Viṣṇu Purāṇa | Book 3 - Chapter 15
"Hear next, oh prince, what description of Brahman should be fed at ancestral ceremonies:
he should be one studied in various triplets of the Rig and Yajur Vedas; one who is acquainted with the six supplementary sciences of the Vedas; one who understands the Vedas; one who practises the duties they enjoin; one who exercises penance;
a chanter of the principal Sāma-veda, an officiating priest, a sister's son, a daughter's son, a son-in-law, a father-in-law, a maternal uncle, an ascetic, a Brahman who maintains the five fires, a pupil, a kinsman; one who reverences his parents.
A man should first employ the Brahmans first specified in the principal mourning rite; and the others (commencing with the ministering priest) in the subsidiary ceremonies instituted to gratify his ancestors.
"A false friend, a man with ugly nails or black teeth, a ravisher, a Brahman who neglects the service of fire and sacred study, a vender of the Soma plant, a man accused of any crime,
a thief, a calumniator, a Brahman who conducts religious ceremonies for the vulgar; one who instructs his servant in holy writ, or is instructed in it by his servant;
the husband of a woman who has been formerly betrothed to another; a man who is undutiful to his parents; the protector of the husband of a woman of the servile caste, or the husband of a woman of the servile caste; and a Brahman who ministers to idols
--are not proper persons to be invited to an ancestral offering.
On the first day let a judicious man invite eminent teachers of the Vedas, and other Brahmans; and according to their directions determine what is to be dedicated to the gods and what to the Pitris.
Associated with the Brahmans, let the institutor of a mourning rite abstain from anger and incontinence:
He who having eaten himself in a Śrāddha, and fed Brahmans, and appointed them to their sacred offices, is guilty of incontinence, thereby sentences his progenitors to shameful suffering.
In the first place, the Brahmans before described are to be invited; but those holy men who come to the house without an invitation are also to be entertained.
The guests are to be reverently received with water for their feet, and the like; and the entertainer, holding holy grass in his hand, is to place them, after they have rinsed their mouths, upon seats.
An uneven number of Brahmans is to be invited in sacrifices to the manes; an even or uneven number in those presented to the gods; or one only on each occasion.
"Then let the householder, inspired by religious faith, offer oblations to the maternal grandfather, along with the worship of the Viśvadevas, or the ceremony called Vaiśvadeva, which comprehends offerings to both paternal and maternal ancestors and to ancestors in general.
Let him feed the Brahmans who are appropriated to the gods, and to maternal ancestors, with their faces to the north; and those set apart for the paternal ancestors, and ancestors in general, with their faces to the east.
Some say that the viands of the Śrāddha should be kept distinct for these two sets of ancestors, but others maintain that they are to be fed with the same food, at the same time.
Having spread Kuśa grass for seats, and offered libations according to rule, let the sensible man invoke the deities, with the concurrence of the Brahmans who are present.
Let the man who is acquainted with the ritual offer a libation to the gods with water and barley, having presented to them flowers, perfumes, and incense.
Let him offer the same to the Pitris, placed upon his left; and with the consent of the Brahmans, having first provided seats of Kuśa grass doubled,
let him invoke with the usual prayers the manes to the ceremony, offering a libation, on his left hand, of water and sesame.
He will then, with the permission of the Brahmans, give food to any guest who arrives at the time, or who is desirous of victuals, or who is passing along the road; for holy saints and ascetics, benefactors of mankind, are traversing this earth, disguised in various shapes.
On this account let a prudent man welcome a person who arrives at such a season; for inattention to a guest frustrates the consequences of an ancestral offering.
"The sacrificer is then to offer food, without salt or seasoning, to fire, three several times, with the consent of the assistant Brahmans; exclaiming first:
'To fire, the vehicle of the oblations; to the manes Svāhā!'
Next, addressing the oblation to Soma, the lord of the progenitors; and giving the third to Vaivaswata.
