We have all been restricted at least once in our lives from purchasing or using new stuff during the month of Shraadh, also known as Pitra Paksha. You must have wondered – Why are these few days considered so tight, and why do no auspicious activities take place during this period? Why do we keep following this year after year? Is it necessary?

Let’s demystify the logic and reason behind this generations-old tradition in India. 

Pitra denotes ‘ancestors’ and Paksha means a period of half cycle of the moon. For your reference, according to the Hindu calendar, there are two Pakshas every month based on the lunar cycle – Krishna Paksha (going towards the No moon day) and Shukla Paksha (going towards the Full moon day). The Pakshas respectively end on the No Moon Day, known as Amavas, and Full Moon Day, known as Poornima. In any usual month, Shukla Paksha is considered to be more auspicious than the former as each night is comparatively brighter than the previous one.

Pitra Paksha or Shraadh falls around in the months of August to October of the English calendar, depending on the dates in the Hindu calendar. It is a period of roughly 15 days of the lunar cycle when the Moon is diminishing each night (Krishna Paksha). This year, Pitra Paksha started on the 20th of September, and it ends on the 6th of October which will be celebrated as Mahalaya. The end of Shraadh also marks the beginning of Devi Paksha in which 9 Avatars of Goddess Durga are worshipped massively for the next 9 days.

This fortnight is specifically dedicated to the departed souls of our ancestors. Out of 365 days in a year, we dedicate these 15 days solely to remember those who have left us. The idea is not to put restrictions on shopping or starting a new venture but keeping the mind focused and spending time in service of the needy and pay homage to our ancestors before starting with the most celebrated time of the year. It is believed that the souls travel back to the three-dimensional world during these days and it’s best to give them due love and respect and not going extravagant in the pleasures of life. Generally, the favorite food of the person whose Shraadh is being performed is distributed among the needy and some animals. Such a small token of gratitude in exchange for this precious life. Don’t forget – only because of our ancestors we are here!

Pitra paksha : fortnight of the ancestors 2

But what to do about all the upcoming online sales during this month and what if someone gets an offer for a dream job? Postpone everything or just let them all go?

No, not at all! With fast-paced lives and a huge change in lifestyles, it is can get difficult to keep up with the traditions but there is nothing to worry about. Do not attach yourself with auspicious and unauspicious. Do not get entangled in the ropes of punishment and reward.

As Lord Shiva himself says, there are no good or bad days. Every day is a neutral day, it’s all about how you make it. So, do not bind yourself in the vicious circles of good and bad. Do not divide the world into binaries. Rather, see everything with equanimity and purity. Sit with yourself, feel grateful to your ancestors for giving you this life and everything related to it, do a good deed and that’s all you need to please them. And of course, your happiness reflects on them too, after all, we are all connected. Whatever you give them, you get 1000s of times back.

Be unafraid of any outcome, do your Karma, keeping your heart full of kindness.

Until next time!

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Khushboo Shukla

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