Importance of 13 day death ceremony in south Indian Brahman Community ?
How does this helps the departed soul to reach yama loka? How does the gifts and Dhanams to learned pundits help the soul to cross many dangerous rivers on its journey? I wish only learned Hindus on this subject to enlighten me pl. I do not want any irrelevant answers.
The rituals and procedures of death ceremony differ from family to family and place to place. I am trying to give whatever known to me.
HINDU BRAHMIN DEATH RITUALS ..
In Hinduism Cremation is a ritual designed to do much more than dispose of the body. "Hindus believe that cremation compared to burial or outside disintegration" The standard cremation ceremony begins with the ritual cleansing, dressing and adorning of the body. The body is then carried to the cremation ground as prayers are chanted to Yama, invoking his aid.
It is the chief mourner, usually the eldest son, who takes the twigs of holy kusha grass, flaming, from the Doms’ (the untouchable caste who tend funeral pyres) eternal fire to the pyre upon which the dead has been laid. He circumambulates the pyre counterclockwise– for everything is backward at the time of death. As he walks round the pyre, his sacred thread, which usually hangs from the left shoulder, has been reversed to hang from the right. He lights the pyre. The dead, now, is an offering to Agni, the fire. Here, as in the most ancient Vedic times, the fire conveys the offering to heaven.
After the corpse is almost completely burned, the chief mourner performs the rite called kapälakriyä, the ‘rite of the skull,’ cracking the skull with a long bamboo stick, thus releasing the soul from entrapment in the body. After the cremation, the ashes are thrown into a river, ideally the Ganges river, and the mourners walk away without looking back.
The death ritual does not end with the elimination of the body. There is still the safety of the soul to look after. To ensure the passage during its voyage to the Otherworld, an eleven-day ritual called shraddha is performed. It "consist(s) of daily offerings of rice balls, called pindas, which provide a symbolic, transitional body for the dead. During these days, the dead person makes the journey to the heavens, or the world of the ancestors, or the ‘far shore.’" "On the twelfth day, the departed soul is said to reach its destination and be joined with its ancestors, a fact expressed symbolically by joining a small pinda to a much larger one" Without these rites, the soul may never find it way to Yama’s realm.
It is believed in Hinduism that the departed soul travels through the pretaloka (the world of ghosts and spirits) to the pitraloka (the heaven or the world of ancestors), and I initiated many rituals to aid the journey. The Gods were invited and offerings were made.
Some of the raw materials used in the rituals were hay (dharba), sesame-seads (teela), rice, and flowers.
Apart from the usual rituals mentioned above many small rituals are performed..
There is a belief that unfulfilled desires of the dead prevent the soul from liberating. This is indicated by the refusal of the crow to eat the pinda. The crows are invited to eat the pandas. On the twelfth day, the spirits of the ancestors (grand parents and great grand parents) are invited into new pindas, and asked them to receive the spirit of my father, which we initiate into a separate rice ball. Then I broke the ball that represented father ins sign of the dead merging with the ancestors. This process, known as Sapindikarana marked the end of journey of the departed.
On thirteenth day, on the assumption that the departed soul had reached heaven we honor the Brahmins by giving them gifts, and fed the relatives. This is known as Samaradhana or Grahayagyam or celebration and marked the end of mourning.-
THIS IS MY EXPLANATION OF 13 DAYS RITUALS FOLLOWED BY MOST OF THE HINDUS
WHEN WE TAKE BIRTH THE SPERM IS FORMED IN FATHER’S BODY IN AROUND 40 TO 60 DAYS AND WHEN IT IS TRANSFERRED TO MOTHER’S WOMB BY GARBHADHANAM IT TAKES FURTHER 266 TO 306 DAYS TO GET ITS FULL BODY AND ENTERS THIS WORLD AFTER APPROXIMATELY 12 MONTHS.
SIMILARLY WHEN WE DEPART 12 DAYS OF RITUALS SYMBOLIC OF 12 STAGES OF THE ATMOSPHERE, 12 MONTHS OF THE YEAR WHEN SUN, BRIHASPATI AND ALL THE PLANETS COMPLETE ONE CYCLE EXCEPT SATURN, RAHU AND KETU WHO TAKE LONGER TIME TO COMPLETE THE CYCLE, ETC
ACCORDING TO GARUDA PURANA THE SOUL IS FILLED WITH ATTACHMENT TO THE BODY, FAMILY, WORDLY BELONGINGS DUE TO CONTINUED RESIDENCE IN THAT BODY FOR MANY YEARS AND DOES NOT LEAVE THE ATMOSPHERE AND SURROUNDINGS IT HAS BEEN LIVING IN THE PAST. WE OFFER TIL AND MOONG DAL WHICH ARE INSTRUMENTAL IN BREAKING ANY ATTACHMENT TOWARDS WORLDLY PLEASURES AND MAYA, MOHA TOWARDS MATERIAL AND WORLDLY RELATIONS.
