Photo Courtesy: YouTube

 ‘Pitra Paksh or Shraad’ are days of remembering by Hindus of their dead (parents and loved). In effect, it means saying thank you to their ancestors  for whatever they gave us, blessed us with. Gratitude is a core value of Hinduism. While some cultures have Mother’s day, Father’s day, Grandma’s day and Grandpa’s day; Hindus show their respect and thanks even to their dead.

‘Pitra Paksh Amavasya’ has a special significance for Hindus. That is the day when Hindus offer their respect and thanks to those ancestors whom they may not have even seen in their life. The rituals may differ, but intent is same. I have seen Hindu Community leaders performing shraad for millions of Hindus murdered by Muslim Invaders in India for refusing to convert to Islam.

I have been on my job in many foreign countries. Performing Shraad the way it is done in our family in India was nearly impossible. Some Hindus do travel back to their home town to perform Shraad the way it has been their family practice. I didn’t. Actually, all our family is now out of India.

The solution we found was to make offerings to Lord Shiva and Ma Parvati in a Temple, as Lord Shiva is the Lord of death and his wife, Ma Parvati, is  seen as divine mother. While making offerings, you essentially remember and thank your parents, grandparents and great grandparents.

2021, I was in Maryland, USA. And I decided to visit Shirdi Sai Temple of Germantown, Maryland, for one single reason that it is located close by.

That Temple has a Shiva Murti and it worked for me. But I was a bit taken back to see a long list of honorific words for Sai, printed on a banner welcoming visitors to the Temple. It read:


What struck me as a practicing Hindu was OM printed on his left foot. Secondly, ‘Tripund’ (three straight lines) on his head gear. Please see photo below that I clicked there. Is it all overly made up?

Om is a ‘Pranav Akshara’, sound of the universe, abbreviation of three primordial forces of , Upjana (Birth), Aalan Palan (Sustenance) and Mrityu (Death).

Tripund is put on head and not head gear. Tripund in Hindu Culture signify straightforwardness or unity of  ‘Mansa’, ‘Vachsa’, ‘Karmana’ (thought, speech and action). You ought to be truthful, in your daily life, of the highest order, if you wanted to wear it.

Looking at it, three thoughts crossed my head:

  1. Was he Hindu?
  2. Do his devotees include practicing Hindus?
  3. Hindus really need Temples in foreign countries as per Hindus culture and tradition.

A Hindu would never show/ wear OM on his foot. A practicing Hindu would simply not withstand that sight.

And Lo’ my search on YouTube met:

Exposing Sai baba’s reality by a Jain Muni. He was a Muslim, implanted as Hindu Saint. No great religious book produced by him. We are  aware Sony TV  in India is runs a serial by his name and one devotee as shown in the serial is penning SaiCharitam.

Adopting Hindu name by Muslims has been a very common practice in India to sound like and immerse in Hindu community, the majority community of India. Many Muslim actors of India’s film industry  have and had adopted Hindu names to immerse and sell their movies.

M K Gandhi gave his family name to Feroz Khan to help him marry Indira Priyadarshini (Indira Gandhi) daughter of Jawahar Lal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India. There are a  number of restaurants owned and operated by Muslims in India under Hindu names.

In the name of entertainment, Indian film industry has taken obnoxious liberties with Hindu culture.

A ‘Sanyasi’ in Hindu Culture is one who renunciates all worldly attachments, to seek Moksha, the fourth  and the highest goal of human life, after Dharma, Artha, Kama.

In 1975, a movie by the same name (Sanyasi) was made, denigrating Sanyasi. Incidentally, you could hardly protest in 1975-76.That was the period of Emergency declared by Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, to put opposition behind bars, amend constitution of India, most undemocratically,  and to build a vote bank for Congress Party.

DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.