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PITHRU POOJA & KANYA POOJA

By ShriVatsa Somadeva Sharma

SRI KAMAKOTI PRADIPAM
17.9.1961

The following auspicious days fall in the month of KANYA known as Purattasi in Tamil and Bhadrapada in Sanskrit.    
1. Parivartana Ekadashi 2. Shravana Dwadashi 3. Vishwaroopa Yatra 4. Mahalayam 5. Beginning of Navaratri .
In this month the Sun enters in to Kanya Rasi.

अस्मै हि पितरौ पुत्रान् बिभर्तः (Yajur Veda 6.1.6). That is why parents beget children.
The above sentence is told by Suparna to her sons. Kadru made Suparna her slave. To redeem her from the slavery is the duty of her sons. Even though not able to protect themselves during difficulty, parents protect their children. When the parents are not in a position to protect themselves, is it not the duty of the children to protect their parents?
Jagati and Trishtup the two sons of Suparna went to Swarga to bring Soma to redeem their mother from slavery. But they could not win in their attempts and came back losing all their strength. Gayathri the other son then went to heaven. He was successful in his attempt. He not only brought Soma but also the things that his brothers lost in the heaven. He redeemed his mother from slavery.
The same story is told by Vyasa who had given to the world the eighteen Puranas. Kadru the mother of snakes made Suparna, the mother of Garuda her slave. Kadru told Garuda that the slavery of Suparna can be redeemed only if nectar from Swarga was brought and given to her. Garuda took the blessings of his parents and elders and went to Swarga, fought there, won the battle, brought the nectar and saved his mother. This is the story as told by Vyasa  as per the Vedic principle.
Our parents leave the world leaving behind the body which is made of five elements. They obtain a watery body and become PITRUS and also become the citizens of the kingdom Vaivasvata Aadi. There they will not be in a position to get the things they need for their very existence. Only under such circumstances they expect the assistance of their children. Yamadharma out of compassion for the PITRU DEVATAS, sends them to earth with an instruction to take food from their children. The period when Yamadharma allows them to this world is called MAHALAYA PAKSHA. Either to cleanse the place where PITRUS lived once or to consume the food offered by the children, PITRUS are sent to this world. The PITRUS fond of getting the six type of food eagerly come down. During the sixteen days the children would perform MAHALAYA SHRADDHA ceremony. The PITRUS feel as if they are part of a festival with their children. That is why this period is called MAHA AALAYAM i.e. Meaning great temple. If the children do not celebrate all the days, and if not even for a day, the PITRUS return to their abode, disappointed, cursing their children. Their curse will be as follows.            “ Since you have not done the SHRADDHAM to us, you will not beget children to do this to you and you will suffer in the world without food to eat”.
Let us not become eligible for the curse of the PITRUS.
प्रेतपक्षं प्रतीक्षन्ते गुरुवच्च समन्विताः।
कन्यागते सवितरि पितरो यन्ति वै सुतान्।।
ततो वृश्चिकसम्प्राप्तौ नीरसा पितरो गताः।
पुनः स्वभवने यान्ति शापं दत्वा सुदारुणम्॥ (माधवीयम्)
Maharishis say that even those who live through begging should give at least give some amount of food to their departed parents. During `the MAHALAYA PAKSHA Shraddha shall be performed if not on all the fifteen days, at least on the following days: MAHABHARANI, VYATIPATA, MADHYASHTAMI, TRAYODASHI. Performance of Shraddha on those days will give greater results (Phalan). Even in the day to day life we say thanks to those who help us. Parents who had given us life, protected us, brought up to a good position, visit us during the MAHALAYA PAKSHA. Is it not our duty to extend welcome to them and feed and keep them comfortable? At least the day on which they passed away (TITHI) one should perform Shraddha. As children enjoy the assets left behind by the parents and it is their duty to repay them.
The DHARMA SHASTRAS order as follows:

  1. Do Shraddham on all fifteen days of MAHALAYA PAKSHA
  2. If you do not have facilities to do so, do atleast on PANCHAMI OR ASHTAMI up to AMAVASYA
  3. Do Shraddham as ordained to be done
  4. If it is not practicable to do so do as HIRANYA Shraddha
  5. Even if this is not practicable do TARPANAM with sesame (TILA) with water

By doing with all sincerity the PITRUS feel happy, hence bless and
return. In the olden days people were doing on all the sixteen days during MAHALAYA PAKSHA every year. There are specific results for the performance on each TITHI says Rishi Apastamba. Failure to perform will result in not begetting children  because of the curse of the PITRU DEVATAS.

