DEATH is quite final and sudden. But the process a soul and then the body goes through is quite tiresome. We may not understand some things and criticize our tradition blindly, but there’s something much deeper and bigger. And you can only understand that if you got the knowledge which lifts you above this materialistic world.
I’m a Hindu and some people may differ from my opinion and ideologies. I respect their beliefs and expect them to do the same, no one can say anything for certain. All we can do is BELIEVE!
Our life is all about Karma and that is how we are bound to this world by it. Nothing is permanent and we know it. Death has always been related to bad and evil. It should not be, death is the end of all pain and miseries as it all belongs to the body which is turned to ashes. The death of a person is difficult for his/her loved ones though, as they still are bound by the strings of this materialistic world.
Only the body perishes. The soul is an eternal thing, which is the part of GOD Himself. A little-detailed explanation about soul – What is a soul? .The soul carries on through its karmic index and being a believer or incarnation I would say death is just a new beginning, a fresh chapter.
People have some doubts about the system of burning bodies vs burying them. But burning is better and I’ll tell you why. The person has gone, his/her soul has wandered off to a new beginning or moksha. But if you bury them, the loved ones will be forever attached to that piece of land. As it preaches, we should break all the strings attached to the soul deceased and carry on with our karma. That is why we burn the body so that no material of the deceased person is left with us to hold on. Even his clothes and belongings are given away. His/her soul is free too then. The ashes are mixed with land and water as the body is nothing without a soul, but a waste.
I love the way the customs are designed to help the family go through the loss of a loved one. We may not like some because we are not able to understand it. First and the most controversial custom – “Only men can do the last rites and give fire to the body”. Hinduism doesn’t even allow women to go to the ghats. All the feminist may be triggered now, but hear me out.
Women are supposed to be life givers. They bring a soul to this world. Their emotional and psychological build up is such that it enables her to nurture and protects her baby no matter what. This is what enables them to go through so much to bring a soul to this world. On the other hand, men are given the responsibility of the departure of the soul from this world. Men are bought up like that, emotionally strong and mentally cold. We have to be. We have to grow to be a little insensitive and practical. You may say we don’t show emotions or even lack them. But we have to learn to be like this, or how can you expect a person to put his own parents on fire and watch them as they burn.
Burn, burn and burn. You carry them on your shoulders. The people who bought you into this world. Who made you what are. Who fed you, cleaned after you, took care of you, did things for you that not even GOd Himself would do for you. How can you carry their body and put them up to be lit and then sit there and watch them burn, while the smell gets into your head? You can see the gut falling out, the water from the body rising as steam and then poof! All is ash. Like that person never ever existed.
Even if you’ll try to imagine it you’ll get a weak stomach. And we all have to do this one day, all of us men. I may be bashed for this but we always talk about the pain a woman goes through labor but no one talks about the silent pain a man goes through when he lights his own parents and waits there for them to turn into ash. Why only men are allowed because they need to see this as soon as they exit teenage. If any guy has been there, your life can no longer be the same. You know that life is nothing when you see body lining up to be burnt, it’s all a big illusion.
Then some people criticise the long line of rituals that follow in which the son has to sit separately for 12-13 days. Well, it is because even he doesn’t show, he requires the most attention. Food is cooked only once in a day because women need to get a break from chores and spend the time to mourn the deceased. The diet and everything that happens is for a reason. The gathering, the rituals are a distraction. Imagine living alone after you lost a member of your family. Haunting! Those days the family come together to pass the toughest phase. After all, that is what family is all about.
That is why do your duties, don’t be too attached to anything as nothing is permanent, not even you. After you die, you’ll only be remembered for the things you did. That is why do something which makes this world a better place. Serve your family, that is your first duty then society. Put smiles on faces, it’ll earn you blessings. Just look up and do your KARMA!