The question in itself has multiple threads, each with its significance and meaning. Cremation is the of burning the body of a deceased person and in India, many religions and cultures, mostly from Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhist faiths practice cremation. It is believed that when a person is cremated with all the proper funeral rituals they are relieved from the eternal cycle of life and death, consequently, attaining ‘moksha’ referring to the liberation of the soul. The most common way of cremation, and perhaps the oldest of all traditions is using pyres made of wooden logs and setting them on fire; often, ghee i.e. clarified butter is used to aggravate the fire.
The Emotional Aspect
The bond of love indeed transpires beyond the mortal life of humans, we are bound to experience grief when we lose someone dear to us. Cremation is a rather emotional process for the friends and families of a deceased person. To witness the last rites of someone you have shared a bond and numerous memories with is a rather significant moment and therefore, people wish to make the cremation of their loved ones as memorable as possible. Last Journey is there to ensure that bereaving families can bid the best farewell to their dear departed; with their end-to-end organized funeral services, families do not have to run errands or get hassled in dealing with local vendors, with just one call the Last Journey team aligns everything in place for them so they can mourn in peace.
The Scientific Aspect
At the onset, it must be understood that the practice of cremation came to popular practice centuries ago and at that period, this seemed the most apt way of incineration of organic matter. When a dead body is burned along with wooden logs, the high temperatures melt away the skin, flesh, and other softer materials and by the end of the whole process, there are only brittle, calcified bones left, which are then pulverized into “ashes’’ also referred to as “asthi”. The last rites are however considered incomplete until the ashes/asthi is honorably dispersed at the bank of the holy river Ganga. Last Journey also provides assistance services for asthi visarjan wherein all religious itinerary (pooja samagri) is provided as per cultural preferences and a priest (purohit) is booked who upholds all the rituals with concerned family members.
The New Cremation Approaches
Even though traditional cremation practices have been predominantly prevalent in our society, according to scientific studies wooden pyre cremation is considered to be the most inefficient way of burning organic matter. It is time-consuming (approximately eight to twelve hours); requires five hundred to six hundred kilograms of wood; produces over two thousand kilograms of carbon monoxide, more than thirty kilograms of sulfur dioxide, and over six hundred kilograms of PM1 & PM2 particles. Owing to this, Last Journey provides provision for eco-friendly cremation techniques that are quick, clean, and economical.
The three alternative cremation approaches are:
- Cow Dung-Based Cremations
- CNG Cremations
- Electronic Cremations
Cow Dung-Based Log Pyres:
With a mechanically advanced machine, wooden log-like structures made from cow dung and sawdust are used in the cremation process. These pyres are good quality fire conductors and thus are efficient and also do not require a huge load. This also happens to be a more economical option while satisfying orthodox families who want a pyre-like structure for the cremation.
As the name itself suggest, CNG furnaces are large incinerators that run on CNG; these are a generation ahead of the LPG-based furnaces that were in use earlier. The latest CNG cremation techniques allow for all the last rites to be conducted the same way as wooden pyres, such as – ‘Kapal Kriya’. It is one of the most significant last rite rituals in Hinduism where the skull of the deceased person is burst open with a bamboo stick; this is a symbolic deed representing the liberation of the soul from the body of the person being cremated.
The most technologically advanced way of cremation currently available in India is the use of electronic furnaces that are the most time & energy-efficient way to cremate the dead. They produce a negligible amount of carbon emission and are widely being used in tier 1 and metro cities, especially post covid. After the cremation process, there is no unburnt carbon or organic matter left only the ashes in their pure form are left.
In conclusion, it is safe to say that when we are cremated our loved ones feel deep sorrow and yet do everything in their capacity to ensure that the deceased person gets an honorable farewell and that the soul attains moksha. Last Journey is there with you every step of the way to ensure that no family has to take the hassle of making arrangements of any sort and they can fully be present at the moment for a complete emotional as well as spiritual closure.