पुत्रान् आयुः तथा आरोग्यं ऐश्वर्यमतुलं तथा।
प्राप्नोति पञ्चमे दत्वा श्राद्धं कामान् तथा परान्॥
Panchami according to Jabali is the duration from Panchami to Ashtami. For those who had taken SANYASA in the family DWADASHI is the apt TITHI and for those who died by weapons CHATURDASHI is the apt day for performing the rites. Those who perform Shraddha for the entire Paksha should do two TARPANAS on the Amavasya day. One should not do two Shraddhms in a day. But on the day of AMAVASYA, TARPANA shall be done for two sides of the family (ie) PITRUS from the father’s side and PITRUS from the mother’s side.  During the MAHALAYA PAKSHA TARPANA ought to be done to KARUNIKA PITRUS too.
KARUNIKA PITRU DEVATAS
The following are called KARUKINA PITRU DEVATAS:

  1. Younger brother of the father
  2. Elder brother of the father
  3. Elder brother
  4.  Younger brother
  5. Sisters
  6. Ones own sons
  7. Aunt (Sisters of father)
  8. Aunt’s son (Amman)
  9. Wife of father’s elder brother
  10. Wife of father’s younger brother
  11. Daughters and sons of father’s brothers
  12. Wife
  13. Father in law
  14. Mother in law
  15. Daughter in law
  16. Wife’s brothers
  17. Guru
  18. Master under whom one serves
  19. Friends

For all the mentioned TARPANS are to be performed during the MAHALAYA PAKSA. Should we not do ANNA MAHALAYA Shraddha at least once in our lifetime?

