According to ancient Hindu scriptures and texts, the soul is eternal and can never die. Even Bhagwan Shri Krishna has explained the nature of the soul to his favorite disciple Arjun on the Kurukshetra battlefield in the Hindu epic Mahabharata.
Shri Krishna has clearly explained the nature of the soul in the Bhagwat Gita and has touched upon the inevitability of death. All those born must die someday and make way for newer generations. Since the soul can never die, the spirits of our ancestors live on in the spiritual world. Thus, the living descendants of the dead must ensure the safe passage of their elders to unite with the Supreme Being.
The main causes of Pitru Dosha are- influence of the planets, our karma, and the deeds of our ancestors. If the sun is placed in the 9th House, then the individual is said to be affected by Pitru Dosha. The placement of shadow planet Rahu in conjunction with the 9th House can also also be taken as Pitru affliction.
Pitru Dosham or Pitru Paksh is the time of year when we make amends to our ancestors and reach out to them to wipe out our sins and bad karma. Pitru Dosham is associated with the karmic debt of ancestors. This effect is reflected in the kundali of the individual in a malefic planetary combination and the debt is paid by the person afflicted by the Pitru Dosham. This may not necessarily be committed by the person but can also be attributed to the sins of past generations and the person could be held accountable for their misdeeds. Hence, the individual could undergo punishment and suffer some unexpected hardships. This could also result in harsh ups and downs in life and also suffering monetary hardships, indecisiveness and mental clarity.
The affliction of Pitru Dosham in the horoscope makes life difficult and tedious, and also make the individual suffer from lack of progress. This can be very debilitating to the extent that the person may suffer from lack of confidence, mental courage and the ability to handle even normal situations in life.
So what does one do to overcome this affliction? Luckily, ancient saints and seers prescribed several spiritual remedies and rituals for the individual to repent and rectify the Dosha. For this, there is a specific time of year for repentance and appeasement. Paying obeisance to our ancestors during this period, can greatly alleviate and even negate the Pitru Dosham. Departed souls stuck in the realm between heaven and earth (Pitru Lok) are restless and still bound by earthly ties. Rituals and prayers offered to them can liberate their souls and clear the pathway to ascend to their heavenly abode (Brahmaloka).
That is why we are required to perform the last rites of the dead in the proper manner by performing certain rituals to facilitate the dead on their last journey and take their rightful place in heaven.
The time of year to reach out to our Pitrus is known as Shraad and lasts for 15 days. Each day is dedicated to one particular ancestor, and we perform the Shraad ceremony for them on that particular day, going by the Hindu calendar.
It is incumbent upon the children and grandchildren to perform the last rites of a person in a befitting manner so the Atma (soul) of the dead can rest in peace and ulitmately unite with the creator. This will result in a happy and prosperous life for the descendants of the living and bless them with peace and happiness.
We can identify the effects of Pitru Dosham when no male heirs are born in the family, delays in marriage, frequent miscarriages become commonplace within the family. Lack of interest in activities, business losses, poor hygiene, physical & emotional problems, debts and other related issues are also attributed to Pitru Dosham.
The spiritual remedy prescribed for appeasing ancestor is known as Tarpanam and Pinda Dhanam (donations) to 3 preceding generations of the family. There are several other spiritual remedies and rituals to ensure dead souls find Mokaha (salvation). By observing and following these practices, we can earn the blessings of our ancestors and overcome the Pitru Dosha in our horoscopes.
Some of the remedies for Pitru Dosha are:
Offering water to Shivlings and Banyan trees for the duration of 15 days during the Shraad period on the date of death.
Offering food and foodgrains to Brahmins on every Amavasya (no moon days). We can offer offer food items in temples on the no moon day and Poornima (full moon days).
Performing the Grah Shanthi Pooja is also recommended, along with poor feeding, animal feeding, and Dakshina donations to the poor and needy. Chanting the Gayatri Mantra every morning is also recommended.
Offering Poojas to Bhagwan Shiva in Rameshwaram is a very effective and powerful remedy to overcome the malefic effects of Pitru Dosham.