Significance of Mahalaya Paksha
According to the sacred text Bhagavad Gita, a soul is indestructible – it neither dies nor is it born. Each soul is immortal, and the ultimate destination is to attain moksha or salvation. It is our responsibility to help our deceased ancestors attain salvation through Shraddh rituals during the significant fortnight called ‘Mahalaya Paksha.’
Performing Tarpanam during Mahalaya Paksha or Pitru Paksha can relieve the restless souls of your ancestors and help them attain salvation. Learn more about the mythological significance and the procedure of offering Tarpanam to appease your ancestors during this auspicious time frame.
Legend of Karna and Tarpanam
According to mythology, when Karna died and reached heaven, he was offered gold, ornaments, and coins to eat. When Karna asked Indra as to why he was not offered food, Indra explained that though Karna was a very generous man, he only donated wealth and did not offer Tarpanam to his ancestors. Karna answered as he did not know his ancestors, he was not able to perform ancestral rituals for them. Hence, Indra allowed Karna to go back to the earth plane for 16 days and offer Tarpanam to his forefathers. This 15-day period is called Mahalaya or Pitru Paksha.
Where to Offer Tarpanam?
There are several places in India ideal to offer Tarpanam such as:
Tarpanam (Ancestral Poojas)
The family head or the eldest son in the family should perform Tarpanam. If it is not possible, then Tarpanam rituals can be performed by any male member of the family
The person performing the rituals should keep their emotions under control and remember to pray to God, for the soul’s salvation
If you cannot visit the places mentioned above during Mahalaya, you can invite Brahmins to your house and offer them food, clothes, and Dakshina. It is believed that offering made to a pious Brahmin can reach your ancestors
If you have Pitru Dosha in your birth chart, you can offer Mahadaan to appease your ancestors and seek their blessings
You can also feed crows and dogs
Don’ts During Tarpanam