Hindu Priests in Gaya say No to Online Pinda Daan

The Bihar State Government in India recently announced a decision to introduce a videoconferencing facility for Hindus abroad to offer Pinda Daan at Gaya in 2009 during the Pitrapaksh fortnight in Ashwin month. Pinda Daan is a Hindu religious ritual dedicated to the dead ancestors and it seeks Moksha of the dead from the cycle of rebirth.

The Hindu Priests at Gaya who perform the Pinda Daan are known as Pandas and they are saying a firm No to the idea of online Pinda Daan. They say that the physical presence of the person performing the Pinda Daan rite is a must.

There is a popular belief that Lord Ram and Sita performed the Pinda Daan ritual at Gaya for King Dasharath (Lord Ram’s father).

Thousands of Hindus from across India and abroad arrive in Gaya during the Pitru Paksha fortnight to perform the ritual on the banks of the Falgu river.

Express Buzz reports

"We fail to understand the motive to introduce online pinda daan. It is not possible because a devotee's physical presence is necessary to perform the rituals," Mahesh Prasad Gupta, a priest, told IANS.

Rajan Sijuar, another priest in this town, about 100 km from state capital Patna, said the government's decision to introduce online pinda daan was the "brainchild of those who have no knowledge of this ritual.

"A man sitting in America or Europe cannot perform pinda daan online. This offering is only possible in Gaya, nowhere else".

Bihar's Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi announced the government's decision to introduce a videoconferencing facility for Indians abroad for pinda daan in September 2009. Modi then said that to simulate the physical presence of the devotee, the rituals would be performed through videoconferencing.

Modi said the state tourism department was preparing a special "online pinda daan package for the devotees from this season".

In 2009, Pitru Paksha Shradh week begins on September 4 and ends on September 18.