Rituals to be performed after cremation in Hinduism
One of the most virtue-based religions to be followed on earth is Hinduism. It is believed that just like our lives, after the death of a human, the soul begins a new journey, one that is more spiritual and eternal. Through the process of reincarnation, the soul (atman) is born in a different body, and its form is determined by our actions (Karma) in the present life. A souls ultimate goal is to achieve “Moksha,” i.e liberate from the cycle of birth and rebirth.
Due to these beliefs, numerous rituals and ceremonies must be performed so that the soul can achieve peace and embark on its new journey. These may vary as per what denomination the bereaved family belongs to.
Some dedicated and crucial post cremation rituals include:
1. Chautha (Performed on 4th day after loss)
On the 4th day after the loss, family and friends come together for the Shanti path, Rasam pagri rituals, Geeta pravachan, and more. The departed soul is remembered, bhajans are sung, and teachings are shared about the true nature of life.
It is believed that the soul of the lost one is conscious of any emotions on people’s behalf. These rituals assist the spirit of the deceased to obtain a new body for reincarnation.
Considered one of the most auspicious rituals, it is believed that by immersing the ashes of the loved one in the holy rivers, the soul releases from the earthly bondage and progresses towards liberation.
After the cremation, the remains of the deceased are collected and kept in an urn. They are then immersed in the holy water on the day of the last rites or the 3rd, 7th or 9th day. This practice is known as Asthi Visarjan. Families travel from across the world to Haridwar, Varanasi, Rishikesh, and other pilgrimages to conduct the holy acts.
As per Hindu funeral beliefs, after death, the soul is still wandering on the earth to get peace, and pind daan is offered for them by the relatives. This ritual of offering circular rice balls should be performed from the 1st to the 10th day. However, nowadays, it is performed as a combined ritual as a 10th-day ceremony after death.
The rituals are performed in temples of Shiva or any other deity. After performing the acts of Pindadaan, coconut oil is poured on the ashma and is then submerged in flowing water.
4. Rituals for the 11th and 12th day
For the 11th day ceremony after death, the acts of fire sacrifice in honour of the deities must be performed at home. The last rites is known as Panchagavya Hom, and the required mixture of cow’s milk, dung, urine and ghee must be sprinkled all over the house. The chief performer of the last rites (Karta) must make a ”Sankalp” to benefit the lost soul by donating food grains.
Sapindikaran shrāddha is performed as the 12th-day ceremony after death. It is believed that these rituals will help the individual soul attain the title of ”Pitru” and get a position in Pitrulok.
5. Ceremony for the final 13th day
It is due to the acts performed on the 13th or the 16th-day ceremony after death that the soul progresses towards its journey. By attaining momentum it cuts off ties from the family and starts to develop a relationship with the absolute soul. To mark this day all the community members, family and friends are invited for meals, sweets, and Prashad.