Hindu & Sikh Beliefs About Death
Hindus & Sikhs believe that when the physical body dies, the soul reincarnates into another life force. Hinduism & Sikhism, originating in India, teaches that the destiny of a soul’s next incarnation depends on the actions of the individual in their last physical life, otherwise known as Karma.
To leave the repetitive cycle of reincarnation, a person must reach the moksha, which is the transcendent state of salvation when the soul is absorbed into Brahman, who is the highest god of Hinduism.
Although this belief is widely accepted with Hinduism & Sikhism, it is important to understand that there are many denominations of Hinduism & Sikhism, each with differing customs and beliefs.
Before and after death
Most Hindus & Sikhs choose to die at home, surrounded by family and loved ones who will keep a vigil. Once they have died, the body remains at home until the cremation which is usually 24 hours after death.
In a traditional Hindu & Sikh funeral there are certain things that happen, including:
A lamp is placed by the head of the body
Prayers and hymns being sung
Pindas (rice balls) placed in the coffin
Water sprinkled on the body
A ‘mala’ – a necklace of wooden beads – is put around the dead person’s neck. Garlands of flowers may also be added.
Hindus & Sikhs always have an open casket, and a priest or “karta” will preside over the proceedings. Hymns and mantras are recited and some services include a fire sacrifice. At this point, offerings are made to ancestors and gods.
Hindus & Sikhs opt for cremation as they believe it helps the soul to escape the body quickly. Afterwards, the deceased’s ashes are scattered on water. Many people take the ashes to India to put on the waters of the Ganga, others may take them to the sea near to where they live.
After a Hindu or Sikh funeral
Traditionally, on the day following a Hindu & Sikh funeral, the ashes are immersed in the Ganges River as it is considered a sacred river in Hinduism or Sikhism. Hindus & Sikhs living outside India may choose to repatriate their loved one’s ashes to India so that they can be spread over the Ganges, but this is not always practical or affordable. As a result, more rivers are becoming acceptable substitutes all over the world.
Typically, the bereaved mourn for 13 days after a Hindu or Sikh funeral. During this time, it is customary for families to have a picture of their loved one displayed in the house, adorned with a garland of flowers. Visitors are welcomed during this period and a ritual that helps the soul to reincarnate is performed.
On the years anniversary of the death, the family celebrate a memorial event that honours their loved one’s life.
The Hindu & Sikh Funeral Service
The funeral plan provides for a Hindu or Sikh funeral and includes the following:
- Our Professional attention in making all funeral arrangements, including the arrangements interview at either our premises or own residence, use of the Private Chapel of Rest and rooms of repose, administration, liaising with all outside agencies including the Coroner’s Office, Registrar and local authority prior to the funeral, conducting the funeral on the day, provision of all necessary staff and a twenty-four hour service.
- Conveyance of the deceased from the place of death to our Private Chapel of Rest and use of the same during or outside normal working hours where permission has been given.
- Making any necessary arrangements with the client during and outside normal working hours.
- Full staff provision and additional time required for a service in our private chapel or other venue prior to committal at the crematorium.
- Motor Hearse for the duration of the funeral during normal working hours.
- Attendance to the deceased.
- Viewing of the deceased by appointment only up to 7pm week days and 5pm Saturday and Sunday.
- (Weekend funerals are subject to additional Charge)
Cost: £1,940 (Plus Coffin and Disbursements)
For any further questions about our Hindu or Sikh faith low cost funeral packages, please contact us today.
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