Why should the family follow Sutak (Grief) Rituals for a dead person for one year?
Actual Question from a girl devotee:
please help me … sutak rules are made by whom – we human beings or lord krishna?? because i dont find anything about this in gita.. can you help me and why to follow them for a year … after someones death
These Sutak Observation has been given by Krishna Himself in His Narayana Form to His vehicle Garuda, that have been compiled in Garuda Purana.
A person is dead means, he (Athma/ Soul) leaves his external gross body. While leaving, the athma leaves along with the Sukshma body (subtle body). This Sukshma body is made up of Mind, Intelligence and Ego. So, the body is dead.
Once the soul leaves the body, it is taken by Yama’s messengers to Yama within seconds in Fast Track mode.
The messengers show the Soul packed by the Sukshma body to Yama and confirm him that the person has been taken out of the body in which he/ she was living so far.
After confirmation, Yama orders the messengers to leave this person at his house itself in the earth again for 12 days. So, immediately, the person is brought to his home and left there.
The Soul + Sukshma Body Combination then is watching all the happenings in home. He watches the crying sons/ daughters, spouse and relatives. He also watches the funeral of his own body.
During the first nine days, he lives in water stored in the house for three days, on the land for three days and in the fire for three days in his home. That is why, for nine days, the family keeps a cup of water all the time. They also keep an oil lamp burning for nine days. These arrangements facilitate the athma to live in water cup or lamp fire.
On tenth day, he is given food without salt or with less salt in the form of Pinta by his son through the purohits. For the sukshma body, the food should be offered through the agni in the homa kunta (a pit in which fire is developed with the ghee). After eating that tasteless food through the fire god, he loses his interest and decides to leave for Yamaloka again.
On eleventh and twelfth days, he is given tasteless food again and the rituals to connect him with his ancestors in Pitru loka. Thus, his further destination is fixed through such connecting rituals.
Therefore, the first 12 days of rituals are very important because, the dead person is made to hate this worldly life and he is redirected to Pitru loka through manthras.
Then, on twelfth day, the messengers of Yama come again and take this soul to Yama loka by giving him a temporary body to walk or travel. This journey is long and takes ONE FULL EARTH YEAR. One earth year is equal to one day in Yama loka, Pitru loka, heavens, hells, Celestial world, Brahma loka, etc..
While travelling to Yamaloka for one earth year, he will feel thirsty and hungry. Therefore, his son must do rituals every month by offering food and water. These twelve months of offerings are equal to drinking water for twelve times in a single day of Yama Loka/ Pitru loka. These twelve months of offering water and food makes the journey of that dead person comfortable.
On the first death day of that person based on the thithi, ie, at the end of one earth year, the person reaches the yama Loka and then he is produced in front of Yama. Then, his activities on earth in his life time is analysed and then Yama gives the judgement with the following aspects:
(1) How many years he has to live in hells?
(2) How many years he should live in heavens?
(3) How many years he has to live in Pitru loka with his ancestors?
(4) When should he be given rebirth and in which body?
After this judgement, the soul in temporary body is taken to hell or heaven. In case, he was a good person on earth without any remarkable sins, he is taken to heaven alone. In case, he has done only sins most of his life time, he is taken to hellish planets. In case he had done both good and bad activities, he is taken to hell and heaven one after the other.
In case he is detached and has no karma, he is allowed to travel further towards Brahma Jothi (Brahmam) and attain MUKTHI
In this last case of detached person, the DEAD PERSON MAY EVEN BE GIVEN EXCEMPTION TO MEET YAMA AND IS ALLOWED TO PROCEED DIRECTLY TO BRAHMAM.
IN CASE, HE IS A DETACHED DEVOTEE OF KRISHNA, HE IS ALLOWED TO CROSS EVEN THE BRAHMA JOTHI AND THEN DIRECTLY PROCEED TO VAIKUNTA PLANTS INCLUDING GOLOKA WHERE LORD VISHNU’S MESSENGERS COME AND TAKE THAT SOUL.
This is the process. Since he travels for one year, we offer rituals to him on earth for one year so that hye travels to the Yama loka comfortably without hunger and thirst. Since our loved person is on the way to yama Loka, we observe this one year as the Sutak Period (Grief period).
After one year, Shrardha (annual ritual) is performed every year so that the dead person gets food every day in his world (One earth year = one day in higher worlds).
Hope you are clear.