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Re: How to Cope with Death #2

Date: 15 Jul 2012 20:18:28 -0000
From: "jagadiish Devaa"
Subject: Re: How to Cope with Death #2



~ Part 2 ~

(This is the second posting in this series; a link to the first posting is appended below. The first posting was titled "How to Deal with Death" when in actuality it was about coping with death. So we changed the title and that will be reflected henceforth. - Eds)

Consoling the bereaved, conducting death ceremonies, and handling the dead body are important issues. At some point in life, we all have to deal with such matters and guide others as well. So it is our duty to follow Baba's explicit guidelines and be ready ahead of time to help others during such sensitive occasions.


Indeed Baba has dedicated an entire discourse to this important matter and put great value on how to handle a person's death. That way we can minimize the grief of those in mourning by diverting the mind away from their loss. During this difficult time, we can help them redirect their mind towards Parama Purusa. This has been addressed in detail in the first letter of this series.

Here are some of the ways this should be applied in our practical life experiences.

In the unfortunate circumstance that one of our respected persons passes in a far away place, we should know what to do. If certain in-charges decide to (a) hold onto the body of one of our esteemed acaryas or margiis in one place, or (b) ship that body all the way across the country - or planet, or (c) put the body on ice until the next retreat or DMS etc, then that drastically slows down the entire grieving process. That deepens the pain and agony of the grieving family as they are sunk in woe for a prolonged period.

Instead of gaining closure in a respectful and timely manner at the place of one's passing, the whole process of cremation is delayed. Those in mourning will indefinitely be plunged into feelings of loss and sorrow. They will be tormented by their grief for a much longer time. That is the main concern.

Additional drawbacks include the huge effort, time, and money spent in transporting the body across an entire continent or land mass to a new location. So this notion of transporting a dead body over a long distance to be cremated should not ever be entertained. Nor should a body be kept on ice until the next DMS etc. Both of these approaches go wholly against our AM system.

In the last year or so, such types of suggestions were given in specific cases in our Marga. So this is the dogmatic trend we need to be aware of. Baba does not appreciate this as He wants that the mind of those in mourning be diverted toward the Supreme so their suffering is minimized. Yet if their loved one is not cremated for weeks or even months, naturally those grieving family members will not get any relief. That is why the cremation and shraddha ceremony should be done in a timely way - within a 12-day period, as outlined in Caryacarya.

If any delay occurs in cremating the deceased, those in mourning are forced to undergo psychic suffering for a longer period. Baba does not at all approve of this. Baba places maximum importance on the care and comfort of the surviving family members by diverting their mind.


In the west, sometimes they keep the body for some time as that is the religious tradition and there are funeral homes for storing the body. Some naive margiis started doing this. But they are just blindly copying Christian and Judaic dogma. That is unfortunate. Baba wants that the deceased person should be cremated in a timely manner, not in a prolonged, drawn-out affair.

Some of the prevailing Hindu dogmas include transporting the deceased to a holy place or tiirtha like Varanasi, and paying priests big bags of money to perform the shraddha, lest the deceased turn into a ghost and torment the grieving family, as well as the entire village and greater community. Both of these dogmas are investigated further in Notes 1 & 2 below.


Let's review a few possible scenarios to make this entire matter more clear.

If a margii or an acarya dies in India and their laokik home or posting was in New York sector, then there is no need to send that body back to NY. Nowadays, due to the advancement of science, some communities do this. But, in our Marga, that is not our way.

Every person in the Marga considers this entire universe to be their homeland. To delay the burial, cremation, and shraddha ceremony by transporting the body halfway around the world has no rhyme or reason. Rather it is harmful.

WARNING: Baba does not want that family and loved ones of the deceased to be mourning for a longer period of time. Rather the day of the death itself their mind should be diverted toward a spiritual outlook. That is our way.

This whole entire matter is not just related with family margiis but with wholetime workers too.

In the unfortunate occurrence of PP Dada dying in a plane crash in Berlin sector or Nairobi, then there is no need to bring that body back to DMS or to central office wherein the body will be kept preserved for future generations like that of Lenin. Indeed there should not be any delay in the respectful and honourable ceremony for handling the death - whether one be a family margii or wholetimer.

If we do not pay heed to Baba's order, then it sets the stage that in the future, the bodies of our esteemed acaryas and margiis will always be subjected to long travel in order to reach Ananda Nagar or some other master unit; plus some will think that the body should be held until the next retreat or DMS - be that 5 weeks or 5 months - so that maximum people can view the body. This is the uncomfortable, dogmatic ritual that we must not allow to become a reality. Such proposals have been put forth, but this is not our way.

And not only that, but what about in the future when people live on different planets, then they will have to hire a spaceship to bring the body across the solar system to reach Ananda Nagar.


We have to remember that Baba's main teaching is one should divert the mind of those in mourning. They should not be reminded again and again of their loss. Rather we are to help goad their mind in a different direction - i.e. towards Parama Purusa - so they may gain a sense of peace.

