RITUALS CONNECTED WITH DEATH
the child returned from the formal education he would take over the family’s
means of livelihood and he would take a wife who would take over the reins of
the elder couple of the house would now have more time to devote to their
spiritual pursuits; until finally, when they were ready, they would take “sanyas”
which meant that they would literally renounce the world. They would proceed for
the forest and meditate upon the deeper values of life until their breath
Hindu philosophy, death has been compared to the ‘shedding off’ of an old
garment for a new one.
the Hindus, when a person dies he is immediately laid on the floor and a small
flame is lit near the body. The body is laid out on the floor so that the germs
that emanate from the corpse do not spread on the mattress. The Hindus believe
that when a man dies his spirit comes out from the body and, because of his
attachment to his family and material possessions, continues to inhabit his
home. Since the spirit does not possess a physical form any more, the Hindus
believe that it rests on the flame that has been lit near the dead body.
Hindus cremate the body, symbolizing that all elements present in the body
return to the elements present in the Cosmos. Then there is a period of prayers
in the home of the deceased. In the case of the Sindhis, it normally lasts for a
period of 12 days.
and philosophers claim that time is the greatest healer; and prayer is our
greatest help in times of sorrow.
the twelve days of prayer after the death of a person there is frenzied activity
in the house. The priests have to be fed. Prayers have to be performed. Guests
drop in for condolence. In other words there is not much time to think.
the formal period of prayer is over, the sorrow and a feeling of loss strike the
bereaved person but by then, he has had time to accept the loss to a certain
degree and he knows that he has to somehow go on with the business of living. On
the 10th day after the persons death the diya (flame) which had been lit in the
house is carried to the sea, after night-long prayers.
immersion of the diya into the sea is to inform the spirit that now he should
truly break attachment with the former life, and start his progress in the world
beyond. It is however difficult to forget the loved one who has departed.
once a year, the devout Hindu feeds a pandit (priest), what the departed soul
liked to eat during his lifetime, believing that by feeding a priest the
departed soul would get satisfaction. This system is called “Shradh” and is
derived from the word ‘Shradha” which means faith and devotion.
the cooked food fed to the Brahmin reaches the departed soul is debatable:
however we know that love and devotion have no barriers.
the Christians it is common to offer a Mass for the dead and take flowers to the
grave on the death anniversary of the departed soul.
the various customs we have covered we see that even though the ritual of the
customs differ to a certain degree in different creeds the underlying motive is
all, even though we may be belonging to different religions, we all belong to
one big family of Humanity and as such our aspirations, needs, joys and
sorrows cannot differ very much from one another.
tend to fight with each other to prove which religion is truer but we forget
that the message of all religions has been the same; and If we go down to the
roots of all creeds the underlying message does not differ. After all, it has to
be so, as Truth is always unchanging and eternal. It is my belief that it is the
followers who interpret the same truth in different ways and come out with
different practices and beliefs may have also emanated depending upon the
cultural and geographic environment from where they sprouted.
all, all religions believe in one God, who is omnipresent, omniscient and
all-powerful. We all believe that God is Truth and God is Love.
religions believe In the Power of Prayer. Muslims and Christians believe in
Heaven and Hell that souls inherit after death depending upon their deeds here
on earth; whereas Hindus believe that Heaven and Hell are on this plane itself,
depending again upon the good or evil deeds committed. Thus we believe that when
a soul enjoys joy and sense of contentment, he is in Heaven, whereas when he has
no peace of mind, then he is in his own custom-made Hell.
Upanishads claim that the Atman (God within us) cannot be reached through much
learning or much use of the intellect. Jesus Christ proclaims: “Except ye be
converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of
Katha Upanishad proclaims “The path is narrow as the edge of a razor.”
“Narrow Is the way which leads
believe that we are a small part (atman ) of the whole (Paramatma). In other
words we are the same children of God and enjoy the same inherent qualities.
also believe that man is made in the likeness of God, and the Kingdom of God is
within each one of us. Jesus Christ claimed; “I and my Father are one”.
Hindus believe In a trinity:
(Creator) (Preserver) (Destroyer)
Son and Holy Spirit
occultists believe in
Love and Power
at large believes in
Body and Soul.