Shradh is celebrated the period between the full moon and new moon night of the month of Ashwina (sept.- October) for the departed souls of our forefathers. In our Hindu society, we are always grateful and respectful to our elders. In Vedas and Hindu scriptures there are three Rins or Debts, first one is towards Dev Rin means thankful of the favours of Gods and mother nature, second towards our teachers and guru i.e. rishi – rin and the third one is pitri-rin, the debt one owes to one’s ancestors. If you consider the above three Rins you can well evaluate that all Rins towards the help offered to us for learning and teaching of our lives. Everything that helps mankind should be revered and preserved. Nature gives light, air, water, food and habitat without asking. For such grace and blessing of nature, we pay back this debt by holding regular havans to detoxify and keep the air pollution-free, planting and saving trees. Similarly, we repay the rishi-rin by following the ancient customs and tradition, as the gurus are the foundation of the society.
In the same way, we owe a debt to our parents, grandparents and great grandparents. After all because of them, we are in this world and in our genes, there are parts of their genes and blood. They taught us how to live in this world. Their contribution is indeed a debt which we must pay back. Ancient books assert that when soul departed from this world remain to touched with their families and live lower heaven called the Pitriloka in the form of Pinda or ball-like form. To show our respect and love we do regular Tarpan and Arpan. ‘Tarpan’ means offering water and ‘Arpan’ means preparing dishes that is deceased person relished and offering the same to true Brahmin on the day of the Shraadh. A ball of boiled rice mixed with jwar or millet flour, black sesame, and kusha grass is also offered to birds in the form of panda or immersed into some flowing holy water.
As a thanksgiving gesture, Hindus propitiate their ancestors during Shradh Paksha and its importance is written even in Manusmriti and Mahabharata. It is believed that during the fortnight of the waning moon of the Ashwina maas, the astral bodies of ancestors leave their abode, the pitriloka, to spend the fortnight in their descendants’ homes in Prithviloka or earth and expect them to tarpan. According to astrologically and astronomically the earth is closest to the moon during these fifteen days, all offerings reach our ancestors quickly. Scientifically the period between 14 July and 13 January is known as dakshinayan or lack of sun. during these months of the year, the sun is below the equator. From 13th January the sun starts its northward journey. It is believed that the period refers to a negative state of mind. During this period no auspicious event is held by the Hindus including marriages.
Astrologically, the importance of the place Gaya, Bihar is due to its geo-location on this planet, where is believed if panda dana is successfully done no need to perform the ritual thereafter. The only ritual that has to be performed is ‘remembrance’ on the shradh day by doing some charity in their name. The main aim to celebrate the ‘Shradh’ to remember our forefathers and be grateful to them.