Sunday, 12 July 2015

Antyeshti - 16th Shodasa Samskara

The human body is created from the Panchamahāboothās (the five elements) viz. earth, water, fire, air and ether. The body dissolves into the five elements at the end. The body is perishable but the soul is eternal. In the Bhagavad-Gita,
Lord Krishna says 
"Vāsāmsi jeernāni yathā vihāya navāni grihnāti naroparāni, thatā sareerāni vihāya jeernāni anyāni samyāti navāni dehi". 
“Just as a man discards worn out clothes and puts on new clothes, the soul discards worn out bodies and wears new ones.”
Antyeshti is the final Samskārā in the journey of jIvātma on this earth. In the Vedic tradition, the body cremated accompanied by rituals and chanting of mantras. On the third day, the sons collect the ashes and consecrate them in a holy river. Relatives are free from social obligations for ten days and allowed to be fully mourning the loss. Bhagavad Gita, Vishnusahasranāmam and other sacred texts are chanted during this period. On the eleventh day, there is a purification ceremony and on thirteenth day there is celebration and a feast as the jIvātma has now crossed over and reached its resting place.


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