Renunication and Funeral

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The Rite of Renunciation ­ the 15th Samskara wood. A priest will often be present and the son says 1. The eldest son offers rice and milk everyday
the following words. in case the soul of the dead returns to trouble
Not many Hindu's go through this final ashrama in life. `I apply fire to all the limits of the person who willingly its family if it cannot find a new home.
This ashrama is voluntary and those High Caste or unwillingly, might have committed lapses and is now
Hindus who choose to enter this stage have a under the clutched of death-a person attended with 2. The relatives visit the eldest son on the 4th day
ceremony to mark the transition. virtue and vice, greed and ignorance. May he attain the to comfort his family and give them presents,
A Sannyasin has no obligations towards family or shining regions.' they also offer up prayers for the soul of the
Caste, therefore the rite that marks this stage in life as dead.
life-denying. There is no weeping or wailing, but only a chanting 3. A final meeting of sympathy is held on the 11th
A Sannyasin id the reverse of the student at a Sacred from the Vedas, or silence as death is welcomed as a day and this mark the time when the soul
Thread Ceremony, where a renouncer will symbolically release from this life of illusion to a new and better life. becomes free to pass onto another body.
perform his own funeral rite before the fire which `For certain is the death of the born and certain is the 4. The remaining ceremonies are meant to
consumes his old, social self. born of the dead; therefore grieve not for what is nourish the deceased on the long journey to
Renunciation means abandoning the religion of Vedic inevitable'. A phrase from the Vedas. the world of the dead were they can join their
material and abandoning fire, a symbol of the `As a man leaves an old garment an takes on one that ancestors, and to create new bodies for them.
Brahmin's status. is new, the spirit leaves his mortal body and puts on This ritual consists of offering small rice cakes
He has given up life in the home for the homeless life one that is new.' A phrase from the Bhagavad-Gita which represent both nourishment and a new
of wandering, and must now beg for food. A dead body is called a Shava, similar to Shiva the body.
The renouncer also gives up his old clothes, and destroyer god.
becomes naked and so resembles his condition at 5. The final rites are performed on the 10th, 11th
birth. A constant supply of ghee is thrown onto the flames to and 12th days, where rice and milk offerings. A
He offers his Sacred Thread to the fire and takes on a keep them alit. Sandalwood oil is also poured over the separate ceremony is conducted on the 11th
waistband, loincloth and ochre robes, while carrying a wood. Mourner will watch and stay until the fires dies day which marks the time when the soul is
staff, water pot and a begging bowl. and the skull cracks. now free to enter the next life.
However, some renouncers remain naked. Hindus believe that the cracking of the skull ensures
The renouncer seeks liberation from the cycle of birth, that the soul of the dead person will be released. If the funeral ceremonies are not properly observed
death and re-birth by becoming detached from worldly The day after the cremation, the eldest son or close then it is believed that the soul of the departed will
concerns and desires through asceticism and yoga relative collects the bones and ashes and scatters return to its former haunts and become a ghost.
practices. them over the waters of the nearest river. This is why all Hindus want to have at least one son,
The important point id that for the renouncer this is the Since Hindus believe that anyone who has their ashes for he alone can perform the funeral duties, Antyeshti,
last time he will kindle a fire and thenceforth he is not scattered over the River Ganges escapes from the correctly.
allowed to attend further rituals. cycle of birth and re-birth, many relatives travel to the
Has abandoned fire and will not be cremated at death, great river Ganges to dispose of the ashes. The Importance of the Funeral Rites:
instead his body is placed in a sacred river or buried If it cannot be reached, than the ashes are emptied into It enables the family and friends of the deceased to
upright in a special tomb. any flowing stream in the belief that all water mingles in help the soul or atman of the dead person to be
the end. rekindled into a new life.
The Funeral Ceremony ­ the 16th Samskara: The family can help b performing the funeral rites
Tradition only allows babies and Sannyasins to be The People Who Perform the Rites Are: correctly and by collecting the ashes and scattering
buried; otherwise the normal custom for the corpse is For a married woman it is the husband, for a widow it is them on the river Ganges, or any other river.
to be reduced to ashes by cremation. the eldest son, for an unmarried woman it is the father It also enables people to pay their last respects and to
or brother, or a married man or a widower it is the mourn for the death of a loved one. It also helps people
As soon as death has been confirmed, the boy is eldest son or grandson and for an unmarried man it is to come to terms with the death of a close family
washed, garlanded and dressed by relatives. It is then the father, brother or uncle. member or close friend.
carried by procession to the cremation ground on a Strengthens one's faith and re-enforces the belief in
stretcher covered in a simple cloth. During The Ten Days of Mourning: reincarnation, that death is not the end.
If possible the dead person's eldest son leads the The cremation is followed by ten days of important
procession, which is one of the reasons why Hindu's religious ceremonies, during which the naked soul of This keeps the religion alive.
want a son. the deceased finds another body in which to live.
It is believed that during the cremation the soul is Hindus believe that the soul is immortal and that the
released and rises to heaven before it is rekindles into body is simply a temporary place for it to live in.
new life.
The eldest son walks around the funeral pyre, pours
holy water on the body and then puts a flame to the


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