Matsya Avatara


6    Highlights of Pitru Vamsha and the concept of ‘Shraddhas’
In the Celestial Region, there was a Vibhraja Loka in which Pitara Barhishad resided who had thousands of Peacock-shaped ‘Vimanas’always ready to bless those persons offering the barhi (kusha) fruits, especially among Devas, Asuras, Gandharvas, Apsaras and Yakshas. At this very Loka, Maharshi Pulastya’s thousands of sons who were always engrossed in Tapasya and Yoga, were also resident that Loka. Among them was a Manasi Kanya- one Yogini and Yogamata- named Peevari who performed deep Tapasya and pleased Bhagavan Vishnu and sought a boon from him to secure an oustanding youth as her life partner who should be a great Yogi, Jitendraya, an erudite scholar and an Orator. Vishnu blessed her and said that Veda Vyasa would beget a person fitting into the qualifications that she described and would be called Shuka Muni; after wedding him, she begot a girl who was ‘Yoga parayani’ by name Krutvi or ‘Gow’ as also four sons and thereafter she attained Moksha by virtue of her Yoga Shakti. In another case, Maharshi Vasishtha’s son named Sukali was also a Pitara known as Manasa who was an embodiment of Dharma living in Jyotirbhasi Loka beyond Swarga; he obliged even ‘Shudra Kartas’ on Earth in their Shraddha Karmas to fulfill their desires let alone the Bhrahmana Kartas of Shraadhhas.There was a Manasa Kanya named ‘Gow’ in Swarga who was Shukra Deva’s wife who was engaged in the task of expanding the fame of various Pitras among the different Pitra lokas. Similarly there was a loka called Marichigarbha in Surya mandala where the son of Maharshi Angira lived as a Pitara known as Havishmaan and was mainly the reciever of Shraddhas from Kshatriyas and was often travelling to the Kshatriya Kshetras to receive their offerings. In that very Loka, there was a Manasi Kanya Yashoda who was King Anshuman’s wife, the mother of King Dilip and the famed grandson Bhagiratha who brought Ganga from Swargaloka to purify the souls of his grand father’s dead owing to Muni Kapilka’s curse. There was another Pitruloka called Kamadudh where Suswadha Pitra lived and was ready to ask for boons for the asking. From the body of Maharshi Pulaha there were a number of ‘Vaishyas’born and the Shraddha Kartas of the Vamsha were able to experience visions of their ancestors. The Manasi Kanya called Viraja who was the wife of King Nahusha and mother of KingYayati and was renamed as Ekashtaka.The Pitras of Brahmanas lived in Manasa where Somapa the Pitra of Brahmanas resided. The Manasi Kanya of this Manasa Loka was River Narmada who purified many devotees in Dakshina Bharat. Thus, the Institution of Shraddhas was established in the Society as a multi-gate medium to receive the offerings of the Shraddha Kartas from Pitru Devas -who qualified the Status of Pitru Devas the hard way- as also to bless the Shraddha Kartas on the one hand and the departed souls on the other thus alliveating their miseries while passing on the Shraddha benefits to them from the Kartas.The Shraddha Kartas would do well by giving silver or silver-coated vessel to a Brahmana to please the Pitru Devas and perform ‘Tarpanas’ to Agni, Soma and Yama addressed to them and offer to them water, tila (sesame seeds), cow’s curd, honey, kusha grass, rice, sugar cane, and ghee. With these offerings, Pitru Devas would be pleased and bestow good health, progeny, longevity and prosperity. (The procedure of Shradda was given in the Essence of Padma Purana by the same writer).

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