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  • How to dispose of blessed/holy or religious things/items?

    Wondering how to dispose off blessed or holy religious items idf one is interested in discarding them? Wnat to know the correct method? On tghis page our experts shall respond to your query here.

    We all have collections of religious items in our homes which we purchase when we visit any religious places like temples, churches, mosques, Darga, etc., and buy photos, images, books, rings, chains, lockets, prayer books, etc. When we get the new ones, we discard the old ones and keep them aside and just kept at one corner for months or years. I would like our experts to helps me with the correct way of disposing of the religious or holy item/things like the below items:
    a) How to dispose of old or torn religious/holy/blessed books, images, photos, etc?
    b) How or where does one dispose of holy water, gangajal or Zamzam water, etc?
    c) How to dispose of religious/holy/blessed broken or old frames, chains/Japamala or mala/ Rosary/Misbaha,Tasbih or Sibha, keychains, threads(Raksha dhaga), etc?
    d) Is there any way or procedures as per different religions i.e. Hindu, Christian, Muslim, etc that one needs to follow before disposing of holy things?
    e) Any other additional information that one needs to know before disposing of any kind of holy items/things?
  • Answers

    5 Answers found.
  • a) How to dispose of old or torn religious/holy/blessed books, images, photos, etc?
    -> If the old things are still can be repairable, it is best to give them or donate them to the temples (for the Hindu religion). The photos and books can be recycled and can be offered to the people who visit the temples for worship.

    b) How or where does one dispose of holy water, gangajal or Zamzam water, etc?
    -> In the Hindu religion, holy water and gangajal are never old to dispose of. Holy water is used for many purposes like to sprinkle in the house to make it pure, to put it in the mouth of the dead body, etc.

    c) How to dispose of religious/holy/blessed broken or old frames, chains/Japamala or mala/ Rosary/Misbaha, Tasbih or Sabha, keychains, threads(Raksha dhaga), etc?
    -> I have seen many people dumping such holy things in river wrapped in a piece of cloth. But I do not support this as this practice adds to the pollution in the rivers. As per my views, the things which are decomposable can be buried in the soil.


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  • It is our faith and sentiments that make us feel holy-ness in various inanimate things.
    We usually feel it a sin or an inauspicious act or omen when the holy things we have with us become damaged or torn or spill, etc. The same sentiment is there when we have to dispose them off after a long time or when they are worn out etc.

    Out of the various holy items mentioned in the question post, Ganga Jal is probably one Hindus usually do not dispose even when it is kept for long. This is because such Ganga Jal is usually kept in a sealed container and it is believed that Ganga Jal does not turn bad. It is opened only on very few occasions .One of that, is to drip the holy water into the mouth when someone is breathing his last. Once opened the rest of the water can be disposed off in the well or nearby pond. Otherwise Ganga Jal is always kept in a hygienic and holy place like Puja Room .

    Non polluting and non toxic items like flowers and garlands,sandal paste, holy ash, kumkum, turmeric powder etc used for worshipping or received as Prasad may be disposed off in a nearby large pond, river, sea etc. Or they may be disposed of in a pit or corner outside house where one does not trample or dirty and allow to naturally dry or decay and mix with soil.

    All other items may be disposed of as the way similar other items are disposed off. But before that to avoid guilty and sinning feeling, it is usually done as seeking of pardon from the relevant deity or saint etc and then dispose off.

    In Hindu traditions there is "Visarjan". It is a systematic way of disposing the holy items used for and received from worship. As photos, etc get their holy status only as far as the holy subject is invoked on them, 'visarjan' is an open way of thanking and praying to the invoked holy subject in the item to go back to its original abode and come back on some future good occasion when prayed and invited. This is done after doing a repeat puja.

    But as the same is not possible for each and every item, it is just practical to touch them and sincerely pray for the holy subject and ask pardon and then dispose them convincing ourselves that the item is no more a special holy one, but just a normal inanimate thing.
    If one is able to get out of the sentiments and see the realist status, then it is easier to dispose such items rather than cluttering and keeping dirty. It is better to dispose off rather than keeping them and desecrating them.

