Hindu funerals[edit

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Hindu funeral

Main article: Antyesti
Antyesti or Hindu funeral rites, sometimes referred as Antim Sanskar, is an
important Sanskara, sacrament of Hindu society. Extensive texts of such rites are available,
particularly in the Garuda Purana. Hindus believe in reincarnation and view death as the soul moving
from one body to the next on its path to reach Nirvana, heaven. Death is a sad occasion, but Hindu
priests emphasise the route ahead for the departed soul and a funeral is as much a celebration as a
remembrance service.
Hindus cremate their dead, believing that the burning of a dead body signifies the release of the
spirit and that the flames represent Brahma, the creator.
Family members will pray around the body as soon as possible after death. People will try to avoid
touching the corpse as it is considered polluting. The corpse usually is bathed and dressed in white,
traditional Indian clothes. If a wife dies before her husband she is dressed in red bridal clothes. If a
woman is a widow she will be dressed in white or pale colours.
The funeral procession may pass places of significance to the deceased, such as a building or
street. Prayers are said here and at the entrance to the crematorium.
The body is decorated with sandalwood, flowers, and garlands. Scriptures are read from the Vedas
or Bhagavad Gita. The chief mourner, usually the eldest son or male of the family, will light some
kindling and circle the body, praying for the well being of the departing soul.
After the cremation, the family may have a meal and offer prayers in their home. Mourners wash and
change completely before re-entering the house after the funeral. A priest will visit and purify the

Preparing the Body: The chief mourner now performs arati. In a hospital. the family has the death certificate signed immediately and transports the body home. 'Shradh' is practiced three year after the death of the person. This is the Hindu practice of giving food to the poor in memory of the deceased. a fire ritual (homa) is performed to bless nine brass kumbhas (water pots) and one clay pot. the body may be given a sponge bath and prepared where it is.house with spices and incense. this happens at the hospital. (This also is used in the case of sudden-death victims. The thumbs are tied together. Vedic verses are chanted. This is the beginning of the thirteen-day mourning period when friends will visit and offer their condolences. He is the eldest son in the case of the father's death and the youngest son in the case of the mother's. Sons are responsible for carrying out Shradh. Kindred keep vigil until the great departure.As Death Approaches: Traditionally. or nearest male relative. When death is imminent. such as on a battlefield or in a car accident. The "chief mourner" leads the rites. the eldest son serves for both. Ganga. Lacking the shelter. with the head facing east. This may be either an annual event or a large one-time event. The person is placed in his room or in the entryway of the house. dressed. In a shelter built by the family.) Holy ash or sandal paste is applied to the forehead. If none is known. and reading scripture. regardless of institutional objections. "Aum Namo Narayana" or "Aum Nama Sivaya" is intoned. placed in a coffin (or on a palanquin) and carried to the . The same-gender relatives of the deceased carry the body to the back porch. 1. Religious pictures are turned to the wall. a family member chants the mantra softly in the right ear. even when recovery clearly is not possible. on a cot or the ground—reflecting a return to the lap of Mother Earth. The lamp is kept lit near the head and incense burned. the body is laid in the home's entryway.The Moment of Death: If the dying person is unconscious at departure. After death. and a few drops of milk. then offering flowers. If the patient cannot go home. (If there is no porch.The Homa Fire Ritual: If available. Hindus bring the ill home. as are the big toes. 3. a special funeral priest is called.) Each applies sesame oil to the head. Nowadays the dying are increasingly kept in hospitals. the family will not buy any new clothes or attend any parties. In some traditions. singing hymns. Relatives are beckoned to bid farewell and sing sacred songs at the side of the body. passing an oil lamp over the remains. a Hindu dies at home. remove the clothes and drape it with a white cloth. 2. Under no circumstances should the body be embalmed or organs removed for use by others. A lamp is lit near the person's head and concentration on a personal mantra is urged. with the head facing south. and in some traditions mirrors are covered. or other holy water are trickled into the mouth. or the wife. son-in-law. an appropriate fire is made in the home. kindred are notified. and the body is bathed with water from the nine kumbhas. praying. 4. A cloth is tied under the chin and over the top of the head. Knowing the merits of dying at home among loved ones. A priest will say prayers for the deceased and during this time. usually lasting one month.

