Death is inevitable, and every religion provides a guide to its followers on after death rituals. Hindu religion too offers an in-depth guide to its followers on its elaborate funeral arrangements and services. Hindus believe in life after death and that the soul is reborn in another form post-death. There are a number of stages before and after death in the Hindu religion. We provide you below with the basic Hindu funeral guide lines.
Before death preparation – When the death of a person is evident, there are a few preparations to be done like the funeral pyre preparation and others. A priest for funeral service is summoned to perform some of the rituals;however,the surviving family members of the deceased perform most of the funeral rites. A dying person should be placed on the floor on a grass mat either at the home’s entry or in their room, with their head facing the east. Ganges water is put in the mouth of the dying person, and mantras are chanted into the right ear of the dying person.
After death procedure -The dead body is washed and wrapped in a plain white cotton cloth. Sandalwood paste is then smeared on the body and is garlanded with flowers. The funeral pyre is arranged, which is typically made up of wood, camphor, and mango leaves. The dead body is carried on a bamboo stretcher to the funeral pyre.
The cremation– It is generally preferred to cremate the dead body before sunset on the day that the person died. If the cremation takes place in India, it is most often performed near the river Ganges. The dead body is placed in a casket and transported to the site of creation by foot or in a vehicle. In most Hindu sects, only men are allowed to be present at the cremation site. The men put Rice in the mouth of the deceased.
The funeral pyre –A funeral pyre is present at the site of cremation. The dead body is rotated three times in a counter clockwise direction around the pyre and then placed on the platform of the pyre. The chief mourner is usually the eldest son of the deceased or any close male family member. The chief mourner carries a pot of water on his left shoulder and a torch behind his back. With this, he circles the pyre three times, and on each circumlocution, someone hits the pot to make a hole in the pot. The water pours out. After the third circle,the chief mourner lights the funeral pyre. The dead body is then put into the cremation spot.
Funeral etiquette– Wearing white at a Hindu funeral is necessary. The attire should be simple and modest, and arms should not be bare. Do not bring flowers when you attend a Hindu funeral ceremony as that causes distraction and possibly harm the departed soul. After the cremation begins, the mourning period,which lasts for 13 days.
I hope that we have helped you in giving the basic Hindu funeral guide in the ceremonies before and after death and will assist you in an easy understanding of the Hindu death rituals.