyone to perform shraddha.

3. How is the benefit of the shraddha acquired merely by praying ?

By praying with spiritual emotion the Pitars, inferior Deities and other Deities are appeased and attracted towards the person who prays. Together with their blessings the person also acquires the benefit of the shraddha. Invoking the Deities by raising hands and praying to the Pitars is a symbol of the devotee’s spiritual emotion (Bhav) of helplessness.

4. Spiritual experiences about shraddha

The pindas prepared for the shraddha of my father were appearing very radiant. After the brahman-bhojana was concluded, I felt that my deceased father and other deceased ancestors (Pitars) were satiated. – Mr. Nitin Sahakari, Goa

At the time of the shraddha of my father-in-law, I experienced the existence of only – my father-in-law, his father and his grandfather. A light yellow colour was visible around the three pindas. I felt the three were satiated and were bestowing blessings. – Mrs. Shruti Nitin Sahakari.

In Hindu Dharma, at the time of shraddha of the father, pinda is offered in the name of the grandfather and the great grandfather also. This seeker had the practical spiritual experience of the theoretical part explained by Hindu Dharma.

One can understand from this type of spiritual experiences whether the Pitars have been satisfied or not. Contrary to this, when they are not satisfied with the shraddha, their subtle bodies keep wandering in the atmosphere. Then various distresses are felt at the place associated with the Pitars like heaviness of head, giddiness, reduction of vital energy etc.

5. Importance of chanting ‘Sri Gurudeva Datta’

Due to the unsatisfied Pitars there is a risk of distresses like not getting married, financial difficulties, seeing cobra or Pitars in a dream or in waking state. For overcoming such distress, it is important to chant the Name of Lord Dattatreya along with the ritual of shraddha.

Spiritual experience – By chanting ‘Sri Gurudev Datta’ in Pitrupaksha, the dairy on the verge of closure being revived: My husband was working in a dairy for many years. For the last few months the dairy was on the verge of closure. I began to chant ‘Sri Gurudeva Datta’ during Pitrupaksha. Thereafter, suddenly the supply of milk increased manifold in the dairy. Before this incident, people had said that the dairy would be closed; but by the Grace of Lord Dattatreya this danger was avoided. – Mrs. Rajashri Mahadeva Vandare, Miraj, Maharashtra

Deity Dattatreya is the Principle created from the combination of the Principles of the three main Deities, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. One of His functions is to give momentum to the journey of our deceased ancestors (Pitars) to the next region. Hence, once should chant ‘Sri Gurudeva Datta’.

Benefit of chanting ‘Sri Gurudeva Datta’:

  • The Pitars getting momentum in their onward journey and reduction in the distress due to them: Many desires of the person attached to materialistic life remain unfulfilled after death. Such unsatisfied subtle bodies get trapped in the region of the dead (Mrutyuloka). Such subtle bodies cannot go to the next region because of their unfulfilled desires. By chanting ‘Sri Gurudeva Datta’ Pitars trapped in the Mrutyuloka gain momentum.
  • Creation of a protective sheath: By chanting ‘Sri Gurudeva Datta’ a protective sheath is created around the body of the person. Keeping in mind this benefit of chanting ‘Sri Gurudeva Datta’, one should do maximum chanting during Pitrupaksha. To avoid the risks of future distress due to unsatisfied Pitars and as spiritual healing for mild distress, chant for one to two hours daily. If the distress is medium, chant for two to four hours daily and if it is severe chant for four to six hours daily.

Similarly to perform the shraddha with Bhav:

  • Put up the Name-strips of ‘Sri Gurudeva Datta’ in the room where shraddha ritual is done.
  • Play the audio of the chant ‘Sri Gurudeva Datta’ in low volume.
  • Before the shraddha, worship the sattvik picture of Lord Dattatreya and offer arati.

With these actions the obstacles of the negative energies in the ritual of shraddha are removed. The Energy and Chaitanya of Lord Dattatreya is emitted in the venue of the shraddha and the family gets its benefit.


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