One girl asked my Mom what can be done during Pitru Paksha. She also asked, “My father-in-law expired on a Poornima day. When do I perform his paksha shardha?” Mom gave her suggestions, which I thought should be shared here.
Mom told her:
If they are Brahmins, according to Hindu calendar, every year on the day and tithi the person had expired, they have to perform the rites. They have to even note the phase of the moon for it – Krishna Paksha or Shukla Paksha.
Some people, who do not have the facilities, visit Gaya and perform Shardha once for all. They do not repeat it again. However, that is not right. There are many temples, where these shardhas are performed.
During Pitru Paksha as well, Brahmins should perform the shardha. If the day of death is Poornima, then the rites should be performed on the full moon day that falls after Anantha Chaturdashi.
And the rites for all pitrus should be performed on Mahalaya Amavasya. Those people, who can afford and it is plausible, then they can perform rites on the tithi of death of the relatives as well, during the Mahalaya Paksha, without seeing the moon’s phases. This is because there are only 15 days of Pitru Paksha. During Pitru Paksha, all the pitrus visit the earth to see how their descendents are living on the earth.
The shardha should be performed with the hard-earned money of themselves. The money should not be stolen, gotten after cheating, after taking loan or black money. These are banned for shardha. Those people without money, should prepare a little rice, add black sesame and leave it for crow, dog and cow or any one of them.
If they cannot afford to give rice even, they can give a cow one roti and a little jaggery or spinach or green grass. If any of these cannot be done, a person should take bath in the morning and go to an open place. They should face south and lift their hands in a receptive position. They should mention the names of all known pitrus and their pitrus. They should also mention the names of other known people who have died and wish well for them all. Then, they should ask the blessings of the pitrus.
According to a well-known North Indian astrologer, in olden days due to hygiene issues, women were banned from performing these rites. Also, the women always had one child in the womb and the other in their hands. Now, the situation has changed. Women are even more hygienic than men, today. Even the right to set fire to the funeral pyre is also there for them.
So, our insistence is – Ladki Bachao, Ladki Padhao aur Ladki ko Samaan Darja do.