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RE: Burning of dead bodies

From: Sudarsanan (
Date: Wed Sep 05 2001 - 11:09:01 PDT


Dear Swamin, 

The reason for the burning of dead bodies is given in the book called "pitrumedha sara prashnam" (pitR^imedha sAra prashnaH). 
Shri. Thozappar (a) vaidhIka sArvabhaumar has  blessed us with many granthas and one of them is this. He has also done a vyakhyanam for this which is called as sudhI vilocanam. Based on these granthas, Shri. U.Ve. Veeravalli Ghanapati Desikacharya Swamy of Vaduvur has written a book and was published some years back. Adiyen was lucky to have a copy of this book. Given below is the crude translation of what adiyen has understood from the book and please forgive adiyen's mistakes.

mUlam: tatra dehaH paramaM haviH puruSAhutiryasya priyatameti vi~nAyate |

meaning: There are lot of things which will satisfy "agni". Ajyam, purodAsam, caru etc... But, body (deham) is the most superior thing which will satisfy agni (priyatamam). 


The benefit of this act goes to the person who died (even though the karma is  performed by karta).

The person, whose body was burnt by "tulasikaThaka agni" will be relieved of all the sins he had committed. Even if he had committed thousands of sins he will attain moksha.

Adiyen could not get the answer for why the dead bodies of yatis are not offered to fire.

Apart from yatis, a child which dies within 10 days of its birth  should only be buried. If the child dies after 10 days and before 3 years it can be offered to the agni or buried or can be thrown away in the forest.


Probably, our ancestors had anticipated the population explosion and if everybody is to be buried after their death, I think the entire world would eventually become a burial ground. I have heard that in Japan they have multi-storied burial building(?) due to the lack of space. Burning the dead bodies may, to some extent alleviate this problem.

Please correct me if I am wrong.


>   Date: Wed, 5 Sep 2001 09:19:26 +0800
>  From:
>  Subject: Burning of dead bodies

> SrI:
> Dear Srivaishnavas,
> My wife asked me these two queries: (I could not reply. Please help).

> Why do we burn the dead bodies? (is it beacuse the body has become impure
> without the jiVan in it). If there is a reson, why do we not perform the
> same for the dead bodies of sanysaasis?

> I am sure there should be valid reasons /pramANams.
> Regards
> Narayana Narayana
> aDiyEn

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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