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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    Post-death rituals: what about safety net for the poor, please?

    In so many communities, particularly, the Tamil Brahmin community, the rituals that follow when one is dead -- the parents in particular -- are so huge. Rituals are based on Sanskrit mantras, which is fine.

    The rituals are done by trained Sanskrit priests. So far, so good.

    The cost? The current rate is around Rs.1.75 lakh, and this does not necessarily include the cost of food that needs to be served to a huge number of guests, that is, relatives, who would take part in the rituals, more so, on days ten to thirteen. The thirteenth day after death of the person is the final day.

    For those who can do all the rituals, and afford the cost, there is no problem. But what about those who cannot afford the huge cost involved? There are very poor people, and we need to find out ways in which we can do the rituals free of cost, or funded by the rich. There are gated communities in huge cities in Chennai, where all the rituals are done, in a very systematic manner. This is a big industry by itself.

    Am not too sure about other communities in Tamil Nadu, and in other States as well. However, why not some guidelines be framed by elders to get these done at a very reasonable cost?

    All that one has to do is to request the highly paid trained priests to take on the mantle of doing it at a much cheaper cost for those who cannot afford the cost.

    Members, who might be knowing of all these practices, may offer suggestions in this regard. The poor among all the communities also need to be taken care of. The key question is : how?
  • #636179
    The rituals have been defined & implemented on the basis of the suggestions provided or given by the said intellectuals called the priest or the Pundit in their times. All those rituals were then carried forwarded onto the next generations & we are following the same, believing that these are true & supposed to be the mandatory for the society. The overall basis is that this will bring the fortune to the dead people, that any misdeeds by the dead people during his tenure would be replaced by the good one if this is practiced.

    The above could be the aspect but in reality we can't be very much sure of the fact of the original practices by our ancestors. Quite imaginable that that the original ways has been manipulated since long of its existence.

    But if we think of the logical aspect then if someone is dead then all his Karmas are carried forward with his soul to the next birth & in that case nothing remains to be done which can make their life improved in some way. Because what matters is the Karma & so during the tenure of one's life one can decide his fortune by his good or bad karma or act. So if we are dead then no meaning for rituals as this could be for the internal satisfaction & not to have any escalated impact during aftermath life.

  • #636188
    Due to cultural, religious and traditional reasons, people observe the rituals as specified in their community. There is no scientific or rational reason to do that but due to the social beliefs and other considerations, people just follow them religiously. At the same time, there are a few people who dismiss them and do not observe those formalities.

    Coming to the financial expenses on these accounts, there is no hard and fast rule that you have to spend a huge sum on these rituals. One can hire an ordinary and poor priest and get the things done in the smaller budget also.

    The main problem is that some rich people spend a lot of money on these occasions and sometimes it appears that they are simply flaunting their wealth to their relatives and friends. This makes a bad precedent in the society and the middle class and poor class simply mimic them and get themselves trapped in the financial crisis.

    So doing rituals can be justified as human sentiments are attached to it but wasting money is not a prudent thing.

    Knowledge is power.

  • #636199
    All these customs were written down in Garudpurana some 800 years ago. It was written keeping the circumstances then in mind. I personally don't believe that elaborate rituals are required to please the dead.
    There are aashrams that can do all your rituals in 40000 rs or so. And fortunate for you, most aashrams are run by Tamil Brahmins. But if you still feel that you need to perform these rituals with their fullest splendor and your dedication then hire the junior acharyas.
    Each one of these acharyas have a dozen apprentices who are in plans of making this businesses their own. You can hire them at lesser price.
    Sadly beliefs can't be compromised with. So there is not much one can do.

    The stronger a light shines the darker are the shadows around it.

