Monday, April 7, 2014

Secret of Krishna-Gopis Rasa Leela

Secret of Krishna-Gopis Rasa Leela
(By Muktipada Behera)

Now-a-days there is a lot of misunderstanding about Krishna-Gopi Leela due to western influence. Many claim it to be an immoral act. And they also say - if Krishna could do it, then why not we! They have a slogan - "Krishna Kare to Ras-Leela or Hum Kare to character Dhila". But a few vital points are worth noting. Many have not read the detailed literature on this Krishna topic before making such comments. This Krishna-Gopi relation is not a human relation, rather it is purely a divine relation between God and devotees.

The authentic book on this topic is Srimad Bhagavatam because the very existence of Krishna, Radha and Gopi are traced to this ancient text only. According to this text this Rasa-lila event happened in Vrindavan, India when Krishna was of nine years old, that means in his childhood. And the girls (gopis) involved in this act were of similar childhood ages between eight to ten years. All Gopis were worshiping Mother Durga to get Krishna as their future husband. Krishna was never tempted with this offer and rather He discouraged the Gopis. It is upon the insistence of Gopi, the supreme Lord Krishna decided to fulfill their desire through a divine play. This text also says Krishna left Vrindavan (also Gopi, Radha etc) at the age of ten and never looked back at them throughout his life.

However current youth generation and even older generation try to mimic what Krishna did as a child. Rather they should try to follow what Krishna did at his youth hood (He fought many war to save nation) and old age (He was the king of India extended till Afghanistan, He was also a Vedic teacher). If at all they want to mimic childhood Krishna, then they need to prove their fitness by lifting a mountain (Giri Govardhan) with their little finger. Just imagine is it possible for an ordinary human being to satisfy all sixteen thousand girls at one go, at the same time? It can only be possible for a super-man like Krishna, who is the incarnation of God.

Ordinary and impure person cannot understand the divine love of Gopi for Lord Krishna. It is a spiritual practice called “Madhura Bhava” to get divine love and finally liberation. In Madhura Bhava God is worshiped as husband, is of highest type relation. Other types of relation with God can be of a servant (practiced by Hanuman towards Rama), as father (Prahllada towards Vishnu), as child (mother Yasoda towards child Krishna), as friend (Arujuna towards Krishna) etc.

Madhura Bhava is practiced usually by women because for them it is natural to think of God as husband. If it is required, any man can also practice this, but he has to think of himself as women and lover of Krishna during this spiritual practice. In current age this spiritual practice is done successfully by Meerabai, Jayadeva, Chaitanya dev, Sri Ramakrishna. Sri Ramakrishna during this practice was dressing like a woman, wearing ornaments and thinking of himself as a lover of Krishna.

In Radha Krishna's life there was not even an iota of lust. There is no idea of lust or sympathy in this love. Radha says to Krishna, "If you place your feet on my heart, all lust will vanish."

Great philosophers like Swami Vivekananda also analyzed (From Book: Lectures from Colombo to Almora Chapter: The Sages of India):
“There are not wanting fools, even in the midst of us, who cannot understand the marvelous significance of that most marvelous of all episodes. There are, let me repeat, impure fools, even born of our blood, who try to shrink from that as if from something impure. To them I have only to say, first make yourselves pure; So long as there its selfishness in the heart, so long is love of God impossible. So long as such ideas are in the brain, how can one understand the mad throes of the Gopis' love? "O for one, one kiss of those lips! One who has been kissed by Thee, his thirst for Thee increases for ever, all sorrows vanish, and he forgets love for everything else but for Thee and Thee alone". People with ideas of sex, and of money, and of fame, bubbling up every minute in the heart, daring to criticize and understand the love of the Gopis! It is forgetfulness of everything, and the lover sees nothing in the world except that Krishna and Krishna alone, when the face of every being becomes a Krishna, when his own face looks like Krishna, when his own soul has become tinged with the Krishna colour. That was the great Krishna!”

Srimad Bhagavatam after describing this divine act, at the end gives a precaution (Canto 10, chapter 33, sloka 31): “Someone not in control sure mustn't even think of ever doing a thing like this; such a one, acting out of foolishness, would be destroyed like one not being Rudra would be with drinking the poison from the ocean”. So the fate of any man by mimicking Krishna will be like a human trying to become Shiva by drinking poison.

