India / Mauritius


Sundar Caitanya Goswami Maharaja




There are two reason on which people not interested in reading on life after death. One is death fear and the other one is having no faith or less faith. Since the answerer read these things in his teens and referring books frequently, answer is given without waiting for others to contribute.

1) Garuda Purana:

 A difficult question to answer in a simple way.

 Garuda Puranam describes the journey of the departed soul and its requirement during this time of travel.

 After the dead body has been burnt, there is a ten-day period of mourning and impurity for the sons and sapindas (near blood relatives).

 Every day, a pinda must be offered to the dead person. Water must also be offered. Thus the tenth pinda is offered on the tenth day.

 Why is the pinda at all offered? Each day’s pinda offerings are divided into four parts. The first part is appropriated by Yama’s messengers. The second part is used by the preta to survive. The remaining two parts are used by the preta to reconstruct a body by means of which he can travel to Yama’s abode. The first day’s share makes the head. The second day’s share makes the ears, the eyes and the nose. And so on and so forth until on the tenth day, the body is complete.

 On the eleventh day, a shraddha ceremony is held. This is the first (adya) funeral ceremony, so it is known as adya shraddha.It is called ekothistam in southern part of the country.

 For a period of one year, every month, on the date of death, a shraddha ceremony (Masika Shradha) continues to be held. Then a final shraddha ceremony known as varshika shraddha is held. All of these ceremonies are accompanied by the offering of pindas.

 Why is this period of one year important? The adya shraddha takes place on the eleventh day. Then on the thirteen day, Yama’s messengers come for the preta. The preta now has a body, thanks to the pindas offered on the first ten days. Yama’s messengers grab this body and begin to drag it towards Yama’s abode. But the way is long and it takes three hundred and forty-eight days for the journey to be completed. The journey starts on the thirteenth day after death. Therefore, it is almost a year after death when the preta finally reaches Yama’s abode. During his long journey, the preta gets no food or water. It lives on whatever offerings are made to it in the form of pindas.

 There are sixteen cities that have to be passed on the way to Yama’s abode. Their names are Yamya, Souri, Nagendra, Gandharva, Shailagama, Krouncha, Krura, Vichitra, Vahvapada, Duhkada, Nankranda, Sutapta, Roudra, Payovarshana, Shitadhya, Vahubhiti. In between the cities named Vichitra nd Vahvapada, the river Vaitarani has to be crossed. This a terrible river and its currents are made of blood. There are boats for crossing the river. But only those who have donated cows on earth are allowed to cross by means of the boats. The others are dragged through the current and their flesh torn to shreds by fierce birds.

 After one year has passed, the preta reaches Yama’s abode. He is no longer a preta, but becomes one of the ancestors (Pitru Sareera). The varshika shraddha that is performed is a recognition of this fact.

 As the karta’s (elder son or qualified person for this ceremony) life is not taken granted, the year end Sabanteekaranam is done on the 12th day by a special way and the Pretha jeeva attains Pitru sareera. The monthly pindadaan is continued as a precautionary measure.

punishment in hell

2) Garuda Purana abridged:

 2.15.67 “Within three days and nights the soul assumes a new body. On the tenth day the embodies soul longs for food.

2.15.74 “On the eleventh day and the twelfth, the soul of dead eats to his fill.

 2.15.76 “On the thirteenth day, the soul of the dead is taken to the High Way. Now he assumes a body of the pinda and feels hungry by day and night.

 3) Half boiled rice and daal is kneaded as laddus as pinda:

 The pinda daan in death rituals vary from region to region in length and breadth of the country,. This can be seen in Gaya Pinda Daan and there many many kinds of Pinda Daan and with various constituents. (boiled or semi boiled, spherical or lumped, with seasame or daal, ………). During his long journey, the preta lives on whatever offerings are made to it in the form of pindas.