Yeah that was a tough time. No more than 20 people were allowed to attend a funeral whereas the normal numbers are more than 100. Then in the worst phase, there was a waiting period, because so many people were to be cremated.You see, do to covid restrictions in Fiji, gatherings were limited, which put a huge damper on traditional funeral proceedings. So, nearly overnight companies sprang up offering to live cast funerals on Facebook!
I tell you, having experienced it, unless you are born to such culture, the site of a loved one set ablaze can be quite disturbing. Especially as in my wife's tradition, where the eldest son is charged with lighting it. Then there's the next day ritual when they gather again to clean the area and dispose of the bits that did not burn completely. I got to actively participate in that when my father in law passed.I wish we were allowed personal funeral.pyres in the states...
Aussie's family tradition is to till the ashes into the main barley field on their farm. Now, most of their harvest goes into beer and wine production, so Aussie use to say, "Think about that the next time you hoist a pint, mate!"But my current legal route is cremation then ashes placed in small containers gifted to friends with seedlings to fertilize trees wherever they choose to plant them.
In the memorial service the wife and I just attended, I noticed several folks whip out their phones to snap photos of the deceased lying in repose. No doubt some were Facebook bound. A few years ago, I would have found that quite morbid. Different times we live in though, spawning new traditions.I do not like the idea of live telecast or taking photos of the dead body and the rituals.
Burials are insanely expensive here and I don't find the idea of my carcass ending up in a lab all that appealing , so I'd just as soon go with cremation. I'll leave that up to the wife though, what to do with my earthly remains. Quite sure I'll have no further use for them.For me, the best disposal will be that my body is given to a medical college to be dissected, so that students learn. I have told my family about that but do not know if they will fulfill my wish.
Yes I have met a dude who worked in a crematorium...raking remains to facilitate a full burn repeatedly was the worst part of his job.Then there's the next day ritual when they gather again to clean the area and dispose of the bits that did not burn completely
Yeah, we do it, water from River Ganges. But I am an atheist. I prefer to have a cup of tea while people are preparing for the cremation.Incidentally, when the wife and I returned home yesterday, her Hindu tradition kicked in and she insisted we sprinkle each other with water before entering the house, a symbolic cleansing of sorts.
.. so I'd just as soon go with cremation.
! Even though I have preached the true background of these death rituals to you several times, you have to do these rituals. The reason is that you have to go along with the forceful flow of ignorant people when you cannot change them. You have to follow the majority even if it is wrong. In the Parliament, the Lok Sabha passes a bill when the Rajya Sabha approves it. The former often contains members elected by the public irrespective of the intelligence of the members while the latter contains members having some intelligence and education. The former is like the king while latter is like the wise minister. Similarly, the majority should always take the opinion of the intellectual preacher (Satguru) before adopting any tradition.A relative of mine died a few weeks ago, not close family, but close enough that I was made aware of it. This got me wondering, how is grief and mourning addressed in your religion or world view?
Who believes in that in this 21st Century? Sure, what is given in charity is good. And what is the evidence of existence of soul? Sage Charvak laughed at many things, including the concept of rebirth ('Bhasmibhootasya dehasya punaragamanam kutah?' - Once the body turns into ashes, where is coming back?)The wrong concept in these rituals is that the food eaten by the priest will reach the departed soul. Sage Carvāka mocked at this false concept.
Actually, when you give food, clothes and a money offering (dakṣiṇa) to a deserving priest, apūrvam is said to be generated.
In other words, there is no necessity to do the rituals only on a certain date, such as the date of the death of one’s parents.
The Veda states two requisites in the receiver which indicate his deservingness. They are: (1) the receiver must be well-versed in spiritual knowledge (Śrotriya) and (2) the receiver must not aspire for anything in return from anybody for his propagation of the Vedic knowledge in the ritual (Akāmahatasya). This means that the priest reciting the Veda during the ritual without knowing its meaning and without preaching the Vedic spiritual knowledge to the public is undeserving. Moreover, the present-day priest demands money for his wrong performance of the ritual! Neither does he know the knowledge of the recited Veda in order to propagate it nor does he perform the ritual without aspiring for anything in return. In both ways, the priest is undeserving. The non-performance of the ritual is better than such wrong performance because inaction is better than sinful action.
