Mahalaya Amavasya

12 Sep
                                                                Om Gurubyo Namaha

                                 Mahalaya Amavasya

Mahalaya Amavasya is the new moon day of Pitru Paksha or Mahalaya Paksha, the fortnight {The dark fortnight of Aswayuja (September-October)} which is specially sacred for offering oblations or Tarpanam to the departed ancestors. It is believed that performing Tarpanam during the auspicious Mahalaya Paksha will bless your ancestors and will free them from all their sins.
Each day in the Mahalaya Paksha is ruled by a particular Tithi or Moon Phase and the benefits of offering Tarpanam on each day are different. Mahalaya Amavasya is the last day of the Mahalaya Paksha , which is considered as the most important day in the year for performing obsequies and rites and on this day people donate food, clothes etc.
Mahalaya Paksha – The Legend of Karna
The story why the Pitru Paksha is marked by Daan and charity has its deep ingrained meaning in a story of the Mahabharata. When Karna died in the epic Mahabharata war, his soul moved to heaven, where he was offered gold and jewels as food. Karna had done limitless charity of wealth, but had neglected to do Anna-Dana. Hence he found wealth and luxuries, but with no food to appease him. Lord Yama then told Karna that he had donated gold all his life, but had never donated food to his ancestors in Shraaddh. Hence to make amends, Karna was permitted to return to earth for a fifteen day period, so that he could perform Shraaddh and donate food and water in their memory. This period is now known as Pitru Paksha. It is believed that in these 15 days the souls of our ancestors are the closest to the earth, moving around us and if we fail to recognize them, they return to their abode unsatisfied and unhappy that we did nothing for them.
Significance of Donating Food during Mahalaya Paksha
The easiest way to access God’s grace is to feed a famished human starving for food. Donating food is considered to be the greatest charity of all the charities and it is believed that whoever donates food will attain an ‘elevated status’.
When to give Tarpanam
The fifteen days of Mahalaya Paksha consists of 15 Tithi. They are Pratipath, Dwitiya, Tritiya, Chaturthi, Panchami, Shasti, Asthami, Navami, Dashami, Ekadashi, Dwadhashi, Trayodashi, Chaturdashi and New Moon day (Sarvapitru Amavasya). According to Hindu mythology, every individual who wants to perform this Pitru Tarpanam should do it on the same day his ancestor died which will fall within any one of these fifteen days.
Mahalaya Amavasya – 2011
The Amavasya in September 2011 marks the end of the Pitru Paksha and is known as Mahalaya Amavasya and falls on 27 September 2011. The Amavasya Time begins at 07:29 PM on September 26 and ends at 05:13 PM on September 27.
Navaratri festival commence from 28 September 2011. Traditional Durga Pooja rituals also commence on this day. As per traditional North Indian calendar it is the Amavasya in Ashwin month. In other regions, as per traditional calendars followed in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, Bhadrapada month ends on that day.

3 Responses to “Mahalaya Amavasya”

  1. Jyothishi September 14, 2011 at 20:56 #

    The twelve months in Hindu lunar Calendar followed in North India are:

    Chaitra (चैत्र, चैत), Vaishākha (वैशाख, बैसाख), Jyaishtha (ज्येष्ठ, जेठ)
    Āshādha (आषाढ, आषाढ़) , Shrāvana (श्रावण, सावन) ,Bhaadra or Bhādrapada (भाद्रपद, भादो), Āshwin (अश्विन्), Kārtika (कार्तिक, कार्तक)
    Agrahayana or Mārgashīrsha (मार्गशीर्ष, अगहन), Pausha (पौष)
    Māgah (माघ) and Phālguna(फाल्गुन)

    Hope this clarifies your doubt.

  2. Bhavika September 17, 2011 at 10:54 #

    I am female and I dont know whether females can do tarpan or not – Can we donate food on all the days of pitr paksha.

    • Jyothishi September 18, 2011 at 12:29 #

      As per scriptures, only a male is to do / give Tarpan. You can feed / donate food on all days of Pitru Paksha.. It is even said that dishes which were liked / fond of departed souls if donated or fed to people, will immensely please the ‘Pitrus’

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