Nepalese Gurung Community Death Rites

Nepalese Gurung Community Death Rites

Gurungs follow Bonism. It is the pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet. Thus far, it involves the worship of nature spirits. So, it practices to sacrifice too. Hence, it has influence on the Tibetan form of Buddhism.

Death Rites

So, many principles influence Gurung death rites. It may be migration, modernisation or urbanisation. Hence, people develop rituals and ceremonies over time. So far, it is to make sense and celebrate adjustments in circumstances. Thus far, with time, some rituals may dilute. In some cases, even rejection due to position and relationship. So far, there has been evolution of behaviours to use in death rites. However, so far, many cultures give the greatest importance to the death rites. Thus far, nowadays, in its ambiguity, it is one that dilutes the most. Often, it is lost too.

The death rituals coordinate to create solidarity through ‘Syaisyai’. It is a social institution to unite the Gurungs. The bond between the giver and gift, thus creates a social bond in Gurung community. So, it obligates to reciprocate on part of the recipient.

Multiethnic Society

Nepal is a multiethnic and multilingual country. Thus far, among the many castle and ethnic groups, Gurung is one of the major groups. So, the Nepalese Gurung considers an ethnic group known for the internal social cohesion.

The Gurung society is renowned for the ability to work well together. It can be in many chores. Thus far, it is their strength despite the economic conditions and political beliefs.

They follow a glorious military career in Nepal, India and British armies too. Thus far, they possess a unique Lahure culture. It means the culture to go abroad for a career in foreign armies. More than 1.1 million of the people in Nepal speak the Gurung language.

Urbanisation & Modernisation

The impact of death rites often links with urban and modern way of living. It links to the social process to rationalise too. Thus far, it has been a historic and speedy transformation for the Gurung community roots. In fact, the urban culture rapidly modifies the rural Gurungs.

Despite the modifications there is an important aspect of unity, sympathy and cooperation. It owes to death rites amongst the Gurungs. So, it ties all Gurungs to share and endorse the bond. It creates a special relationship between the living and the dead.

Traditional Homeland

The southern hill slopes of the Annapurna Himalayan range are the traditional homeland for the Gurungs. So, the historic area for them is Lamiung and Kaski. They speak their own language and practice their cultures and rituals.

Pye-Tan Lou-Tan is their traditional religious scripture. It explains a long history of Gurung people. Thus far, they follow the rituals, customs and traditions as per the Pye-Tan Lhu-Tan.

The common theory for social articulation is rite of passage. It denotes rituals that mark the transition phase from childhood into full inclusion of a tribe. For instance, the rituals that perform at death may resemble those during the important phase in life on the individual. So, they may be birth, social puberty and marriage.

Life Journey

They believe in that life is a journey and the individual is a passenger. So, the individual may face periodic challenges which they must manage throughout the journey. It may happen at different phase in life. The society develops ceremonial responses to help cope with the challenges.

Thus far, rites of passage may review and characterise many landmarks in the persons life. It is mostly marked for transition stages or when the person’s social status change. So far, it includes puberty, marriage and death. The rites of passage in Gurung society are rituals that symbolise transition from one phase to another.

Important Rituals

All rituals are extremely important to the Gurungs. However, amongst these rituals death rite of passage is crucial and compulsory. Thus far, the death rites of passage for Gurung are divided into three parts. They are Antesty Kirya, Bayupuja and Arghun (Pae).

The mourning period for Gurung people maybe from three days to thirteen days. It depends on the culture of the region and what the desire. It is called Antesty Kriya. So, Bayupuja or Pitripuja performs in Mangsir Purnima or Panchami and Baishakh Purnima or Panchami. Some people may perform Bayupuja when they believe that they may suffer because of the deceased person’s soul. Hence, belief is that a family member or livestock may become sick. So, the Gurung priest, Ghepren or Pachyu may declare the dead person’s soul or pitr causes sickness. Thus far, Bayupuja may perform at a suitable time.

