Hindu Cremation Service

I was amazed when our guide took us to the sacred river where they deposit the cremains of Hindus who die. What I did not expect to see was the entire process of the cremation, from the blessing of the body to the actual funeral fire. Grieving family members stood by. Women cried while men took turns using sacred water that flows out of a spring in a temple above the river and then flows through the remains of a god ( not sure which, the Hindus have 1.3 billion of them according to our guide) and is then mixed with sacred cow milk and sprinkle it on his head. I was moved. Even though these ceremonies are open to public viewing, I still felt privileged to there.

Me and the Monkey God at the crematorium. This is not a scene from Planet of the Apes.

this is the temple where the god is buried that he holy spring flows from

Attendants prepare the pire the body will be burnt on

Male family members sprinkle holy liquid on forehed of body

Eventually the body is set afire. They use firewood and damp straw. The straw keeps the fire going long enough to completely burn the body. Then they sweep the ashes into the river.

I have given my wife strict instructions that I am to be cremated. Ideally I want her to pile me on top of a half cord of Redwood, and then spread my ashes under the Golden Gate Bridge. I would not mind having my body covered with flowers and wrapped in silk first, but I won’t be around to insist. Also, sacred river or not, the water in SF Bay seems a lot cleaner than this river. One little detail. They put gold coins on the body before it is cremated. The gold melts, and is then swept into the river with the ashes. There are little boys whose livelihood is to dive into the river and recover the ingots, which then get melted and recast into coins. OK fine, melt some gold with my body and let’s see if anyone will dive into SF bay to get it!

Check out the dreds on this holy man at the crematorium. He has probably never cut his hair.

These Holy guys hang out at the crematorium. According to our guide all they do all day is smoke hash. If so, they were holding out on me!

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of Tripatini to add comments!

Join Tripatini