Remembering the departed souls of your
Piyaray Lal Raina
Sept 19, 2000
month of Ashwan (Asuj) has started on September 14th. The first two weeks of this month
(September 14 - 28 during this year) also known as Krishn Paksh
is the period when we Pandits repay our Pitr rin to our ancestors
who are no longer amongst us. I am writing this note so that you understand
our traditions and endeavor to keep our traditions and customs alive for
According to Shastras, a Hindu is born with three
debts (rin) which he/she has to repay during his/her lifetime. These are:
1. Dev rin: Debts we owe to Gods
for our smooth journey in this and next life.
Kashmiri Pandits pays the
Pitr rin in the
2. Pitr rin: Debts we owe to our ancestors
who have departed the earthly abode.
3. Rishi rin: Debts we owe to learned
ones including our Guru who guides us in our day to day life.
1. The oldest living male descendant
of the deceased soul offers water to his loved ones daily by performing "Tarpan" ritual in the morning before eating.
During these two weeks, we remember our loved ones
on the day (tithi of the two weeks) each departed soul/s passed away. For
example, if a loved one had passed away on the 5th day of any lunar month,
then we remember him/her on the 5th day of the Krishn Paksh of Ashwan.
However, sometimes this can be on the 4th day of the Krishn Paksh if our
almanac (Janthri) has marked 5th as Devadev. Devadev means that the day
has actually started before the sunrise. As per our customs, the day starts
with sunrise. All Devadev days are marked clearly in the almanac.
2. On the death anniversary (as per our lunar
calendar) of the departed souls, Shrada Sankalpa is performed at home.
The family Guruji (Gor) performs this ritual as per the prescribed text (Vidhi).
3. During Pitr Paksh (i.e. the dark two
weeks (Krishn Paksh) of the lunar month of Ashwan (known as Asuj in Kashmiri)
we perform another Shrada Sankalpa.
4. We also perform Shrada Sankalpa at various
tirthas (holy places) such as Mattan in Kashmir, Gaya in Bihar, Hardawar
in Uttar Pradesh, Triveni at Allahbad, Pushkar in Ajmer, and other holy
There are two components of Shrada Sankalpa –
one part consists mainly of ritualistic pooja and second part consists
of offering of clothes, money, rice, salt, fruit, vegetables etc to Guruji
who performs the ritual. In his absence, the offerings are made to the
priests at the temple and in some cases to needy ones. Even if it is not
possible to perform the Shrada (ritual part), the offerings are still made.
We call it Mansawun in Kashmiri. If a Shrada Sansalpa of a loved one has
been performed at Gaya, then there is no performance of Shrada (ritual
part) at home.
On the day of Shrada, the family assemble
at the oldest living son's home and all the children of departed soul keep
a fast and break the fast together. On this day, choicest dishes are prepared
including non-vegetarian dishes if the one who is being remembered was
a non-vegetarian. All family members pray and offer flowers for the peace
of the departed soul in front of the picture of the departed soul.
Mansawun Vidhi (Offering method)
Our almanac (janthri) describe the offering method.
The mantras are simple and short. One has to know the "Gotra" of the family
to recite these mantras. Gotra is an identification of all Hindus (similar
to social security number in USA assuming there is one for each family
instead). Even though outside Kashmir there are total of six Gotras, our
community has complex gotra system of 199 gotras.
The process begins with keeping the offering in
front of the picture of the departed soul. The males assembled for
the ritual transfer the yagnopavit to the left arm. With some water and
black sesame seed in the palm of their right hands the following mantra
OM TAT SAT BRAHM TITHOU ADAY ASHWAN MASASY
Notes for the mantra
KRISHN PAKSHAY <Tithay>1 <Day of Week>2
<Relationship of departed soul> 3 <Name
of the person> <Gotra>4
SHRADEY ANNAM VASTRAE FALMUL DAKSHINA SAHITAM
1 Date of the event e.g. Prathmi for
1st day, Dutmi for the 2nd day and so on. Refer to your almanac (janthri)
for the Tithay.
With this recitation sprinkle the water in the right
hand on the offerings.
2 e.g. Somvar for Monday, Mangalvar for Tuesday
and so on.
3 Pitray for Father, Matray for Mother, Pita
Mahay for Grandfather, and Pita Mahey for Grand mother.
4 e.g. Datatrey, Kappishtal Manva, Swamin Madugulay