By Swami Harshananda
Nārāyaṇabali literally means ‘offering to please Nārāyaṇa’.
Significance of Nārāyaṇabali
The people believe that performing obsequal rites with proper offerings will help the souls or spirits of dead persons in relieving their sufferings and guiding them to the next destination. This becomes all the more necessary if a person has met with an unnatural death by suicide or accidents. Nārāyaṇabali is a rite connected with this.
Procedure of Nārāyaṇabali
It is performed generally on the eleventh day of the bright half of a month and involves the worship of Viṣṇu and Yama. Ten piṇḍas are placed on the darbha laved with honey. The details of the rite are similar to the ekoddiṣṭa-śrāddha.
According to some other works like the Antyestipaddhati of Nārāyaṇabhaṭṭa, five kalaśas are to be placed on a quantity of rice spread over a leaf on which five images of Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Śiva, Yama and that of the dead person are to be drawn. Worship is to be offered through certain mantras of the Ṛgveda. Ten piṇḍas are to be offered and then cast in a river.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore