Shraaddha

“Death is nothing to us, since when we are, death has not come, and when death has come, we are not.”
(Epicurus – Greek philosopher, BC 341-270)

This picture was shot at Ahilyabai Ghat in Varanasi (Benaras) where an old man invited a Brahman to perform Shraaddha along the holy waters of the Ganges.
Shraaddha (Death Anniversary) is a Sanskrit word which literally means anything or any act that is performed with all sincerity and faith.
In the Hindu religion, it is the ritual that one performs to pay homage to one’s ancestors, especially to one’s dead parents.

“Rites with offerings known as shaddha are periodically held after a person has died to nourish the soul in the afterlife.
The rites are often performed once a year and feature a feast with a plate of food of food offered to the dead.
Hindu believe the living must feed the dead living in the World of the Fathers.
If the ancestors are properly taken care of they will reward the living with prosperity and sons.
The shaddha is thought to day back to the Aryans.
It is viewed as a meeting between the living and the dead.
The souls of the dead who are nor properly buried are thought live outside the World of Fathers as ghosts that torment their relatives until they are there. custom”
(“World Religions” edited by Geoffrey Parrinder, Facts on File Publications, New York)

Conceptually, it is a way for people to express heartfelt gratitude and thanks towards their parents and ancestors, for having helped them to be what they are and praying for their peace.
It also can be thought of as a “day of remembrance”.
It is performed for both the father and mother separately, on the days they became deceased.
It performed on the death anniversary or collectively during the Pitru Paksha or Shraaddha paksha (Fortnight of ancestors), right before Sharad Navaratri in autumn.
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