Cremation

  • By Jnana Prabodhini
  • April 2001
  • 19852 views

C R E M A T I O N

The principal mourner, normally the eldest son of the deceased, performs the sacrament. In his absence, any nearest person can perform it. The ground where the sacrament is performed is purified by sprinkling water on it. The mourner sits facing the east. He takes a spoonful of water ( Achaman ) chants the mantras and sips it.

Priest and the Performer –

Om. Keshava Namah:  
Om. Narayana Namah:
Om. Madhava Namah: ( 3Achamans )
Om. Govind Namah:  (Udak)

( Udak – letting water pass from the right palm to the metal plate )

Priest – Do Pranayam – deep breathing – and meditate upon god for a minute.


Priest and the Performer

On this earth, in the ….. continents, in ……. ( name of the country ), in …….. (name of the city / town / village), in the year ……, in the month of ……, in the …… (White / Black ) half of the lunar month, on …. (date / tithee), on …… (day), under the …… constellation. I pay homage to …… (name), my ……. (relation).

If it is possible to enkindle fire in a small tray, it is desirable. The oblation of ghee can be offered to it. If it is not possible, oblations of ghee can be given on a coiled electric hot plate. If a hot plate is not available, just a square of Darbha grass is made. It would represent fire. Oblations of ghee could be given to it. If there is fire or hot plate a square of Darbha grass is made around it.

Priest – Now first we symbolically offer the body of the deceased to the sacred fire that is Yajna, by the following mantras .

Priest and the relatives / friends

May this be consecrated to the earth. This belongs to the fire and not to me.

May this be consecrated to space. This belongs to the air and not to me.

May this be consecrated to the sun. This belongs to the sun and not to me.

May this be consecrated to the earth, space and the sun . This belongs to Prajapati, the creator and not to me.
Meanwhile some relatives may arrange the pyre and keep the body on it. The head of the body should be towards south. If there is an electrical furnace, then they should take the body to the furnace after the relatives pay homage to the deceased in a few words.

Paying homage to the deceased .

( Here the relatives and friends attending the sacrament may pay homage to the deceased in a few words.)

Priest – Now we will chant the couplets from the Geeta that speak about the immortality of the soul.

Priest – As the embodied soul passes through the stages of childhood, youth, and old age , so does it pass into another body. The wise man does not get deluded about this.
( In fact we are not this body form, we neither have birth nor death ).

Priest and the relatives –

Priest – It is never born, nor does it ever die, once it comes to being it does not cease to be. Unborn, eternal, everlasting and ancient, it is not slain even when the body is slain.

Priest and the relatives –

Priest –Just as a person casts off worn-out clothes and puts on new ones, so the embodied soul casts off worn-out body and enters a new body.

Priest and the relatives –
         
Priest – To that which is born, death is certain, and to that which is dead, birth is certain. Therefore you should not grieve over the inevitable.


Prayer of Yama, the God of death

Priest and the relatives –

Priest – Offer sacrifice to Yama. He is the son of the sage Viwaswat. Yama leads virtuous people to heavens after death. Ultimately, everybody goes to Yama. Worship him.

Priest and the relatives –

Priest – O Agni ! consume not this body to cinders, neither give it pain nor scatter about its skin or limbs. O Jatavedas, when the body is fairly burnt, convey the spirit to the ancestors.

Priest and the relatives –

Priest – Those who show valor in war, those who die on the battlefield, those who abundantly give wealth to others, reach heaven after death. May this soul travel towards that destination.

Priest –

Priest – May this soul have the company of those who attained matchless prowess by doing penance.

Priest and the relatives –

Priest – O God of death ! it would be better if you reign in your own field. You can distinguish virtuous souls from the non-virtuous. My prayer to you is with the hope that you would listen to it. All our progenies are virtuous. Please do not untimely take them away from us.

Priest and the relatives –

Priest – O God, as the cycle of day and night does not get disturbed, as the season follow the order regularly, so may be the course of our lives. (May there be no accidents in it.)

Priest and the relatives –

Priest – O friends ! close the door of untimely death, Get a long, radiant life. Be rich and fortunate with sons and grand sons. Do noble and great deeds in your life.
(Now the dead body is taken to the furnace. After the electrical furnace starts, the relatives may console the mourners and leave the place.)


Offering Water

Priest – (To the principle mourner) Hollow your palms take sesame seeds and pouring water on them, say –
( If the deceased is a male - )

( If the deceased is a female -)

I offer this water to the demised named --------

Collecting the bones / remnants

On the second or third day of cremation the relatives may collect the bones from the crematory. It is a custom to merge these remnants in Ganges or in the river nearby.

Paying homage to the departed on any convenient day between the 10th and 14th day after the death.

It is a funeral ceremony observed on any convenient day between the 10th & 14th day after death. It consists of offerings with water to the gods and the manes. It is especially performed for the person recently deceased. Ekkodishtam means to perform the shraddha in remembrance of only the deceased on any convenient day between the 10th & 14th day after death.
The eldest son or the nearest relative of the deceased may perform this rite. On the shraddha day at the place of the sacrament, the son should sit facing the east and do Pranayam (deep breathing ) and mediate upon god for a minute. He chants the ‘mantras’ & sips the water.

Priest and the Performer –

Om. Keshava Namah:  
Om. Narayana Namah:
Om. Madhava Namah: ( 3Achamans )
Om. Govind Namah:  (Udak)

( Udak – letting water pass from the right palm to the metal plate )

Priest and the Performer –

On this earth, in the …… continent, in …… (name of the country), in …… (name of the city / town / village), in the year ….., in the month of …..., in the ….. (While or Black) half of the lunar month on …. (date / tithee ), on (day ), under the ….. constellation. I perform the Ekkodishta Shraddha of …… (name ) my (relation).

Priest – (To the performer) Now turn towards the south-east, take the Darbha grass and sprinkle water on the place to purify it where you are going to make offerings to your relatives.

Priest and the performer –

Priest – The evil spirits are driven away from this place. Now take some Darbha grass and keep it on the place.
The tuft of the grass should be towards the south.

Priest and the Performer –

( If the deceased is a male.) | ( If the deceased is a female.)

Let the dead be purified.

Priest – Pour water on the grass with the right hand in such a way that it passes between the thumb and the pointer. Put an oblong cake of cooked rice on the grass.
( This rice – ball stands for the dead.)

Priest and the Performer

You, belonging to …… ( lineage are deceased; may this rice-ball represent you.

Let the dead be purified

Pour water on the rice-ball with the right hand in such a way that it passes between the thumb and the pointer.

O dead ! apply this cream to your body.
( The performer puts some cream on the rice ball with the thumb & the pointer.)

O dead ! apply this collyrium to your eyes.
( The performer applies the collyrium to the rice ball with the thumb and the pointer.)

O dead ! have this woolen wearing for you.
( The performer puts woolen thread on the rice ball and meditates for a minute and venerates the dead.)

O dead ! be happy and satisfied.
( The performer faces the east again ).

We have paid homage to our father / mother / on this ….. day of his /her death. May God be pleased by this sacrament.

Priest and the Performer –

Om Tat Sat
Om Tat Sat
Om Tat Sat

Brahman ( Om ) is the Ultimate Reality.

The Performer ( While taking Achamanas i.e. chanting mantras and sipping water three times.)

Om. Keshava Namah:  
Om. Narayana Namah:
Om. Madhava Namah: ( 3Achamans )
Om. Govind Namah:  (Udak)

( The performer lets water pass into the plate from the right palm. Then he does pranayam and meditates for a minute.)

Associating the dead with the manes.

It is performed on any convenient day between the 10th & the 14th day from the death. It is associating the dead with the manes. That means from now on the deceased will be one of the forefathers. If the father of the deceased is alive, associate the deceased with the earlier manes i.e. grand father great grand father and great-great father. If grand father is also alive then take earlier three generations.

If the deceased female is married, associate her with her mother-in-law, grand mother-in-law and great grand mother-in-law. If the woman is not married then associate her with her mother, grand mother and great grand mother.

Priest and the Performer :

On this earth, in the …… continent, in ……( name of the country), in…… (name of the city/town/village) in the year……., in the month of ……, in the ( While/Black) half of the lunar month, on ……(date / tithee), on …… (day), under the …… constellation. I pay homage to ….. (name), my …….. (relation).

( If the deceased is a male -) : I associate the demised named …. with his father,grand-father, great-grand father, of the ….. lineage, named ….., …, who have become one with the deities like Vasu, Rudra and Aditya.

(If the deceased female is married. ) :  I associate the demised  named …..with her mother-in-law grand moth-er-in-law, great grand-mother-in-law, of the…lineage, named …, …., who have become one  with the deities like Vasu, Rudra and Aditya.

( If the deceased female is not married): I associate the demised name-with her mother,grand-mother, great grand mother, of the  ….lineage, named ….,…..,who have become one with the deities like Vasu, Rudra
and Aditya.        

Offering oblations to forefathers and associating the
Deceased with the three earlier generations.


The performer sits facing the southeast. He draws a line on the ground starting from the northwest and ending to southeast direction. He keeps three Darbhas on the line to the north-south direction. ( The tips of Darbhas to the south and the ends to the north. See the picture.)

He lets some water pass from the palm through the thumb and the pointer of the right hand on the Darbhas. This is called ‘Pitruteertha’

Priest and the Performer :

Priest – This place is now free from evil spirits.
The evil spirits are now warded off.


Priest & Performer –

(If the deceased is a male.) (If the deceased female is (If the deceased female 
Let the dead be purified. Married).   is not married)
Let the dead be purified. Let the dead be purified
(The performer makes an  (The performer makes  ( The performer makes
oblong cake of rice & keeps an oblong cake of rice  an oblong cake of rice
it on the Darbhas. See the & keeps it on the Darbhas. and keeps it on the
picture on page no.8.) See the picture on page Darbhas.
Priest and the Performer  no. 8.)    See pict page 8)
May this rice – ball repres- May this rice – ball   May this rice-ball
ent you.   Represent you   represent you.

(The performer sprinkles  (The performer sprinkles (The performer sprinkles
water on the darbhas on the  water on the darbhas on water on the darbhas on
south side of the rice-ball  the south side of the   the south side of the
representing the deceased.) rice – ball representing  rice-ball representing
Let the soul of the father   the deceased .)   the deceased.)
of the deceased be purified. Let the soul of the  
Let the soul of the Grand  mother-in-law of the  Let the soul of the mother
father of the deceased be  deceased be purified.  of the deceased be purified.
purified.   Let the soul of the Grand Let the soul of the Grand
Let the soul of the Great  mother-in-law of the dec- mother of the deceased be
Grand Father of the de- eased be purified.  purified.
ceased be purified.    Let the soul of the Great let the soul of the Great
    Grand mother-in-law of  Grand mother of the dec-
    The deceased be purified eased be purified.
Priest and the Performer –
(If the deceased is a male) 
     O Mother-in-law of the   O Mother of the deceased
O Father of the deceased !  deceased ! this is offered  ! this is offered to you &
 this is offered to you &   to you & your fore fathers  your fore fathers.
your forefathers –   O Grand Mother-in-law  O Grand Mother of the de-
O Grand father of the dec-  of the deceased ! this is   eased ! this is offered to you
eased ! this is offered to   offered to you & your   & your forefathers.
you & your forefathers.  forefathers.    O Great Grand mother of the
O Great Grand Father of  O Great Grand Mother-  deceased ! this is offered to
the deceased ! this is off-  in-law of the deceased !   you & your forefathers.
ered to you & your  -  this is offered to you &
forefathers..    your forefathers.

Priest and the Performer – Performer looks at the rice balls and says –

O Forefathers ! be pleased with these offerings.

Priest – Now look at the north side from your left shoulder, do pranayam and say.

Priest and the Performer –

Our forefathers are pleased with the offerings.
The performer takes a small morsel of rice, smells it and keeps it away. Then does the ‘Achaman’ & ‘Udak’, ( Lets the water pass from the right palm on all the rice-balls.)

Priest and the Performer –

Om. Keshava Namah:  
Om. Narayana Namah:
Om. Madhava Namah: ( 3Achamans )
Om. Govind Namah:  (Udak)

( If the deceased is a male )    (If the deceased female  (If the deceased fem-
      is married.)    ale is not married )
Let the dead be purified.  Let the dead be purified Let the dead  be
         purified.
(‘Udak’ on the 1st ball)  (‘Udak’ on the 1st ball) (‘Udak’on the 1st ball)
Let the father of the deceased  Let the mother-in-law of Let the mother of the
be purified.    the deceased be purified. deceased be purified.
(‘Udak’ on the 2nd ball)  (‘Udak’ on the 2nd ball) (‘Udak’on the 2nd ball)
Let the Grand father of the de- Let the Grand mother-in- Let the Grand mother
ceased be purified   law of the deceased be  of the deceased be
     purified.   purified.
(‘Udak’ on the 3rd ball)  (‘Udak’ on the 3rd ball) (‘Udak’on the 3rd ball)
Let the Great Grand father of  Let the Great Grand -  Let the Great Grand-
the deceased be purified.  mother-in-law of the de- mother of the deceased
     ceased be purified.  be purified.
(‘Udak’ on the 4th ball)  (‘Udak’ on the 4th ball) (‘Udak’ on the 4th
         ball )
Priest- Now we offer cream  Priest-Now we offer cre- Priest-Now we offer
for smearing the body.  am for smearing the body cream for smearing
         The body.
O dead ! This cream is for  O dead ! this cream is for O dead ! this cream
you.     you    for you.
O father of the deceased ! This O Mother-in-law of the  O Mother of the
cream is for you.   deceased ! This cream is  deceased ! This cream      for you.   for you.
O Grand father of the deceased O Grand Mother-in-law O Grand mother of
! This cream is for you.  of the deceased ! This  the deceased ! This
     cream is for you.  cream is for you.

