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#900 - 01/23/00 06:05 PM Death Rituals *****
spayne Offline
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Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 16
Forum Members: For the benefit of Westerners, not familiar with Hindu death rituals, would you please explain the procedures involved and what they mean.

Thank You


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#901 - 01/23/00 09:12 PM Re: Death Rituals [Re: spayne]
Vishal_Agarwal Offline

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Registered: 01/18/00
Posts: 1572
Loc: India
Here is a brief introduction authored by Professor G. C. Asnani
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(i)By and large, Hindus adopt "Cremation", i.e. burning at
some specified place. Christians bury the body under belief that on the "Day of Judgement", the dead body will be brought to life and given judgement whether the person will go to eternal Heaven or to eternal Hell.

(ii)Hindus believe that the dead body is like a piece of cloth or dress which has been given up; that dead body is not going to be revived. There is no particular Day of Judgement: there is no eternal Heaven and no eternal Hell: Left to itself, the dead body will decompose and pollute the environment. It has to be disposed of in a manner which has following ingredients :
(a) Respect.
(b) Hygienic principles of life.
(c) Socially acceptable and beneficial system.

(iii) Keeping these principles in view, Hindus give ceremonial bath (cleaning) to the dead body, wrap the body in clean cloth or dress, put garlands and sprinkle scents and respectfully take the body to the cremation ground in the company of relatives and friends.Very close and sensitive relatives who cannot stand the sight of
confining the body to flames do not accompany the body to the cremation ground.
On the way, the accompanying persons chant the slogan: "God is the companion of the departed one. He will take care of the person".

(iv) At the cremation ground, some ceremonies are performed
with the help of professional family priests and the body is respectfully placed on the fire place. Fire is ignited among holy chantings and prayers, bowing down before fire. Fire is worshipped as a manifestation of God to whom the body is given as the last offering of the human birth.

(v) Those who have been to the cremation ground are advised to take bath and change their clothes before getting back to normal work. This is a part of hygiene. In the process of touching the dead body or being close to it, the person might be tainted by harmful bacteria, etc. Also, in the cremation ground, we have dead bodies who are afflicted by various types of diseases or the bodies which have undergone decomposition due to delay in cremation. Fire and Water are the cleaning and purifying Agents of Nature.

(vi) Ashes (bones) are respectfully collected from the
cremation place after 3 days and immersed in holy places at suitable times,with appropriate respect.

(vii) There are ceremonies for 12 to 13 days, with chanting of God's Names and singing of holy songs to create an atmosphere of soft and soothing adjustment of family members and friends to the new situation with loss of their close relative/friend.

(viii) There are monthly and annual ceremonies with memories of respect, affection and prayers for the welfare of the departed person.

(ix) Hindus believe that broadly an individual is composed of:
(a)Soul: Which never gets destroyed: It is immortal.
It witnesses birth and death in various bodies.

(b)Subtle Body: This accompanies the Soul, birth
after birth, till subtle body gets completely purified and soul merges into the total Universal Consciousness. This subtle body goes out of the gross body, in company of the soul at the time of "death".

This (soul + subtle body) takes rebirth of a type depending on the actions of the individual. A person with good record of actions in the past takes birth in a beautiful, healthy human body, in the family of pious and prosperous persons. A person with record of evil and cruel actions in the past takes birth in one of 84,00,000 types of bodies, including animals, insects, etc. In each body, the person
learns to do good in its own capacity and progresses upward to take birth again in human body, learns lessons of Nature and lives a life of nobleness, to be one with God, the Universal Consciousness.

(x) We Hindus avoid converting the whole or major part of our land surface on the earth into a wide graveyard, nor do we want to dump one dead body over the other at one place. We find cremation as the best method of disposal of a dead body, with due respect, honour and affection.


