A Shradh, Hindu death rituals, atma Shradh, shradh ceremony in honor and for the benefit of deceased relatives, observed at fixed periods and on occasions of rejoicing as well as of mourning. Libations and offerings of pinds (cake or ball of meal, flour or rice offered to spirits of ancestors, oblation to ancestors offered by nearest surviving relates) are made to the spirits of the deceased and of food and gifts to Brahman officiates and to relatives.
The Shradh performed for the pitars or manes during the Pitra Paksha (the dark fortnight of the month of Asauj) has a distinctive effect. It is said that Lord Yama, the god of death gave this direction that the donation and food given during the Pitra Paksha must reach the spirits of the deceased at once and straight. The Pitra Paksha Shradh is organized for all the deceased relatives. It is said that the donation and the food reaches all the deceased ancestors of the person who performs the Shradh. If ‘Tarpana’ (a religion observance: the offering of libation of water to the gods or to the spirits of one’s ancestors) is done on the last day of the Pitra Paksha, its effect reaches even to those persons who have died and who had no issues.
Such persons who did not do any act of virtue or goodness in their whole life and because of this they remain deprived of all comforts and conveniences in Pitra Loka (the abode of the deceased spirits) have the gains of ‘Shradh’ performed during the Pitra Paksha. Besides this, the donation and food offered during this period reaches the spirits even of those persons whose date of death is not known and due to their annual ‘Shradh’ is not performed. Its gain is obtained also by the persons killed in a violent incident.
“THE PITRA PAKSHA (THE DARK fortnight OF THE MONTH ASAUJ WHEN RITES ARE PERFORMED IN HONOR OF DECEASED ANCESTORS) IS OF GREAT IMPORTANCE IN THE HINDU RELIGION. IT IS THE BELIEF THAT Shradh PERFORMED IN THIS PAKSHA (fortnight) FOR THE GRATIFICATION OF PITRAS (MANES) HAS DISTINCTIVE EFFECT. IT IS ALSO BELIEVED THAT THE DONATION AND GRAINS ETC. GIVEN IN THIS PAKSHA REACHES DIRECT TO THE MANES AS YAMA, THE GOD OF DEATH HAS HIMSELF DIRECTED NOT TO PUT HINDRANCE AND OBSTACLE IN IT ”.