Puri: Jagannatha Temple: Relics

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat May 2 20:01:24 UTC 1998

Mary Storm <umadevi at SFO.COM> wrote:

> I think, however all types of death related matters are to some degree
>polluted, not just the death of a sannyasin. Numerous rites, rituals
>customs keep matters of death and the dead body at a distance, e.g .
>purification associated with fire. the cremation grounds on the edge of
>a village, particular segregated indidviduals who work on the cremation
>ghats,  etc..

This is where the death of a sannyAsin stands out with respect to other
deaths. The question of purification by fire does not arise when there
is no cremation. There are rites and rituals for the internment, but
there is no attempt to keep death at a distance. If the sannyAsin is the
head of a maTha, the body is taken in procession through the village.
People who come to pay their respects do not need to take a purifying
bath, and the burial is done quite close to the temple, not on the
outskirts of the village. Sivalingas or Tulasi Brindavanas are installed
over the burial site, and often such a memorial structure itself becomes
a mini-temple. People go and have darsan, in much the same way as they
would at more normal temples. Such practices are not restricted to
specific doctrinal affiliations, and as far as the daSanAmI orders and
the mAdhva orders are concerned, there is also no pollution for the
erstwhile family and relatives of the sannyAsin.


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