In the ancient times of the sages, almost everybody was deserving and hence, this problem never arose. At present, almost everybody is undeserving and hence, this problem is at its climax. The food offered even to a deserving priest never reaches the departed soul. Then why is this lie propagated that if you offer food to a deserving human being present in a material body here, it will reach the departed energetic being there? The performer of the ritual is totally fooled by this lie. He performs the ritual out of worry for his departed parents, thinking that they would starve if the ritual is not performed. This lie was not created by priests for fooling the publicand earning money from them. The lie was created by the sages so that greedy people would be forced to perform the ritual and donate to a deserving receiver,at least on the occasion of the death of his elders. This correct performance of the ritual does not harm anybody because the donation is given to a deserving receiver which will help not only the departed soul but also the performer. Any lie that leads to good action is not wrong. It is called arthavāda, which means a lie told for a good purpose. Arthameans for the sake of a good purpose and vāda means a lie told.
The mother tells a lie to her child that if the child finishes eating everything in the plate, the moon will come down to the child! The mother does not incur any sin in telling such a lie. On the other hand, speaking the truth can also be a sin on some occasions. A saint carrying some money was being chased by robbers. He quickly hid himself in a bush. A sage saw the hiding saint. When robbers asked the sage where the saint was, the sage, believing that it is always a sin to lie, told them where the saint was hiding. The robbers killed the saint, took his money and left. The sage went to hell because he told the truth when he should have told a lie! Even Śaṅkara told a lie that every ordinary soul is God. But that lie helped atheists believe in the existence of God since the atheists were sure about their own existence. Here, telling that lie helped the atheist become a theist and progress further. Helping good people is a higher justice whereas telling the truth is a lower justice.
This lie that the food fed to a priest reaches the departed hungry soul is not a sin since it is beneficial as long as the priest is deserving. People want to avoid the sin of not feeding a deserving priest. But due to their lack of proper analysis, they end up donating to undeserving priests. In their effort to avoid one sin, they end up committing another sin. Donating to the undeserving and not donating to the deserving are both sins as told by Vidura in the Mahābhārata. The present-day priests who are undeserving must be transformed to make them deserving. This can be done only by the performer of the ritual. The performer of the ritual is the customer of the priest’s services and it is said that the customer is God. So, the customer-god must insist that the priest preaches the knowledge of the Veda contained in the verses recited by him. This is the only way to forcibly bring a change in the priest. The priest must be convinced that there is no need of the blind recitation of the Veda since the Veda is already well-preserved by printing. The priest must be advised not to waste time in the blind recitation of the Veda and must instead use the same time for studying the knowledge preached by the Veda. The Gita says that the rituals must be performed only after full analysis and correct knowledge (Jñātvā kurvīta karmāṇi).
If a deserving priest is not available, you can postpone the ritual to some later date on which the deserving priest will be available. You cannot find fault with such a valid postponement. Do you not postpone these rituals for the sake of even a mechanical astronomical phenomenon like an eclipse? People are hasty in making donations. They onlygive importance to the place and time of donation. They think “Today is the auspicious occasion of Śivarātri and we are in the holy city of Varanasi. So, we must donate today”. Thus, they make some hasty donation to somebody without checking whether the person is deserving or undeserving.
Lord Krishna made only one donation in His entire life, which is giving infinite wealth to Sudāmā. The day He made the donation was not an auspicious day and the place where He made the donation was not a holy city like Varanasi. All He saw was that Sudāmā was the most deserving person who had true Vedic knowledge. He had clearly understood the essence of the Vedic knowledge, which is seen from His devotion to Krishna, his contemporary Human Incarnation of God. Even though Krishna was his childhood classmate, he was not negligent towards Krishna. Moreover, Sudāmā never aspired for anything from Kishna in spite of his severe poverty. Instead, he offered to Krishna, a little parched rice which he had borrowed from a neighbor. That rice was his sacrifice of wealth or karmaphala tyāga to Krishna, the contemporary Human Incarnation of God.
