As per the Hindu religion, the first fortnight of the month of Ashwina is designated for performing rituals and prayers for ancestors. This period is known as Pitru Paksha and it is a 15-day long period. Out of these 15 days, the last day holds utmost significance and it is known as Mahalaya Amavasya or Sarva-Pitru Moksha Amavasya.
According to legend, it is said that during the churning of ‘Divine Nectar’, many saints and devas were killed by the demons on this Amavasya of Ashwina month. So this day has also been dedicated to them. The day is important for ‘Tarpan’ of those ancestors who died on Amavasya. Also the day is designated for all ancestors irrespective of the tithi they have died on. At times, some people are not aware of the lunar dates on which their ancestors left their mortal body. In such a case, their shradh can be performed for all the ancestors irrespective of gender, age and marital status or even if someone died a sudden unnatural death. That is why Amavasya shradh is also known as Sarva-Pitra Moksha Amavasya.
On this day after taking a bath, one should face southwards and pour water along with rice grains and black sesame seeds in the name of one’s ancestors. This process is called as Tarpan and it is the purest form of reverence to one’s ancestors. After Tarpan, a cow, a crow, a dog, and a Brahmin should be fed. It is believed that the souls of the ancestors get liberated by these rites and they help in contributing towards their peaceful journey ahead. Other acts of kindness should also be performed in the name of ancestors.
Amavasya in 2019 falls on the 28th of September, on Saturday. Rituals to be performed on this Amavasya include:
Take a bath in the morning and pay respects to your ancestors.
Worship the Sun during sunrise by offering it water and reciting Gayatri Mantra.
Offer milk, black sesame seeds, flowers, and Gangajal to a peepal tree while remembering your ancestors.
Seek blessings of forefathers and ask for an apology for your mistakes.
Sarva-Pitru Paksha Amavasya shradh puja includes Nandi shradh vidhi, Tarpan vidhi, Pitra Gayatri mantra jaap, Pinda Daan Tarpan, bhog and prasad.
Food is offered in the name of ancestors to crows, cows, dogs, ants, and Brahmins.
Sankalps are done in the name of ancestors.
Observing this Amavasya helps in attaining peace of mind, cordial and harmonious family relations, financial stability and relief from malefic effects of Pitru Dosha.
Perform the sacred rituals on this Mahalaya Amavasya and your ancestors would bless you back with good health, wealth and prosperity. It is a way to eliminate negative energy and vastu dosha from the house. The past deeds and wrong deeds of the ancestors can also be removed by performing rituals on Sarva –Pitru Moksha Amavasya. The rituals are said to relieve the souls of your ancestors and help them to attain salvation. Observers are also bestowed with Lord Yama’s blessings and they are saved from all evils and obstacles.