Wednesday, February 11, 2009

OPEN WOODEN PYRE FOR HINDU DEAD IN UK ?

Mahoday,

JAI SITARAMJIKI, JAI RADHAKRISHNJIKI, JAI VEER HANIUMAN.

This is a ridiculous demand and the ones who want their bodies cremated in an open air wooden pyre should write in their will for their bodies to be flown to India and get it cremated at Nigambodh ghat etc. According to some of the Hindu beliefs, the ones who have gone saat samundar paar, coupled with their non-observance of many HIndu restrictions, are already jaat nikale hue, etc. or quite close to mlaichchas, i.e. that is what most of us are who are living abroad a Mlaichcha life. While we are so eco conscious, how such a pollution can be permitted in the western world, I wonder. So please do not make undue demands in the name of Hinduism.

As an alterntive, people in their old age should go back to India, do tapas until God sends them a call, spending their last part of life at a tirth, like Vrindavan or Varanasi, or Hardwar or Rishikesh so they can get cremated there upon death to reach swarg or some such place.

Comments from other correspondents are invited. Thank you.

Jai sitaramjiki.

Bhavdiy,

SHER AGRAWAL


- Hide quoted text -
On Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 12:38 PM, Hindu Council UK wrote:


HCUK Policy Statement on Open Air Funeral Pyres – February 2009

There has been some demand in the UK for a full open air ceremony to be conducted on cremation of a dead body according to ancient Hindu rites. These rites stipulate that the body be cremated by means of a wood-fuelled fire in an open air facility exposed to daylight. A fuller explanation is given in a report prepared by Professor H R Sharma of Banaras Hindu University and is attached under link……
Hindu Scriptural Guidance on Cremations
Hindu Council UK (HCUK) issued its policy statement to Newcastle City Council in October 2008 as outlined in the letter under link……
HCUK Main Policy Letter on Cremations
However following our discussion on the report by Professor Sharma the HCUK Executive has revised its policy to the effect that our policy, whilst essentially remains unchanged now includes an additional clause, which is:
"It was recognised that open air funeral pyres are sanctioned by Hindu scriptures. Therefore, individual choice of those Hindus who follow the directives of Hindu scriptures and wish to have open air funerals should be honoured."
We humbly request the authorities to allow Hindus a dignified last rite for the final journey of the soul by facilitating:
Existing crematoria rules should allow the performance of a small fire ceremony in an open coffin, for the close family, behind the chapel before the body is moved into the retort for gas or electric cremation. This reform remains the HCUK Executive priority.
New open air facility in a small controlled area away from any existing crematoria for those Hindus whose consolation rests in adhering to ancient scriptural guidance.

Anil Bhanot
General Secretary
Hindu Council UK


Note : Hindu Council UK (HCUK) is the foremost and largest national network of the Hindu temple bodies and cultural organisations co-ordinating all different schools of Hindu theology within the UK. HCUK is the representative umbrella body for the British Hindu issues for which a UK wide mandate was received during a two year consultation with the British Hindu public culminating in its launch in November 1994.

HCUK Admin Office:Boardman House, 64 The Broadway, London E15 1NG. T: 020 8432 0400 W: www.hinducounciluk.org F: 020 8432 0393

1 Comments:

At 2:11 AM, Blogger rajpandit said...

Shri Sher Agrawal ji

"This is a ridiculous demand and the ones who want their bodies cremated in an open air wooden pyre should write in their will for their bodies to be flown to India and get it cremated at Nigambodh ghat etc"

The carbon footprint from transporting a body from the UK to India would be many times greater than the CO2 emissions from a funeral pyre. Moreover, conventional gas retort/electric crematoria expend vast quantities of fossil fuels which are rapidly depleting resources of Mother Earth (Prithvi Mata). What are we to do when we have exhausted all the natural gas, coal, oil?

Wood on the other hand is a sustainable source of fuel and that is why our scriptures uphold the existence of forests (vana) have always propounded the merit of trees as sustainers of the environment, for they expend carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. This could be why the grihya sutra texts which describe in detail the place of cremation (shmashaan) advocate that it be surrounded by trees.

"According to some of the Hindu beliefs, the ones who have gone saat samundar paar, coupled with their non-observance of many HIndu restrictions, are already jaat nikale hue, etc. or quite close to mlaichchas, i.e. that is what most of us are who are living abroad a Mlaichcha life."

Kindly provide the scriptural reference to this contention; Hindus have for thousands of years been a seafaring race and this is probably how Sanatan Dharma proliferated throughout the Golden Peninsula (svarnabhoomi) to Thailand, Indonesia and Bali, through ancient trade routes. Some Hindus assert that naval vessels are even described in our most sacred Veda. We would challenge your assertion that Hindus living abroad all become "Mlaichcha" (hedonistic), on the contrary some have actually preserved the values of their ancestors and this could perhaps explain why they are one of the most successful immigrant communities in the UK. If all people who leave India and live abroad become "Mlaichcha" as you describe, is it not remarkable therefore that in India we notice an increase in such traits amongst indigenous Hindus.

"While we are so eco conscious, how such a pollution can be permitted in the western world, I wonder. So please do not make undue demands in the name of Hinduism"

During the 2001 catastrophic foot and mouth outbreak, many hundreds of thousands of infected animal carcasses were burnt by the UK Government in open pyres across the country. Following concerns from nearby residents, the Department of Health, Environment Agency and leading specialists, concluded that there was "no significant harm to health or the environment."

Please read this BBC news article for details:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/1296209.stm

We must therefore question the validity of your claim that the open-air cremation of a few departed Hindus would raise serious environmental pollution issues in the UK.

Jai Sitaramji ki

Dr Raj Pandit Sharma
Hindu Council UK
www.hinducounciluk.org

 

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