In this regard, the Gopis in past birth were Rishis who wanted to enjoy Isvara as husband. They were blessed by Sri-Rama in Treta to fulfil this desire. And all of them got birth in Vrindavan in women bodies as Gopis.

In this divine love, a human being can be modelled as a Gopi (a woman) irrespective of gender. And there is only one Husband of this universe and He is Lord Krishna, Rests are women.

What is food – An analysis on non-veg and veg

What is food – An analysis on non-veg and veg
(By Muktipada Behera)

Now a day’s people talk a lot on veg and non-veg food, specially Indians returning from Foreign lands. People take it as a status symbol to say “I am a vegetarian”. Medical science could not conclude anything till date. There are medicines made up from animals bones, oil etc. Veg or non-veg are a matter of habit from childhood. So what our culture says about it?

From the beginning as per human development cycle people were hunting animals for food. Later kings and rich were also going for a hunt to jungle and killing animals like deer etc for festivals. We have many instances in Vedic period eating meat and beef are an auspicious thing. There is a Smriti law “those who rejects meat shall go to hell for as many years as the slaughtered beast has hairs”. So be careful!!!

First time Buddha (as a Hindu monk) enforced rules to stop killing animals and meat-eating. It is known the vegetarianism concept is borrowed from Buddhism. And later a section of Buddhism developed into vaishnavism and adopted vegetarian food as a religious goal. Analysis proves when people were forcefully stopped taking non-veg and they became weak. That helped later India to be conquered by foreign invaders because our king and solders were not physically fit. Before Buddhism nobody dared to invade India, rather India was stretched till Afghanistan.

Let’s fill something better. Anything taken by mouth is food, be it leafs and meats. This is a generic definition. We can make it little bit more generic “Anything taken inside through all our openings (mouth etc) is named as food”. We have five sense organs (eye, ear, nose, mouth, skin) or five openings through which we take food inside. Like sight is a food for eye, sound is a food for ear, smell is a food for nose, and touch is a food for skin.

We should make sure that we are taking healthy and good food through all our openings, not just through mouth. In fact food taken through mouth is a redundant part compared to food taken through eye and ear. So Hinduism gives more emphasis on food for eye and ear, what you see and what you hear in day-to-day life. It gives emphasis on whether you live in a polluted environment so that your skin is taking all bad food for it.

Swami Vivekananda on Food

In the Chhândogya Upanishad (VII. xxvi. 2) there is this passage, "आहारशुद्धौ सत्त्वशुद्धिः — Through pure food the Sattva quality in a man becomes pure."

Swamiji said - Shankarâchârya has said  that the word Âhâra there means "objects of the senses", whereas Shri Râmânuja has taken the meaning of Ahara to be "food". In my opinion we should take that meaning of the word which reconciles both these points of view. Are we to pass our lives discussing all the time about the purity and impurity of food only, or are we to practice the restraining of our senses? Surely, the restraining of the senses is the main object; and the discrimination of good and bad, pure and impure foods, only helps one, to a certain extent, in gaining that end. There are, according to our scriptures, three things which make food impure: (1) Jâti-dosha or natural defects of a certain class of food, like onions, garlic, etc.; (2) Nimitta-dosha or defects arising from the presence of external impurities in it, such as dead insects, dust, etc. that attach to sweetmeats bought from shops; (3) Âshraya-dosha or defects that arise by the food coming from evil sources, as when it has been touched and handled by wicked persons. Special care should be taken to avoid the first and second classes of defects. But in this country men pay no regard just to these two, and go on fighting for the third alone, the very one that none but a Yogi could really discriminate! The country from end to end is being bored to extinction by the cry, "Don't touch", "Don't touch", of the non-touchism party. In that exclusive circle of theirs, too, there is no discrimination of good and bad men, for their food may be taken from the hands of anyone who wears a thread round his neck and calls himself a Brâhmin! Shri Ramakrishna was quite unable to take food in this indiscriminate way from the hands of any and all. It happened many a time that he would not accept food touched by a certain person or persons, and on rigorous investigation it would turn out that these had some particular stain to hide. Your religion seems nowadays to be confined to the cooking-pot alone. You put on one side the sublime truths of religion and fight, as they say, for the skin of the fruit and not for the fruit itself! [CW-5]

Sri Ramakrishna said - "A man may practise intense austerity and japa, but he won't achieve anything if his mind dwells on the world. But blessed is the man who keeps his mind on God even though he eats pork. He will certainly realize God in due time. - Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna"

So blessed is the man who is moral and honest even though he eats pork, worst is he who eats leafs and his mind dwells on all non-sense and he is involved in corrupted act.



