Amavasya, the New Moon day, is meant for ancestral worship. This thithi, the lunar phase, usually occurs once a month. Of these, the New Moon day of the Tamil month Purattasi (mid-September to mid-October) is regarded perhaps, the most sacred of the Amavasyas. It is on this Amavasya that Mahalaya Paksha, the fortnight considered most sacred for worshiping and propitiating the departed ancestors, concludes. Hence, this is called by the name Mahalaya Amavasya.

Mahalaya Amavasya

Ancestors are known as Pitrus. So, the Mahalaya fortnight meant for the ancestors is also called Pitru Paksha, and this Amavasya, as Pitru Paksha Amavasya.

The term ‘Maha’ refers to something big or great, while ‘Laya’ can denote alignment or oneness. ‘Mahalaya’ thus stands for ‘the great alignment.’ There is a strong belief that Mahalaya Amavasya is the time when a unique energy becomes operational in nature and that it can help human beings experience a close alignment with the divine. And this supreme oneness is made possible by our own deceased ancestors. Hence, Mahalaya Amavasya remains the most sacred and opportune moment to show our gratitude to our ancestors and offer prayers to them.

In the current year, Mahalaya Amavasya 2021, that is, Pitru Paksha Amavasya 2021, falls on 6th October, Wednesday.

Ancestral Worship

There can be no denying that what we are today is mainly because of our ancestors and that their contribution to the good life we are leading now is immeasurable. Thus they still remain a part of us, blessing and guiding us towards a promising future. And Mahalaya Amavasya remains the right occasion to remember those departed souls with gratitude for all that they have done and continue to do to us for our wellbeing.

Therefore, Mahalaya Amavasya remains the thanks-giving occasion for our forefathers.

Mahalaya Amavasya – the Negativity Remover

Pitrus are highly evolved souls, and Mahalaya Amavasya remains the propitious occasion well-blessed by their divine grace. So, this New Moon day can also be called the suitable time to celebrate our own lives gifted to us by our ancestors and to ensure a promising and prosperous future for us. This can become possible only if we are able to clear the negative energies surrounding us and purify the atmosphere all-around. That can help remove obstacles and ensure a smooth and conducive ambiance for peace, prosperity, and progress.

Mahalaya Amavasya is thus the right occasion – to propitiate the ancestors; make them happy by helping them attain tranquility in their place of stay; receive their immense blessings; nurture our own lives and those of our children and descendants, and establish peace and prosperity in the entire social setup.

Thus, Mahalaya Amavasya is not only an occasion to say thanks to our ancestors and please them through rituals and offerings like Tarpanam; but it also provides us the opportunity to rid ourselves of negativities, purify our thoughts, words, and deeds, and resolve to walk the path of righteousness in the life ahead.

Mahalaya Amavasya, being the right time for us to align with the ultimate divine energy, can provide us the unearthly power to wipe out negativity from all around and march ahead towards a kind, compassionate, and morally sound social order. We can also cite this as the reason for this day marking the beginning of the Navaratri festival, when Durga, the ultimate universal feminine power, is celebrated as the destroyer of evil and the protector of virtue.

While people can do ancestral worship through Tarpanams and other rituals on the occasion, Mahalaya Amavasya also remains the time to remind ourselves about our duty towards our parents and living family elders like grandparents and others. Respecting our parents and elders and taking care of them in their old age can be among some of the highly virtuous acts a person can perform during his lifetime.

Mahalaya Amavasya 2021

On 6th October Mahalaya Amavasya 2021, or Pitru Paksha Amavasya 2021, people can

• perform Tarpanam and make offerings to departed ancestors with sincerity and faith
• show love and respect to parents and family elders, and take care of them well
• Give food and other items in charity to the poor and needy

These can grant good life to people, their families, and descendants; prevent unnatural or untimely deaths, and ensure a healthy and peaceful old age.