Jīvat-śrāddha

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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Jivat-sraddha, JIvat-ZrAddha, Jivat-shraaddha


Jīvat-śrāddha literally means ‘śrāddha of oneself performed by a person still living’.

Jīvat-śrāddha Definition

Śrāddha, obsequial rites, is an ancient ritual. If a person does not have children or successors who are eligible to perform his śrāddha after his death, or if he feels that none of them may do it properly, he can perform it for himself. This is called ‘jīvatśrāddha’ or ‘jivaśrāddha’.

Rituals of Jīvat-śrāddha

The procedure as described in some works like the Baudhāyana Grhyaśesasutras[1] is quite exhaustive and complicated. It has to be performed every month for a year and then every year for twelve years. Some of the steps involved in it are:

  • Fasting
  • Kindling the sacred fire
  • Offering oblations with certain mantras from the Ṛgveda[2]
  • Giving gifts of prescribed objects
  • Burning his own effigy
  • Observing aśauca, ceremonial impurity
  • Performing ekoddiṣṭa rite
  • Few other rituals

References

  1. Baudhāyana Grhyaśesasutras 3.19
  2. Ṛgveda 4.58.3
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore