Does The Rituals Done After A Person Is No More Makes His Soul Happy?
Making one happy when he is alive is far more important than anything else in this world. So, take good care of everyone around you. It is our duty to give people peace when they are alive and it is our duty to give them peace even after they have left us.
How Do We Give Peace After The Person Has Left Us?
It is not easy to forget someone you love. But after the person has left, if we grieve over him, it will make both miserable, for our unhappiness reaches him exactly and for sure. Therefore, we have to ensure that we do not hurt him anymore. Just like when we grieve, our grief reaches him, similarly when we pray for him, our prayers too reach him. So, pray for him and he will be at peace!
Prayers Should Be Our Main Intention Behind Any Ritual Performed After The Deceased
The rituals of prayer and scriptural readings are practiced for the reason that it helps divert the attention of people, so that they can forget their loved ones and dwell onto something positive. This consoles people in their mourning and makes them as well as the deceased feel at peace.
When asked to do something that is meaningful for our spiritual progress, we generally complain about lack of time. However, because of societal pressures, one ends up doing all of these rituals even by force, if not heartily!
The Dead Are Not Affected By Rituals
The dying person has nothing to do with the rituals. Those who are gone are gone. Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan reveals the truth, “As soon as the Soul leaves the body, it goes straight to its destination; it acquires its place of creation, the womb.”
Many rituals however have been specifically designed, with the aim behind it, being scientific or social need of the hour.
For instance, in some ritual, the family members buy a new bed on which they put new blankets, bed sheets, items of clothing, shoes, an umbrella, food etc., as an offering to the departed for his journey to the next life, and at the end of the ritual it is given to the Brahmin performing the ritual.
How do people think these things are going to reach the departed soul? But the actual reason behind this ritual was that, earlier, a Brahmin priest used to survive on the alms provided by common households. He would be worthy of receiving alms as he provided to society the basis of religion, and the household people would in turn bind merit karma by giving him things that took care of his basic daily needs in the form of alms. But today more and more things are almost a farce. Yet, some people believe in such rituals and continue to practice them without giving much thought to it.
How significant are the rituals and dinners held on the twelfth or thirteenth or any specific day after a person’s death? And why are gifts distributed to everyone attending the dinner? It is because for some, if they did not spend money in this way, their tendency for greed would increase. For example, the son would be preoccupied with trying to accumulate his money; but when he is made to spend the money on such rituals, at least his mind would begin to purify and his greed would reduce some bit. However, it is not mandatory to perform this ritual at all. One should do so only if he can afford to do so.
The True Understanding Behind The Rituals
Are rituals created to remember the dead? No! They are devised because people otherwise are not prepared to spend a dime on charity. So, they are told that whatever they do in the memory of their father’s name will benefit their father. This is all done in blind faith!
When people are asked to fast, it is designed bearing in mind the health benefits according to Ayurveda. The practice of fasting is established for the benefit of everyone. That is why several different days have been established for fasting for very good reasons.
Eg. in India, there is ceremonial offering of dinner with rice pudding on every anniversary of the death of every relative in the period of specific sixteen days, beginning with the full moon of the eleventh month of the Indian calendar. Families take turns to feed everyone and this is how eating ‘rice pudding’ for these sixteen days became a common ritual. This tradition became convenient because the responsibility to prepare the meals was shared by everyone equally, and hence, people did not object.
But why was this ritual started? It was a very scientific ploy that was discovered many years ago. In India, the rainy season occurs during this time and malaria becomes widespread because of the increase in mosquitoes; at least one person in every household in every possibility contracts it. The inflicted person would become bed-ridden and lie on the cot outside his home in fever and pain. The fever due to malaria, is the fever of pitta (the forces that stimulate bile production) which could prove even fatal in many cases.
The wise people in the community realized that the disease of malaria would destroy more than half of the population. So they came up with a solution to keep fast through these days to bring down the fever. They discovered that a diet high in milk products reduces the excessive production of bile. That is how rice pudding and other dishes made from milk became popular and prominent in this ritual. People were convinced! Ordinarily, people believe they cannot afford to make these dishes; but in the name of ritual, they are comfortable doing so.
In reality, the dead do not benefit from these rituals. But people have so much of greed that they are not willing to shell out money, be it for their own health. That is why rituals are devised so that people would spend their money or time indirectly for a good cause by either feeding people or conducting prayer meetings, etc. in honour of their late relative. Once it becomes a ritual, if some person does not follow the tradition, people around him will nag and pressure him to do so in the name of ritual.
So, do rituals after the person is no more, if you or people around you are comfortable with the idea. But do not forget to take care of the person while he is alive. Keep him happy in whatever way you can. Rest assured, with his hearty blessings happiness will follow you for the lifetime!
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