Episode # 78 – Why should we sincerely perform “Shraadha” for our departed parents? An appeal to all readers!!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed “five” important people that are to be respected at every time. They are “Maathaa” (Mother), “Pithaa” (Father), “Agni” (Sacrifical sacred fire), “Aathma” (Soul) and the “Guru” (Teacher).” In the due course, we had also witnessed the significance of “Agni Bhagawan” in our Hindu Sanaathana Dharma and why do we worship Agni during every ritual that we offer to Bhagawan.

Now moving on further, Vidura is going to explain the next five aspects. What are those five? Let’s witness today. Today Vidura is going to talk about five people whom we should worship in our day-to-day life.

“Panchaiva poojayan lokhe yashah praapnothi kevalam!

Devaan pithrun manushyaan bikshun athiti panchamaan!!” 

In this above soka, Vidura is highlighting five important people that one should worship everyday. They are “Devaas” (Celestial Beings), “Pithru” (Departed souls), “Manushyaan” (People living in this world), “Bikshu” (Saints or Sanyaasins) and “Athithi” (Guest).

Now let us see each of the categories of people in detail. Vidura says that if we worship these five people, we would obtain name and fame in this world. First of the lot is “Devas” – We should ensure that we have all the “Devas” (Celestial Beings) in our everyday prayers. Devas are those who are at Bhagawan’s heart and it is our bound duty to worship them every day.

Second of the lot is “Pithru”. Here the word “Pithru” means our forefathers, ancestors, and other important departed souls from our yesteryear family. It is again our duty to offer our respects and prayers to our forefathers and ancestors. This is where we do the yearly “Shraadham” for our departed parents. We should remember here that “Shraadham” should compulsorily be performed by all of us, irrespective of wherever we are and whatever we do. Similarly, we should also make sure that we do all the offerings and prayers during that one year time period from the time our parents depart. This is also extremely important.

Now the question would come – “Why at all should we do all these offerings? Anyway my parents have departed! How would this water and other offerings reach them? Would at all they reach? Is it only because of these offerings that my parents are going to reach Bhagawan’s feet? I’ve already answered such questions, but since we are in this context again, let me reiterate my answer – We should clearly understand here that our departed parents are not going to reach Bhagawan’s feet with all our offerings and prayers! They reach or not reach Bhagawan’s feet owing to their account of sins and good deeds taht they’ve performed during their days of living. Moreover, the water and other offerings that we give during the ritual are never going to reach our “Pithrus” in this same form. But why do we still perform all this? The important reason being, tomorrow we should reach Bhagawan’s feet isn’t it? It is to be noted that Bhagawan has issued a “work order” to all of us, so as to perform all these duties towards our parents as a token of our respect for them. If we perform the work that Bhagawan has given to us, He is going to feel happy and thus would voluntarily take us to Him. Thus we should realize that we are performing these rituals and practices towards our “Pithrus” as per Bhagawan’s wish. Since we are performing these rituals and offerings for Bhagwan, we should do it with utmost sincerity (Shraddha). It is only because we should do these rituals with “Shraddha”, we call this offering as “Shraadham”. Moreover, all the offerings that we make as part of the practice are going to reach our “Pithrus” in the form that they would be able to accept and not by the form that we offer! This divine transformation would happen automatically if we were offering them with a pure and a sincere heart. Thus we should realize that we should perform the “Shraadha”, “Tarpana”, etc. for our parents who had dedicated their lives for our development. What more can we do for them? It is only through these duties that we pay our respects and homage to our great people!

Moving on thus, third of the lot is “Manushya”. We need to respect all kinds of people equally without any discrimination. Fourth of the lot is “Bikshu”. Here, a “Bikshu” can be equated to a “Sanyasin” or a “Saint”. As followers of our “Sanaathana Dharma”, we should make sure that we pay our respects to such great people. It is because, only if they feel happy and contended, will the world prosper. Hence it is our bound duty to look after such people. Finally comes the “Athiti”. Here, “Athiti” means guest. Whoever comes to our home in search of us, we should never allow them to go back without making their stomach full. In other words, we should make sure that we feed our guests adequately so that they are extremely happy with our selfless service. This is what we call in Tamil as “Virundhombal”. This has been our characteristic for ages and it is our bound duty to uphold our rich value system in terms of this important characteristic called “Virundombal”.

So for today, let us ponder over these five categories of people as to how to make them happy with our actions. In any case, one important message from today’s episode is that we need to perform all the duties pertaining to our ancestors and our departed parents. We shall wait till the next episode to find out the “next five” of Vidura! Stay tuned! 🙂

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Kerala, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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