By Swami Harshananda
Ekoddiṣṭa literally means ‘intended for one’.
Performance of certain religious rites for the peace of soul of a dead person is an ancient custom in almost all the religions and cultures of the world. Such rites are called by the general term ‘śrāddha.’
Generally, śrāddhas are performed for the three (dead) paternal ancestors of a person. They are termed as ‘pārvaṇaśrāddha.’ The ekoddiṣṭa śrāddha is performed only for the benefit of one person, who has just passed away.
This rite is done throughout one year after death. After that, the dead person attains the realm of his forefathers through the special ritual of ‘sapiṇḍi-karaṇa’.
In this śrāddha, there is no offering of cooked food or ājya (ghee) to be offered into the fire called agnaukaraṇa. There is no invitation to the brāhmaṇas to represent the Viśvedevās. The mantras uttered and the questions asked to the other brāhmaṇas are also different. An uneven number of Brāhmaṇas are fed on the eleventh day.
- Eka = one, uddiṣṭa = intended for.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore