Vedic rituals after death

Vedic rituals after death

The rituals that may be followed in Vedic religions after the death of a human being, for his or her peace and ascent to heaven are:

  • Niravapanjali is a sacred ritual in Hinduism where after the cremation rites, the ashes are ceremonially immersed in holy water by the closest relatives, so that the soul may rise to heaven. In Hindu mythology, king Bhagiratha performed a tapasya to bring down the river Ganges upon earth, so that he could immerse the ashes of sixty thousand of his slain ancestors in her sacred waters.
  • Tarpana is a sacred ritual whereupon the closest relatives make a sacred offering to the Gods so that the departed soul may enter Swarga. In Hindu mythology, the Great Parasurama offered a tarpana for his father Jamadagni with the blood of his father's killer.

The ceremonial offerings varies across the spectrum of Hindu society. These ceremonies are also practiced in Sikhism.

In Ayyavazhi

In Ayyavazhi the body of the dead is buried, unlike in Hinduism.

The body is buried in a position that faces to the geographic north in a Padmasana position. No boxes such as coffins are used. The body is just placed inside and covered by sand or Namam (sacred soil which is used as Thirunamam in Ayyavazhi). This practice is done in belief that the deceased is performing austerity for the unfolding of Dharma Yukam. There was also a belief that the body of a person who was free from birth will not decay, and will be preserved as it is. Then as the Dharma Yukam unfolds, Vaikundar will blow a Conch shell and these people will rise from the grave. This scenario resembles the Last Judgment in the Abrahamic religions.


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