1. Standard memberrvsakhadeo
    rvsakhadeo
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    25 Apr '12 17:59
    On a personal note this, hope all of you take it in the right spirit.
    Purely informative. Reactions/comments welcome.
    My mother died on the 19th of April, at the age of 90 years. She was an old graduate of Arts from a woman's college. She was a poet. She was very much alert and alive almost to the day of her death. Although, totally deaf, her other faculties were ok, except in the last few months, cataract was noted in both the eyes-but at initial stage.
    She was an intellectual and used to read the papers,watch the TV etc. and did not like the way our country was going.
    i ) I saw a dream about a month before her death, in which I saw my dead father looking at me. Father died in 1981, way back and I never saw him in my dreams more than 4/5 times since then. I got upset esp. because I had seen my grandfather looking at me in my dream I dreamt in 1981 just about a month before my father's death. So, I thought may be , she is going to pass away and told my brother, who was looking after her about the dream. My fear came true.
    ii ) I rushed to my ancestral home and after bringing the body from the morgue--- where it had been kept waiting for my arrival, being eldest and son it being my duty to cremate her--- we went to the burning ghat in an ambulance.
    iii) I washed myself, dressed in a fresh dhoti, put on the sacred thread and followed the priest's instructions. Firstly I announced to the Gods that I am intending to cremate her as per Vedic rituals, as a sign of which I poured some water on the ground saying this mantra.
    iv ) The fire was lit among some pieces of wood kept for that purpose and I started praying to various Gods to forgive her sins, if any and putting in dabs of clarified butter at times. I then drew triangles of water around the fire ( significance lost on me ) and the priest then ordered the body to be kept on the byre.
    v ) The mother's head was towards the south and her crossed feet were towards north. She was fully clothed in her old clothes except that a beautiful Sari which she liked immensely was draped on her. I was told to keep the small balls of wheat flour and butter which I had prepared with black sesame seeds, on her eyes , head, both sides and her heart. Similarly I kept five small figurines made out of same stuff on the byre at the positions told by the priest. Then I poured the butter in her eyes, her mouth, her sides and her heart. Ganga water had already been poured in her mouth before the ambulance left my home.
    vi ) I was the asked to circumambulate the byre and was asked to put a log right across her face, at which point I almost lost my control and was going to sob, however did not.
    vii) then everyone in the family was asked to put logs on the byre. I was then asked to light the fire by putting a burning piece of timber near her legs ( not visible by this time ).
    viii ) a few other circumambulations followed with me carrying a mud pot of water
    on my left shoulder and with my relatives breaking a small hole in the pot with a stone every time I completed the circle. Finally I threw the pot back over my shoulder.
    ix ) I then collected the stone which the priest had me keep near mother's shoulder before she was kept on the byre and had another wash and came home.
  2. Subscribersonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    slatington, pa, usa
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    25 Apr '12 19:49
    Originally posted by rvsakhadeo
    On a personal note this, hope all of you take it in the right spirit.
    Purely informative. Reactions/comments welcome.
    My mother died on the 19th of April, at the age of 90 years. She was an old graduate of Arts from a woman's college. She was a poet. She was very much alert and alive almost to the day of her death. Although, totally deaf, her other facu ...[text shortened]... near mother's shoulder before she was kept on the byre and had another wash and came home.
    A very touching ritual. I used to live in Thailand, up country almost on the bank of the Mekong river. On a visit to Chang Mai, I came across a ritual cremation ceremony and it was not a sad affair or restricted to relatives, anyone could come and sit down with the families involved.

    There was a Thai traditional orchestra assembled playing Thai music, and on the theory that nobody wanted to be the one identified actually lighting the funeral pyre, a complex set of fireworks were set up before hand, firework missles, a few inches long that was hooked first to a long fuse and various fireworks burned down on the ground then lit several missiles held to wires which swished quickly to the next one which lit, then the next one.

    Several times like that in several directions, finally one ended on the funeral pyre setting the pyre on fire, which was very decorated in bright neon colored plastic and wood walls which were also meant to burn with the body.

    It appeared the leadup with the fireworks and the Thai music was the main attraction and when the pyre started burning, everyone got up and looked reasonably happy and they all left, the pyre burning merrily away. So it is certainly different in different cultures.
  3. Standard memberRJHinds
    The Near Genius
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    26 Apr '12 01:32
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    A very touching ritual. I used to live in Thailand, up country almost on the bank of the Mekong river. On a visit to Chang Mai, I came across a ritual cremation ceremony and it was not a sad affair or restricted to relatives, anyone could come and sit down with the families involved.

    There was a Thai traditional orchestra assembled playing Thai music, a ...[text shortened]... hey all left, the pyre burning merrily away. So it is certainly different in different cultures.
    But even though the body is destroyed by fire, in both cases the
    people believe there is something that lives on about the dead
    person other than memories. It may be called a soul or spirit or
    even soul/spirit. Were do they get this idea of the ghost of the
    person living on?
  4. Standard memberblack beetle
    Black Beastie
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    26 Apr '12 09:12
    Originally posted by rvsakhadeo
    On a personal note this, hope all of you take it in the right spirit.
    Purely informative. Reactions/comments welcome.
    My mother died on the 19th of April, at the age of 90 years. She was an old graduate of Arts from a woman's college. She was a poet. She was very much alert and alive almost to the day of her death. Although, totally deaf, her other facu ...[text shortened]... near mother's shoulder before she was kept on the byre and had another wash and came home.
    I express my condolences to you and your family.
  5. Standard memberrvsakhadeo
    rvsakhadeo
    India
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    26 Apr '12 09:41
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    A very touching ritual. I used to live in Thailand, up country almost on the bank of the Mekong river. On a visit to Chang Mai, I came across a ritual cremation ceremony and it was not a sad affair or restricted to relatives, anyone could come and sit down with the families involved.

