India is a land of customs and rituals and every custom has a reason or a story behind it. Some have faith in these stories some don’t but it is important to understand why these rituals are performed – for instance the ancient ritual of shradh that invokes one’s ancestors.
It is said that the soul after death reincarnates into another body and the cycle continues depending on the cycle of karma one performs in one’s present life.
Certain souls do not reincarnate because their cycle of karma obstructs them and they are unable to manifest into a human body and therefore remain suspended as energies that we often refer to as ghosts or settle in another space that old guards describe as pitralok.
These souls need the help of their children and grand children to free them from their cycles, in other words if the children do good deeds, charity and chant mantras they can liberate their troubled and suffering ancestors.
That is the purpose of performing shradh, a ritual to pay our respect to our ancestors because there is no way of finding out if our ancestors are happy or unhappy, reincarnated or in pitralok, seeking liberty or celebrating another life so we find solace in our scriptures and Vedas and do what children are supposed to do for our ancestors.