Mahalaya paksha is a fortnight in the month of Bhadrapada when our ancestors visit the earth, accept our sraddha offerings, bless us and depart. Doing mahalaya sraddha is important, said V.S. Karunakarachariar in a discourse. It is said that one should do sraddha every day during mahalaya paksha. If this is not possible, then one must do it at least on one of the 15 days. The benefits of doing sraddha on different tithis during mahalaya paksha are specified.
Doing sraddha on prathama brings riches; on dvitiya, blesses one with progeny; on tritiya brings progress; on chaturthi leads to one being without enemies; on panchami gets us gold and silver; on sashti brings fame; on sapthami blesses us with power; on ashtami blesses us with knowledge; on navami gives one a good life partner. If performed on dasami then all one’s wishes get fulfilled; on ekadasi one gets Veda jnana; on dvadasi one’s family line continues; on trayodasi one gets limitless wealth. On chaturdasi, it is done to appease those who died in accidents. Mahalaya tarpana, mahalaya sraddha and mahalaya Amavasya are all significant for ritual offerings to ancestors.
Performing prescribed rituals for our dead ancestors is very important. Lord Mahavishnu, the Supreme One, has no parent. And yet, in the Sarangapani temple in Kumbakonam, in Tamil Nadu, He performs sraddha for a devotee. The devotee died childless, and the Lord performed the funeral rites. Every year, he does sraddha for the devotee, as a son would for his father. Those with pitru sapa come to this temple for atonement. If the Lord should be so meticulous in performing sraddha, we can understand how important sraddha is.