Then he should place a very little of the residue of the oblation in the dishes of the Brahmans; and next, presenting them with choice viands, well dressed and seasoned, and abundant, he is to request them civilly to partake of it at their pleasure.
The Brahmans are to eat of such food attentively, in silence, with cheerful countenances, and at their ease. The sacrificer is to give it to them, not churlishly, nor hurriedly, but with devout faith.
"Having next recited the prayer for the discomfiture of malignant spirits, and scattered sesame-seeds upon the ground, the Brahmans who have been fed are to be addressed, in common with the ancestors of the sacrificer, in this manner:
'May my father, grandfather, and great grandfather, in the persons of these Brahmans, receive satisfaction! May my father, grandfather, and great grandfather derive nutriment from these oblations to fire!
May my father, grandfather, and great grandfather derive satisfaction from the balls of food placed by me upon the ground! May my father, grandfather, and great grandfather be pleased with what I have this day offered them in faith!
May my maternal grandfather, his father, and his father, also enjoy contentment from my offerings! May all the gods experience gratification, and all evil beings perish!
May the lord of sacrifice, the imperishable deity Hari, be the acceptor of all oblations made to the manes or the gods! And may all malignant spirits, and enemies of the deities, depart from the rite.'
"When the Brahmans have eaten sufficiently, the worshipper must scatter some of the food upon the ground, and present them individually with water to rinse their mouths;
then, with their assent, he may place upon the ground balls made up of boiled rice and condiments, along with sesame-seeds.
With the part of his hand sacred to the manes he must offer sesame-seeds, and water from his joined palms; and with the same part of his hand he must present cakes to his maternal ancestors.
He should in lonely places, naturally beautiful, and by the side of sacred streams, diligently make presents (to the manes and the Brahmans).
Upon Kuśa grass, the tips of which are pointed to the south, and lying near the fragments of the meat, let the householder present the first ball of food, consecrated with flowers and incense, to his father; the second to his grandfather; and the third to his great grandfather; and let him satisfy those who are contented with the wiping of his hand, by wiping it with the roots of Kuśa grass.
After presenting balls of food to his maternal ancestors in the same manner, accompanied by perfumes and incense, he is to give to the principal Brahmans water to rinse their mouths;
and then, with attention and piety, he is to give the Brahmans gifts, according to his power, soliciting their benedictions, accompanied with the exclamation 'Svadhā!'
Having made presents to the Brahmans, he is to address himself to the gods, saying, 'May they who are the Viśvadevas be pleased with this oblation!'
Having thus said, and the blessings to be solicited having been granted by the Brahmans, he is to dismiss first the paternal ancestors, and then the gods.
The order is the same with the maternal ancestors and the gods in respect to food, donation, and dismissal.
Commencing with the washing of the feet, until the dismissing of the gods and Brahmans, the ceremonies are to be performed first for paternal ancestors, and then for ancestors on the mother's side.
Let him dismiss the Brahmans with kindly speeches and profound respect, and attend upon them at the end of the Śrāddha; until permitted by them to return.
The wise man will then perform the invariable worship of the Viśvadevas, and take' his own meal along with his friends, his kinsmen, and his dependants.
"In this manner an enlightened householder will celebrate the mourning worship of his paternal and maternal ancestors, who, satisfied by his offerings, will grant him all his desires.
Three things are held pure at mourning, a daughter's son, a Nepal blanket, and sesame-seeds; and the gift, or naming, or sight of silver is also propitious.
The person offering a Śrāddha should avoid anger, walking about, and hurry; these three things are very objectionable.
The Viśvadevas, and paternal and maternal ancestors, and the living members of a man's family are all nourished by the offerer of ancestral oblations.
"The class of Pitris derives support from the moon, and the moon is sustained by acts of austere devotion. Hence the appointment of one who practises austerities is most desirable. A Yogi set before a thousand Brahmans enables the institutor of mourning rites to enjoy all his desires."