The Significance Of Antimsanskara: Understanding The Last Rites Ritual In Hinduism
The Antimsanskara or the last rites, as they are commonly known, are performed after a person passes away. These rites hold great significance in Indian culture and are believed to help the soul of the departed attain peace and liberation. In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind the Antimsanskara ritual and its various aspects.
Significance of Antimsanskara
In Hinduism, death is viewed as a natural transition, and the body is considered a mere vessel that the soul inhabits temporarily. After death, the soul is believed to move on to the afterlife, where it continues its journey. However, the Antimsanskara ritual is performed to help the soul depart peacefully and to free it from the cycle of rebirth and death.
The ritual is believed to help the soul of the departed attain moksha or liberation from the cycle of birth and death. It is believed that the departed soul will continue to wander in the afterlife until the last rites are performed. Therefore, performing these rites is considered a sacred duty and is believed to bring peace to both the departed soul and the living family members.
Various Aspects of Antimsanskara
The Antimsanskara ritual involves several steps and is usually performed by the family members of the deceased. The steps may vary slightly depending on the regional and cultural differences, but the essence remains the same. Let us take a look at the various aspects of the Antimsanskara ritual:
Bathing and dressing the deceased – The first step involves bathing and dressing the deceased in new clothes. This is done as a mark of respect and to prepare the body for the next stage.
Placing the body on a cot – The body is then placed on a cot and surrounded by flowers and incense sticks. This is done to create a peaceful and serene environment for the soul to depart.
Chanting of mantras – The priest or family members then chant mantras and prayers to invoke the blessings of the gods and goddesses. These prayers are believed to help the soul attain liberation.
Performing the last rites – The next step involves performing the last rites, which include cremation or burial. The body is usually taken to a crematorium or a burial ground, where the last rites are performed according to the family’s customs and traditions.
Offering food and donations – After the last rites are performed, the family members offer food to the priests and donate money to the poor and needy. This is done to seek the blessings of the departed soul and to earn merit for the family.
The Antimsanskara ritual is an essential part of Indian culture and is performed with great reverence and respect. It is believed to help the soul of the departed attain peace and liberation, and is considered a sacred duty of the family members. The ritual involves several steps, including bathing and dressing the deceased, chanting of mantras, performing the last rites, and offering food and donations. These steps are designed to create a peaceful and serene environment for the soul to depart and to help it attain liberation from the cycle of birth and death.