Hindu Funeral Rites

Discussion in 'Festivals, Functions & Rituals' started by GeetaKashyap, Aug 18, 2018.

  1. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    Geeta, Viswa's snippet on Transition reminded me of this thread. I had meant to post here but whatever happened to keep me busy, happened. I was hoping to read more responses even if I didn't post as it is a topic that touches all. Maybe the festival season and all, so people were occupied.
    Was nice to note that his adopted daughter lit the pyre. The task was not delegated to "nearest male relative" as happens many times.

    Like observed in many responses, the rituals and ceremonies are for the living to cope with the death and have a pre-written process to follow.

    Generally speaking, quite a few people do want their funeral to be simple and in their 50's-70's they often talk about how they want their funeral and the days after to be devoid of unnecessary expense, show, and to be done simply. Once the person with such person passes away, the funeral ends up following rituals anyway. Reasons can be many - as the person grew frail, he expressed wishes for usual funeral; not all children or surviving siblings are able to agree on having only a respectful farewell. Or, as is almost always the case, the person left no explicit directions about his funeral. Perhaps the other extreme, like in the west, where some people plan their funeral down to the last detail, is not a bad idea after all. : )

    You are perhaps looking more for the meaning and reason behind the rituals. I have talked more about the social and family aspects of it.

    Change will happen when people are able to talk about their preferences for own funeral, and their survivors are able to implement those with lots of support from others and minimal resistance.

    My thoughts are only all theory for now. As I think ahead to our deaths, and plan for those, I try to anticipate any resistance our stark preferences will face from family in India if we pass away before expected. If we go one at a time, problem is less. If we go together and kids are young'ish, that will be trickier.

    As usual, IL threads make me end up doing something useful in real life. : ) Am thinking will appoint a similar-thinking friend as the one my older kid can approach to be that wall of defense to get our preferences implemented. LOL.. my better-half's criteria is the simplest.. follow the steps that is easiest on wallet and environment, feelings of the living other than immediate family be damned. : ) Mine is heavy on the "make sure all possible organs get donated." Which brings to mind another thought to research.. can the entire body be donated for research if some organs are donated separately. Research is important, but list of people waiting for organs is more disturbing and urgent.
     
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  2. GeetaKashyap

    GeetaKashyap IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear @Rihana,

    Thanks for this candid fb. This blog idea stemmed from the constrictions(financial/physical/mental) the rituals place on the survivors. When I brought up this discussion, what I realised is that people succumb to pressures and guilt and go through the grind. Even well educated & logical minded people follow the rituals without trying to seek validity or whatever.

    If an elaborate ritual brings peace to a Brahmin survivor, how come a very simplified procedure works for a non-brahmin or someone from some other community? This train of thoughts made me/us explore the meaning and validity in the ostensibly elaborate rituals that follow death in some communities.

    Most people who shared their thoughts had
    1. Blind belief in the culture n heritage.
    2. Fear of the society.
    3. A concept that following (out dated) rituals was necessary to preserve our religion. But they forget that every religion has undergone major reforms at intervals and change is essential to revitalise a system.
    4.Some felt the whole procedure was irrelevant and meaningless and they could even rationalise. They were ready for changes if initiated by some religious leader!

    Organ donation is the need of the hour and I am all for it. I would be happier if it is made mandatory as that would utilise the perishable organs to give life to another person.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
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  3. GeetaKashyap

    GeetaKashyap IL Hall of Fame

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    I came across this video now. I am yet to understand this. I would be obliged if anyone wishes to elaborate or explain further.

    From what I gathered, the rituals are a part of inducing goodness/heavenly element. But...this would happen only under the ideal situation ie when the doer is totally committed and sincere in his intent.
     
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