  • Idol worship is not ideal in many of the beliefs but more especially this has gained significance & majoritarian in the Hindu religion. Even I often got saddened when evident of the disrespect shown to the deities when the festivals are gone. This is not limited to the idols or calendars but to the rivers as well. Today the rivers are the dirtiest than ever.

    The best way to dispose of such items are to put them to such places which are devoid of footsteps or put them under the soil so that after a period these will have a transformation to some other form. For example, to add the used Hawan material to soil helps increased utility to it and act as a good fertilizer instead.

    I agree with few of the responses wherein the use of such things is associated to a particular faith and till this works we usually do not feel them as useless with an intention of replacing them but when this association ends, this hardly left with any regrates within us. This continues the cycle.

    To my viewpoint, there is a need to create more awareness on our conducts. Earlier I used to have more idol worshipping side but now I have stopped and at the same time have also stopped using the symbols of faith like the rings, chains, lockets etc.

  • Different religions have different ways of disposing the items used in the religious rituals. In Hindu mythology we generally keep them near some Peepal tree or some other auspicious tree. I remember that in the villages we were disposing them along the small river sides. In cities we do not have any access to rivers in general so that mode is not available here. Nowadays, in some big cities like Bangalore there are some NGOs or some innovative enterprises which collect the disposable items from the temples and convert them in environment friendly items. For example one such company in Bangalore is engaged in making covers and envelops with the used flowers.

    In some places we have some temples near the rivulets or lakes and that is the ideal place for disposing these items. Nowadays people have become more environment friendly and do not mind converting these items in other usable items may be for temple puja and other such purposes only.

    Thoughts exchanged is knowledge gained.

  • First of all, I would like to advise that you buy at least as much as possible. It often happens that whenever we go to a particularly religious place, many people buy religious things, whether we use them or not, just because of the importance of that place. At such a time, it is necessary to keep in mind that the culture we are associated with, we neither lack the form of God nor we have less religious things from such religious places. In such a situation, if we keep buying something from every place then proper maintenance of it is not possible.

    Now following the possible question about your asked question is possible -

    1. How to dispose of old or torn religious/sacred/blessed books, pictures, photographs, etc.?
    Such books, which have been torn or spoiled, but still these are religious, and informative things are given, so they should be disposed of properly. For this, you can give these books by going to any religious institution. If there is a Gayatri temple in your area, then this method will be easy for you. Almost all the Gayatri temples have a library where a lot of religious and informative books are available. You should discuss this with someone who belongs to Gayatri Mandir or any other temple or institution so that he can tell you where to tell the books and to whom to submit them.
    If you want, you can go and give books in any orphanage or old age home, people living here will be very happy to give the books given by you. By doing this you will benefit both because such books have got big mysteries of life which are like miracles for human peace. People living this many times feel lonely due to lack of family, in such loneliness, they will help them to connect with these religious books and overcome their loneliness.

    2.How or where is the disposal of holy water, Ganga water or Zamzam water, etc. done?
    We are well aware of the sanctity of the Ganges water and its religious significance is also very high, but in today's time where pollution is increasing in every river, in such a way, the purity of the water of any river should be measured only based on religions. Is not right. But it has also been confirmed by some scientists that a special type of bacteria is found only in the river Ganges which maintains the purity of water.

    If you want, you can store the holy water in your worship hall by storing a bottle, but if you do not want to keep it, then you should put it in a pot or soil location where the plant is planted so that this water is not under anyone's feet, this allows you to contribute to both religious and environmental causes.

    3.How to dispose of religious/sacred / blessed broken or old frames, chains / Japa mala or garland/garland / Misbah, tasbih or sabha, keychain, thread (Raksha dhaga), etc.?
    You can also dispose of the broken stains in the soil. For other things like Mala, Keychain, you can give it in any Dharamshala or temple or orphanage or old age home. Older people often find it relaxing to meditate with chanting, your gift or donation will be very useful for them.

    4. Is there any way or procedure according to different religions i.e. Hindu, Christian, Muslim, etc., which needs to be followed before disposal of holy things?
    No, religious things have equal importance for all religions and should be disposed of so that both humanity and the environment can be taken care of.

    5. Any other type of additional information which is necessary to know before disposal of any kind of sacred objects/things?
    Whatever work we do in our daily life, we do pray to our God, you can dispose of it by doing just that.

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