along with garlands and flowers. and some arati. The ritual homa fire may be made at home or kindled at the crematorium. The shrine room is closed. Neither do they attend festivals and temples. in the rites is counterclockwise. the cover is now removed. holding small lighted sticks. nor take part in marriage arrangements. it is shameful to cry for the dead. In Hindu Bali. Ritual Impurity: Returning home. The cremation switch then is engaged by the chief mourner. Where permitted. The water is changed daily. The young children. 8. letting water out. Two pots are carried: the clay kumbha and another containing burning embers from the homa. At the end of three turns. family and close relatives do not visit the homes of others. The departed soul is acutely conscious of emotional forces received and prolonged grieving can hold the soul in earthly consciousness.Bone-Gathering Ceremony: About 12 hours after cremation. led by the chief mourner. the chief mourner circles the pyre while holding a fire brand behind his back. With the clay pot on his left shoulder. The men offer puffed rice as the women did earlier. If unable to bring the body home. singing hymns. although neighbors and relatives bring daily meals to relieve the burdens during mourning. the body is carried around the chamber.First Memorial: On the 12th Day.Cremation: Only men go to the cremation site. A portion is offered before a photograph of the deceased and later ceremonially left at an abandoned . The women then walk around the body and offer puffed rice into the mouth to nourish the deceased for the journey ahead. inhibiting full transition to the heavenly worlds. visit swamis." In crematoriums these are ground to dust. a relative knocks a hole in the pot with a knife. with white cloth draping all icons. and a small fire is lit in the coffin before it is consigned to the flames. or students. cover the body with wood and offer incense and ghee. Then. All circumambulating. rather than leave these duties to strangers. and arrangements must be made to preserve them. then placed upon it. At crematoriums the family may arrange to gather the remains personally: ashes and small pieces of white bone called "flowers.homa shelter. 5. encircle the body. 6. without turning to face the body. signifying her enduring tie to him. and pictures remain turned to the wall. the chief mourner drops the pot. At each turn around the pyre. During these days of ritual impurity.Return Home. Water is sprinkled on the ash. the family arranges to clean and dress it at the mortuary. For the death of friends. all bathe and share in cleaning the house. Some observe this period up to one year. A lamp and water pot are set where the body lay in state. At a gas-fueled crematorium. A widow will place her tali (wedding pendant) around her husband's neck. he lights the pyre and leaves the cremation grounds. sacred wood and ghee are placed inside the coffin with the body. teachers. Ashes are carried or sent to India for deposition in the Ganges or to place them in an auspicious river or the ocean. observances are optional. family men return to collect the remains. relatives gather for a meal of the deceased's favorite foods. the remains are collected on a large tray. 7. The coffin is then closed. The body is carried three times counterclockwise around the pyre. scriptures admonish against excessive lamentation and encourage joyous release. If a coffin is used. signifying life's leaving its vessel. While mourning never is suppressed or denied. The others follow.

offering pinda to the ancestors.jesusandjews. devotedly completed according to the customs. fifteenth. a priest conducts the shradh rites in the home. This ceremony is performed yearly after completion of 3 years as long as the sons of the deceased are alive. Hindu funeral rites may be simple or exceedingly complex. do not occur in the presence of such priests. etc. This time also is appropriate for cases where the day of death is unknown. all thoroughly clean the house. and among many groups who do not revere Ads Atheism and Agnosticism www. Especially orthodox Hindu families may invite Brahman priests to their homes to officiate at these rituals. means.com Does God Exist? Atheism Resources Save More with Nestle nestle. a memorial service is held. or thrown in a river for the fish.my Huge Savings When You Buy More Spend RM50 & Get 10% Off Now! Free Bible Download .Shradh: At the 3 yearly anniversary of the death (according to the moon calendar). Others combine all these offerings with the following sapindikarana rituals for a few days or one day of ceremonies. will properly conclude one earthly sojourn of any Hindu soul. Customs for this period are varied. along with some lit camphor. and great-grandfather. Others perform it twice: on the thirty-first day or (eleventh. however. Once the first sapindikarana is completed. The pindas are fed to the crows. the ritual impurity ends. It is now common in India to observe Shradh for ancestors just prior to the yearly Navaratri festival. 10. 9. and performs the sapindikarana. or refinements) mark major transitions in the life of the individual. In some traditions it is a repetition of the funeral rites. At home. The large ball is cut in three pieces and joined with the small pindas to unite the soul ritually with the ancestors in the next world. and ability of the family.place.31st-Day Memorial: On the thirty-first day. Monthly repetition also is common for one year. making one large pinda (representing the deceased) and three small pinda. to a cow. grandfather. representing the father. __________________________________________________________________________________ A detailed series of life-cycle rituals (samskara . These ten steps.com. Some offer pinda (rice balls) daily for nine days. Most of these rituals.) and after one year. complete with sacred fire and recitations of mantras. Some perform this rite on the eleventh day after cremation. A priest purifies the home.

