Three Russian women offer ‘pindadaan’

54576640GAYA: Three Russian women on Tuesday afternoon flew in from Russia to perform ‘pindadaan’ for the salvation of the souls of their departed ones.
They performed the rituals at Dev Ghat on Wednesday morning. They also plan to visit Pretshila, the hilltop abode of ghosts located on the northern outskirts of Gaya town. Pretshila is an important ‘pindadaan’ altar.
Alena accompanied by her daughter Akansa offered ‘pindadaan’ for the salvation of her late husband’s soul. Marina, a 30-year-old bank employee, performed the ritual for the salvation of ancestral souls. Though the rituals are normally conducted by Gayawal pandas, Loknath Gaur, an NRI living in Russia, performed the rituals for them at Dev Ghat.
The event is interesting for more than one reason. First, only Hindus are ordained to perform the ritual. As per tradition, only male descendants of the dead persons perform the ritual.

Earlier this year, a group of 35 women from Chicago in the US performed ‘pindadaan’ ritual. At that time, the issue of non-Hindus and women performing the ritual was widely debated.

The Gayawal pandas took the stand that Hinduism was flexible enough to adopt anybody who professed to follow the Hindu way of life and, as such, the origin of these women could not come in the way of their desire to perform Hindu rituals.
On the issue of a women’s eligibility to perform the ritual, the pandas said Goddess Sita also performed it for salvation of King Dasarath, her father-in-law.
According to panda Mahesh Guput, there are two schools of thought: Mitakchcha and Daya Bhag. The Daya Bhag school of thought does not discriminate between descendants on the basis of gender.