Losing a loved one is one of the hardest journeys that we will face in life. Sometimes there is no one to turn to and you need to find that person who can help you, especially as you yourself have your own roller coaster of emotions to work through. Honouring the religious beliefs of your loved one brings responsibility. This sentiment holds true for those of us who are Hindu including those who are religious or spiritually-minded.
When it comes to arranging a funeral, there can be so many expectations and lots of voices telling you what to do, when to do it, how to do it and the list is just endless.
We want to honour our loved ones in the ‘right way, the way that follows the right tradition. But many of us aren’t sure of the correct way to do this.
I have written this article in response to many people that have contacted me asking for guidance. I am Hindu Brahmin and an experienced Hindu Celebrant who understands the expectations after the cremation.
The Hindu Belief
The Hindu belief is that if a deceased’s ashes are laid in the Ganges at Varanasi, their soul will be transported to heaven and escape the cycle of rebirth. Over time more and more families are adopting rivers in the UK as respectful places to carry out this ceremony. Many families choose to scatter directly into the sea as this has flow too.
You can choose to scatter the ashes from a boat or the shoreline/riverbank.
Reincarnation is central to Hindu beliefs, this concept called moksha is very profound. The immersion of the ashes in water is central to this.
What Do You Include in a Hindu Funeral?
Here is a list of what can be included but it is not a final list. You may have your own ideas and I would be happy to listen to them and see how we could make them happen.
Readings / Mantras/ Shloks
This can be from a holy book, a book that was loved, a poem, or a song
This can be recorded music or live musicians. I can bring my own musicians.
If it’s live music, I can sing prayers and if it’s a song, bhajan, or hymn I know, I would be happy to sing it for you
Conducting a Puja Ceremony including:
- Camphor is widely used in Hindu religious ceremonies. as Hindus worship the holy flame by burning camphor. We can also light a diva/tea light.
- Loban Incense (Agarbathi) – We can light an Agarbatti, circle it around the area and say a prayer
- Guggal (Gokul) – creates a spiritual atmosphere, it is used with ghee and burned in a full flame fire. It has a lovely fragrance but can be too much for people with allergies.
- Unity Candle – depending on how many people you can all light a candle each and then when you have placed the urn in the water, and you are ready you each blow out your candle.
- Biodegradable Urn – we can place this in the water. either one person or together hands touching the urn or each other’s shoulders.
- Floating Candles which are biodegradable
- Dry Flowers
Further Information On How to Carry Out An Ashes Puja Ceremony
The Hindu scattering of Ashes booklet that I wrote with Scattering Ashes will guide you through what you need to know: what the law says, the practicalities, and how to carry out an ashes puja ceremony.
As a Hindu Celebrant, I will work with you to help you decide what you would like to do to scatter the ashes in a way that marks respect for your loved one. This may be religious or a more spiritual farewell. My role as your Celebrant is to listen to your ideas and share my thoughts.
Together we will create a final farewell that is symbolic and respectful to the departed.
I am based in London but can travel to suit your needs.
Do reach out and let me help you through this difficult time. Visit www.sonaldave.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org