Anupam: Namastey. Kya shradh karma ved virudh hai?
Swami Ram Swarup: Namasteji. Han! Beta shraddh karma ved virudh hai.
Offerings to departed soul
According to Yajurveda mantra 40/15, the last religious deed is daah karma (cremation) i.e., when dead body has been placed on pyre and burnt thereafter only the ashes are to be thrown in a flowing water. After that no deed is left to be done. However, Vedas tell that one should perform Yajyen. So, for the departed soul, we can only perform Yajyen every year which gives pious result and which is even the best worship of God. Next birth is totally based on our good or bad deeds as is also stated in Rigveda mantra 10/135/1 to 6. We are free to do good or bad deeds but the result is awarded by God as per Yajurveda mantra 7/48.
There is no other way to provide any offerings such as water, til, food, etc. to the departed souls as per Vedas. You see soul is totally dependent. Soul eats with mouth, sees with eyes, listen with ears, etc., and when whole body of the departed soul has been burnt on pyre and soul has taken next birth according to deeds then how the water , til or food can be taken by the departed soul. As stated above, after cremation, no deed is left to be done.
So pitr pooja, etc. is not according to Vedas. However, amongst five Yajyen –a daily Yajyen named Balivaishvadev Yajyen is performed in married life by the family. In the said Yajyen, a small portion of prepared food is placed on paper and is placed in open space where any bird/animal takes the same easily.
The alive parents are to be served faithfully. Everybody knows that a person who is alive takes food, water, puts on clothes etc. After death body is burnt. Now how the parents will be able to take food. They according to the karmas get next birth too. So shradh is against the Vedas’ philosophy.
Are path,Yagya, havans etc., after death of a person or tarpan shradh etc., of any beneficial to departed soul?
Soul is dependent and therefore cannot do any deed etc., without senses, perceptions, mind and body whereas, God is independent. He is Almighty and needs no help from anybody to control the universe. So He never takes any assistance/help like of any human body or of bow-arrow, gun etc., to kill anyone. At the time of death, soul goes out of the body and body with mouth, ear, eyes etc., is burnt. Thirty-ninth chapter of Yajurveda throws light that at this stage, soul remains in sushupt stage i.e., like in coma, because the soul has no assistance like mouth, ear etc., so she cannot take in food, drink water, do any thing. After thirteen days the soul based on his previous lives’ deeds enters the womb. Therefore neither soul can be ghost nor can he take food etc. So according to Vedas, shradh, tarpann cannot be done.
No doubt, soul has to face his karmas-both karmas i.e., pious as well as sins. Please refer to the article on three types of karmas. Vedas as well as yog shastra 2/16 states “Heyem Dukham Anagatam” that present sins/bad deeds as well as previous lives’ sins can be burnt with the help of present pious kriyamann karmas like paath, yajyen, havan mainly listening of Vedas, name jaap of God, learning of yoga philosophy from a true acharya (who is learned of Vedas) and its practice there of etc. Benefit of the same worship is awarded when soul remains in body. Soul leaves the body to take rebirth based on sanchit karma i.e., benefit of the worship had already been awarded by the God. If soul is really interested to get salvation, then he contacts with an acharya to learn the said worship and may be able in this birth or in the future births to get salvation. But in no case, the real worship based on Vedas goes in vain. This is also stated by Shri Krishna in Bhagwad Geeta shloka 9/31.