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English Comp II Mr. Rafalowski: Aubrey Wright

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Beliefs and Rituals of Death in Hinduism


  Death is a part of life. The two coincide. Every person in the world, whether they are white, black, yellow, or red, goes through the cycle of life and death. Though this subject is deeply grim, each culture and religion around the world handles the events surrounding death and the ideas of death differently. India’s Hindu religion has many unique ideas and rituals that encompass the traditions of death within their own society. The afterlife in the eyes of Hindus is impermanent. They believe in reincarnation. Hindu’s find that life and death pass in many cycles continuously. Their beliefs of reincarnation include the idea of Karma. When a person is reincarnated or rebirthed, how they acted in their previous life determines their reincarnated life. To help a deceased person have a more fruitful reincarnated life, funeral traditions are very important. Funeral traditions begin as a person is dying and well after. Hindu religion has specific steps for each ceremony. Once a person is dead, getting ready for the funeral is immediate. They do not wait because certain things must be done to help the person in their afterlife. Hindu’s believe death is not the end but the beginning of a new life. The major concern for a person’s funeral is to separate the person from their past life. To separate the person form their past life, Cremation is almost always necessary. The Hindu belief of reincarnation is the major element to remember when preparing for a person’s death and the ceremonies following.