ON TENTH DAY THE SOUL PREPARES ITSELF FOR FINAL JOURNEY WHEN WE DO RITUALS OF HOMA, YAGNA TO SEND THE SOUL TO VAIKUNTHA LOKA OR SHIVA LOKA.
ON 11TH DAY WE OFFER FOOD AND OFFERINGS TO ONE BRAHMIN TO ACCOMPANY THE SOUL IN ITS LAST JOURNEY. THAT IS WHY WE PROHIBHIT ANY ONE FROM SEEING THAT BHRAHMIN.
ON 12TH DAY WE OFFER VARIOUS TYPES OF DAANAM FOR FREEING THE SOUL FROM ALL KIND OF KARMA DEBT SO THAT THERE IS MUKTI TO THE SOUL AND IT IS FREE FOM CYCLE OF REBIRTH.
ON 13TH DAY WE PERFORM SHUBHA SWEEKARAM I.E WELCOMING BACK ALL THE GOOD THINGS AFTER 12 DAY MOURNING BY PERFORMING PUNYAHAVACHANAM I.E. SPRINKILING OF HOLI WATER ALL OVER THE HOUSE, NAVAGRAHA HOMAM, SHANTHI HOMAM, PARIHARA HOMAM, ETC. WE ADORN NEW DRESSES AS A SYMBOLISING RETURN TO NORMALCY AND BUY NEW CLOTHS FOR ALL FAMILY MEMBERS. HINDU RELIGION CELEBRATES ALL OCCASIONS AND 16 SAMSKARAS STARTING FROM BIRTH TO DEATH.
PEOPLE MAY SAY THESE ARE WASTEFUL EXPENDITURE AND SHOULD BE DISCARDED.
THE SIGNIFICANCE BEHIND EACH ACT IS ONLY TO TAKE PEOPLE FROM ATTACHMENT TO DETACHMENT FROM MATERIAL TO SPIRITUAL AND AT ALL STAGES LIFE MUST GO ON AS USUAL.
OUR PUROHITS AND VAIDHIKAS HAVE BECOME GREEDY FORCING PEOPLE TO DO THESE RITUALS LEADING TO RESENTMENT. THESE RITUALS SYMBOLISES THE JOURNEY OF THE SOUL FORM MATERIAL TO SPIRITUAL WORLD TRAVELLING THE VARIOUS CONSTELLATIONS TO REACH ABSOLUTE SUPREME POWER AND END THE CYCLE OF REBIRTH.
HOPE THIS SATISFIES YOUR QUERY, IF YOU WANT MORE IT BE MY PLEASURE TO TRY AND FIND OUT MORE ANSWERS WITH THIS THUCHCHA BUDHI AND GRACE OF ALMIGHTY.
The Antyesti rite of passage is structured around the premise in ancient literature of Hinduism that the microcosm of all living beings is a reflection of a macrocosm of the universe. The soul (Atman, Brahman) is the essence and immortal that is released at the Antyeshti ritual, but both the body and the universe are vehicles and transitory in various schools of Hinduism. The human body and the universe consist of five elements in Hindu texts – air, water, fire, earth and space. The last rite of passage returns the body to the five elements and its origins. The roots of this belief are found in the Vedas, for example in the hymns of Rigveda in section 10.16, as follows,
Burn him not up, nor quite consume him, Agni: let not his body or his skin be scattered,
O all possessing Fire, when thou hast matured him, then send him on his way unto the Fathers.
When thou hast made him ready, all possessing Fire, then do thou give him over to the Fathers,
When he attains unto the life that waits him, he shall become subject to the will of gods.
The Sun receive thine eye, the Wind thy Prana (life-principle, breathe); go, as thy merit is, to earth or heaven.
Go, if it be thy lot, unto the waters; go, make thine home in plants with all thy members.