com Find Daily Quotes.bibletriviatime.fromdoctopdf. Ceremonies may be performed during pregnancy to ensure the health of the mother and growing child. and the first haircut (shaving the head) that often occurs at a temple or during a festival when the hair is offered to a deity. A crucial event in the life of the orthodox. the first feeding with solid food (usually cooked rice). before the umbilical cord is severed.com Challenge Yourself & Friends With Fun Bible Trivia. Charms may serve to ward off the evil eye andwitches or demons. and the parents instruct him in pronouncing the Gayatri Mantra. only the three highest groups .100% Free Download! an initiation (upanayana) ceremony. those groups entitled to wear the sacred thread are called the twice-born. Choose Passages & More w/ Free Bible Toolbar!  Religious Ritual  About Religious  Caste  Beliefs and Religion  Hindu the Vedas or respect Brahmans. and mantras are chanted to ensure a long life. At birth. and commoner or merchant (Vaishya)--were allowed . the father may touch the baby's lips with a gold spoon or ring dipped in honey.Word. The father may part the hair of the mother three times upward from the front to the back. there may be other officiants or variations in the rites. and ghee. Jpeg. In the ancient categorization of society associated with the Vedas. upper-caste Hindu male is Ads Bible Trivia Questions www. The initiation ceremony is seen as a new birth.com Convert Any File to a PDF . warrior (Kshatriya). A number of rituals for the infant include the first visit outside to a temple. the family priest invests the boy with a sacred thread to be worn always over the left shoulder. At the ceremony itself. Gif . to assure the ripening of the embryo.Brahman. The wordvak (speech) is whispered three times into the right ear.www. curds. an ear-piercing ceremony. Get Free App! Free PDF Converter www. which takes place for some young males between the ages of six and twelve to mark the transition to awareness and adult religious responsibilities.dailybibleguide.

the new couple take seven steps northward from a sacred household fire. the god of death. or thirteen). The immediate family remains in a state of intense pollution for a set number of days (sometimes ten. decked in all his finery. in the presence of the male mourners. In a crucial rite. close family members meet for a ceremonial meal and often give gifts to the poor or to charities. although many groups practice burial instead. The actual ceremonies in many cases become extremely elaborate. cremation is the ideal method for dealing with the dead. the relatives become involved in ceremonies for preparation of the body and a procession to the burning or burial ground. For young Hindu women in South India. but they also pacify the soul so that it will not linger in this world as a ghost but will pass through the realm of Yama. a different ritual and celebration occurs at the first menses. Many individuals and groups who are only hazily associated with the old "twice-born" elites perform the upanayana ceremony and claim the higher status it bestows. At the end of that period. . A particular feature of the Hindu ritual is the preparation of rice balls (pinda) offered to the spirit of the dead person during memorial services. and make offerings into the flames. often travels to the wedding site on a caparisoned white horse or in an open limousine. although there is a parallel tradition that sees the groom as a prince coming to wed his princess. eleven. but orthodox Hindu marriages typically have at their center the recitation of mantras by priests. In part these ceremonies are seen as contributing to the merit of the deceased. the bride and bridegroom represent the god and the goddess. and bearers of ornate electrified lamps. ashes and fragments of bone are collected and eventually immersed in a holy river. For most Hindus. to make them distinct from the fourth group of servants (Shudra). musicians. lights the funeral pyre. After a funeral. After the death of a family member. At Hindu weddings. At the funeral site. the closest relative of the deceased (usually the eldest son) takes charge of the final rite and. turn. infants are buried rather than cremated. if it is cremation.to wear the thread. Independent traditions in regional languages and among different caste groups support wide variations in ritual. accompanied by a procession of relatives. everyone undergoes a purifying bath. After a cremation. For most people in India. the betrothal of the young couple and the exact date and time of the wedding are matters decided by the parents in consultation with astrologers. The next important transition in life is marriage. The groom.