Gaya (Bihar)/Allahabad, Sept. : Hindus today observed the ancestral ritual of 'Pind daan' or 'Shrad', which they believe would help their dead ancestors attain salvation and to ward off restless spirits affecting their family members.
On the first day of the 'Shradh Paksha', a 15-day Hindu religious ritual that started today, many perform 'Pind Daan' or 'Shradh,' believing this will relieve their ancestors of all sins and help their souls attain salvation.
Devotees also offered cots, food, utensils and clothes to the priests. People later took dips in the Phalgu River before offering rice and flowers in gratitude to their ancestors.
"By performing these rituals the body (Soul) gets salvation, it is important to perform these rituals during this period. But Gaya has its own importance," said Shree Narayan, a priest.
In Allahabad, hundreds of Hindus from across the country took bath in the Ganga River and prayed for the salvation of their ancestors.
"During this period, the rituals that are performed reached the deceased. The rituals are performed in Gaya (Eastern Biahr state), Allahabad and Kashi," said Dinanath, a devotee.
Sitting in rows or circles while priests conduct the rituals, the family members of the deceased offer their prayers. They also circumambulate the sacred 'shila' three times.
Many Hindus believe in reincarnation. It is believed that a body changes with every birth but the soul remains the same.
The Hindu philosophy says this cycle can be broken and the soul can be put to rest by performing good deeds.