Why do we do Shraadh every year for the departed ones ?

Question:

JGD!! I have a question pertaining to something we did in Pathanjali Yoga sutras. We discussed about death and how we do the 13 day rituals to let go of the soul. Why do we do Shraadh every year for the departed ones though? Is it not a form of clinging on to them? Also, as you know, I have lost my first child who lived for 2 days but we do not do anything for him other than thinking of him on his birthday and being grateful to that soul for having picked us as his parents before salvation. Is this the right approach? I don’t mind this question answered to all but I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate for those who have not done Pathanjali yoga sutras yet.

Answer:

Yes, it’s right that Shraadh is done for our own peace of mind, so that we let go of our attachment to that particular soul. Every year bit by bit, we release the attachment if any is remaining. That Soul has probably taken a new body and moved on. Shraadh is done so that we accept this fact as well and move on. But this ritual has also been manipulated quite a bit for lack of a proper understanding.

When small babies or children leave the body, they are said to be very pure as the consciousness never moved into the Gross body, it remained in the subtle body or even in the sleep body sometimes in case of babies. That’s why they are not cremated, they are buried. Cremation (burning the body) is done only for adults who have crossed sexual maturity as the consciousness has moved into the gross body and the impurities of the world have tainted the mind-body complex. The fire burns away the impurities. For the same reason Shraadh is not done for these babies or small children.

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