Earlier answerers have given a sociological explanation for the cremation ritual, but I'll try to provide a purely theological explanation.
In Hinduism, every jiva is made of five Mahabhootas, namely, Dhara (Earth), Nabh(Ether), Vayu(Air), Varuna(Water), Agni(Fire). After death, the body is supposed to disintegrate back into these many Mahabhoota.
Adding to @A runnigMind's answer:
Cremation of the body reminds that the body is not important but the Atman is. Body perishes but Atman exists eternally. This is in contrast with say Christianity where people would go to kingdom of heaven in their material bodies and hence do burial to 'put the bodies to rest' till judgement day. In Hinduism it's the atman ...
Yes, it does.
To know why we have to reborn even though we underwent & experienced some karmic outcome in the same life we need to understand the three types of Karma, viz. sanchita or arjita(accumulated/stored/preserved), prārabdha(preordained/ripe) and kriyamāna or āgama (accumulating/ongoing/current):
prārabdhāgāmyarjitāni karmatrayamitīritam [Varah ...
In addition to Vineet Menon's comments, that Agni (Fire) is the purest element of the 5 elements (Mahabhutas) that is accessible to man - (The other begin Ether (Nabha or Akasha) is intangible and is capable of sustenance and not incineration or destruction.), there is also another reason to it, in that, cremation is the best possible way to symbolically ...
Because no one has actually seen what happens after death, there are multiple beliefs regarding this. But the yogis through their eyes of knowledge know the movement of the beings before and after their death:
utkrāmantaḿ sthitaḿ vāpi bhuñjānaḿ vā guṇānvitam
vimūḍhā nānupaśyanti paśyanti jñāna-cakṣuṣaḥ [BG - 15.10]
Not the people ...
According to Swami Vivekananda the practice was limited and was outlawed in the mid 19th century. He says that although the British took steps to formally outlaw it, it was already being condemned at the time by various Hindu intellectuals of the time and steps were being taken to stop the practice.
Sathi was a cultural practice. It is not a religious ...
Lord Shiva is unborn and eternal. There is no birth and no death for Him. Lord Shiva is Brahman.
This is what Mahabharatha says about Lord Shiva
Mahadeva is Eternal Brahman. Persons endued with Yoga; Yoga's achievements are unable to know in even a hundred years, the glory and puissance of the great Deity in their entirety. Verily, the beginning, middle or ...
I agree with the current answers, I just wanna add little more information.
they cremate out of common sense.
If we bury that place has to be dedicated to single person
Such place cannot be used by others at least for few decades
How many such places are needed? world will have more cemeteries
After decades if the cemetery is unknowingly sold people ...
The "Sati Pratha" has been extolled in Hindu Sastras but none mention it as something mandatory.
So,it is upto the wives to decide and can't be enforced upon them as a "Sastra Vachan"(a directive from Scriptures).
The Parashara Smriti(in Chapter 4),for example says,that :
If a woman follows her departed lord, by burning herself on the same
Some signs, which foretell that death is nearing, are given in this Linga PurAna chapter:
Suta Maha Muni indicated certain premonitions of untoward tidings and
of death when human beings ought to intensify virtuous deeds as the
last breathing might arrive. The visions of Arundhati, Dhruva and the
Celestial routes would mean that a person concerned ...
"But this concept is conspicuously absent in Hinduism" Nothing is farther from the truth. The Garuda Purana describes in great detail how Yama the god of death judges each soul based on Chitragupta's listing of the person's good deeds and bad deeds:
The sinful man cries when he hears the mingled wails of "Oh, Oh," and having heard his ...
As per the scriptures, one who commits suicide becomes a ghost:
udbandhanamṛtā ye ca viṣaśastrahatāśca ye
ātmopaghātino ye ca viṣūcyādihatāstathā [GP - 2.22.8]
One who dies by hanging, also through poison and weapon, one who commits suicide and also dies by cholera etc. becomes a ghost.
The scriptures also prohibit to perform any funeral ...
I believe, organ donation is not a bad practice. Its a religion of Humanity where we can help someone even after your death. Its one way you can help someone after your death. As per my knowledge every religion encourage or support blood donation and its similar to organ donation after your death.
Interestingly, reports about the use of body parts to benefit ...
No, not immediately. As per the scriptures, depending upon his good/virtuous and bad/sinful actions, the jivatama will be taken to Yama and after judgement he will first experience the results of his actions accordingly either in heaven or hell [Agni Pu. - 203.5]. Only after he has experienced those that he will obtain another body on earth.