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#902 - 02/20/00 07:48 PM Scriptural passages [Re: spayne]
Vishal_Agarwal Offline

elder
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Registered: 01/18/00
Posts: 1572
Loc: India
I am adding some scriptural passages suitable for reading in a ceremony attended predominantly by a Christian audience (as in Europe and the Americas/Australasia). The readings are selected following the guidelines set by Bharadvaj Pitrmedha sutra, the current Hindu tradition and the Sanskaravidhi of Maharshi Dayanand Sarasvati. The translations are deliberately not accurate/literal, but only a paraphrase, and highly interpretative, so that they are intelligible to novices, while conveying the essence. At a later date, I will post accurate translations and signficance of these verses/prose passages on a website.
______________________________

SCRIPTURAL READINGS (nb: All are loose paraphrases)
I. Passages for instruction to the participants in the Ceremony
"As a man casts away his old garments and adopts new ones, the soul too discards an unfit body and acquires a new one. The soul alone is unborn, it does not die and there was never a time when it did not exist. Nor will there be ever a time when it will not exist. The soul is indeed devoid of birth, it is eternal, imperishable and very ancient. It does not die when the body perishes. Death is not the final end. As a human being transforms from infancy to youth and into old age, in a similar manner, the soul, which is his true essence, moves from one physical form to another. Weapons cannot cleave the soul, fire cannot burn it, water cannot moisten or wet it and air cannot dry it. This is because the soul cannot be split asunder, it cannot be transformed intrinsically, it cannot be extinguished and it cannot be created. Countless have been our births before this one, and many more will come before we unite with our Lord. Therefore O Men! Over which death will you grieve? And over which birth will your rejoice? When the Lord creates the Universe, he drops the eternal seed of life into mother Nature, and thence are born these living creatures. Therefore, the wise do not grieve over the living or the dead." (Gita, paraphrase from chapters 2 and 15)
"He who knows the Supreme Lord alone attains salvation. The Lord alone is the underlying Reality of the Universe, he is the animating power of the whole creation and he is infinite in majesty and an ocean of Supreme bliss. When man perceives the Supreme Lord hidden within the recesses of his heart, and sees Him immanent in the entire creation, he becomes peaceful in his heart. He has no desires left unfulfilled. From the Lord sprang space, from the space arose air, from air arose fire, from fire arose water and from water emerged solid earth. The body of man is made from these 5 elements, and it dissolves back into these 5 elements, but the soul remains alive."
Taittiriya Upanishad 2.1 (loose paraphrase)

II. PRAYERS FOR THE DEPARTED SOUL
1. "O departed Soul! You were separate from the body which you wore as a garment. And thy body was made pure by association with sprituality and good deeds. May God now grant you another resplendent body so that you may perform wonderful and pious deeds"Rigveda 10.16.2
2. "O departed friend! May the your power of sight get merged with the sun, and may thy soul travel to the lunimous heavens because of the meritorious deeds performed in your extringuished life. Or may you peacefull dwell in herbs and plants till you are fit for an human life." Rigveda 10.16.1
3. "O departed soul! Bearing the fruits of thy actions, may you see a mother and a father again. May you return to this world of ours, to rejoice with us, although in a different form. In your new life, may you shine with glorious deeds and devotion to the Lord!" Rigveda 10.14.10
4. "O departed soul! May you tread safely the path that your ansectors have trodden since eternity. May that path lead you to communion with God, companionship with other liberated souls, and an overlordship over the perishable elements." Rigveda 10.14.11
6. "O departed soul! Do not grieve your separation from us, who have surrounded you with love and affection till this moment. It is the Lord who gave us life, and it is he who takes it. Death is indeed a messenger from the Lord himself" Atharvaveda 18.2.7
7. "May this earth provide a blissful resting place for your perished body. And in your future life, may this very earth provide you with ample accomodation and happiness and opportunity." Atharvaveda 18.2.6
8. "O departed soul! Realize that God alone is the Supreme Entity. He is Almighty and All knowing! All our prayers are directed to Him alone, and all are efforts are done keeping Him in our hearts and minds. Remember that he alone is the Nourisher and the Sustainer who has created the vast expanses of our Mother earth." Atharvaveda 18.2.8

