By Dr Manish Pandit
Mahalaya is coming closer: this year it falls between 13th September to the 28th of September 2019. This is the Pitru/Ancestor paksha which is deemed not auspicious for any other ritualistic worship but extremely good for ancestor shanti.
Today’s world is an odd one. Many people do not believe that ancestors/Pitrus can exist at all and therefore why perform any rituals for them at all.. Many communities do not perform these rituals at all, but it’s interesting to note that many other communities across many different religions do perform these rituals.
The ancestors do exist in a world which is both internal and external but is difficult to see to the naked eye unless serious tapascharya is performed. After that, it may happen that these may reveal themselves to the mind’s eye, but for those who know me, please do believe me (a previous skeptic) that the Pitrus/ancestors do exist. While they do not exist in physical form, their influence, which can be both benefic and malefic, on their lineage, manifests in a variety of different ways. Their special prabhava is on normal or mundane life and let me tell you that the influence when unsatisfied can be dramatically bad. Those who feel that they must dispute this statement can contact me for more details, I may tell you of a personal factual experience which will probably horrify you.
Amavasya Tithi is quite a special Tithi for Pitri Tarpana. However, it is my recommendation that if you wish for lasting peace for the Pitrus then the Gaya pilgrimage is essential. Why this is so famous can be derived from the Linga Purana and the legend of Gayasur which I will put up elsewhere in this site, please keep checking on the home page menu for more.
What are the benefits of Pitru (ancestor) satisfaction?
1. It is my personal experience and those of many others that Pitru shanti at Gaya completely resets one’s life. A year after this ritual is done, many things fall into place in mundane life. Why and how it happens is quite a difficult thing to answer for those who are not in tune with Hindu ideas… but truth can be stranger than fiction.
For the mundane bits of life which is all what most normal people want, as I have said many times before, nobody really wants the Divine, they only want what the physicality of life can give them and for them too, this trip, better called as a pilgrimage to Gaya is very useful.
2. As far as one’s control over one’s shadripus is concerned, this makes it easier to control internal enemies. First do this and then do everything else, many people experience peace after the rituals have been performed. Those who cannot complete any sadhana should definitely do this first and see the benefits.
3. Finally, for those with cases of possession etc, do this ritual at Gaya first where you need to go to a place called Pret Shila (apart from the remaining 4 places) and do all the necessary rituals there…. then do whatever else but without the Pitrus being satisfied nothing else will work.
Gaya trip needs to be planned in the 15 days prior to Chaitra/ Sharadiya Navratri. (Pitru Paksha of Chaitra/Sharadiya Navratri)
One should carry bundles of 10 Rs coins/notes and give those to the pandas there as otherwise the amount of money you spend may be quite a lot.
Arrange to stay there for 2.5 days and go to all 5 places. While staying there, bhoomi shayana and eating only once a day is a must. It’s not a picnic and treat it with the solemnity it deserves if you want results.
To reiterate in summary:
1. Solemnity and bhoomi shayana (sleep on a mattress on the ground if possible)
2. Eating once a day while there
3. 10 Rs bundles to give the pandas
4. Visit all 5 places including Pret Shila so keep aside 2.5 days
Phalgu river, Vishnupad temple, Akshay Vat tree (which is around 25 mins away from the main temple so make sure you go to the right place), Pret Shila (most important to go up the hill, some pandas don’t go there), Ramkund and Sita kund should all be visited and the rituals must be performed.
5. Visit in Pitru paksha of Chaitra Navratri/Sharadiya Navratri.
6: Lastly keep the names of your ancestors on the mother’s and father’s side upto 3 generations if possible on a piece of paper to hand.
PS: Many people ask about how priests are greedy and how their behaviour affects the way that these people then view the entire pilgrimage to Gaya.
While I accept completely that many pandas may be greedy indeed, that does not take away from the singular importance of the Gaya pilgrimage primarily because of its Sthana Mahatmya. Do remember that even the great Shakyamuni Buddha chose this place to meditate and attained a high degree of enlightenment here. Why would he have chosen Gaya? Ask that question.
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