Preta

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By Swami Harshananda

preta (‘one who has gone away from here’)

This word is generally used to indicate the disembodied spirit of a dead person, especially during the first ten days after death. In order to free it from that state, a handful of water mixed with

sesame has to be offered to the deceased on a stone placed on kuśa grass (Poa cynosuroides) and one large pirida (rice-ball) is also to be offered on kuśa grass everyday for ten days.

The word is also used to indicate a ghost, generally the spirit of a great sinner. Such ghosts, called bhutas, pretas and piśācas, are supposed to be in the retinue of the deities Rudra and Kālī.


References

  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

OLD CONTENT

preta (‘one who has gone away from here’) B38* This word is generally used to indi¬cate the disembodied spirit of a dead person, especially during the first ten days after death. In order to free it from that state, a handful of water mixed with sesame has to be offered to the deceased on a stone placed on kuśa grass (Poa cynosuroides) and one large piṇda (rice- ball) is also to be offered on kuśa grass everyday for ten days. The word is also used to indicate a ghost, generally the spirit of a great sinner. Such ghosts, called bhutas, pretas and piśācas, are supposed to be in the retinue of the deities Rudra and Kālī.