I shall perform the Shraddha
Pitri Paksh Special
Rajiva Shanker Shresta
“Buba, you are looking very happy today?”
“My grandson is preparing to give me something as a gift.”
“Aye, you are giving that dust in your hand to Buba?”
Happily the young father looks at the child and asks, “Didn’t you get anything else to give?”
“He is giving something at least.” Old man was accepting the dust from his grandson very excitedly. Child too was very happy handing over the dust to his grandfather.
“He is giving me at least what he can. He is trying to keep me satisfied to his understanding. You are the one who is not willing to give me Til-Jau even on my death.”
“I believe in doing service to my living father.”
Son gets pensive lost in his thoughts. He is a progressive person so he does not believe in Shraddha, idol, god worship, etc. He knows it hurts his old father but then it is one’s faith, his own faith, his own belief. Buba goes to the temple and do worship at home. He was recently on a pilgrimage too. He is not an obstacle to his faith but he was not prepared to sacrifice his own nor does he want to give him any false assurances.
“Pitanti pitaro hyoshan lupta pindokakriya:”
Why my father does not try understanding this line from the Gita. He has a faith on the Gita but he does not like certain portions in it. This again is not the words Lord Srikrishna spoke even. Why Srikrishna did not raise an objection to it is not known. These were the words by Arjun and at that time he was in delusion.
On several occasions this issue was raised by his father. Today also he raised this issue again. “Success and failure of a man depends on his actions. It is his own action that leads to his rise or downfall. If his son does not give Pinda, father goes downward. This is not good.”
Father knows his son is stubborn. So he did not take the matter further nor discussed it anymore.
* * *
“Hindu Dharma is not Bhogwadi. We agree anyone who earns should have the right over the property thus earned and has it too. Nobody else has the right over this property. Be it his son or daughter or anyone else.” The speaker further told the gathering.
He is not a supporter of the Hindu Inheritance Bill but he has his own reasons to differ and oppose it. He is awakened all of a sudden as if from his slumber when the speaker puts forward this point. When he says one who earns, property so earned accrues to him – he found this aspect quite reasonable and justified too.
“You give money to somebody, who uses it improperly in some wicked act. His wrong deeds due to this monitory help make you a party to this sin. Isn’t it so?” asks the speaker.
“Definitely, it is so.” He cries out in frenzy.
“When a father leaves his earnings to his son but if he uses it good or bad its result goes to the father as well.” There was no disagreeing to the poser so well put forward by the speaker. He went on, “Daughter cannot be independent in utilizing the property given to her. She has to follow the footsteps of her husband. She will spend it according to the wishes of her husband, whereas the son-in-law does not have the opportunity to be refined to the culture, instinct and tradition of the person who earned it.”
“The matter is straight forward. Paternal property inherited by the son is not only for him to enjoy but to maintain the tradition of the Shraddha.” The speaker concludes telling, “Paternal property is to be enjoyed neither by the son or daughter. Whatever is left after repaying the paternal debt that has to be utilized for the death rituals like Shraddha. . So, who has no right to perform the Shraddh, his getting the property itself is contradictory to the objectives of the inheritance of property.”
He had returned home deep in serious thought that day after the meeting. Ever since the question of the Hindu Inheritance Bill was raised, he has thought over the issue several times. He has read the Yagyavalkyasmriti - the portions on the paternal property to be partitioned among the legal heirs. The main conclusion arrived at by Yagyavalkya is based on the fact that if none has the right to perform the Shraddha who would be the descendant.
“If you are not going to fulfill the wishes of your father, what right you have got to enjoy the property earned by him?” This question comes up straight to his heart. He is good mannered, self-restraining and all know him to be a sincere person. So, how can he be unfaithful to himself?
“Shraddha?” but he cannot understand the matter Shraddha. With many curiosities in his mind, he could sleep with great difficulty that night.
* * *
“Lord, our descendants have come out to be ungrateful, soulless and disrespectful to us.” There were some peculiar looking people thin skinned, miserable with sunken eyes. They had astonishing body. Their whole body seemed to be built of white cloud itself. They were all standing with folded hands before a powerful looking, authoritative and gem decorated person.
It was a peculiar sight. There were no houses and no town. No trees or vegetation could be seen. There were groups of cloud bodied people only and they were all seemed to be hanging in a vacuum. Some of them were well built and happy looking too but majority were looking weak and distressed.
“You all are aware that Aryama has no right to do anything of his own.” The authority said – “I can reach only Kavya (a portion of the Shraddha) to the right officer. I am myself pained to see that residents of Pitrilok (abode for the deceased forefathers) being deprived of respects from the earth going lean and thin thereby making this world gradually and continuously uninhabited.”