The final rites of a burial, in case of untimely death of a child, is rooted in Rig Veda’s section 10.18, where the hymns mourn the death of the child, praying to deity Mrityu to "neither harm our girls nor our boys", and pleads the earth to cover, protect the deceased child as a soft wool.
A dead adult Hindu is mourned with a cremation, while a dead child is typically buried. The last rites are usually completed within a day of death. His or her body is washed, wrapped in white cloth if the dead is a man or a widow (red if her husband is still alive), the two toes tied together with a string, a Tilak (red mark) placed on the forehead. The dead adult’s body is carried to the cremation ground near a river or water, by family and friends, and placed on a pyre with feet facing south.
The eldest son, or a male mourner, or a priest then bathes before leading the cremation ceremonial function. He circumambulates the dry wood pyre with the body, says a eulogy or recites a hymn in some cases, places sesame seed in the dead person’s mouth, sprinkles the body and the pyre with ghee (clarified butter), then draws three lines signifying Yama(deity of the dead), Kala (time, deity of cremation) and the dead. The pyre is then set ablaze, while the mourner’s mourn. The ash from the cremation is consecrated to the nearest river or sea. After the cremation, the attendees take a bath.
In some regions, the immediate male relatives of the deceased shave their head and invite all friends and relatives, on the tenth or twelfth day, to eat a simple meal together in remembrance of the deceased. This day, in some communities, also marks a day when the poor and needy are offered food in memory of the dead.
The cremation ground is called Shmashana (in Sanskrit), and traditionally it is located near a river, if not on the river bank itself. Those who can afford it may go to special sacred places like Kashi (Varanasi), Haridwar, Allahabad, Sri Rangam,Brahmaputra on the occasion of Ashokastami and Kanya Kumari to complete this rite of immersion of ashes into water.
Cremation of the dead by Hindus inUbud, Bali Indonesia.
Both manual bamboo wood pyres and electric cremation are used for Hindu cremations. For the latter, the body is kept on a bamboo frame on rails near the door of the electric chamber. After cremation, the mourner collect the ashes and consecrate it to a water body, such as a river or sea.
Hindu communities outside India
Discrimination in colonial era
Hindu brought into Trinidad as indentured laborers for plantations between 1845 to 1917, by the British colonial government, suffered discriminatory laws that did not allow cremation, and other rites of passage such as the traditional marriage, because the colonial officials considered these as pagan and uncivilized barbaric pratices. The non-Hindu government further did not allow the construction of crematorium. After decades of social organization and petitions, the Hindus of Trinidad gained the permission to practice their traditional rites of passage includingAntyesti in the 1950s, and build the first crematorium in 1980s.
In the United Kingdom, it was formerly illegal to conduct a traditional outdoors Hindu cremation under the 1902 Cremation Act, with Hindus having to cremate their dead in indoor crematoriums instead. In 2006, Daven Ghai, a British Hindu who had been refused the right to have a traditional funeral by Newcastle City Council, brought a case to court in which he claimed that the current law did in fact allow open air cremations, so long as they were in some enclosed building and away from the public. A High Court ruling disagreed with his claim, and the-then Justice Secretary Jack Straw stated that the British public would "find it abhorrent that human remains were being burned in this way." Nonetheless, upon taking it to the Court of Appeals in 2010, the judge, Lord Justice Neuberger, ruled that such a cremation would be legal under the 1902 Act, so long as it was performed within a building, even an open-air one. Upon his victory, Ghai told reporters that "I always maintained that I wanted to clarify the law, not disobey or disrespect it" and expressed regret at the amount that the trial had cost the taxpayer. He stated that he was thankful that he now had "the right to be cremated with the sun shining on my body and my son lighting the pyre" and he and other Hindus and Sikhs in the country had begun investigations into finding a site upon which they could perform the funerary ceremonies
परोपकाराय फलन्ति वृक्षा: परोपकाराय वहन्ति नद्यः।
परोपकाराय दुहन्ति गावः परोपकाराय इदं शरीरम्।।
"To fight the darkness do not draw your sword, light a candle"
"You can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets"
( hari krishnamurthy K. HARIHARAN)"
” When people hurt you Over and Over think of them as Sand paper.
They Scratch & hurt you, but in the end you are polished and they are finished. ”
"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you too, can become great."- Mark Twain.
யாம் பெற்ற இன்பம்
visit my blog https://harikrishnamurthy.wordpress.com
follow me @twitter lokakshema_hari
VISIT MY PAGE https://www.facebook.com/K.Hariharan60 AND LIKE