Death is a time for mourning in the family and the Hindu faith dictates us to observe several of the.
The End of a Life is a Spiritual Journey
The Hindu faith is one which deals with the grief of death spiritually. The time when there is a death in the family is a time for the family to come together. But with corporate work culture taking up the bulk of the time, coming together and arranging for a grand funeraltakes a lot of sacrifices on the mourners’ part. The fact that people can buy puja kits online is a big step towards relieving them of this sacred duty during their time of mourning. They can utilize this time by being with the family and mourn with all the proper rituals.
Rituals Observed in After a Death
After a death has happened in the family, the Hindu faith dictates us to observe a number of rituals piously. Here are a few that are very commonly observed.
- The body is washed immediately after a death, generally by the women in the family and then sacred ash is applied. In some communities the dead body is also decorated with chandan tika.
- A handful of rice and a few coins are given to the body, so that the soul can travel to its destination
- The body is placed in a wooden bed and is prepared for the funeral pyre. In the meantime no cooking is done at home. It is said that no fire will be lit in the house until the fire from the funeral pyre has died down.
- The friends of the family arrive with food. That should all be vegetarian food and no onion or garlic should be put in it.
- The next day the ashes are scattered in a river or a sea or any earth in India. A light is lit and water is kept beside a garlanded photo of the deceased. This is believed to facilitate the safe journey of the soul.
- A period of mourning is observed by the immediate family of the deceased lasting from 13 to 40 days, depending on the caste and community. After this period the family is again assimilated into the society.
- On the day when the mourning ends a feast is held, when Brahmins and the poor and distressed part of the society is fed a meal for blessings for the deceased soul.
Observing all these rituals piously demands a large portion of a person’s time which may result in career suicides. Nowadays observing all these rituals is a hard proposition. All these rituals need a supervising eye on them and so there is a need to book a pandit. A pandit is a man learned in Hindu scriptures who guide the mourners through this process.
It is said that in these times of grief the belief of immortality of the soul provides solace to the family. Reading out passages of the Bhagawad Gita calms the soul in these times of grief.