  • #636207
    "The poor among all the communities also need to be taken care of. The key question is : how?"
    No scriptures or Sastras tell people to do rituals with pomp and outside show. All rituals are made to be as affordable to the people as per their capacity. That is why it is said to perform 'Yatha shakti" with'utmost 'Shradha".
    It is to be performed to the best of capacity of a person, but with utmost sincerity and devotion.
    If we analyse the rituals we can see that most of the tools and items all are made from the plants and trees around us.The ceremonial food preparations are all those that are cheap and available at our home or in the open grounds around.

    There is a mention that if one is so poor that he is not able to afford anything to perform the 'shraadha' then he can take three steps in the direction of Gaya with sincere remembrance about his departed ancestors. That is called Aapat dharma and of course exceptions.
    Normal people come somewhere in the affordable category. No gold and silver are necessary. The serving vessels and spoons are all made of leaves and stems of common plants and trees around us.
    Nowadays we feel these costly because, we do not keep a cow , we do not have cultivation, we do not plant useful plants and herbs in our backyards or font yards. So everything has to be purchased. Naturally they are costing. In that case even our daily needs also we only purchase, and not grow.

    So there is no meaning in blaming our shastras. They are made as easy and affordable to all.

  • #636208
    For Brahmans if the elders dies in the family, the rituals has to be followed would be in details. On the day of death the cost incurred would be 20,000 rupees, and from fifth day daily rituals and up to the end of 13th day , one has to spend about 2 lakhs. And the thing wont end here. Every month , the shradh has to be done and at the end of the year four day ceremony would be there. Again two lakhs has to be spent. That is why elders in Brahmans keep money a side so that family members should not feel dried up for money. And for poor they can perform one time shraadh to the Pitrus and that is the end of the matter.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #636213
    @ #636208,

    Let those who can afford to spend do that.

    In many places there are arrangements made by the community organisation dedicated places where these are conducted at the most minimum expense without diluting the prescribed rituals. It is the psychology and guilt feeling of people that make them spend unnecessarily on non-essentials. The cost mostly includes the food, accommodation etc. of all the close relatives who also will be present for the rituals and condolences.
    In the dedicated places they do these as a service and only the essentials are done. Definitely they do not go to lakhs. There are places where all the essential rituals are conducted at a cost of a couple of ten thousands. Some community organisations also help those who are really very difficult financially.
    Nowadays many people do philanthropy in these ways also.

  • #636647
    It is sad that the poor have to struggle to complete the rites and rituals for the loved ones after their demise. People would be anxious and worried that if the rituals were not performed, then the departed soul would not be at peace.

    In the buys crowded metros, where space is a premium and people live in apartments, these ceremonies would be brief and held in a prayer hall. Funerals and the last rituals are expensive in Japan and there are funeral loans available.

  • #636768
    These days in many places there are some organisations who will take care of these rituals for a contract and the rates will be affordable and to the tune of our requirement. If somebody is not able to spend money they can do it at a lower scale and these organisations will take up such work. But you can't invite many guests and all that. The family members can go and get the things done and have food and come back. The total affair will be finished by them within a few thousands. In Visakhapatnam, I know a priest who will do all these rituals even free of cost also if the family is not able to spend the money required. Like this, in all the places we may have some priests who will consider the cases of poor also. The poor, if they are not able, perform all the rituals to their satisfaction they can offer food to some poor people and pray for the deceased. It will also be ok. There is no point in spending huge amounts for these rituals. There are some community societies who will help the people for performing such rituals. Only thing is we have to know about them and approach them for the service.
    always confident

  • #636844
    The cost of rituals are normal but high only in places where the family members are more. In villages especially riverbeds it is better to conduct in normal cost only. Moreover the rituals as told by author involved many things and persons so, the cost also get vary but according to places. As far as the yearly rituals the major reason for high cost is the karta and not others as the karta stipulates time for pandits as he has official exigencies and thereby they are also demanding as they please as of the flight ticket. There may be another reason similar to autowallas near railwaystation,the high cost is due to many people do not follow the rituals and if everybody strictly follows the rituals according to their sect the cost automatically will come down.

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