While death is inevitable for humans, Hindus regard it only as a juncture in a soul’s journey. Death in Hinduism means only the demise of the physical human body. It is a passage into a spirit’s evolved state. Thus, it is believed that the natural phenomenon of death comes with rituals. In Vedic literature, the dead person’s body should not be buried; but rather, it should be cremated. The cremated remains pass through the set of rituals established by the ancient Vedic Puranas and Granthas. These last rituals for the dearly departed are important because not only do they show the family has respect for ancient religious traditions, but also they care eternally for their loved one’s soul.
On one hand, these Hindu afterlife rituals help complete the mourning process for the family members left behind. On the other, these rituals help in the soul’s journey into the other parts of the evolution process. These rituals are believed to finally free the spirit from all worldly bondage. Hinduism is based on literature that is regarded as Holy Scripture. According to the Scripture, it is important to perform the rituals up to the 13th day after the cremation and Shraadh poojas are performed. The last rights are completed when the ashen remains of a deceased Hindu are immersed in the sacred Ganges River. This is the ancient Hindu religious ritual of Asthi Visarjan.
Significance of the Hindu Last Rituals
After the sacred Hindu rituals are completed on the 13th day, Shraadh poojas are performed every six months or every year thereafter. Most importantly, the ashen remains of a departed Hindu should be immersed in the Ganges River within three months after death. If the departed lived outside of India, the family members can have the ashes sent to India where priests can perform the Asthi Visarjan ritual at the Ganges River or the Holy Ganga. The Ganga is believed to have the power to destroy all the evil and sins committed by a person. The last rituals are or prime importance because they give peace to the soul of the departed. When the ashes are immersed in the Ganga, the soul achieves Moksha or union with the Lord Brahma. Hence, the last rituals help the soul rest in peace and transcend.
According to the ancient Vedic belief, a person’s soul returns back to Earth in some form or the other based on their karma (which is based on their past actions). As such, the Hindu rituals are performed for the safe voyage of the soul from Earth to heaven.
Hindu traditions are regarded as one of the finest in the world because they are pure and scientific. We have included books on the website available for download. These books are the ancient scriptures written by scholars over time. The books reiterate the same thoughts as that of Gurus, translated in English for your better understanding. Each book has a different title and explores the importance of each of the different rituals including the shraadh puja along with other traditions.
Gujarati Books – Courtesy of Professor Harshadbhai Vyas and his wife Lataben Vyas.
English books are translated from Gujarati version.