O Great Grand father of the de- O Great Grand Mother-in- O Great Grand Moth- 
ceased ! This cream is for you. law of the deceased ! this  er of the deceased !
(The performer applies collyrium cream is for you.  this cream is for you.
to the rice –balls.)   (The performer applies (The performer appli-
     collyrium to the rice-balls.) es collyrium to the
         rice – balls.)
O dead ! this collyrium is for you. O dead ! this collyrium is O dead ! this collyri-
for you    um is for you
O father of the deceased ! this  O Mother-in-law of the O Mother of the dec-
collyrium is for you.   deceased ! this collyrium eased ! this collyrium
     is for you.   is for you.
O Grand father of the deceased  O Grand mother-in-law O Grand mother of
this collyrium is for you.  of the deceased ! this   the deceased ! this
     collyrium is for you.  collyrium is for you.
O Great Grand father of the   O Great grand mother- O Great Grand Moth-
Deceased! This collyrium   In-law of the deceased !  er of the deceased !
Is for you.    This collyrium is for you. this collyrium is for
         you.                        
Priest and the Performer –

The performer now offers woolen thread, sandal wood paste, flowers, incense etc.

O Forefathers ! This wearing is for you. You would not find any other wearing better than this.

O Forefathers ! I offer the sandal wood paste to you.

O Forefathers ! I offer sesame seeds to you.

O Forefathers ! I offer flowers to you.

O Forefathers ! I offer verbesina leaves to you.

O Forefathers ! I offer incense to you.

O Forefathers ! I offer lamp to you. (He waves the lamp).

O Forefathers ! The offering of eatables for you.

O Forefathers ! I offer betel leaf, betel nut and a coin to you.

The Performer stands up, folds his hands and says the following prayer :-


Priest and the Performer –

O forefathers, we venerate your food, your vitality, your strength, your valor, your life and spirit. We consecrate everything to you. May the riches that are on the earth be ours. May the riches that are in the world beyond death be yours. May we lead a rigorous, long life.
(All those present bow before and worship the rice balls representing forefathers, and make offerings of sesame seeds & flowers.)

Priest and the Performer –

O God, we pray & offer ‘Somaras’ to our forefathers and O Divine Being ! we invite you to be with us. Let your divinity strengthen us. Let our life be long & fruitful. Let our forefathers and all gods & goddesses bless us with a divine life.

Priest and the Performer –
(If the deceased is a male) (If the female is married) (If the female is not married)

I associate the dead with I associate the dead with I associate the dead with
his manes.    her manes.   her manes.
       
The performer makes three equal parts of the big oblong rice cake with help of Darbhas as shown in the picture.
Then he mixes the three parts with the three rice balls. (see the picture. Mix the 1st part with the 1st ball, the 2nd part with the 2nd ball and the 3rd part with the 3rd ball. Now there will be only three rice balls. Place them again where they were. The rice ball and the part of the cake must be mixed into one.) 
(How to make three equal parts of the oblong cake ? )
Hold a pair of Darbha Grass in two hands and press it in the big oblong rice cake twice in such a way that it will make three equal parts.


Priest and the performer –

Priest – Go forth together, let your voices unite as one. Let your minds unite so that you may faithfully perform your duties as your gods did in the past.

Priest and the performer –

Priest – Your prayers should be one. Your thoughts should be one. Your minds should be one. I chant the same prayer for you all. I offer a common sacrifice to you all.

Priest – Let your determination unite you as well as your hearts and minds, so that you may live together in peace and harmony.

Priest and the Performer –

Priest – O fore-fathers, give us riches, wealth and valorous progeny, and please travel back to the world beyond.

Priest – Now the rice cakes are to be fed to a cow or other pets, or are to be disposed off in a river. Turn to the east and join hands for

Priest and the Performer –

Priest – May God bless those who give us wealth. May our knowledge be ever growing, our faith undaunted. May we have abundant harvests and hosts of guests. May we always be the donors, never the receivers.

Completion of the Sacrament


Priest and the Performer –

May this sacrament of the association of the deed with his/her manes please the Almighty.

Priest – Let water pass from the right palm to the metal plate (Udak).
Then chant the mantras and sip the water twice –

Om. Keshava Namah:  
Om. Narayana Namah:
Om. Madhava Namah: ( 3Achamans )
Om. Govind Namah:  (Udak)
 
 Om Tat Sat
 Om Tat Sat
 Om Tat Sat
 Om Tat Sat
Brahman is the Ultimate Reality.

The Sacrament Ends.

Receive Site Updates