AntimSanskar is a Hindi word also referred as Antyesti. It is the terms used for the last rituals of a person. There are many stories related to this ritual present in the Garuda Purana. The procedure of following this differs from place to place and custom to custom. All these rituals may differ depending on the social group, caste and status of the particular person whose last ritual has to be done. AntimSanskaar Puja requires lots of attention and positivity of the person who is performing it.
As per the old age custom, in India the dead bodies of human were sometimes exposed to the natural elements like bird, nature, river or earth. It is believed that after death a person gets closer to the nature. But these days cremation has become the major part of antimsanskaar Puja. Only exceptions of this case are the bodies of sadhus, yogis and infants. Cremation is this popular in Hindu concept as it is believed that the soul detaches from your body and goes into some other person’s body.
Stages involved in Antimsanskaar Puja:
The stages involved in Antim Sanskaar Puja are generally divided into 4 stages.
- The rights which are performed when the person is kept on his/her death bed
- Rites involved in accompanying the dissolution of dead body
- The rites involved which enables the soul of the person to transit quite successfully for that stage to the Pitrs stage of the person
- The rites performed for honoring the Pitrs
The complete process of Antimsanskaar puja:
Usually cremation ground is known as ShmashanaGhat and it is generally located near river or in the river bank. There generally the practice of making a pyre is prepared and the corpse is laid by facing their feet towards south. It is done in this way so that people could walk in that particular direction. Jewelry is also removed from the dead body. Then the elder son of the family takes a walk around the dead body three times with the dead body on the left hand side. During this walk he sprinkles water and ghee on the dead body from one vessel. He sets the dead body on fire.
With this starts the old age tradition of mourning and this ends at the 13th day of this ceremony. Once the fire has consumed the entire body all the mourners are supposed to return back home. After this the family members and the close ones will have to follow strict rituals before the tehravi ceremony puja. It is believed that you are supposed to take bath right after burning the dead body. One or two days after completing the funeral ceremony the elder son of the house goes to the cremation ground to collect the remains of the mortal and fill them in an urn. These remains are immersed in some river and if the family could afford then it may also be taken to Haridwar, Varanasi, Allahabad or Kanyakumari. The procedure involved in this varies from place to place.