Asthi Visarjan (or) Ash immersion ceremony and Its importance!
Jitendra asked like this:
Hare Krishna prabhuji, dandwat pranam. Why Asthi Visarjan is done? Please explain the glories of Asthi Visarjan(अस्थि विसर्जन) in Yamuna Ji in Vrindavan. Please explain the glories of Asthi Visarjan(अस्थि विसर्जन) in Ganga Ji in Haridwar.
After the soul leaves the body, the body becomes dead.
The dead body is advised to be burnt into ashes.
(Should Krishna devotee perform rituals for deceased ancestors? Who need not do? READ HERE! )
A few reasons are there:
(i) We came from the nature. After death, we mix with the nature.
(ii) After the death, the soul is get rid of the attachments with the body in which he (soul) was living in so far.
(iii) To help the deceased person not suffer because of the non performance of last rituals of burning the body.
Then, why the burnt ashes of the body is immersed in river water?
Again, the same reply. If we directly bury the body, it may take years to get decomposed and mixed with the nature (soil). And, there may be space constraint to bury the bodies with full dignity for every person.
So, the body is burnt and the ashes are mixed with the waters of holy rivers.
(Rituals to ancestors & food to crows! What if an ancestor had got moksha? READ HERE! )
Thus the deceased person is immediately mixed with the nature from where he came.
Should we perform the asthi Visarjan only in Ganges river?
The ganges river is preferred, but not compulsory.
As per the Indian scriptures all the major rivers are auspicious.
Ganga, Yamuna, Kaveri, Godavari, etc are also sacred rivers in which we can perform Asthi Visarjan.
In India, every home will have some sealed cans (copper containers) of Ganga water that is sold at Kashi.
If there is no Ganga water containers at your home, you can get now itself by ordering from kasha thru any mutt.
(Why should the dead bodies be cremated as early as possible? READ HERE!)
Vaishnavas can keep Vrindavan Yamuna waters in sealed containers at home.
When someone dies in the home, we can break one container and add the water in the bucket water and then, we can bath the dead body with that water.
This itself is enough to give the goodness of GANGA OR YAMUNA to the deceased person. Ashes need not be taken to the Ganges or Yamuna.
If there is no river in your city, but only the sea, you bcan add the ashes in the sea water.
If there is no river or sea in your place, you can add the ashes in any nearby lake.
How long can we keep the ashes at home?
It is advised that we should not take the ashes to the home as the soul may still have attachments with us.
(Why should the family follow Sutak (Grief) Rituals for a dead person for one year? READ HERE!)
So, the ashes should be taken from the cremation ground itself directly to the river or sea or lake.
Now a days, some persons keep some ashes with them in memory of the deceased person. It is wrong.
No residues should be left from the deceased body at home. Everything should be taken out and mixed with the nature.
Our body comes from the five elements – Soil, water, fire, air and ether.
Now, after our death, we are burnt in the fire and air. We are then added to the water and we settle and mix with the soil again.
This is the concept behind Asthi Visarjan, ie, Ash Immersion.
(What are the rituals to ensure good status of my deceased father? READ HERE!)