1. Experiencing benefit by performing Shrāddha regularly
I had learned about Pitrupaksha (a fortnight when departed ancestors come closest to Earth) after starting my spiritual practice under the guidance of SSRF about 10 years ago. As I come from a Buddhist background, I had not known about Pitrupaksha or ancestral problems before. My family and I faced some different problems which I learned were due to departed ancestors such as eczema, miscarriages, marital disharmony, financial difficulties, health related problems and many others. I felt grateful to SSRF for providing this knowledge that guided so clearly as to how to help our departed ancestors during this period. By performing the simple Shrāddha ritual throughout the years, I also experienced how it would remove obstacles in my spiritual practice and the problems that I faced that were due to ancestral problems would also start to reduce over time.
This year I was visiting my parents during the Pitrupaksha period in Vancouver, Canada. I had followed the instructions as per the SSRF article on how to perform the simple version of the Shraddha ritual and set vegetarian food out in the backyard with a prayer to Deity Datta and to my ancestors. It was a small plate of some rice, dāl (lentils), vegetables and water. After a few hours, I looked out of the window to see if any of the food had been taken or if any crows or other birds had come. I saw that the food offering was still intact and untouched, and I felt some worry and disappointment. I had learned that as per the spiritual science, one sign that the offering is successful is if a crow comes to eat the offering, as the ancestor’s spirit goes into the crow to partake of the offering.
I asked God mentally whether this offering will be successful if no crows or animals come to partake of the offering. Then, suddenly I could see faint grey outlines of people in the backyard around the food offering. Some were sitting and eating, while others were standing and waiting for their turn to eat. I was very surprised to see this vision and I felt that God gave this spiritual experience to reassure me that He is taking care and that my ancestors are receiving the offering.
Before sundown I went to the backyard to express gratitude and buried the remains of the food offering in the ground. I experienced a sense of lightness after the ritual and felt immense spiritual emotion (bhāv) of gratitude towards God that He has made it so simple for us to perform the ritual of Shraddha to benefit our ancestors spiritually.
Throughout the period of Pitrupaksha, I would also chant ‘Shri Gurudev Datta’ sincerely with the spiritual emotion that the energy from the chant is going to my ancestors and helping them. Sometimes the spiritual distress I experienced would increase during the period of Pitrupaksha, but at the same time I would experience God’s presence, which would motivate me to continue making efforts. Gratitude to God for sharing this knowledge with all of humanity, and I pray that more and more people around the world benefit from this Divine Knowledge.