Markandeya Puran मार्कण्डे पुराण
Shradh (श्राध) - Worship of Deceased Ancestors
Discussion of Rochya Rishi with his deceased ancestors about the performance of rites in Markande Puran
(published by Gita Press Gorakhpur, on page 237, in which Markande Puran and Brahm Puranank have been bound together)
A worshipper named Ruchi, by practicing celibacy, was doing sadhna according to the Vedas. When he turned forty, he saw his four ancestors who had become Pitras by doing sadhna opposite to the scriptures and were suffering. Pitras said, “Son Ruchi, get married and carry out our shraadhs; we are suffering.” Ruchi Rishi1 said, “Pitramaho, in Vedas, the path of Karm-Kaand2 (shraadhs, to offer Pind etc) is said to be sadhna of the fools. Then why are you directing me to that wrong (devoid of injunctions of scriptures) sadhna. Pitra said, “Son, it is true that in Vedas, Pitra-worship, ghost-worship, worship of gods-goddesses (Karm-Kaand) is called as Avidhya (ignorance / an error); there is no doubt about this.” In this very piece of writing in the abovementioned Markande Puran, Pitras said that but Pitras do give some benefits.
Important: These guesses have been made by Pitras themselves; we do not have to follow this because in Purans, there is order of a particular rishi that instructs to worship pitras, ghosts and other gods. But because of not being evident in Vedas is not the order of God. Therefore by violating the order of God on the advice of some saint or rishi, we will become subject to punishment.
Once, a man became friends with a police constable (S.H.O.). That man said to his constable friend that my neighbour gives me a lot of trouble. The constable (S.H.O.) said, “Hit him with a stick. I will deal with it myself.” Obeying the order of the constable friend, that man hit his neighbour with a stick. Because of injury in the head, his neighbour died. Being the officer of that region, that police official arrested his friend and put him in the prison. That man received death sentence. His constable friend could not help him in any way. Because it is the constitution of the King that if anyone will kill someone, then he will receive death sentence. That foolish man violated the constitution of the King by obeying the order of his S.H.O. friend, and consequently lost his life. Similarly, Holy Gita Ji and Holy Vedas – this is the constitution of God in which there is instruction of worship of only one Purna Parmatma (Supreme God); the worship of other gods – pitras – ghosts is prohibited. In Purans, there is order of the rishis (constables). By obeying whose orders and violating the constitution of God, one will have to bear hardships one after another. Therefore worship of other gods is a hindrance in complete liberation/salvation.