Sunday, April 6, 2014

Probe into Ancestor Worship, Sraddha

(Veneration of the dead, ancestor reverence, Śrāddha or Shraaddha, Hindu Funeral Rites, Antyesti for the disposal of the dead and Tarpana post-mortem rites etc.)


According to Hinduism, life is one continuous never-ending process until one gets liberation. All change is only the change of environment and embodiment. The soul is Immortal. It takes one form after another on account of its own actions. Hinduism is based on two fundamental doctrines, (a) the law of Karma and (b) the law of transmigration. Death is only a necessary and passing phenomenon. Just as you move from one house to another, the soul passes from one body to another to gain experiences.

Śrāddha (Sanskrit: श्राद्ध) is a Sanskrit word which literally means anything or any act that is performed with all sincerity and faith. In the Hindu religion, it is the ritual that one performs to pay homage to one’s 'ancestors' (Sanskrit: Pitṛs), especially to one’s dead parents. Conceptually, it is a way for people to express heartfelt gratitude and thanks towards their parents and ancestors, for having helped them to be what they are and praying for their peace. It also can be thought of as a "day of remembrance."

Tribal religion:

As early man advanced in his culture and took to rituals, he started worshiping his ancestors first by burying their bodies and marking the place of burial by stones. He placed wild flowers there and meat as symbolic reverence to them. Some sort of ancestor worship continued until late in the civilizations. In Indian culture, ancestor worship was prevalent before the spread of Vedic religion. For some time two groups of people were there called Pitheryanis (ancestor worshipers) and Devayanis (god worshipers). Later the ancestor worship was assimilated into Hinduism as Shradda (memorial rites).

One party maintains that ancestor worship is the beginning of religious ideas; the other, that religion originates in the personification of the power of nature (e.g. sun god, moon god, river god, hill god etc). Man wants to keep up the memory of his dead relatives and thinks they are living even when the body is dissolved, and he wants to place food for them and, in a certain sense, to worship them. Out of that came the growth we call religion.

Studying the ancient religions of the Egyptians, Babylonians, Chinese, and many other races in America and elsewhere, we find very clear traces of this ancestor worship being the beginning of religion. Egyptians built those huge pyramids in which they preserved the bodies.

On the other hand, there are scholars who from the ancient Aryan literature show that religion originated in nature worship. Although in India we find proofs of ancestor worship everywhere, yet in the oldest records there is no trace of it whatsoever. In the Rig-Veda Samhita, the most ancient record of the Aryan race, we do not find any trace of it. Modern scholars think, it is the worship of nature that they find there.

Hindu rituals for the dead serve five purposes:
1.  disposal of the body,
2. consolation of those grieving,
3. assistance to the departing soul to reach pitr-loka,
4. sustenance to those pitrs who have reached that destination,
5. A call by the living for help from the pitrs.

Ancient belief system can be divided into three periods of development:

1. The Vedic period:
In the Vedas we trace the endeavor of that ancient people to find God. In their search for Him they came upon different strata; beginning with ancestor worship, they passed on to the worship of Agni, the fire-god, of Indra, the god of thunder etc. In the Vedic period it was believed that the spirit of a dead person became a pitr immediately after the disposal of the body. As soon as the spirit became a pitr it became a recipient of various Vedic sacrifices known as pitr-yajnas. Most prior works on ancestor worship have done little to address the question of how shraddha, the paradigmatic ritual of ancestor worship up to the present day, came to be.