III. PRAYERS MADE ON BEHALF OF THE DEPARTED SOUL
OM!
"O Lord! I have realized that the face of Truth is covered with the golden lid of worldly temptations. O Lord, You alone nourish and care for the World. Please remove this lid of temptations away from me, for I am faithful to Truth. O Nourshing Lord, the Controller of the Universe, spread out your rays of light and receive me.
Lo! I see your resplendent nature now! Full of the light of Truth. And I am become one with that Light!
My body has become a handful of ashes, for this alone was destined for it. O my mind! Remember the deeds that you impelled the body to perform. Ask the Lord for forgiveness if you had trespassed the paths of virtue. And if you performed good actions, then may my Lord remember them."
Yajurveda 40. 15-17

IV. PRAYERS FOR ALL THOSE PRESENT
OM!
1. "O Lord! You are the guiding light of the Universe! Lead us to the path of spiritual and temporal riches and keep us away from the sin that leads us to sorrow and ruin. The wise know your true nature and all the divine powers extoll Thee with beautiful hymns. We join them in praising Your glory again and again." Yajurveda 40.18
2. May there be peace in the heavens! May there be peace in the skies! May there be peace on our earth! May there be tranquility in the waters! May there be peace in the herbs and the trees! May all the divine powers be full of peace! May the scriptures give us peace! May there be Peace everywhere! Peace and Peace alone! And may that Supreme Peace also reside in our hearts! Yajurveda
3. May all be happy! May all be free of disease and affliction! May all see good times always! May no one ever encounter sorrows!

OM! PEACE! PEACE! PEACE!



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#903 - 02/18/02 02:18 AM Re: Scriptural passages [Re: Vishal_Agarwal]
VJR Offline
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Registered: 12/14/01
Posts: 588
Loc: USA
What about death anniversaries and certain pujas that goes w them every year esp for parents, grandparents, etc?

Shrardhas? I am not sure about the sp here. Please tell me something about it if you have anyinfo. Thanks Vishal


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#904 - 03/24/02 12:40 PM Re: Death Rituals [Re: Vishal_Agarwal]
Tanaj Offline
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Registered: 02/24/02
Posts: 610
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RE: Christians bury the body under belief that on the "Day of Judgement", the dead body will be brought to life and given judgement whether the person will go to eternal Heaven or to eternal Hell.



Well I am a Christian I belong to the Church of Scotland
The above statement is just so ridiculous to me.

All my family that have passed away (died) have been Cremated
Friends also
CREMATION AND HOW WE PERFORM IT

We embalm our body's sound similar sort of thing you describe as cleaning
And we have a Crematorium for the Cremation
We also will have someone speak at the cremation or even a few will speak
We have special prayers for funerals and Hymns we sing.
The best one of all Is Abide With Me
Our Cremations are done so we have no contamination the body slides into
The fire oven or what ever you wish to call it then the glass doors are closed
With our loved one's ashes we can have them buried in a cemetery
Or some may keep them in an urn at there home
Our believes seem to be so similar as you concerning the death and the soul
The soul is the only pure thing that goes on

So far the only difference I see with the death ritual to ours is you believe
In reincarnation where as I don't but know of some in my Religion that do

We don't celebrate anniversaries for our dead, but the Roman Catholic Church do

I have never heard of an eternal Heaven or to eternal Hell.
I believe this our life now is Our Heaven or Hell Its what we make of it.




I am a lover of culture which I find fascinating I respect everyone’s believes and culture.
Whats for us wont go past us !!!!!!!!!!!!
_________________________
Live life and treat others as you would wish them to treat you!

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#905 - 03/24/02 12:48 PM Re: Death Rituals [Re: Tanaj]
vinaire Offline
sage
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Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 4655
Loc: Florida, USA
Dear Tanaj,

I am sorry to say this, but your small sect does not represent the mainline Christianity. It probably represents Hinduism more than it does Christianity.

