Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Antyeshti Samskaara -2 (Post-death rituals)

Kannada Article by: Tarodi Suresha

English Rendering by: Padmini Shrinivasan

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While demonstrating the resonance between two Tambooras (stringed drone instrument)Sriranga mahaaguru used to say – "Look, when both the instruments are tuned to the same pitch and one of them is plucked, the other picks up its vibrations". Similarly by judging the future status of the soul, an enlightened person (Jnaani), can tune his mind and Praana Shakti (life forces) in consonance with the soul of the dead person and act at lightning speed to deliver salvation. He helps the dead person's soul to gather all necessary attributes to attain salvation. The rituals compliment byserving as vehicles in this process.

What does salvation mean? Vision of the Lord is the highest aspiration for a Jiva. As per the inner vision of the Jnaanis, the rituals which are designed as per the Lord's evolutionary plan (Vijnaana), elevate the dead to its pre-ordained crossover path (Naadi patha) leading to communion with Lord. The life forces navigate along energy pathways (Naadis) encompassing the entire creation (Brahmaanda/Pindaanda). There exist pathways which are capable of downgrading a person too. The main purpose of Antyeshti is to help the Jiva escape from its entry into such pathways and conjoin withthat auspicious path leading to the eternal Truth.

The Jiva needs to be elevated from its current level to a higher one, based on its spiritual merits and demerits (Punya and Paapa). These Apara Samskaaras add merit through a purification process commensurate with the spiritual evolution of the Jiva. If not the ultimate oneness with the eternity, i.e. no rebirth, to be re-born as a human or as a cow in a pious person's house or even in a congenial place are all considered as a spiritual progression. A few examples would clarify these concepts. When a person is on his deathbed, hymns reminding the Lord are chanted into his right ear. Sacred water from Ganga and sacred Tulsi leaves are also dropped into the mouth. These yield the fruits of turning the Jiva upwards. Mahaguru had clarified that "the final memories of the individual are very important as his after-life depends on these feelings. At this juncture, the seven Dhaatus of his body attain a state of maturity. His future in general, meaning the body he is destined to get etc. get decided at this point of time". It is customary for relatives and friends to visit the dead person to pay their last respects. Just as anger manifests itself on the face, when a Jnaani dies, divine imprints of the passage of his enlightened soul get highlighted over his body. Identifying these imprints purifies the onlooker and elevates him too. This forms the basis for the customary and compulsory last sight of the departed. If an enlightened person witnesses a death, the dead person gets his divine blessings. We can notice here that all the rituals designed by Maharshis point to the same ultimate goal. How fortunate are citizens of Bhaarata to have Rshis as ancestors who possessed special abilities to steer themselves through all the three domains of creation! Respectful salutations to our revered Rshis!

Note: The Kannada version of this article can be viewed at AYVM blogs.