Funeral Pyre

Funeral Pyre

A pyre is a framework, mostly made of wood. Thus far, people refer to it as a funeral pyre. It is made for burning a body as part of a funeral rite. Pyre is an ancient Greek word. So, a body may place upon or under the pyre which is then set on fire.  

Funeral pyres have been around the worlds throughout history. So, during the Bronze age, funeral pyres were in use in the modern-day Dublin. It was a part of funeral practices. Norse or Viking used pyres. Their aim was to create large amounts of smoke. The belief was that it would help them to the afterlife.

Pyre History 

So, the funeral pyre is an outdoor method of cremation. The belief is that funeral pyres first came into use about 800 BC, by the ancient Greeks. So far, funeral pyres have been in use throughout history. Thus far, some cultures continue to use them today. The pyre forms a part of a funeral service to manage the final rites. It may help people to dispose of the deceased person.

The family may scatter or bury the ashes. Some may choose to place them in an urn after the pyre ritual concludes. Thus far, it may vary. It may depend on religious or cultural beliefs. So, it may depend on the wishes of the deceased person too. Normally it may take up to five hours for the body to become ashes. Funeral pyres often reach up to 800 degrees Celsius.

Pyres Around The World 

Although many people relate a funeral pyre with Hindu cremation in India, this cremation method was used by many cultures. Thus far, many Hindus, mainly those living in various regions may not use funeral pyres. They may use other means for their end of life ceremonies. So, most cultures especially in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia use funeral pyres today.

Funeral pyres were a status symbol during ancient times in Denmark. Pyres would be huge, often accompanied by firecrackers and gifts. It would use foliage with exclusive scents used with the pyre. So, it would incite all the senses of the mourners. Thus far, funeral pyres were crucial ritual in Denmark for thousands of years.

In ancient Rome, they carried the deceased to a funeral pyre outside of the city. After the body was burned down, the remains were buried. So, some may choose to store ashes in an ornamental container. Hence, for ancient Romans, having a funeral pyre was a sign of wealth. Sometimes, the poverty-stricken Romans were cremated on someone else’s pyre.

Thus far, Nordic countries have used funeral pyres too. So, they connect funeral pyres with Viking funerals.

Environmental Concerns

Funeral pyres face scrutiny as people investigate burial and cremation methods. Thus far, it is in view to determine if it is friendly to the environment. It is a fact that these ceremonies have been in use throughout history. However, others argue 50 to 60 million trees are cut down every year in India. Furthermore, it concerns the environmentalist with the amount of ash deposit in rivers. Hence, in India they should use more environmentally friendly methods. So, it may be interesting to see these ideas come to fruition sooner than later.

Death In Different Cultures

We all live and die. So, death is the same in all cultures. The cycle of death and birth is the same. Hence, how we view death and rituals are different. Thus far, all beliefs and rituals may be right in its own culture. So, there are other ways of grieving too.

The funeral ceremonies may take place in a church, synagogue, mosque or temple. It may be led by a priest, rabbit or a celebrant. They all include prayers to help the soul of the deceased.

Asian views on death is diverse. It makes up to 30 percent of the earth and accounts for 60 percent of the population. So far, many cultures and religions like Hindu, Islam, Buddhist and Confucianist.

Hindu Afterlife Rituals

Hindu Afterlife Rituals

Hinduism is an ancient religion. It has a rich cultural and religious beliefs. Hindus specifically observe many customs during their lifetime. There is adequate guidance that outline most of these rites. Unfortunately, death is often sudden. Thus far, many people may be unaware of the Hindu rites.

The Garuda Purana is the most authoritative scripture on death rituals. Hence, with many Hindus living out of India and modern urban living they may lack the knowledge on death rites. So, this is the result of rapidly changing lifestyle. The disintegration of extended family structure complicates it further.

Peaceful Death

According to Hinduism, the final rites are extremely important. When the loved one is close to death the family member should inform the family pundit or priest. You can plan a peaceful death when it is by sickness or known. You may start with chanting Krishna mantra continuously or recite Gita at the bedside. If possible, play a CD of the same within hearing range of the sickly person. You may also either play or chant Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram. The dying person should remain conscious for as long as possible listening to the recitation of the name of God. Often, it will be the dying person recite too.

You may recite or play other bhajans and prayers. Most Australian hospitals and hospices will approve of this practice in some form. There should be no hesitation is asking the nursing staff. You may add Tulasia leaves in Ganga water and pour few drops into the mouth of the dying person. This may be done at the time of death or soon after too.

After Death

When the death occurs at home, you may light up a sesame oil lamp with one wick and a single incense and place near the head of the dead person. You may also place a photograph the family favourite deity at the head side of deceased person.

When a person is pronounced dead by the doctor, obtain a medical certificate from the certifying doctor and contact a Hindu Funeral Director in Sydney. The funeral director arranges for collecting the body and booking the crematorium in consultation with the family. Most funeral directors allow the body to be taken back to home on cremation day. This is the preferable for perform most final rites at home.

You may also liaise with your family pundit or a funeral rite practicing pundit to conduct the funeral.

Body Preparation

Your funeral director will take care of washing and dressing. Most funeral directors will allow the family to wash and dress should the family wish. It is advisable the family members who can, should assist the funeral director with this. So far, you may give a bath with a mixture of milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee and sandalwood paste should the family wish. You may smear the body with sandalwood paste and oil. This depends on the body conditions and the family desire.

Males and widows are normally dress in white or lighter colours. Wheras girls and married women are dress in coloured clothing like orange, yellow and red. The toes are ties together with a string. Thus far, place the hands on the chest in a position as if the deceased person is doing a namaskar.

After the body has been dressed up, it should be placed for viewing in the coffin. For men and widows either vibuti or chandanan is used to decorate the forehead. For married or unmarried females, the forehead may be decorated with turmeric powder and kum kum.

A flower garland and tulasi leaves should be worn around the neck.

Home Service

It is best to perform the final rites at home. When the coffin arrives at home, you should it on the floor with the head to the South. The family members and friends may sit around the coffin. The pundit will perform the final rites and may sing few bhajans too. However without music accompaniment. You may keep it at home for as long as the family desire with the time frame for cremation. Normally and hour is appropriate.

The pandit may choose to place some pinda made with rice flour in the coffin before departure for crematorium. When taking the coffin out of the house it must be with legs first. So, place the coffin in the hearse and drive to the crematorium. A family member should accompany the body.

Final Cleansing

The family and friends who may remain home should clean the house and wash the floors. They make take a bath after and rinsing the clothes they were wearing.

At Crematorium

So, when carrying the coffin from the hearse place is on the platform with legs pointing south first. Preferably, place the coffin in such a way that leg faces the incineration chamber. If this may not be possible then request to carry with legs first into the incineration chamber.

The funeral rites performer should sit with the other mourners preferably facing south. Thus far, it offers more pindas and places one pinda in the hand of the deceased. It then places drops of ghee on the eyes, mouth, ears and nostrils.

The family may wish to deliver eulogies. Then it is time to recite final prayers and mantras, slokas from the Bhagavad Gita.  All the mourners then pay their final respects. Mourners may go around the coffin and offer a handful of flower petals.

Post Cremation Rites

For post cremation rites one should consult their family pundit and discuss certain religious and cultural rites.

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