According to old Indian traditions, we follow the custom of offering food to our ancestors or Pitrs of upto past three generations during the period between September-October or the Pitr-Paksha. It is believed that when someone dies, their travel in the other realms is very slow: their one day approximating to a whole human year. This practice which includes offerings to the Pitrs is meant to provide for their journey towards a peaceful afterlife.
Whatever may be the spiritual significance of such a practice, it also helps the people on this side of the realm. Saying goodbye to a loved one is not easy, most certainly not when the death is unexpected or not of natural causes. Such incidents leave scars in our minds that are difficult to heal even over time. The Shraddhas of Pitrs is another way of coming to terms with the loss. In this way, we realise that our sorrows are not more important than our ancestors finding peace in any existence. It exposes us to various facets of life and death and how one follows the other, into a never-ending cycle. By crying over one life, we are ignoring the truth which is greater than us all, that of a unified existence, a preternatural being.
This note was meant to be personal, unique and a tribute, yet I realise that we all experience this in one form or another. We cry over various things that are not meant to be permanent. We celebrate the impermanent joys too, so that the concentrated energies of celebrations send a ripple around our existence. We are all infinitesimal, minute beings who are going to perish today or tomorrow. We have these few, countable days in which we fit an entire lifetime, experience a whole world. And yet, do we? Are we experiencing the whole world or just a part of it? Maybe we need to come back in some other form to really find out.
And then maybe someone will be offering us things to make it all better.