       NAVARATRI POOJA
द्वाव्रृत्तयमदंष्ट्राख्यौ नूनं सर्वजनेषु वै।
शरदः सन्तानमनौ दुर्गमौ प्राणिनामिह॥
तस्मात् यत्नतः इदम् कार्यं सर्वत्र शुभमिच्छुना॥(देवीभागवतम्, तृतीयस्कन्धम्, २६ अध्यायः)
Yama is son of Surya. He is called as Dharmaraja. He will not go astray from the righteous path. He condemned the folly done by Chaya Devi, second wife of his father. He is an embodiment of peace for the good. He is a tyrant for the sinners. He has two long and sharp teeth on both sides of his mouth. They are the VASANT and SHARAD RITUS . (Duration of every two months is called a RITU. They are six Ritus: VASANTA, GREESHMA, VARSHA, SHARAD, HEMANTA & SHISHIRA). All the diseases under the sun are YAMA’s servants to fetch the lives of those dead in this world. He is by himself very ferocious in appearance. He is also known as BHAYANKARA. Those who see his long teeth protruding on the sides of the mouth are sure to shudder. In the VASANTH and SHARAD RITUS, the world suffers various diseases. When one undergoes difficulty the word AMMA comes out spontaneous by nature. AMMA is not only the one who has given us the body. She is the mother of all the worlds. The scriptures denote DEVI as AMBIKA. She is in the form of moon. Without her there is no existence. There is a saying in Tamil that SHAKTI ILLAYEL SHIVAM ILLAI  which means if there is no Amba there is no Shiva. Amba resides in the lotus heart. She is the place where the entire world resides. She cannot be seen through the naked eyes. There is a proverb in Tamil as “KAANATHATHAI KENATHIL THEDU”.
The feeling of ego that I do everything has not spared even the Devas like in the story where INDIRA DEVI UMA, HIMAVATY alone could clear their illusion.She woke up Vishnu to do good to Suras by winning the Asuras. Even Vishnu could not win MAHISHASURA  and BHANDASURA. The trinity of Brahma, Vishnu Shiva along with devas took refuge under AMBA and prayed for the destruction of these two great demons. Will moon ever  be hot like summer? Amba, the embodiment of compassion  did not want to wage a cruel war. Danger was progressing. Devas lost their position and started serving ASURAS. Sorrow grew beyond limit.
आपदि किं करणीयं स्मरणीयं चरणयुगलमम्बायाः।
तत् स्मरणं किं कुरुते ब्रह्मादीनपि किङ्करीकुरुते॥
When one is in danger what one should do? One should remember the lotus feet of DEVI. How will such remembrance help when one has to suffer due to fate? Such remembrance would make even BRAHMA to render service to the person who remembers. Only for such situations AMBA takes  different forms accordingly. She took different names and destructed so many evil doers.  
“घोरान्या शिवान्या तनूः”॥
She takes ferocious form like CHANDI, CHAMUNDI, MAHISHASURAMARDINI and also peaceful forms like BALA, LALITHA, RAJESHWARI, TRIPURASUNDARI.
NAVARATRI:
To get the blessings of Devas one has to do penance for thousands of years. But Amba being the mother is not like that. She is easily approachable. She is very happy when her children think about her ,uttering her names. Devas did penance undergoing physical pain to get her grace. To relieve their suffering Ambal appeared on the night of the eight day. On the ninth day she sent a messenger to the Asuras so as to reconcile with them averting a war. She had given them an opportunity to rectify their folly. This attempt is just like administering medicine to the ailing person. When this attempt becomes futile naturally the next remedy is only surgery.
 When Devi saw MAHISHASURA, with compassion is her words, she asked him why his intellect is like that of a buffalo’s. She warned him of the consequences of the fight and then having given already an opportunity, she cut his head and placed her lotus feet, which are always in the hearts of great saints, on his head. This form can be seen even today in the temples.
अज्ञानध्वान्तदीपिका is one of the names of Amba which means then she is the one beacon light that removes the darkness of AGNANA and brightens with GNANAM. The colour of a buffalo is black like darkness. The quality is THAMASAM (ie) it is always in the muddy water and when it comes out of it, sprinkles on others too the muddy water.   To remove this THAMASAM, one does not have any other way other than surrendering unto DEVI.
                                       During NAVARATHRI in every house, dolls of different varieties and forms are placed in steps and worshipped as KOLU. This is to remind the people that when devas were doing penance without any movement, the whole world came to a standstill. DEVI is in three forms.1.ICHCHA SAKTHI 2.KRIYA SAKTHI 3.GNANA SAKTHI (ie) the power of desire,power of action and power of knowledge.Devi is worshipped as BRAHMADEVI,MAHALAKSHMI,GNANADEVI SARASWATHI.
                       चेलाजिनकुशोत्तरम् “CHELLA JINA KUSOTH THARAM”,is a saying to describe the procedure to be followed at the time of doing JAPA. When doing japam the seating should be arranged in the following way: First place the dharba grass. Place on it the AJINAM. The skin of the deer or tiger and not  cloth. The present form of worship is also as follows first to get rid of the enemy to worship the form of  DURGA, to get  wealth, MAHALAKSHMI and in the last to obtain the real knowledge SARASWATHI. The VIJAYADASAMI day is the day DEVI won over  the demon. It is not an ordinary victory. But a special victory. Usually the days of Saturday and Tuesday are not selected for doing auspicious things. For this day of VIJAYADASAMI, these days are not a bar for celebration. On this day any new work as admitting to the school, to start new business, open a factory, etc. are undertaken which ensures success. During NAVARATHRI days, arts like music, dance, etc find a special place.
                 During the NAVARATHRI days for the benefit  of the world VEDA VIDYA HOMAM, PARAYANAM, ARCHANA, SUVASINI POOJA, KANYA POOJA are celebrated in the kanchi kamakoti peetam and they are really  feast  to the eyes and ears. Only those people who are gifted  have an opportunity to attend these functions.
                                               The details of the kanya pooja performed are given detail below.


                                  Day

Age of the Kanya

No. of Kanya

Name

Benefit

1

2

1

Kumarika

Enemy Destruction

2

3

2

Thrimoorthy

Getting the fruits of Dharma & Artha

3

4

3

Kalyani

Proficiency in Education

4

5

4

Rohini

Get rid of disease

5

6

5

Kalika

Papanasanam

6

7

6

Chandika

Improvement of wealth

7

8

7

Sambavi

Victory with appeals

8

9

8

Durga

Rid of sorrow

9

10

9

Subadhra

obtain whatever desired

              
Only good looking kanyas without any diseases  should be engaged in kanya pooja and they should be given cloth, money, auspicious materials like turmeric, bangles, etc… they should also be fed sumptuously.
Translated by Ramayanam

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