AntimSanskar is done to bid farewell to our loved ones who have passed away. A soul undergoes cycles of births and deaths before attaining salvation and going to heaven. Performing antimsanskar is an act of showing respect to the soul of loved ones and aiding them in the attainment of salvation.

When a loved one passes away, it is believed that the soul is reborn immediately. In fact, it is considered to be a moment of joy, rather than that of sorrow. Therefore, anniversaries are not observed. After the death occurs, cremation is held as soon as possible.

When death occurs, the following steps should be taken immediately:

  • A priest should be contacted and necessary arrangements should be made for the collection of the body and preparing for the cremation.
  • The body of the deceased is then taken for washing and dressing: this should preferably assisted by the family members of the deceased.
  • The corpse is rubbed with oil before the bath. The bath should be done with items like milk, ghee, sandalwood and honey or holy ganga jal
  • After the bath, the body is dressed in white (if the deceased was male or a widowed female), and in yellow or orange (in case the deceased was unmarried or a married female).
  • The forehead of the deceased is marked with Chandan.

In the modern era we keep looking for scientific explanations for everything that we do, and Vedas are one of the oldest sources of logical, scientific facts. Vedic pujas form a rite of passage for the spirit of the deceased from one life to the next with fulfilment.

After the death occurs, the spirit of the deceased stays around the people the deceased was close to for 12 days. Bhagwad Gita and Garudpuran are two of the most important scriptures that talk about life and death. Reading them aloud helps the spirit detach from the earthly attachments and attain liberation. Both these scriptures are read to send off the spirit peacefully to heaven. It is believed that on 13th day (Teravih) the spirit is given the final send off and it detaches from its family. Reading these scriptures also help the mourners come to terms with the loss of a loved one.

As per vedicshastras, pinds refers to food for the soul/spirit. Just like how we need food, it is believed that the souls also need food during the 13 days journey before it reaches heaven/hell.

The first Pind is offered in the hand of the deceased at the place of death.

To prevent agitations caused by spirits, a second Pind is offered at the door to the place of the death.
On the way to the crematorium, third Pind is offered. In the crematorium, prayers are offered to the Fire God.
After placing the body on the pyre, two Pinds are offered.

AsthiVisarjan is the process of immersing the Asthi (left-over bones and ash, after cremation) in a sacred water body. Hindu scriptures are rich sources of traditional knowledge. The legacy bestows us with a detailed philosophy behind the whole idea of death. When a person dies, his association with the physical body and all the material possession around him ends. The fate of the soul depends on the karma accumulated

ShradhSanskar should be done because it is the day when our ancestors come to visit us. This ceremony consists of holy water offering, havan, PindDaan along with Brahmin Bhoj. This is done for the first time 11 days after the mourning period starts. Shradhs are regularly performed every month

After the deceased passes away, Shradh is performed on the 11th day. After that, Shradh is held once every month or after six months, if circumstances are not fit. After an year, A VarshikShradh is held. These regular ceremonies of Shradh are the days when the deceased should visit us and we satisfy the souls with meals which in turn eases their steps in the journey beyond death.

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