Why should we avoid praying anything for 13 days after death of close family members?
Ranjini Rajammal asked like this:
“Hare Krishna prabhu. I have question based on this. I understand your explanation why we shouldn’t attend parties until 13th days. But why we shouldn’t pray or go to temples until 13th days? Why we should avoid temple prayers and worship? Thank you prabhu.”
Scriptures give more importance for helping others rather than developing ourselves.
Sacrifice is the first quality expected from a satvic person.
Since the scriptures expect us to live as a satvic person, we need to be satvic persons.
So, we have to help others without expecting any favour back.
This rule is also like that.
Say the father or mother or brother (or) sister (or) uncle (father’s brother), etc, dies, “the soul + Sukshma body combination” is taken out of the body by the sukshma (invisible) force applied by yama kingaras.
Then the “the soul + Sukshma body combination” is shown to the Yama Dharma Raja within seconds as a proof.
The Yama Dharma Raja confirms the end of life of that person and then orders the kingaras to leave the soul back on the earth for 12 days, ie, in the house where he lived and take him off earth again on the 12th day.
If the sons perform the rituals for the deceased person sincerely, the yama is empowered to reduce the punishments for the past sins of that deceased person. If not, he can increase the punishments or allow them to go on as per the system.
So, for the 12 days, the son or grandson or brother will perform the rituals for the deceased person. In practice, it is done on the death day, next day, and then 9th to 12 day.
On the 12 th day, the “the soul + Sukshma body combination” is given a temporary body to walk to the yamapuri. If the rituals are done properly, he is allowed to travel on a vehicle comfortably. If not, he has to walk to the yamapuri.
Thus, the deceased person travels to yamapuri for 353 days (one year excluding the 12 days he spent as sukshma body).
On 13th day, a family gathering is done and many homas are done praying to the gods to keep the family happy and as a mark of the end of the death rituals.
So, during this one year, the family is expected to avoid visiting popular temples such as Tirumala, Rameshwaram, etc that are located on the hills and sea shore. The family should also avoid visiting the temple of family god.
The deceased soul is painfully travelling to the yamapuri for 365 days. He will be thinking of his family members all the time and crying for separation and inability to see them and be with them.
Since our beloved person is crying, the entire family is expected to mourn for one year avoiding desires to get for his comforts.
We can go to other temples during one year except the temples on hills, near sea and family gods. We can definitely visit ISKCON temples also during the one year. I myself visited when my mother and brother died.
But, as a mark of recognition of the cries made by the deceased person, we are expected to avoid praying anything for us that will be seen as a selfish act when our beloved is crying on the way to yamapuri thinking of us.
So, we should pray for the deceased person, not for us for one year.
If one year is difficult for you, follow the same atleast for the first 13 days.
However, you can perform the marriage of any person during this one year because that message will go to the deceased and travelling person through the yama kingaras. The soul will be very happy hearing the news of the marriage and also bless the marriage from the sky.
Hope you have understood the logic behind these things.