Even though I have preached the true background of these death rituals to you several times, you have to do these rituals.
Sage Carvāka mocked at this false concept. He said that if food fed to the priest could reach the dead, then by feeding a person on the ground floor,the food should also reach one’s father who is upstairs! Even though the sage was an atheist, he should be appreciated for his systematic and scientific logic on this point.
The deserving receivers can be classified into two types: (1) Sadguru, Guru and poor devotees and (2) beggars and poor people.Who believes in that in this 21st Century? Sure, what is given in charity is good. And what is the evidence of existence of soul? Sage Charvak laughed at many things, including the concept of rebirth ('Bhasmibhootasya dehasya punaragamanam kutah?' - Once the body turns into ashes, where is coming back?)
Well, you have asked a priest to come and do some rituals for you, then you have to pay for his time and transport expenses. He has a family, he cannot do it for free. After all, he has to look after his family. So, what you give to a priest is not charity, it is his justifiable remuneration.
Any thing wrong if the charity is given on the death anniversary of one's parents or dear ones? A fixed date is preferable, otherwise one tends to forget it all together in the hustle of life.
If Vedas say that then it is wrong. Charity should be given for the need of a person rather than his knowledge of scriptures. Generally the needy person may not be educated.
To be continued in a next post.
Welcome to the interfaith dialogue forums, @dattaswami2.
You have? Several times? I must not have been paying attention.
Please read our Code of Conduct carefully. Preaching is strongly discouraged here. I'm looking forward to many good discussions with you!
As an atheist with scientific training, I take that as a compliment.
I was surprised at the mention of Carvaka. I assumed his teachings were lost some time in medieval times? Thank you for this glimpse of a kindred spirit across the gulf of time.
I am a DIY person and do not believe in Gurus. That is why my label, 'Be your own guru'. A needy person is a needy person whether one is a devotee or not. There should be no discrimination.The deserving receivers can be classified into two types: (1) Sadguru, Guru and poor devotees and (2) beggars and poor people.
Sadguru establishes the concepts which is like laying the railway track, whereas the Guru follows the same track like a train. The Guru can elaborate upon the same concepts originally given by the Sadguru with more examples, but he shall not deviate from the concepts established by the Sadguru.
Even the life of an atheist must be saved. Only then can you even try to convert him into a theist.
Sarva-karma-phala-tyāga means sacrificing everything possessed by you, without even caring for yourself.
Why condemn atheists? If you have proof for existence of God, then show it.We shall condemn atheism in the case of the topic of existence of God.
Cārvāka, the founder of atheism was a great scientist, who discovered that the awareness is just a modification of the inert energy generated by the digestion of food.
Why condemn atheists? If you have proof for existence of God, then show it.
Charvak was not a person. Charvak means 'Sweet talk' (Charu Vak). The sage who established Charvak mata was Brihaspati. Most of Charvak views are lost. Where from did you get this energy from food idea that you attribute to Charvakists? Charvakists did not invented atheism. The oldest reference to non-existence of God is in 'Nasadiya Sukta' of RigVeda written by Prajapati Parameshthi.
अर्वाग देवा अस्य विसर्जनेनाथा को वेद यताबभूव ||
arvāg devā asya visarjanenāthā ko veda yataābabhūva ||
The Gods are later than this world's production. Who knows then whence it first came into being?
This space is infinite and neither you nor I can find its boundary. I cannot show you the existence of hell, heaven or God in this infinite space. But you too cannot show me their absence in this infinite space by taking me up to the boundary of space. Hence, hell may exist or it may not exist.
Here is where a 50-50 probability has to be accepted.