After cremation of a dead body in India, the ashes are collected in an urn and thereafter sprinkled in the Ganga or a nearby river. This is a common practice with Hindus. Spreading of ashes in the river is a sign of transition to the next stage of life after death. However, there are several other things that are done after the death of a loved one apart from cremation and disposing their ashes in the river.
We shall look at some of the things that are done after cremation of the dead body and the significance of disposing their ashes in the right place.
1. The personal items of that person such as clothes, underpants are also burned
Hindus believe that upto forty days after death, the being still takes time to completely leave the body. Even after cremation, it will look for certain elements of the body like the ash or something that belongs to them, such as their used clothes. This is because the being still looks for elements of the body, maybe the sweat, maybe the smell of the body, probably because the realization has still not come that it is over.
Therefore, all the clothes that the person used, especially those clothes which touched the person’s body, like underclothes, are burned. If the ashes are kept in one place, there is a tendency for the being to look for that. Hence, the ashes are released in a river where they will spread and be immersed. That way, they cannot be found. All this is done to make the being understand that it is over.
2. Throwing the ashes helps break any existing physical bond between the dead person and the living
According to Hindu belief, a physical sameness happens whenever you touch someone. This could either be as a result of blood relationships or sexual relationships. The two bodies are believed to generate "runanubandha", a certain commonality.
When someone dies, that sameness or commonality (runanubandha) has to be done away with completely. In order to continue with life, one must break this runanubandha properly. Otherwise, it can affect one's physical and mental structure. It weakens the body and mental structure in such a way that instead of cherishing all the beautiful things that happened between two people, you will suffer it. It can also lead to a certain derangement of life.
This is why the ashes have to be put in the Ganga or in the ocean so as to disperse them as widely as possible. This way, the physical memory alone is destroyed and not the psychological memory. You must cherish that relationship forever.
3. Disposing the ashes properly is to avoid any occultic activities that could be done with the ashes
The qualities of a person still remain in the ash after death. If the ashes are kept in an urn for example, this being may still hover around! This is why those who practice occult wait at cremation grounds to gather ashes for rituals-They want to do sorcery and grab that being to make use of it in a different way. However, when the ashes are immersed in the river, nobody can take it.
Another way the ashes can be dispersed is to go to a mountain where the wind is blowing, and let the ashes out so that it spreads all over. The intention is that nobody should be able to pick up even a small handful of ash.
I hope you have been able to find out the reason behind Hindus disposing of the ashes of their dead. What is your opinion on the same?
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