’Satisfy the Pitris (departed ancestors) with oblations of Tarpan (water) using the word `swadha`. ~ Yajur Veda
What is Mahalaya Paksha?
Mahalaya Paksha is a fortnight observed in the worship of the Pitrus. Pitrus are the ancestral beings who have left the earth plane and ascended to other planes of existence.
This fortnight occurs during the months September – October. On these 15 days, the souls of ancestors visit the earth plane and occupy the households of their descendants. It is important to propitiate the ancestors by performing Tarpanam to them.
Importance of Tarpanam
- Sage Agasthya says that everyone should do Tarpanam to ancestors.
- Tarpanam or pooja to Pitrus is done to express our gratitude to our ancestors for all that we enjoy in this life.
- Special offerings of black sesame seeds, cooked rice, and water are offered to the departed spirits.
- Pitru worship confers immense merits, good fortune, ancestor blessings on those who observe it with devotion and love.
The last day of the fortnight is Mahalaya Amavasya or the day with a New Moon. It is called Sarva Pitri Amavasya. It is the final day of the Paksha. The sacred texts say that on the day of Mahalaya Amavasya, the Sun and the Moon are in conjunction and Sun enters the sign Virgo.
All those who have failed to offer Tarpanam on other days of the year to their ancestors can do it on this day to please their ancestors. Tarpanam or ritualistic pooja to ancestors done on this day is very powerful and is considered highly meritorious.
On this day, one can make sincere prayer requests to Pitrus for fulfillment of wishes. It is also a day to atone for our sins and seek a new lease of life through the blessings of ancestors.
It is the most suitable day to do Tarpanam to those who have left their mortal coils due to accidents, suicides etc. Offerings made today will reach them directly.
Most important thing to do on Mahalaya Amavasya
It is important to donate food to the needy and give away new clothes to the poor. Offering of alms to beggars, donating money to the deserving according to one`s capacity, donating grains to the hungry, feeding of cows with grass, feeding of crows and other birds is an important part of Mahalaya Amavasya.
Lord Vishnu – Lord of Pitrus
Departed ancestors live in Pitru lok or realm of Pitrus. Lord Vishnu is the Lord of the Pitrus. It is said that ancestors seek Lord Vishnu`s blessings to visit their descendants on earth during the period of Mahalaya Paksha.
If the ancestors are welcomed and honored with due offerings, then it becomes blessings for the descendants otherwise it manifests as difficulties and hardships in daily life.
Worship to Pitrus can help solve problems related to money, relationship, business, health and career. Ancestor blessings bring in good fortune and prosperous life.