2. The Smriti and Sutra period:
During the smriti and Grhya sutra period it was believed that a soul did not become a pitr immediately after death, but entered an intermediate stage of life called a preta. This preta being could only become a pitr after certain rituals called ekoddista-sraddhas were performed by living relatives. This usually took a year. This is the redefinition of ancestral rites in the Grhyasutras. Manu mentioned all humans must repay three innate debts: pitri rina(ancestral debts), rishi rina (the debt we owe to those who have contributed to our knowledge), and deva rina (our debts to the Divine). It is our duty to take care of our parents and demonstrate our gratitude to those who were instrumental in the continuation of the lineage in which we were born.

3. The Puranic period:
During the final Puranic period the idea expanded to include a new stage of life called the ativahika stage. As soon as the physical body was cremated the soul did not become a preta, but instead took on an initial ativahika body. In order to release the soul from this stage, a set of even more specialized rites called purakas had to be performed by the living relatives. This ativahika stage generally lasted for ten days after which the soul became a preta wherein the ekoddista-sraddhas would be performed to complete the transition into a pitr after one year. Underlying this process was the belief that without the help of living relatives performing particular rites at specific times, the departing soul was unable to obtain the necessary body by which it could partake in the enjoyments of the pitrs. Therefore, in all stages, the living relatives had to perform some required rites.

The soul in its disembodied form hovers about its original and familiar places for ten days. It is in the form of a ghost during these ten days. The astral body takes shape from day to day with the formation of the head, eyes, and other limbs of the Linga Sarira, fed and nourished by the sesamum and water poured out in libation. Soul is fully embodied on the eleventh day. It starts on its journey to the judgement seat of Lord Yama, the God of death. It takes one full year from the time of death to reach Lord Yama’s place. The son should perform the Sapinda ceremony on the twelfth day. This is how religion in India changed so radically in the last half of the first millennium BCE.

The Funeral (Antyesti)

In Sanskrit the term antyesti refers to the final sacrifice, the last of the 16 samskaras or life sacraments that mark important events in an individual’s life. The antyesti ceremony is the funeral ceremony. This samskara is performed to dispose of the dead body, to give peace to the departed soul, and to enable it to enter the world of the ancestors (pitrs). Pitr-loka is the name of the realm of existance wherein the pitrs dwell.

From the earliest Vedic times cremation was the most common means of disposing of a body. There is, however, written evidence that burial and post burial ceremonies also occurred during the Vedic period. The Rg and Atharva Vedas mention both burial and cremation as legitimate methods for the disposal of the dead. We find evidence in the Aranyakas that the burial of incinerated bones and ashes was an important and elaborate ceremony. By the Grhya and Puranic periods, however, burial and post cremation burial are hardly mentioned. Cremation had become the only orthodox method for the disposal of the dead.

Vedic Idea:

Here is a summary of what we know about cremation from the Rig-veda:

1. The fire deity, Agni, was invoked to carry the departing soul to the realm of Yama, the god of death.
2. In the case of a priest his sacrificial implements were burned along with his body.
3. Prayers were recited to various deities in order to transfer the departing soul to the world of the pitrs.
4. A cow or goat, known as an anustarani, was burned along with the body of the deceased. This line needs to be verified. Taittiriya Aranyaka (Prashna 6) states that the cow dear to the person was taken to the burial grounds to bid farewell to its boss. The book states explicitly that the cow was returned to its shed (and not killed), after being treated respectfully
5. In the case of a deceased husband, the wife would lay on the funeral pyre alongside the body of her husband. Before the fire was lighted, she would be asked to rise from the side of her husband’s body and rejoin the living.

The Atharva-veda (XVIII) adds the following information:

1. The body was dressed in new garments before cremation.
2. Grains and sesame seeds were scattered alongside the body before cremation.
3. The pitrs were ritually invoked to attend the ceremony and invited to sit on the southern side of the fire.
4. Streams of ghee along with prayers were offered to the pitrs during the cremation.
5. Prayers and oblations made of rice cakes, milk, meat, honey, and water were used in the worship of various gods in order to ensure long life and prosperity for the living relatives.
6. Prayers and oblations were offered to three generations of pitrs: the father, the grandfather, and the great grandfather, during the cremation.
7. Cakes of rice, sesame and other articles of food were buried along with the cremated bones.

