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Performing sraddham

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I am 71 years old and hearing impaired. 50% of hearing is lost in both ears. I lost my father in 2004 and mother in 2007 and have been performing sraddhams diligently. I tell the Vadhyar of my difficulty in hearing and request him to tell the manthrams slowly so that I can repeat it correctly. But I find that all the Purohits/Pandits go in their metered recital and I either skip or mispronounce the manthrams. This has been agitating my mind and I am feeling guilty that I have not performed the sraddham correctly and become sad. Despite wearing hearing aids, I find it difficult to catch the manthrams. We do not perform sraddham daily unlike sandhyavandhanams or other pujas so that we are able to memorise /know the manthrams by-heart. I also have the book 'sraddha prayogam' by Anna.

I had been performing the sraddham at home and since my wife found it difficult to cook and also to attend to the requirements during the time I perform the homam and sraddham, we thought of doing it in Sankara matt, T Nagar. I found that the sastrigal hurried up things and the sraddham will be over before 11.30 a.m. Also the cooks were not good. One sastrigal actually caught hold of my hand and poured the havis etc himself into agni. So much in a hurry.

Then I again started performing the sraddham at home with a hired cook. The cook will cook the food always talking over mobile and throwing salt left and right into the food items. And charged a hefty fees.

The vadhyar was also in his usual hurry chanting the manthras in his meter as accustomed to him despite my requesting to repeat upon which he becomes angry.

My vadhyar sends different people each time for the sraddham and all are alike. I have repeatedly requested my vadhyar to send the same person. Sometimes the same sastrigal comes but he is his usual self. None of the vadhyars are interested in making the karta perform the sraddham correctly. They are interested in money only.

I perform Amavasya tharpanam without fail and also on all the days (15/16 days) during the Mahalaya Paksham, and I recite the manthras with the help of the book, sending dhakshina to the vadhyar.

I now feel very sad and am in a dilemma whether to perform sraddham as per parvana vidhi or as hiranya vidhi. I feel guilty. Can anyone help me decide.

S. Subramanian, Pallavaram, Chennai 600043


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Dear S. Subramanian,
I totally understand your situation and also your earnest intention.
I'm not sure if my reply may convince you, but i shall try to give one that might help you to ease your mental agitation just in case.

Even at the age of 71 with few physical troubles, your sincere effort to perform paarvana shraddham properly to your parents is really very much commedable and that also sets an example for others and inspires the next generation.
Now to your query, I personally feel, all that matters is, to take all sincere effort whatever is possible from your end and leave the rest to god.
Infact truly, it is not our problem at all to bother the consequence of other's mistake in their responsibility. Just do whatever you can and get contended with your side of effort and surrender the result or consequence to the almighty as we always do at the end of all of our rituals with kaaye na vaacha...
But to also convince you the same points from the shashtras, it is said, that if the vadhyar doesn't help in performing the rituals properly, it is he who reeps for the pitfalls, not the karta. Also, for the wrong recitation of the mantras, where it happens in almost all the cases since not all perform the rituals with total concentration, and there may be a deviation here and there atleast in thought . So, even for that, the vadhyar will recite a slokam at the last of the rites that starts with 'mantra heenam kriya heena bhakti heenam ...' or a similar vedic hymn called kshamaa praarthana requesting the deity to excuse for the mistakes in pronounciation, intonation etc..

So, its all the responsibility of the vadhyar to justify his job. its our job or duty to satisfy the vadhyar with the dakshina and the brahmanas with good food and not to provoke their anger in any way. If we have done our part of the job with at most faith and sincerity. Our pitrus will definitely be satisfied and karma will reaps its fruit.
Similarly it is theirs(vadhyaar's responsibility to satisfy the yajamaanan - the karta).

A Best example would be, if you go to kaasi, gaya and alahabad yaatra, there almost all the rituals for pitrus or any other rites for that matter, will be very short that too in a very fast pace. Not to complain all though, but many are behind money. But now,how can we be responsible for their shortfalls. Since this is the case, can we loose our faith and interest in our belief and shastras for their lacking??
To get dejected when a sincere honest effort not payoff is very natural, But its the maturity to see the truth that not everything is in our hands, but only to do action. As the lord says in geeta :
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन ।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भुर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ॥
Karmanyevaadhikaraste, Ma phaleshu kadaacana |
Ma Karmaphala heturbhurma tey Sangostvakarmani ||
Your concern or rights is to perform your prescribed duty alone, never you are entitled to the fruits of action.
Let not the fruit of action be your motive, and never be attached to not doing your duty.
- Bhagavad Gita, Chapter II, Verse 47
So, you may try your best to do paarvana shraddham by yourself.
but if that not possible, you can keep a cook and perform the same.
Still not possible ? do, hiranya shraddham, there is no fault in it. Just satisfy the brahmanas with gifts who are none other than your pitrs, and the vadhyaar with dakshina. Thats enough. Being sincere to execute duty from your part alone is the criteria.

Hope this helps.
Sarvam Krishaarpanam.


Thank you very much dear Shri Venkat. It was very elucidative. I am also of the view that we should perform the shraddham as per parvana vidhi as long as possible. My father performed the Shraddham for his parents till his death at the age of 89. We helped in getting all things and meeting the expenses etc., and supported in all measures. That is the reason why my seeking advice.

Thanks once again. I will do all my rituals as long as I can do so. Afterwards it is as per the will of the God Almighty.


S Subramanian
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