Mahalaya Paksha : It is believed that the spirits leave Pitru-loka and reside in their descendants homes

The souls of three preceding generations of one’s ancestor reside in Pitru loka, a realm between heaven and earth. Pitru Paksha (Apara paksha) is a 16th lunar day period when Hindus pay homage to their ancestors. At the beginning of Pitru Paksha, the sun enters the zodiac sign of Libra, it is believed that the spirits leave Pitru loka and reside in their descendants homes for a month until the sun enters the next zodiac Scorpio and there is a full moon. Anthropologist Usha Menon of Drexel University presents, that Pitru Paksha emphasises the fact that the ancestors and the current generation and their next unborn generation are connected by blood ties. The current generation repays their debt to the ancestors in the Pitru Paksha. It’s legendary evidence of Mahabharat says, that the brave warrior Karna died in war, his soul transcended to heaven, where he was offered gold and jewels as food. However, Karna needed real food to eat and asked Indra, the lord of heaven, the reason for serving gold as food. Indra told Karna that he had donated gold all his life, but had never donated food to his ancestors in Shraddha. Karna said that since he was unaware of his ancestors, he never donated anything in their memory. To make amends, Karna was permitted to return to earth for a 15 days period, so that he could perform Shraddha and donate food and water in their memory. This period is now known as Pitru Paksha or Mahalaya Paksha.


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