Now, facility to offer pinda-daan online at Gaya

Now, facility to offer pinda-daan online at Gaya

Now, facility to offer pinda-daan online at Gaya

Thirty-eight-year old Chandan Singh, a Gaya-based businessman, is not related to journalist Khushwant Singh or writer Rajendra Yadav. Nor has he ever met the duo.

But this Pitrapaksha Mela, he performed pinda-daan for the late veteran writers on the banks of the Falgu river for salvation of their souls. Chandan is keeping alive the trend, started by his late father Suresh Narayan. Suresh had been performing pinda-daan for dead strangers from across the world since 2001.

After a prolonged illness, he passed away in January this year. But before breathing his last, he assigned Chandan the task to do collective “pinda-daan” during Pitrapaksha Mela for unknown persons who are no more. “On September 17, I performed a collective pinda-daan at Deo Ghat on Falgu,” Chandan told Deccan Herald.

Apart from the two veteran journalists, he performed the rituals for the 45 persons who were charred to death in a bus at Mehboob Nagar in Andhra Pradesh, the 12 children who perished when Bangalore-Nanded Express caught fire near Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, 15 cops who were killed in Maoist attack in Chhatisgarh, CRPF Deputy Commandant Indrajeet Singh killed in encounter with Maoists in Aurangabad, and journalist James Folly killed in Iraq.

The fortnight-long Pitrapaksha Mela, also known as festival of souls, is held in September. The event has its religious, mythological and historical significance. According to an estimate, about eight lakh pilgrims from across the country visit Gaya during that period.

Pilgrims belonging to the Sanatan Hindu religion come to this holy place every year not only from all over India but even from neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bangla­desh to offer “pinda” during the auspicious period so that their ancestors attain “moksha”.  

It is precisely this reason why scores of pilgrims could be seen offering pinda and performing religious rituals at 48 vedis (altar) spread over different areas in Gaya. Prominent among those places are Vishnupad Temple, the Falgu river, Ram­shila, Baitarni Kund, Rukmini Kund, Surya Kund, Dharma Kund, Sita Kund and Brahma Sarovar. 

A few months before Suresh Narayan passed away, he had performed the rituals for Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, playback singer Shamshad Begum, Bollywood character-artiste Pran and Mithila painting artist Mahasundari Devi among others. It’s against this backdrop that Chandan has formed a trust in the name of his father-- Babu Suresh Narayan Memorial Trust – where he intends to perform collective pinda-daan ritual.

“I also aim to do welfare work for the pilgrims arriving in Gaya. Besides perfor­ming the rituals, I also make available good amount of medicines which is distributed among pilgrims in the 17-day-long Pitrapaksha Mela,” he averred.

For those who want to perform pinda-daan, the sacred Hindu ritual in which people offer oblations in memory of the departed souls, but can’t travel thousands of miles to reach Gaya (where the Pitrapaksha Mela is organised every year in September), there is a way out.

Now, a person can do it with the click of a mouse, sitting at his home. There is
online pinda-daan facility for offering pindas in memory of departed soul. The puja can be performed after depositing certain fee to trained priests.

The source of inspiration for this online facility to offer pinda has apparently been the important temples of the country like Kalighat Temple, Dakhishneswar Temple, Tarapeeth, Lord Venkateshwara temple at Tirumala. At all these places, the pilgrims are reportedly being provided online puja facility for long.

Several dotcom services of foreign countries had been providing this facility for Indians settled abroad. The dotcom services get the pinda-daan performed through a Panda (Brahmin priest). The date of pinda-daan is intimated to the applicant well in advance so that he can perform certain rituals back home on that particular day as per instructions issued by the priest.

But not many people are happy with this on-line facility. “Those who have
formulated the policy to provide online puja facility are either totally ignorant or completely unaware of the religious importance of the puja. The physical
presence of the devotee is a must if one has to get moksha,” averred a local priest
Mahesh Prasad.

This year ,the pinda-daan was done during the auspicious period of pitrapaksh starting from September 3 to September 18. Local journalist Alok said that in previous years, the Pitrapaksha Mela in Gaya was in the news when non-Hindus, including two Muslims and two Japanese women, too performed pinda-daan.

While lakhs of pilgrims belonging to the Sanatan Hindu religion visited this holy place not only from all over India but also from neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bangladesh to offer pinda so that their ancestors get “moksha”, the place had some unusual visitors too.

Two Muslims - Mohammad Maqbool from Muzaffarpur district and Ahmad Ali from Chapra reached Gaya to offer pinda-daan to their forefathers on the banks of Falgu river.
More surprise was in store when two Japanese women - Yuko Masuda and Yuka Pisuda - reached Gaya to offer pinda. Another Japanese woman Tomaka Lee flew in from Japan to Gaya to simply watch Pitrapaksha Mela from close quarters.