Bhagavad Gita:
Ancestor worship is discouraged in Bhagavad Gita.
Gita Chapter 9.25:
yanti deva-vrata devan pitrn yanti pitr-vratah
bhutani yanti bhutejya yanti mad-yajino 'pi mam

Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; those who worship ancestors go to the ancestors; and those who worship Me (Supreme God) will live with Supreme God.

Those who carry out Shraadhs, i.e. who worship the Pitris or deceased Ancestors will become Pitra. They do not attain liberation.

Srimad bhagavatam:
Srimad bhagavatam - 2.3.8 (Canto 2, Chapter 3, Sloka 8)

For spiritual progress the supreme truth is worshiped, for offspring and their care one seeks the ancestral [the residents of Pitriloka], pious persons are sought by those who seek protection, while the demigods in general are there for the less common desires.

Ramayana (Pinda by Rama):
According to tradition, in the absence of Rama, his wife Sita offered pinda to Dasharatha, father of Rama on the bank of Phalgu river at Gaya. In Valmiki Ramayana Ayodhya kanda it is mentioned Rama offered water libation to his father in Mandakini river saying “Oh father, let this be yours.” Rama took one hand full of water and faced the southern direction and said “Let this pure water which is offered to you be inexhaustible”.  Rama mixed fruits of Badari tree with pulp of Ingudi tree and made balls kept them on Durba grass. Said “Oh greate king, we are offering you the food that we normally take. I request you to please take it, because a man can offer only whatever he partakes to his manes.”

Swami Dayananda (Founder of Arya samaj):
Swami Dayananda did not approve to do Pinda daan. According to him the original meaning of the word Shraddha is Shraddha, "devotion." It is the duty of every son to serve his parents with all possible devotion while they are living. But the performance of Shraddha in honor of the dead does not bear out the original idea at all. Shraddha really signifies to serve the living parents with all devotion, not the dead. And it is, therefore, useless to offer Pinda (rice balls) in honor of the dead, as it results in no good.

Swami Vivekananda:
Swami Vivekananda pointed out in a letter 9th February 1902, that Gaya was a place of ancestor-worship even before Buddhism, and the footprint-worship the Buddhists copied from the Hindus.

Sri Ramakrishna:
Sri Ramakrishna’s father Khudiram went to Gaya and had a vision that Vishnu promised him to come as a son to his house. After that Ramakrishna was born. Here in Gaya, from ancient times, Hindus have come from all four corners of India to discharge their duties to their departed ancestors by offering them food and drink at the sacred footprint of the Lord Vishnu.

Holy mother Sarada Devi:
Holy mother Sarada Devi when she was questioned at Jayarambati said “All people, excepting highly evolved souls, live in the spirit body for a year. After that, food and water are offered in Gaya for the satisfaction of the departed souls and religious festivals are arranged. By these means the souls of the departed are released from their spirit body. It is possible for one to attain to a higher state if one's Sraddha ceremony is performed in Gaya. Then what is the necessity of spiritual practices? These dead souls, no doubt, attain to a higher state and live there for some time, but afterwards they are again born in this world according to their past desires. For whom no Sraddha ceremony is performed in Gaya, they live in the spirit body until some fortunate ones born in their family perform the Sraddha ceremony in Gaya or some other forms of obsequies. But if a person has some meritorious action to his credit in this life, he does not lose spiritual consciousness altogether in his spirit body.”  

Ramana Maharshi:
From talks with Ramana Maharshi: Most religions have constructed elaborate theories which purport to explain what happens to the individual soul after the death of the body. Some claim that the soul goes to heaven or hell while others claim that it is reincarnated in a new body.

Sri Ramana Maharshi taught that all such theories are based on the false assumption that the individual self or soul is real; once this illusion is seen through, the whole superstructure of after-life theories collapses. From the standpoint of the Self, there is no birth or death, no heaven or hell, and no reincarnation. How long does it take a man to be reborn after death? Is it immediately after death or some time later? Maharshi said: You do not know what you were before birth, yet you want to know what you will be after death. Do you know what you are now?

