What is Mahalaya Amavasya?
Mahalaya Amavasya is a highly mystical day. It is on this day that the Pitru Paksha, the fortnight named after our Pitrus or forefathers, ends. The Pitru Paksha, or male segment, is followed by Matri Paksha, the female segment or Dussehra, which flags off the nine days of Navaratri celebrations honoring the Mother Goddess.
Mahalaya can be described as the conjunction of Pitru and Matri Paksha.On Mahalaya day, the Pitrus, or departed ancestors, leave their abode and descend to earth. During this period, we can establish a connection with them. A powerful conjunction of the sun and the moon occurs at this time. Those who desire to honor their loved ones who are no more and receive their blessings, often meditate during this period, especially on Mahalaya day. it is said that by doing so, we can feel their subtle presence around us, and we can use this subtle energy to dissolve the karmas around our ancestors.
On Mahalaya Amavasya, Hindus make offerings to their ancestors to express their gratitude to them for all their contributions to their lives. The period of Pitru paksha is also known as Shraddha. This year (2020), it starts from September 1. 'Pitru' means 'ancestors', and Paksha is the period before the Sharad Navratri begins. By offering food and performing Tarpan, on this day, we can ensure that the souls of our dead ancestors obtain peace. When appeased thus, our ancestors are said to bestow their blessings on our families.
Benefits of observing Mahalaya Amavasya:
The benefits of doing Tarpanam for ancestors on Mahalaya Amavasya are manifold:
- Cleansing of Karma
- Attain peace, happiness, and prosperity
- Removal of obstacles and sorrows
- Protection of Pitrus
- Blessings for progeny
- Blessings for a long and healthy life
It has been observed that certain people seem to suffer for no reason at all. Problems constantly beset them, one after the other, so that one feels that they are jinxed. One explanation that Astrology offers for this condition is Pitru Dosha. This dosha, if present, will show up in our horoscope. If our ancestors have done something wrong, knowingly or unknowingly, their souls will not find peace. As their descendants, we, too, are destined to suffer the evil effects of their bad deeds. The malefic influence of the afflicted planets can block the positive effect of the benefic planets too.The shadow or karmic planet, Rahu, is believed to be chiefly responsible for such doshas.
Some reasons for Pitru Dosha are:
- Bad deeds (bad karma ) of our ancestors
- Bad deeds ( bad karma ) of children
- Lack of fulfillment of desires
- Sudden, untimely, or unnatural death of ancestors
Mahalaya Amavasya is also called Sarvapitri Amavasya (all ancestors' new moon day) as it is allocated for all ancestors. All those who forgot to perform Shraadh for some reason can do so on this day. Mahalaya marks the beginning of Durga Pooja for Bengalis. Supposedly, Goddess Durga descended to earth on this day. Offerings for dead ancestors are made at home or Pooja Pandals.
Significance of Mahalaya Amavasya:
Human beings have been present on planet Earth for 20 million years. The generations that lived on earth before s have contributed something to our lives. Whatever we possess today - our beliefs, traditions, buildings, food crops, technologies, material comforts, languages, knowledge - everything is part of a rich legacy left behind by our ancestors. If our lives are easier today, our ancestors are the ones to be thanked. They toiled and struggled so that we could have a comfortable life, and to express our gratitude to them, we observe Mahalaya Amavasya. This also ensures that we will always have the blessings of our ancestors for a happy and prosperous life.