Garuḍa Purāṇa 16

There is a ritual called sapiṇḍīkaraṇa performed on the twelfth day from the date of death. Originally, this was performed along with the first year ceremonial rites. Nowadays it has become part of funeral rites. By performing this rite, the preta body of the dead enters the world of ancestors known as pitṛloka. The subtle body of the dead is called preta till sapiṇḍīkaraṇa is performed.  Till sapiṇḍīkaraṇa is performed, no auspicious functions should be held in the family of the deceased. Garuḍa Purāṇa says that sapiṇḍīkaraṇa can be performed on the twelfth day.  If this is not possible, it can be performed at the end of 45th day or six months or at the end of one year. During the first year after death, sixteen śrāddha-s (ceremonies performed in honour of the dead) are to be performed.  If these sixteen śrāddha-s along with sapiṇḍīkaraṇa are performed, preta body of the dead loses its identity and becomes a pitṛ or ancestor.  Till then, the subtle body continues to suffer and some of them become ghosts.  Sixteen śrāddha-s are –1. at the place of death, 2. at halfway to the cremation ground, 3. at the pyre, 4. in the hand of corpse, 5. to the spirits living in the cremation ground, 6. at the time of collecting ashes and 7 – 16. during the first ten days after death.  There is another method to reckon this. Twelve monthly ceremonies and four ceremonies one at the end of 45 days, 90 days, 180 days and 360 days.  Sapiṇḍīkaraṇa can be performed only by the son. If the deceased has no son, it can be performed by his wife, brothers, brother’s son or other close relatives. For a woman, only her son, husband or husband’s brother alone can perform sapiṇḍīkaraṇa.   After performing sapiṇḍīkaraṇa, nāndī śrāddha should be performed. Nāndī śrāddha is a ceremony performed to seek the blessings of ancestors while performing any auspicious ceremonies such as marriage.  After performing sapiṇḍīkaraṇa, no further individual rite should be performed.  In case individual rites are performed after sapiṇḍīkaraṇa, sapiṇḍīkaraṇa is to be performed again. If sapiṇḍīkaraṇa is performed, the dead becomes a pitṛ or ancestor and ceremonial rites should be performed for three generations – the dead, his father and his grandfather.  If individual śrāddha-s are performed after sapiṇḍīkaraṇa, the performer tortures the subtle body of the dead.  Sapiṇḍīkaraṇa should not be performed if the deceased’s father is alive and in the case of a woman, if her husband is alive.

It is said that if śrāddha-s are not performed for a departed soul, its subtle body becomes a ghost.  If it attains ghost hood, it cannot reach the world of ancestors. Apart from non-performance of śrāddha rites, one can become ghost if he steals from women, children and temples.  Those who steal conch shells also become ghosts.  The only way to get rid of ghost hood is to perform Nārāyaṇa bali. Bali means offering oblations. This rite purifies the preta body of the dead.  Only preta body is capable of becoming a ghost.

There is reference to a remedy to eradicate repeated obstacles or sufferings to a person.  One has to make a jar, preferably in gold and fill it up with milk or ghee.  After worshipping Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva and the eight cardinal deities, the jar is to be gifted to a knower of Vedas.  If this ritual is performed, all the obstacles are removed.