10 Interesting Beliefs About Dead Souls in Hinduism
10- The Dead return as Crows
Every year, on the day that the ancestor died, the ritual of feeding crows is practiced among Hindus in India. They believe that the dead ancestors come back in the form of crows to their home. Eat the offered food, bless them and go back to the world of dead.
9- The Dead have 7 Re-births
Hindus believe that there are seven re-births for each person. They believe that a person is mostly born as a human being again. However, there are chances that he or she may be born as an animal. They consider that, people who commit lot of sins in their earthly life, usually get an animal birth next time. Also, they believe that they are given seven chances to live a good life, before they go to heaven. They also believe that all the events that happened in each birth of the person are stored in his or her memory.
8- The Dead turn into Ghosts
Hindus believe in the existence of Ghosts. People who die after committing very cruel sins or kill themselves are considered to wander on earth as Ghosts; Until they receive their punishment. Such Ghosts or Spirits are classified into two categories. One is the “Good Ghosts” category, which consists of spirits that have acknowledged their evil activities on earth and are ready to take up their punishment.
7- Re-Union with Dead Father and Grandfather
Hindus believe that the dead will unite with their father and grandfather; If the rituals are done properly by the children of the deceased.The house of the deceased is cleaned and the funeral ceremony is performed by a priest on the 31st day after death. The Priest makes a big pinda (rice ball) which represents the dead soul and three small pindas that represents the souls of the father, great grandfather and the grandfather of the dead person.
6- Re-Incarnation in the same family
Hindus believe that the state of mind of the person during death determines whether the person will go to heaven or have another birth. If the person has completed all his earthly roles and responsibilities; Resolved conflicts with others, he or she is likely to go to heaven. If the person dies in accident or an unexpected disease, he or she will have another birth as soon as possible.
5- Placement based on Time and Environment
Hindus believe that the time of death and the environment during death, decide where the deceased will spend after life. They believe that dying in certain auspicious days can take the person straight to heaven. Enchanting the names of the Hindu gods, mantras and Vedas are considered to be the best things to be done during death. They believe that dying on a festival day or when puja is performed in home, will make a person go to his or her god in heaven, irrespective of what they have done in their lives on earth.
4- Meritorious Dead Souls
During the Vedic period, there were rituals to be carried out for killing enemies and offering human sacrifice. Human sacrifice to god was not considered as evil during Vedic days. It was generally done for reasons such as getting rid of god’s anger, obtaining magical powers etc. The person who offers himself as a human sacrifice to god is considered as a ‘bhakta’. Which means devotee, and the families of the victim are considered to be ‘privileged’ or ‘meritorious’.
3- The Dead remain in the place of death or tomb
Hindus believe that the dead people usually dwell in their place of death or in the place of burial or cremation, until the sacraments are completed. It is believed that the dead souls are bound by the emotions, feelings and affections of the worldly relationships. And they cannot leave the world until they are freed by performing rituals.
2- Dead Body in Ganga river
Hindus believe that the river Ganga is a sacred river, which links heaven and earth. They believe that if the half-burnt body of the deceased is thrown into this river, the dead soul will definitely reach heaven, irrespective of his or her deeds on earth, circumstances or time of death. This has led to drastic pollution of the river Ganges, making it a river of the dead. Thousands of decayed dead bodies float in the river, even today. People still bath and even drink the water in this river, considering it as sacred.
1- Prayers to the Dead
Hindus believe that dead ancestors can be worshiped and their protection can be sought in their day to day lives. They believe that dead ancestors and relatives come in dreams and live with their relatives and children, if they are honored and worshiped by them. They also believe that all the rituals done to the dead, keep them connected with the relatives or family members and hence protect them and be present with them.
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