Shradhs in Hindu Mythology

Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee
President, Heart Care Foundation of India

Shradhs are observed by every family in Indian Hindu culture to seek forgiveness from the diseased person and our ancestors for their unfulfilled known or unknown desires.

Traditionally, people observe shradh either on the day of Amavasya every month or on the day of death anniversary of the diseased person or persons or during Shradh days observed in Chaturmas coinciding with the Hindi Tithi or the date on which the diseased person had died. Shradhs are observed till Mahashradh is observed which is usually at a place near Ganga in Gaya, Pushkar, Haridwar etc.

In mythology, mind is linked with ocean, river or water. Most Mahashradhs are held near sacred water as it requires the process of purification of the mind away from home so that one can relax and not only take one holy bath but also take an internal bath of meditation and self-confession.

Medically, Shradh is a type of an attachment disorder or guilt disorder where either you are attached to the thoughts of the diseased person which keep on disturbing in the day to day life and during dreams or you have a guilt that you have not been able to fulfill some of the desires of the diseased persons and that guilt keeps reminding you all the time in your day to day activity or in the dreams.
Shradh is a way or a reminder to you or your consciousness to fulfill and complete the incomplete jobs and finish up all the pending works. Sometimes doing this job may take time and that is the reason why Mahashradhs are done once or twice in a lifetime for a particular diseased person.

Whenever a good ritual or ceremony is held, we also seek blessings from our ancestors. For example, before marriage, it is a ritual to do pooja of ancestors and take blessings which only means that we want to get rid of in our mind the self confession and seek forgiveness from our ancestors that please don’t disturb our mind or in emotions at this juncture of our function and we are aware of the pending work which you asked us to do in future.

Typically, a Shradh ceremony involves self confession and pooja of black sesame seeds or consuming black sesame seeds. Black sesame seeds in Ayurveda are known for their quality of absorbing negative energies both external and internal. Once the pending job is over and in the mind of the family or the person all the assigned works are finished, then they usually go to one of the pilgrimages for Mahashradh which is like a Mahapind Daan. Remember people usually say – Ab to mera pind chhod do, which means please stop coming in my dreams and reminding me of my pending works.

Shradhs are also for unknown unfulfilled desires of our ancestors. When I say unknown desires, it means the desires which are unknown to the present family but maybe were known to the past family. This can only be understood by computer module where my soul is my internet server and spirit has the God as cloud internet. Both my internal server and cloud servers will have a social networking page of mine and will also have my page even if my physical body dies. Similarly, all the social pages of my ancestors will be present in the cloud internet. So, unfulfilled desires will always be posted there. People of my family or those who know me can get connected to that page and know that there were some unfulfilled desires which are yet to be fulfilled by my family and that keeps coming to us in the form of message from our friends that you are suffering due to unfulfilled desires which they might have read from that particular page and that is the reason why there is always a forgiveness seeking exercise during Shradh for those known and unknown unfulfilled desires of our ancestors.

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