In Hinduism, there are 16 days a year which are known as shraadh. Many people consider those days as inauspicious for doing certain activities. Activities such as marriage, starting new projects etc
Currently this year, we are on the 7 day of Shraadh. So what is it about?
I cannot tell you that Hinduism is completely accurate. It is a matter of belief and if you want to go beyond it, then you must go deep into it and verify its accuracy. Merely having discussions based on belief is merely stupid. It is like two alcoholics arguing and discussing with each other and debating the dream each one had the night before. If you want to investigate it, do it properly. Dont blindly believe in anything. Reject it if incorrect and accept it if correct. However, proof based on personal effort may likely be a failure, since you ned a teacher or Guru. You would not try become an expert in quantum physics without a teacher. This path is even more elusive than quantum physics
So many religions believe in the soul. And many of the religions who believe in the soul, also believe in God and after life, including heaven and hell. Some religions stop there while hindusim went a step beyond and said, yes there is heaven and hell and after life, but the stay there is not permanent (you cant have infinite stay in heaven for a finite action or infinite pain for some transgressions) but you come back to this earth.
So what do you do with the loved ones , after they depart (assuming that it is true)? Well, hinduism states, during certain months, it is easier for us to reach them and give them a boost on their spiritual journey. (I guess it is different than Hallloween, when some believe they departed souls come to earth). So during those days, of Shraadh, some people believe we can help the departed souls by some rituals / prayers.
Although they may sound somewhat ambigious in its value, I am sure there is a much deeper spiritual meaning. I can discuss that at a later point
- If the person died on the 4 day of the rising moon, shraadh is done on the fourth day of the rising moon during shraadh. And so on and so forth
- If you dont know the tithi , the date based on lunar calendar, rituals are performed on the new moon (amaas) of the shraadh period (last 2 weeks of Bhadarvo). This day is called sarva pitru (all departed in your family) shraadh
- If it is about a woman who departed and she was still not a widow, it is done on the 9th day of the fortnight
- If the woman died and was a widow, it is done on the tithi of her expiration
- In brahmins this is what they follow
- They usually make kheer or basundi (a milk item) and roti. They give a portion to dogs, cows first. Then they give another portion to the birds. When givign it to the birds, they go to the terrace, wear their “janoi” like a necklace, give 5 portions to the birds, give water and then give another 5 portions. They say aum pranay, swaha, apanay swaha, samanay swaha, udanay swaha and vyanay swaha. At the beginning and then halfway through. It is only after this, they take wash their clothes and eat
Seems quaint. Yogananda said that during those days which correspond to the departed persons tithi of passing away, one should meditate more deeply and offer them your light and say a prayer to them. That soul, will receive it anywhere and wherever they have taken birth.
So, if that is the story, why not wish someone well? Maybe your children may wish you well.
The deeper meaning – who knows?