Another key important point is that the shraddha ceremony aims to bring closure and comfort to the surviving loved ones. It has a big effect on the psychological state of those in mourning; that is the main benefit. The shraddha ceremony has no bearing on the future of that deceased soul.

Baba says, "The departed soul does not get any advantage from the shráddha ceremony [memorial ceremony]. It is only meant for the psychic satisfaction of the person performing it." (Caryacarya Part 1, Shráddha Ceremony)

If the deceased person was a sincere sadhaka and had one-pointed devotion for Baba then they will get mukti or moksa. In which case the deceased person is not there to listen to your shraddha.

If a person was poor in sadhana and not practicing regularly then he will get rebirth. In that case also, he will not be witness to the shraddha ceremony. The deceased may already be taking new life.

In either case - whether moksa or rebirth - the shraddha ceremony is done for the well-being of the surviving members of the society, not the deceased.

Those who think that the deceased person will receive the food and clothes offered to others at the time of shraddha are totally dogmatic.

The cremation ceremony is a time to bring closure for the family and relatives. Hence it should be done in a timely manner lest they undergo more suffering.

Baba has strictly placed a 12-day limit on the period of mourning and the completion of the shraddha ceremony. But, the sooner it is done the better. And, of course, there must not be an annual celebration or remembrance of that death day. Rather as jiivas, we are to move on psychically.


Here is one inherent danger of preserving the deceased body or erecting a tomb to honor the deceased. Then one will have given too much importance to the deceased and have no psychic space left to think about Baba as one's object of ideation is something else.

Tadekaḿ smarámah tadekaḿ japáma
Tadekaḿ jagatsáksiirúpaḿ namámah.

Our Guru's teaching guides us what to ideate upon:

“If I remember anyone, I will remember only that One Entity and not many. If I repeat anyone’s name, I will repeat only the name of the Lord. If I ever salute anyone, I will salute only the Supreme One and no one else.” (Ananda Marga Ideology and Way of Life -11, Relativity and the Supreme Entity)

Thus if anyone is involved in transporting or keeping the dead body for weeks or months or making a tomb etc, then that goes against thw spirit of Baba's aforesaid shloka. If you do not understand, then read Baba's teaching again.


Baba has graciously given all the requisite instructions and guidelines for how to deal with death. By following His guidelines, the grieving family members will be properly cared for and attended to, and the deceased will be cremated in a timely manner.

Here following is how Baba beautifully concludes the shraddha ceremony.

Sarve’tra sukhinah bhavantu sarve santu nirámayáh;
Sarve bhadráńi pashyantu na kashcid duhkhamápnuyát.
Oṋḿ shántih oṋḿ shántih oṋḿ shantih.

[Let everybody be happy; let everybody be free from all physical or psychic ailments; let everybody see the bright side of everything; let nobody be forced to undergo any trouble under pressure of circumstances… Oṋḿ shántih, oṋḿ shántih, oṋḿ shantih.]

Jagadiish Deva


In the Hindu religion, there is one dogma of carrying the dead body to holy places / tiirthas. Then they will get a special place in heaven. That is why from all around the globe Hindus carry the dead body to Varanasi for cremation. Those who do not have sufficient money cremate the body wherever they can and then carry the ashes to Varanasi, or any of the other holy places / tiirthas.

In India, this Hindu dogma has entered into Ananda Marga. When Nigamanandji died in Delhi, his body was carried to the tiirtha of Ananda Nagar. His supporters are trying to make one shrine there. Already a huge tomb has been constructed for Nigamanandji. The dogma is being spread around that by visiting that tomb and doing sadhana then then one will get special grace. If you visit Ananda Nagar, you will find many persons visiting in order to get some grace of Nigamanandji.

Those margiis who are strict in Ista oppose this type of dogma.


Here is another dogma from the Hindu religion on this point of shraddha: If the shraddha ceremony is not done then the deceased will become a ghost a harass the family, friends, villagers - everyone. The will bring disease, struggle, strife, loss, accidents and all kinds of troubles. With this fear, the common people are terrified of what will happen if they do not arrange the shraddha ceremony for the deceased. So they pay / donate Hindu priests huge amounts of money to preside over the shraddha ceremony. Thus in Hinduism, their shraddha ceremony is done for the "benefit" of the deceased and for the surviving members - that way they will not be tortured and harassed by any ghost or face serious problems.

in Hindu religion there is a dogma if you do not do shraddha then the deceased person will become ghost and harass the family, friends, villagers - everyone. It will bring disease, loss, accidents and all kinds of negative things. Because of this dogma, fear is injected and common people are forced to do shraddha and in that shraddha they have to donate lot of money to presiding priest. But in AM such things are not there. In Hindu religion, they do shraddha for the deceased for the well-being of family members and family members otherwise they will face serious problems.

Of course in Ananda Marga we do not subscribe to such dogmas or superstitions. We know that the shraddha ceremony is only done to support the grieving family; it brings a sense of closure so they can ahead in life. Finally, the shraddha ceremony, like all our AM ceremonies, is free of cost.

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