You insist on fighting the labels. It is much better to be more specific. You need to look at what practices in Christianity don't go so well with the Hindus. Then comment on those practices and suggest solutions to eradicate ignorance that is encouraging those corrupt practices.

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Communication is the universal solvent.
_________________________
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Communication is the universal solvent.

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#906 - 03/24/02 03:57 PM Re: Death Rituals [Re: vinaire]
Tanaj Offline
helper
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Registered: 02/24/02
Posts: 610
Loc: Here!



Vinaire

You people are the ones that insist on fighting the labels I couldn’t be more specific By telling you what Christian Church I am a member
Oh and the Church of Scotland is a far cry from a small sect This I can assure you.

Vinaire

Why would I have to look at what practices in Christianity that don't go so well with the Hindus? Before commenting on any, this is the annoying part you see You can only see it from your point We too have been a victim of some of these practices which you people don’t like. But you all seem to believe that the Hindu’s alone are they only sufferers. As for trying to suggest solutions to eradicate ignorance that is encouraging those corrupt practices. Well better than I have tried and failed a thing like this takes more than one person.
I am so dam curious what the heck this has to do with what I said about how closely our Death Rituals are Can you please enlighten me as I seem to be a bit of a dim wit here?



I am a lover of culture which I find fascinating I respect everyone’s believes and culture.
Whats for us wont go past us !!!!!!!!!!!!
_________________________
Live life and treat others as you would wish them to treat you!

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#907 - 03/24/02 04:21 PM Re: Death Rituals [Re: Tanaj]
vinaire Offline
sage
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Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 4655
Loc: Florida, USA
“You people?” – That is a generality like that of the label, isn’t it? Are all Hindus doing that? I for one is very specific in what I say. You seem to be doing exactly what you are protesting against.

It is the GENERAL accusation that needs to be shunned. One must avoid generality and deal in specifics. You yourself need to learn that. This forum is not representative of all Hindus.

How big is the Church of Scotland compared to the Roman Catholic Church? How many people in India have ever heard of it? How many Christians in India belong to the Church of Scotland? Are majority of Christians in India follow the values upheld by the Church of Scotland?

For Chrissake get a bit real! You are just reacting just like some Hindus are reacting on this board. I expected a bit more rationality from you.

In reply to:

You can only see it from your point…


Aren’t you doing the same? Read the above and realize where the Hindu is coming from. Also, realize what your responsibility is in this regard? Have you been to any Indian Christian forums? Do you know what the word EDUCATION means?

In reply to:

As for trying to suggest solutions to eradicate ignorance that is encouraging those corrupt practices. Well better than I have tried and failed a thing like this takes more than one person.


I think it takes a strong will to reform. It doesn’t seem to me that you are strong if you give up that easily.

In reply to:

I am so dam curious what the heck this has to do with what I said about how closely our Death Rituals are Can you please enlighten me as I seem to be a bit of a dim wit here?


I commented on your whole attitude and approach here. At this moment I feel disappointed in you.

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Communication is the universal solvent.

_________________________
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Communication is the universal solvent.

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#908 - 03/24/02 04:58 PM Re: Death Rituals [Re: vinaire]
Tanaj Offline
helper
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Registered: 02/24/02
Posts: 610
Loc: Here!

Sorry that I have disappointed
But you have disappointed me in the reaction you have given in this post I would have expected this type of reaction to my two post in the Hindu Christian forum
My post in this one is basically saying how closely our two Death Rituals are so why did you bring all this stuff into it
Why not keep it for the other forum



I am a lover of culture which I find fascinating I respect everyone’s believes and culture.
Whats for us wont go past us !!!!!!!!!!!!
_________________________
Live life and treat others as you would wish them to treat you!

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#909 - 03/24/02 05:03 PM Re: Death Rituals [Re: Tanaj]
vinaire Offline
sage
**

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 4655
Loc: Florida, USA
Sorry! But I still need a response to the points I have raised.

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Communication is the universal solvent.
_________________________
.
.
.
Communication is the universal solvent.

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