How to make the ancestors happy - Mahesh Bang

Q: Dear Mr Bang, thank you for your enlightening articles. We have learnt so much from your columns. Thank you for elevating our consciousness and making us spiritually awakened. Please could you enlighten us on Pitra Paksha and the procedures to follow. My family would like to start observing Pitra Paksha and make our ancestors happy as we have been advised by our family priest that it is a very important prayer for our departed loved ones. We have lost several family members due to Covid and would like to commence with Pitra Paksha prayer. Please could you advise us on the correct manner to observe and the dos and don’ts. Jai Shri Krishna. | SS

A: Human birth awards us three debts according to Hinduism. They are debt to God, debt to sages and saints and debt to our ancestors and parents. Therefore Pitra Paksha or Shradh rituals are of immense importance. It is observed so that our ancestors’ souls attain peace and liberation. This year it will start on Tuesday, September 21, and end on October 6. As per the holy scripture, Srimad Bhagavad Gita, the body is destructible but the soul remains immortal. It is mentioned in the Brahma Puran that on the eve of Krishna Paksh of Ashvin month, the lord of death Yamraj granted freedom to all the souls so that they could accept and eat the food made by their children on the occasion of Shradh.

It is best to observe Pitra Paksha to get ancestors’ blessings. Objectives of performing Shradh:

  1. Try to free ourselves from the debt due to our ancestors and to show appreciation to them.
  2. If any soul (ancestor) is trapped between the Earth and the different platforms surrounding it, performing Shradh allows them to progress to a higher plane. Hence, they bless us.

Myth to avoid:

People say that during Pitra Paksha all prayers should be stopped. But this is absolutely wrong. You can continue your routine prayers and chanting, light your lamp in the morning and evening. You should take the name of God more during this time so that your ancestors receive more benefits and they will shower you with immense blessings. However, you cannot conduct an “Anushthan” (specific type of prayer).

Food to offer:

Ancestors only accept vegetarian “Satvik” food, even those who loved non-vegetarian food when they were living. There is no mention in “Garuda Puran” that one should offer meat. These ancestors are in a different form of life and are repelled by non-vegetarian food and hence remain unsatisfied if proper food is not offered. Satvik food means no onion and garlic, no meat, no fish, no alcohol, no eggs, etc. According to Hinduism, everyone should follow Pitra Paksha for their ancestors. During these days, one must be vegetarian. The person who is performing the Shradha puja (prayer) during Pitra Paksha should do it with complete dedication. You could also do it under the guidance of a learned priest. Please note: In completing the Shradh, do it on the date (Hindi tithi date) when your ancestor passed away. The priest will advise you on the appropriate date for a ritual or try to find out on the internet. If you have difficulty finding the tithi, then you can do the proper ritual on Sarva Pitru Amavasya which falls on October 6 this year. However, full moon Shradh (taking out food) should be done on September 20. You can call the priest and his wife and feed them. After having lunch, give five different items to them such as umbrella, handkerchief, clothes, etc. and cash money with some generosity.

Items for donation include:

Ghee (purified butter)


gangajal (water from River Ganga)

mustard oil



steel utensils

shoes, socks or sandals

clothes (towels, dhoti, kurta)



black thill (sesame seed) and


Special note:

  1. Along with the Brahmins, crows are also fed the same food, as crows are believed to be the messenger from Yama. Along with the crow, dogs and cows are also fed.
  2. Include tulsi (devi) leaves in your offering. Please note one should not put tulsi in food containing onion and garlic. Causes of Pitra Dosha When ancestors are not happy, the future generation face many problems. This is Pitra Dosha and can also be identified in certain horoscopes. Pitra Dosha is formed if anyone in the family dies of an unnatural death. Sometimes the cause of Pitra Dosha may be if a family member kills a cow or destroys a foetus in the womb or gives their parents a difficult time near the time of death. Most important, according to astrology the best way to avoid Pitra Dosha”in one’s horoscope is to look after your parents and support them in their old age.

What to avoid during Pitra Paksha:

  1. Any auspicious event such as marriage, birth ceremony or moving into a new house etc. is completely prohibited during this time.
  2. If possible, try to avoid having a haircut during this time.
  3. The whole family should avoid eating meat products.
  4. Try to avoid eating at other people’s homes during this time. However, you can eat at the homes of extended families. This is with the exception of the priests.

Wishing you well-being and elevation to the departed ancestors.

error: Content is protected !!