So to answer ...
Every living thing is having "Athma" or "soul". In Hinduism, body is illusion and the "Athma" is true and the reality. After death, Athma will take rebirth until it is merged with the supreme one called "Paramathma" . This is called "Moksha". The time taken for the Moksha will depend upon one's "Karma" and "Dharma".
Rama and Lakshmana catch a brief glimpse of the gods in the Aranya Kanda of the Ramayana. (Indra is in a hurry to leave because it's not the right time to reveal to Rama who he really is.) Rama explains:
And oh, manly-tiger Lakshmana, those that are there in hundreds and hundreds around Indra, those youthful ones with their ear-ornaments and swords in ...
No, the atma will not get moksha by such deaths. The default rule is, a person dying such unnatural death as suicide, weapons, etc. will become a ghost:
udbandhanamṛtā ye ca viṣaśastrahatāśca ye
ātmopaghātino ye ca viṣūcyādihatāstathā [GP - 2.22.8]
One who dies by hanging, also through poison and weapon, one who commits suicide and also dies by ...
The same question was asked to Sri Swami Sivananda. He answers this question in his book "May I Answer That?"
267. When the Jiva undergoes transmigration and takes another birth after leaving this physical body, is it necessary that we should perform the Shraddha ceremony for him? He is no more in the heavens. To whom will the ablations go?
Yama is the son of Surya the sun god and his first wife Sanjana. As I discuss in this answer, Vishwakarma the divine architect married his daughter Sanjana to Surya, but she couldn't bear the brilliance of Surya's rays. So once when Sanjana was pregnant with Yama and his twin sister Yamuna, she closed her eyes upon the gaze of her husband, so angered by ...
There is a lot of confusion when it comes to Lokas. People identify with their material bodies and therefore assume that the material sensual universe is the be all of everything. Lokas do not exist on the physical plane, therefore they are not observable by material scientific instruments. Remember that one of the reasons that your body is cremated is ...
Arjuna died twice. Let me address each of the three stories you mentioned:
During the end of their time in the forest, all the Pandavas except Yudhishthira temporarily died after drinking water from a lake. Here's how this chapter of the Vana Parva of the Mahabharata describes Arjuna's temporary death:
Thus addressed, the intelligent Gudakesa, taking ...
Some signs, which foretell that death is nearing, are given in
43rd chapter of Markandeya Purana (Sanskrit shlokas and Hindi Translation)
19th chapter of Vayu Purana (Sanskrit shlokas and Hindi Translation)
The English Translation is given
Vayu Purana unabridged English translation
Markandeya Purana abridged English translation
Vayu Purana abridged ...
Why is man mortal?
We are not mortal. In fact no living being in true sense is mortal. it is only owing to our ignorance that we think that we are being born, growing, dying etc.
in Bhagavad Geeta Krishna Says:
As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood
to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at
Yes it is quite well-known that he did. You can find it being mentioned in this PDF (Swami Vivekananda - A
Biography by Swami
Nikhilananda), on pp 190.
At the end of an hour his hands trembled a little and he breathed once
very deeply. There was a silence for a minute or two, and again he
breathed in the same manner. His eyes became fixed in the ...
How can someone(the one who is dying) enjoy his death moment?
Yes, one can also even enjoy his death hours or last days or death moment, not by doing things pleasurable to him. But through Gyana or right kind of knowledge about life and death.
By knowing our true identity, and purpose of life and the eternal laws of nature with which everybody is bound.
This question is rather unclear but the answer is:
Lord Visnu is immortal, everyone else in the material world dies eventually
Brahma is the oldest living being and lives for 100 years, which calculates out to around 311 trillion years. This is calculated as one cycle of 1,000 cycles of the 4 yugas to be equal to one day of Brahma. At the end of each day ...
One of the reason and explanation why Hindus believe cremation of the dead is also given in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad - Adhyaya 5 - Brahmana 12 - " Tapo Brahmanam" .
It's said in the upanishad that cremating a deceased by others is equal to excellent austerity or "Tapa" performed by the dead ...
No, we might not be worshiping a dead god. Let me explain.
Indra is not a god, but a position. The king of the heaven is known as Indra. It's just like the position of president. So just like when the president dies or retires, some one else takes up his place, whenever the acting Indra retires, someone other eligible jiva takes up his place. Hence, because ...