    There was a Thai traditional orchestra assembled playing Thai music, a ...[text shortened]... hey all left, the pyre burning merrily away. So it is certainly different in different cultures.
    The cremation of my mother was not restricted to relatives. Any number of acquaintances had thronged the burning Ghat and either bowed before the body or put in logs on the pyre. It is considered an honour and a great social obligation on the part of Hindus to participate in the funeral rites of a neighbour or acquaintance.
  6. Standard memberrvsakhadeo
    rvsakhadeo
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    26 Apr '12 09:46
    Originally posted by black beetle
    I express my condolences to you and your family.
    Many thanks. As you may be aware, the 10th day rituals of Pind daan ( something similar to Buddhist Jala Daan ) have yet to take place which will be on the 28th of this month and the 13th day rituals involving a community lunch in honour of the departed will be on 1st of May.
    I will keep posters here of the rituals involved.
    Hopefully I will soon reply to your many interesting posts.
  7. Standard memberCalJust
    It is what it is
    Pretoria
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    26 Apr '12 10:58
    Originally posted by rvsakhadeo
    On a personal note this, hope all of you take it in the right spirit.
    Purely informative. Reactions/comments welcome.
    Thank you for sharing this.

    My own mother died last year aged 99 - three months before her 100th birthday.

    As normal in Western rituals, the cremation took place at another venue, behind closed doors and not witnessed by any relatives or visitors.

    I do not know how I would have reacted if it had taken place in full view.

    However, the feelings and expressions of joy, rather than sorrow, I support and shared in, since we celebrate somebody's life, and not their death, on that occasion.

    I would like people to sing and dance at my funeral!

    My condolences on your loss.

    CJ
  8. Standard memberrvsakhadeo
    rvsakhadeo
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    26 Apr '12 11:44
    Originally posted by CalJust
    Thank you for sharing this.

    My own mother died last year aged 99 - three months before her 100th birthday.

    As normal in Western rituals, the cremation took place at another venue, behind closed doors and not witnessed by any relatives or visitors.

    I do not know how I would have reacted if it had taken place in full view.

    However, the feelings a ...[text shortened]... .

    I would like people to sing and dance at my funeral!

    My condolences on your loss.

    CJ
    Thanks a lot for the condolences. Was your mother cremated in an electric furnace ? The electric furnace is now available in most big cities in India. But not so far in my home town. Is cremation permitted in Christianity ? I am presuming that you are a Christian.
  9. Standard memberrvsakhadeo
    rvsakhadeo
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    26 Apr '12 11:48
    Originally posted by RJHinds
    But even though the body is destroyed by fire, in both cases the
    people believe there is something that lives on about the dead
    person other than memories. It may be called a soul or spirit or
    even soul/spirit. Were do they get this idea of the ghost of the
    person living on?
    It is an important tenet of Hinduism that every living being has a Soul / Self which is immortal.
  10. Standard memberCalJust
    It is what it is
    Pretoria
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    26 Apr '12 11:54
    Originally posted by rvsakhadeo
    Thanks a lot for the condolences. Was your mother cremated in an electric furnace ? The electric furnace is now available in most big cities in India. But not so far in my home town. Is cremation permitted in Christianity ? I am presuming that you are a Christian.
    I assume it was electric, although it could have been gas fired.

    In a previous generation many Christians were vehemently against cremation. They thought (rightly or wrongly) that atheists invented it in order to frustrate God's ability to resurrect the body. I know that my grandfather believed this.

    Of course, that is foolishness. Cremation is favoured today (even by Christians) because of the complexity of getting and looking after cemetery plots. People nowadays - as you well know - are far more mobile and there is no longer such a thing as a family cemetery or even section in a larger one.

    Now that you mention it, my father, who died some six years before my mother, was buried in a coffin in a grave with a headstone. However, my mother had moved away to live with my sister and died some 1500 km away. We therefore had her cremated, and took the ashes and buried them in a hole that we dug next to my fathers grave, in a small ceremony.

    So it was mainly due to practical considerations, in retrospect.
  11. Cape Town
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    26 Apr '12 12:11
    Originally posted by rvsakhadeo
    Is cremation permitted in Christianity ?
    My father, a Christian, believed that cremation was the way to go these days, for various reasons - including the shortage of land for grave yards.
    So everyone who has died in my family has been cremated (including my father).
    Since the only cremation facilities in Livingstone are run by the Hindu's that is where it was done.
    I too will probably put a desire to be cremated into my will when I feel I am old enough to write one.
  12. Standard memberrvsakhadeo
    rvsakhadeo
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    26 Apr '12 12:57
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    My father, a Christian, believed that cremation was the way to go these days, for various reasons - including the shortage of land for grave yards.
    So everyone who has died in my family has been cremated (including my father).
    Since the only cremation facilities in Livingstone are run by the Hindu's that is where it was done.
    I too will probably put a desire to be cremated into my will when I feel I am old enough to write one.
    In India, there is a rightly conceived movement to conserve trees. Hence the gradual introduction of furnaces. Also important issue is the disposal of ashes. Human ashes contains nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus and sulfur etc. We dispose the ashes in the nearest river. This way the ashes get deposited in the bank soil or bed soil and enrich them.
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