We are living in a time where Google has all the answers to our questions; there exist studies and facts on the workings of the universe, and many people have predicted how the world might end. But the only question that remains to be unanswered to humankind is what happens after death?
We, as humans, are a part of something deeper and more spiritual. We follow various faiths that have different yet similar beliefs regarding life, our role in it, and what will happen after it. One such religion is Hinduism! Being one of the oldest religion, Hinduism has some strong beliefs and cultural practices revolving around the concept of life after death and the way a human should behave in their lifetime.
Beliefs by Hinduism on Life and Death
For the followers of Hinduism, this religion is more like a way of life. It is believed that humans are in a cycle of rebirth and death known as Samsara. It is also believed that the ultimate goal in life is to achieve “moksha,” or salvation, which means an end to the cycle of rebirths and to become part of an absolute soul.
As per the religion, a person’s deed or karma determines in what form will they be reborn. Good actions will inhibit a better form of life. It is said, that one can be reborn as anything from a human to an animal to an insect.
Do Hindus believe in Heaven and Hell?
Hinduism believes that the soul can go to multiple realms of the world during its transition between death and its rebirth into another form.
- Brahmaloka is the highest form of heaven. Here the cycle of birth and death ends, and the soul becomes one
- When in Swah, the soul will probably be reborn as a human
- Patala is the lowest of all the worlds, and the soul suffers here.
To conclude, Hindus don’t believe in heaven or hell as other faiths might. These places are higher and lower worlds that are bound by time and space and are not a place where souls remain for eternity.
What happens to the soul after death, as per Hinduism?
Reincarnation is a part of a continuous journey of the soul from one form of life to the next. Its purpose is for the soul to understand that their deepest longings cannot be fulfilled on the earth. With each life, the soul learns various lessons until true fulfilment (salvation) is attained.
When it comes to God, Hindu believes that all our souls have come from the supreme spirit known as Brahman. Our ultimate goal is to become one with it for eternal peace.
Hindu Funeral Rites and Rituals
The funeral rituals and last rite practices are mainly centred on the above beliefs. It includes cremation service in Bangalore of the body of the deceased along with some other customs and ceremonies. The funeral rites are known as Antyesti or Antim Sanskar saman , and many cremation services assist families in conducting dignified last rites.
Some of the rituals include:
- Preparation of the body by washing with sacred items and dressing the body in fresh clothes
- For the cremation, the body is placed on the wooden pyre with feet facing south
- The chief mourner circles the beloved with an earthen water-filled pot while the pandit chants prayers
- The cremation ceremony is concluded with the leading mourner (Karta) piercing the burning skull to release the spirit
- In Hindus, the mourning period lasts 13 days. During this time, relatives and friends visit the house of the deceased to pay their regards
- The Chautha rituals are conducted on the 4th day ofter the demise, where bhajans are sung, and the family comes together to pray for the soul
- On the day of Asthi Visarjan, the last remains are immersed in the holy waters of the river Ganga
- The last day or tehravin is marked by a Brahman bhoj ceremony
It is believed that these rituals hold a lot of power, and if done respectfully, they can help achieve peace for the lost soul.