It is done continuously every Mangsir Purnima and Baishakh Purnima until conducting Arghun. It is a final, however important after death ritual to perform. Thus far, it may perform after a certain period. It may depend at the comfort and convenience of deceased persons family. In principle, Arghun, may observe on the last day of the death pollution. Alternatively, it may be on the 45th day of death.

Nepalese Temple Of Life And Death

Nepalese Temple Of Life And Death

The Pashupatinath Temple is a World Heritage site since 1979. It is a gigantic temple. The complex has ashrams too. The temple is on the banks of the Bagmati River. Thus far, its connection to the Holy Ganges River in India. Hindus believe Pashupati is incarnation of God Shiva. So, Nepalese regard Pashupati as the national deity.

Thus far, Pashupati may mean a lot of things to the Hindus. Most important is that it is an ancient temple. In the Hindu world, it is one of the most important pilgrimage sites. Hence, people celebrate life and death at the temple.

The complex grounds are a popular location for morning walks. It is a common place for most family rituals. So, it is a destination for casual outings too. Thus far, temple is a destination to view the deity.

The temple is a holy place in its entirety. It inludes the famous cremation sites. Most Nepalese funerals in Kathmandu take place here. Hence, it has become a highly spiritual charged area of the temple. Nepal relates to an extremely intense spiritual experience.

Death Beliefs In Nepal 

There are more than 80 percent Hindus in Nepal. So, Buddhism is the next largest religion with 9 percent of the mix. Then there is Islam with 4.4 percent and Kiratism at 3 percent.

Therefore, Hindu death beliefs, rituals and customs are most common. It is followed by Buddhist culture. Thus far, Hindus and Buddhists both prefer cremation. They both, believe in reincarnation too. The remains are cremated on a pyre made with wood. There are no crematoriums in Nepal. Thus far, religious rites and ceremonies accompany cremation. 

Religious traditions infuse the funeral rituals in Nepal. As such, Hindu Pandits and Buddhist Lamas take a lead role to organise funerals. Their belief is to provide spiritual guidance to the soul of the deceased. Thus far, funerals are divine and meaningful.

Cremation Ghat

More than ninety percent of the people who pass away in Kathmandu are cremated on the ghats. These are on the river bank. Thus far, it is common to see a person cremated only a few hours after death. The bodies burning on the ghats are often covered with marigold. Hindus consider this to be auspicious site for cremation. Hence it is so popular. On certain days there may be more than fifty funerals.

The Kriyaputri Bhavan is an ashram for the mourners. Thus far, this is where the family conduct the funeral rituals or puja. So, they receive the guests here too. As such, much of grief healing may happen here too. The Bhavan has fifty-two rooms. and they are always occupied. It estimates almost 15,000 people may reside at the Kriyaputri Bhavan each month.

Thus far, the acceptance of the Kriyaputri Bhavan plays a prominent role to help maintain Hindu traditions. Otherwise, the recommended thirteen days of mourning and rituals may have restrictions in over populated Kathmandu. Hence, these rituals are becoming difficult to maintain in the changing world, especially outside of Nepal.

Central Mourning Process

The Kriyaputri Bhavan at the Pashupatinath complex is central to the mourning process in Kathmandu. A business leader, Dr Upendra Mahato who lives in Russia helped with the expansion. So, the program was to construct a new building. It included to reconstruct and extend the older building. Furthermore, the project was to restore and expand the existing facilities. Thus far, they were the temples, ponds, gardens and water facilities.

The project was over two stages. So, it was in 2005 and 2011. Hence, when the project was completed, it was handed over to the Pashupati Area Development Trust.

Dr Mahato’s initiative was based on his belief that a country may not prosper if it lacks religious progress. He believes spirituality is the deepest conscience and values by which people live. Thus far, with this in mind, the trust invested in this project. It promotes the religious evolution of the people. Moreover, it helps to preserve the rich and exclusive culture.

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