The Ancient Tradition of Death: Is It Worthwhile

The Ancient Tradition of Death: Is It Worthwhile

Today is a commercial world marked by fast life and weighing everything with money. No doubt William Davies wrote the poem “Leisure” which has been super popular – no time to stand and stare. In this post we will talk about the traditions which are followed in certain parts of the world such as in the villages of India and whether they are worth their while in the modern times

Traditions of Death

Usually the customs associated with passing away of someone are finished in a few hours in big cities, few days in smaller town and few weeks in typical villages. Although it is not possible to describe the rituals in detail, the passing away of someone in the family meant at least 16 days of mourning where there are different customs in the midst of these. Some of these are mentioned as follows

Sanskar: this refers to the cremation which is usually done by giving away the body to flames and this is done either same day or as soon as possible simple because of the reason that body starts of decay. Even otherwise it is not advisable from psychological point of view that a person who has deceased should stay in front of eyes of the family members for long

Bathing: this is usually done before sanskar and refers to cleaning the body before its final journey of its physical form.

Modvi Makaan: this is a ritual where the parent’s family comes to visit the deceased and gives over things like cloths, ornaments to the wife/husband of the deceased

Bhoj: this is food offered to entire village as a mark of respect to the deceased soul

Kriya: this is done on the 13th day usually and involves prayers and food

Solah: this is done on the sixteenth day and involves prayers and food

The actual number of days on which these are done differ in each region and tribe, so we cannot generalize it though as India is a land of immense variety.

The Modern Day Perspective

These days most youngsters and professionals claim that they do not have time for all these long ceremonies and they can only go for a day or few hours. This is understandable from their perspective but the question is should these customs be discarded or tried to be carried on.

The Legacy

It is often said that a society that does not recognize its legacy is bound to be doomed. It is not about following the customs but the sense of respect for the past. We are all a product of our past and even though all rishees tell us to live in the present, there is a catch22 in that.

We cannot get away from the past, so living in the present does not imply ignoring the past but only means not to waste time regretting things of the past. Otherwise only a liberated soul can live in pure present.

Our Ancestors

We should always treat our ancestors and their customs with respect. Of course the original customs were never meant to be derogatory and it was only that many such things crept in during midway which made these customs look bad. We should always separate wheat from the chaff and never throw away the baby with the bathwater.

Defeat of Death

Benefits of Following Tradition

  • It helps to unite the family by making the bonds strong during such time
  • It is a great psychological help and moral support for the family of the decreased
  • It gives a chance to ensure that everyone is reminded of the ultimate truth
  • It purifies the mind and the consciousness when one tends to visit such place

So it is the duty of youngsters to try and follow these traditions not only in the letter but in their true spirit if they want to benefit from it. Secondly we might not believe but pitras or ancestors get pleased when we respect them and treat their legacy with respect and they bless us abundantly.

Here are a few lines dedicated to the last rites and traditions in villages

Death is the ultimate truth yet often people do not realize

Yet this truth must be reiterated time and again, so say the wise

It was only due to this main reason that lengthy traditions were made

In so called big cities, we only spend a while while a passed away body is laid

But in the villages, it is several weeks that the ceremony of death keeps going

This is it, this is life, this truth keeps recurring and the music keeps blowing

It is only when you bond through such attachment that you become without chains

Else all that you do is of no avail, your greatest profits do not give you gains

Spend time, visit your village, for it is the seed from which your karmas generate

Never forget your elders, your ancestors, they might seem ordinary but were great

This is the cycle of life, no matter what you do and achieve, you will also go bare hand

It is not without a reason that the Saints say, this body is nothing but a lump of sand

When you remember a person who was talking and walking with you just an hour ago

Then you realize that he has left for heavenly abode, then you feel so lonely and low

Yet we try to get busy and realize that once we are out of that, we tend to forget it all

That is the greatest reason why we fret, that is the cause for our everyday fall

So remember death and you will live like never before, free from all worries and care

For who is not even afraid of death, he is immortal and no one can scare him, try and dare

I will discover the secret of death, I have resolved I will find where all the souls go

When you go deep you will realize, they are all standing just at a stone’s throw

For the universal mind is exploded with consciousness, we are all one and the same

When you realize this, you will know you were dreaming, what a beautiful cosmic game

Such is my nation, that we even celebrate upon the final enemy, o death how will you win

We will unitedly defeat you, when we are all together, with our near and dear ones, kith and kin

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