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Re: Hindu Practice of Cremation

Mr RV Anamalay (rvana1@mdw039.cc.monash.edu.au) wrote:

: To the Editor,
: 	This may seem like a silly question, but what seems to be the
: 	basis of the hindu practice of cremation? 

Not a silly question at all.  While it seems that burial was practised by 
the upper classes very early on in our history, cremation has always been 
the most common way to dispose of the dead.  Nowadays, it is the only 
acceptable way.

As to the "reason" for it, fire is considered to be a purifier.  By 
burning a body, we are purifiying it until only the most subtle part (the 
atma or soul) remains. 

:       Also, what are the
: 	reasons for deviating from the general practice of cremation?

Only sannyasis are buried these days.  And children who die before they 
have been named.  I can't think of any other exceptions.

:The reason I ask is because my family (paternal side) has been
: 	burying their deceased for the past few generations at least
: 	(we are Malaysian born hindus of Tamil origin).  Nobody seems
: 	to know why or are reluctant to speak about it.

This is most strange.  Could it simply be because of influence from your 
Muslim Malay neighbors?

: Many Thanks, : Ravi. 

-- Jaldhar

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