“There is still some respect left in the universe. A few still perform the Shraddha.” Due to lack of procedure many of them go in waste. Some, however, are successful. They were telling, “Even the ill fortuned ones deprived of Shraddha like us get anjali (double handful) of water or a pind (ball of rice cooked in milk for offering to the spirits of ancestors) to call it ours that too is now gradually going to be extinct. If…”
“You know that there is a ban and therefore, no scope for allowing you to stop and wait here en route.” Aryama said disgusted, “After the death if rituals are left incomplete, life stays in the shape of evil spirit, Pret Yoni (lodge for the evil spirit).” Even the deceased without the Shraddha attains the Pret Yoni till his own actions are fructified. These actions that are related to those lives too can not reach the favourable stage that enable them share the joy and sorrow nor union and departure. Waiting with Kavya is possible in Pitri Lok while one without Kavya have to face all hardship in Pret Lok
These words of Aryama were like a stroke of lightening to the starved looking crowd. This afflicted them so much and the impact was so widespread that was unbearable to everyone there. Suddenly he woke up from his dream. He found himself fully drenched in sweat.
* * *
“You have really seen the Pitri Lok in your dream.” A Sadhu tells him this when he goes to him to narrate his dream. “Whatever you have seen and heard in your dream, Shastra (Holy Scripts) accepts them as a fact.”
These Mahatmas are religious people but he respects them. He finds them quite generous, conscientious, learned and well wishing. Whenever he is in mental turmoil, he likes to seek their advice as amongst his colleagues he himself has studied a lot.
"Shraddha goes to a deceased person?” He questions him directly.
“What the living person gets, this you think first.” Mahatma tells him.
“Your stomach can be filled by bread and mango both. But when you feel like having mongo eating bread does not serve the purpose.”
“I could not follow what you just told me.” He expressed his curiosity.
“I am telling that hunger and desire are two different things. Hunger wants solid food stuff. Desire needs satisfaction not only of the stomach but of your inner self.” Mahatma further explains, “The deceased does not have a living body. So his hunger is not for solid food. Solid food should reach him but he does not need at all. But his inner self is still with him. So he has some ardent desire inside. If this craving desire is not quenched he is unhappy and grows thin. So a way has to be there to satisfy and quench this desire.”
He listens to him quietly. Allowing him time to think and understand Mahatma says, “When you have a living body feeding you mango is a direct way to fulfill your ardent desire. A portion of mango then also does not reach your inner self. This is obtained by your living body. Subtle body gets satisfaction that I have eaten a mango. But without offering a solid mango could not be the way to satisfy it.”
“It is, therefore, appointing a Brahmin as the representative an effort is made to satisfy the ardent desire of the departed soul by feeding him or giving a pind over a kush (sacred grass used in religious ceremonies.) He said to himself, “The solution is good. Respect or disrespect to a representative if that could be taken as a respect or disrespect to make a whole nation happy or otherwise. This is a fact, but why feeding only the Brahman?”
“Why not give to the hungry and the poor? You ask this too.” Mahatma tells him laughing. There is nowhere a ban imposed on feeding the hungry and the poor but Shraddha is based on respect. You and I can not see pitar, the departed soul. Who could be his representative then? If anybody could be made his representative, if he could be of the similarity, it is matter to be further probed into Shastra (the Holy Scripts.) All Brahmans are neither appropriate for the Shraddha. We have to find the right person out of them too. Feeding many, therefore, is forbidden in the Shraddha. One, two or five at the most could be, no more. Later you can feed the whole community or the town but the number should not increase as a part of the Shraddha itself.”
“Kindly allow me to go today. My father is not keeping well for last two days and it is necessary to give him assurance this moment.” He bows before the Mahatma and takes leave.
* * *
“Buba! Kindly forgive me for all my stubbornness.” Reaching home, he goes straight to his father’s feet to put his head on. Sick father pulls his head close to his chest to embrace. He continues, “I shall perform the Shraddha. I have now realized that I was wrong.”
“My son!” Father is overwhelmed full throat. Tears drop from his eyes. He felt like whatever doubt that remained like a heavy stone in his heart all the time, has vanished evaporated like steam.
“I shall duly perform the Shraddha.” He is firm in his decisions and studious as well. Once he decides anything nothing unnecessary hesitation can come his way to stop him doing it. “Get well soon and continue showering your affection for many more days to come. But be assured that I shall perform the Shraddha here and even go to Gaya to perform it there. You have told me once that by offering the Pind Dan there brings eternal satisfaction. My pitar may not be fallen from the Pitri Lok devoid of Kavya. I shall make this imperishable arrangement during my lifetime itself.”
Source : Kalyan Hindi original by Sri “Chakra” which was translated into Nepali that appeared in the daily Hamro Prajashakti, weekly Wichar and quarterly Uday, from which this rendition is made on the occasion of Pitri Paksh starting from 9th September this year.