Garuḍa Purāṇa 5
Garuḍa Purāṇa, after having discussed about the rituals to be performed on death, proceeds to discuss about the annual and other ceremonial rites. When a person dies, the maximum number of days of impurity to the deceased’s relative is ten and this period is called aśauca period. The aśauca period varies on the basis of one’s relationship with the deceased. Aśauca period is also applicable at the time of birth of a child. The only difference between these two aśauca-s is for the birth number of daytime is calculated and for death, number of nighttime is calculated. During aśauca period, one should refrain from eating pungent food and should shelve all pleasures. Close relatives become purified on the offering of piṇḍa on the tenth day.
Piṇḍa is offered everyday during the first ten days along with water, honey, ghee, sesame seeds, etc. Any rites to ancestors are performed only with sesame seeds. Piṇḍa is a ball of cooked rice. The preta body of dead is formed only on offering piṇḍa-s. For example, on the first day of piṇḍa offering, the head of the preta body becomes piṇḍa body, on the second day of offering neck and shoulders become piṇḍa body and so on. On the tenth day, the entire preta body is converted into piṇḍa body or piṇḍa śarīra (śarīra means body). The entire piṇḍa is not consumed by the preta. A piṇḍa is divided into four parts. One part is offered to the servants of Yama, the god of death. Two portions are used to convert the preta śarīra into piṇḍa śarīra and only the last quarter is consumed by the preta.
On the twelfth day, a special ritual known as sapiṇḍīkaraṇa is performed. It is like annual śrāddha ritual. Though it is said that in rare cases, sapiṇḍīkaraṇa can be performed after twelve days, it is said that it is better that it is performed on the twelfth day itself. Piṇḍa-s are also offered on the day of sapiṇḍīkaraṇa. On taking this piṇḍa, the preta śarīra becomes a pitṛ and can reach the world of ancestors. It is said that a deceased person cannot reach the world of ancestors with preta śarīra. A preta eats food twice, on eleventh and twelfth days. If piṇḍa-s are not offered daily for the first ten days and if sapiṇḍīkaraṇa is not performed on the twelfth day, preta śarīra, instead of entering into the world of ancestors, becomes a ghost and suffers. On the thirteenth day from the date of death, a ceremony is performed known as śravaṇakarma. The impurities that prevailed at home due to death are removed by this ceremony. Once this ceremony is performed, servants of Yama descend from the world of Yama to take the dead’s piṇḍa śarīra to Yama. Now the dead’s body has become like air due to the piṇḍa-s offered. The journey of the subtle body of the dead now begins to the world of Yama for his decision and disposal.