Sraddha at the feet of Vishnu:
According to this approach, food or water that is offered to the pitrs is first offered to Visnu and thereby transformed into visnu-prasada. The word prasada means “mercy” or “grace.” Thus visnu-prasada is God’s grace. This prasada of Visnu is then offered to the pitrs, who now receive God’s grace instead of mere food or water. In this way, the grace of God has the power to elevate and sustain the pitrs in a manner that no human power can match. In the case of a homa or havan, a ritual performed with fire, the fire is used as the “delivery system” by which Visnu is first offered food. This food offering, which is now God’s grace, is then offered to the pitrs through the fire. It is thus Agnideva, the fire God, who acts as the link between this world and the world of the pitrs. The successful outcome of the sraddha process is therefore, not dependant on the power of the ritual, the expertise of the priest, precise timing, and availability of the articles, etc. but upon God alone. This approach involved the ‘handing over’ of the fate of the soul to God.

The Padma-purana enjoins that deities other than Visnu and the fathers may be propitiated with food that has been first offered to Visnu. In the Brahmanda-purana it is enjoined that the father’s remain gratified for thousands of kalpas with rice cakes, prepared with the remnants of food offered with devotion to Visnu. In the Skanda-purana, Siva says, “Food should first be offered to Visnu and then the very same food should be distributed to the minor deities and the fathers.”

Religious Impact:

1. On such occasions the poor and deserving persons are to be fed sumptuously. Their necessities of life should be attended to. Study of scriptures should be done on such days. The performer of the Sraaddha ceremony should observe spiritual discipline like Japa, meditation, Mouna, etc. He should pray to God for the whole day. Recitation of appropriate Vedic hymns should be done. The story of Nachiketas of the Upanishads should be studied.

2. Holy mother Sarada devi relaxed in many cases the rule prohibiting religious observance, worship etc during days of mourning after death, the menstrual period of a women and such other periods of ritualistic impurity. Once she initiated a person during the period of mourning, considered to be a time of defilement, saying, “there is no connection between the spirit and the body. The talk of defilement due to death is meaningless”.

3. The various religious observances imposed upon mankind by the Sastras tend to purify the ignorant man. Sraaddha ceremony, being one of the obligatory duties, as per the injunctions of scriptures, also tends to purify the mind.

4. If a man is religious-minded and if he has discrimination and dispassion, belief in the Sastras and the Vedas, if he has led a virtuous life till the end of his life, he will not have a fall. He will not be affected by the dark forces of ignorance. The Lord takes care of his progress. He has got self-surrender and there is no fear of downfall. He has mental purity.

5. Common sense shows each father proceeds by his father. We are all the descendants of King Bharata. If we continue back in parent hierarchy we will reach original seven rishis or Prajapatis, from whom all are born. They are born of Brahma and Brahma from Vishnu. So Vishnu is the absolute father, the common ancestor of this world. Ideally any Pinda given to our parent should go to Vishnu only.

6. When a friend or relative presents food to a lady who is pregnant she eats the food and satisfies herself. At the same time the child within her womb is nourished. The food is converted into a substance suitable for the child. Similarly, when tarpana is offered to the divine fathers, they accept it by first gratifying themselves and then gratifying the fathers over whom they preside. Tarpana is perhaps the most important of the sraddha rites and can even substitute for the rest of the sraddha process.

7. I remember a personal experience at Ramakrishna mission, Bangalore. One monk was dead in that mission and taken to burial ground for electrical burnt. After that the Monk who accompanied the dead body did not undergo any purifying process and attends the monastic duties. He pointed out that no purification is necessary after death of someone.

Psychological Impact:

1. Earlier the house of the dead and environment was not hygienic and there is a possibility of epidemics due to the disease of the dead. So a thorough cleaning or purifying that place and environment was necessary. But in modern days many purifying chemicals are discovered and precaution can be taken based on medical advice.

2. The sraddha process is very satisfying to grieving family members. The invocation of God’s grace to reach beyond human endeavor is indeed powerful. The rite of pitr-yajna is therefore, an attempt to psychologically harmonize the individual with the larger world outside. One established a relationship with the ancestors. The person no longer lived alone in the universe.

3. The meaning of the prayers used in the tarpana ceremony is illustrative, “From the highest point to lowest point, so far as this universe extends, let all divine sages and patriarchs, all deceased fathers, on both the father’s and mother’s side, be worshiped. Let this humble offering of sesame and water go for benefit the whole world, from the highest heaven down to this earth, to benefit the inhabitants of the seven continents belonging to unlimited families in the past.”

4. It is believed that this reminds the ancestor's spirits that they are not forgotten and are loved, so it brings them peace. However, no one prays to ancestors. On Shradh days, people pray that the souls of ancestors be appeased, forget any animosity and find peace.

5. The right to perform these sraddhas and the rights to inheritance were often inter-related. The general hierarchy was as follows: the sons, the grandsons, the sons of a daughter, a wife, the brothers etc. If no family members are available then the rites may be performed by anyone of the town or village.

Brahmin Business:

1. People of some communities in India spend money enormously and indiscriminately on Sraaddha ceremony for show. This is mere wastage. It is a delusion to think that the Pitris will get more peace by spending more money. Money does not count for the ease of the Pitris, but the intensity of Bhava, with which the Sraaddha is performed, counts.

2. None of the Four Veda mantra Samhita-s mention the Pinda dana. It is also not in the Brahmana books. The sutra books (e.g. Apasthambha Sutra) which are dated two thousand years later than Veda Samhitas mention these rites. The local priests usually have no real knowledge. They suggest expensive rites by narrating the fear of hell. We should not be carried away by the story of hell and heaven narrated by them.

3. Hindu sastra prescribes a variety of such ceremonies. Later commentators attempt to explain why water is used during tarpana. Water is said to be a neutral substance, therefore it can most easily be converted into the various foods needed to satisfy the respective pitrs. For those ancestors who have entered heaven, nectar is said to be their food. For those ancestors who have entered into an animal species, grass may be their food. For those ancestors who had returned to this earthly realm, rice may be their food. Water, being a neutral substance, can easily be converted into nectar, grass or rice, etc.

4. When the brahmanas ate they ate on behalf of the pitrs. Their satisfaction was the satisfaction of the fathers. Although the germ of paying homage to the brahmanas is found in the Rg-Veda, the practice of feeding brahmanas was not in practice. In the Vedic period offerings for the dead were poured directly into the fire, which then carried the food to the fathers. The feeding of brahmanas was a practice that developed from the Grhya sutra period. In the later periods, the brahmanas even came to occupy the position of the sacrificial fire. And so food and other such articles formally offered to the pitrs began to be offered to the brahmanas as their representatives on earth. In a further extension to this idea the brahmana began to represent, not only the pitrs, but even Brahman Itself. Consequently, when a brahmana ate Brahman ate, which meant that the whole world also ate.

Logically Inconsistent:

1. When your father while alive is sleeping in other room and you put rice in this room. Will he be feed? No!! Similarly if somebody is going out for a trip, instead of taking any food items with him, at home some Pinda rituals can be done to satisfy his hunger. Is that possible? No!! Now when a person is dead, if you put a lot of food items here and can it possible that this food reaches the dead who is in some unknown region? No!!

2. A lot of emphasis and elaborate rituals are prescribed in Purana after a person is dead. Whereas such kind of wellbeing is not mentioned in those books while he was alive. Also need to check if the dead person was worried what happens to him after death while he was alive?

3. If taking bath after a touch to dead body is necessary, then what doctors will do? What about hospital and death bed, surgery instrument etc.? Do we take bath when we take chicken or meat as our food?

4. When any animal (like tiger, goat, chicken, cockroach etc) is dead what happens to them. Do they move around as eternal preta or some kind of auto-correction mechanism exists in nature for them?

5. What happens to unmarried person, death of children, people with no next generation etc.? What happens to criminals, are they saved by Pinda? What happens to people from other civilization and other religions, they don’t follow the Hindu way of elaborate rituals?


Hinduism has no central authority that determines its beliefs, ritual practices or social structure. Consequently, Hindu beliefs and practices vary widely from one religious sect to another and from one geographic region to another. This creates a highly diffused and multi-layered tradition. Therefore, it is difficult to determine which practices and beliefs are original and which have been added.

Upanishads say Human being is embodied Brahaman himself. Nobody can make him/her impure. Nobody can put him under delusion eternally. These rituals are done out of ignorance and does not solve the original problem of human migration named as “ignorance of ones own divinity”. Let’s work more towards to realize our own divine nature which will give ever lasting peace. Shraadha is just a temporary help to uplift the soul in its further migration to another world or body.