Should we avoid offering food to Krishna for one year after death in family?
A Girl devotee (Name hidden) asked like this:
Hare krishna prabhuji. My grandmother recently passed away. So many of our relatives were saying that we can not offer radha krishna cooked prasadam for a year. We can offer then fruits and sweets only. We do not have a metal deity. Only a showpiece and a picture. They also told that we cannot visit a temple for one year. Before the shraddha also our family pujari told us not to do the daily puja at our house and offer bhog. We cannot even do the Janmashtami puja this year. Prabhuji are these true. Should discontinue offering cooked bhog. Then we cannot eat everything as prasadam also. Can’t we visit a temple? Please hide my name prabhuji.
Actually, there is an advice that we should observe Suthak period (Condolence period) for one year after the death of a close blood relative in our family.
This is because the soul will take one earth year to reach the yamapuri, the kingdom of yama.
Only after one year, the connection between that soul and the earth will come to an end.
After that the soul with a newly given special body will be given judgement by Yama to face hellish and heavenly terms for a certain years or months or days.
After these punishment or blessing terms, the soul will wait in Pitru loka till it gets a suitable body that is suitable to face its karma accrued in its previous birth.
After getting a suitable family and body, the soul with sukshma body takes new birth.
This is the very brief status of a deceased person.
Since he will still be connected with the earth and his previous family on earth for one year, Lord Narayana (Krishna) advices us to follow a reserved period of condolence (Suthak) for one year.
He advices that this one year should be reserved to think of that deceased person alone and to perform rituals for one year. Though He adviced daily rituals, in practice now a days, the rituals should be done on first to 13th, 30th, 45th, 180th and 365th days after death.
So, we are forced to remember the deceased person for one year.
So, the people have misunderstood that we should not think of gods for one year.
This is utter foolishness.
You can’t avoid thinking and worshiping gods for one year. Because God, ie, Krishna is living within us. How can we avoid Him?
So, as a mark of respect for the deceased person, we can stop offering food till the body of the deceased person is taken for funeral, ie, for just a single day.
After the body is taken, clean the entire house with water mixed with turmeric powder and a antimicrobial solutions such as dettol, phenyl, etc.
From the second day to 13th day, offer only the fruits.
The rituals will be complete on 13th day. After that, only for fiour days – 30th, 45th, 180th and 365th days after death.
During the days on which you perform rituals, offer fruits for the Lord.
If 13 days had crossed, you can perform simple worship and offering to Krishna on Janmashtami and other festivals.
On all the other days of the first year, you can offer cooked food to the Lord. You can worship Him as usual.
But, only one condition: You should not pray anything for yourself for one year. You should pray only for the better position of the deceased person. This will definitely reduce the punishments for the deceased person and also give him / her better status.
Why should we avoid praying to the Lord if it will give goodn status for the deceased person?
This is the logic behind my advice.
Do not pray for you and your surroundings, but pray for the deceased person.
Another advice is that we should avoid visiting the very old temples (built 1000s of years ago and pujas are done continuously) that are located on the hills, forests and Seashore (Eg: Tirumala Tirupati, Nava Narsimmha temples, Vrindavana, etc. We should avoid visiting the temple of our family god also. You can visit your local Vishnu/ Krishna temples.
And, the temples run by spiritual organizations ususlly donot follow the rules completely. So, you can visit the temples run by ISKCON and a few other good spiritual organizations.
When my mother passed away, I offered food even the next day after taking the body. Because, I never pray to Krishna anything for my own betterment. I prayed for the elevation of mother.
Of course, my mother too will get elevated if I succeed in going back to Krishna. So, I have no worries about such rituals. I am following them just because they were said by Krishna Himself in His Narayana Form.
And, I always pray to Krishna for others, like the devotees who are keeping me alive and active in this forum.
You too follow my way. It gives peace of mind.