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RE: Burning of dead bodies

From: Sudarsanan (
Date: Wed Sep 12 2001 - 09:33:58 PDT

Dear Shri Vijay,

> Message: 5
>    Date: Fri, 07 Sep 2001 00:33:01 -0000
>    From: "Vijaykumar T G" <>
> Subject: Re: Burning of dead bodies

> --------you wrote----------
> 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.
> ----------------------------

> 1. What is tulasikaThaka agni?

I am sorry for the typo. It is actually tulasikASThaka agni. tulasi kASTham means tulasi stick, to the best of my knowledge. 

> 2. My understanding is that when a person dies, the soul will 
> immediately take another body. The body is burnt after few hours of 
> death. How is it possible for "tulasikaThaka agni" to liberate the 
> soul from all sins and attain moksham.

When we offer havis to Agni by chanting mantras, we get the benefit. Most of the benefits we obtain this way helps our soul rather than the body (except for few kAmyArtha karmas, which may benefit the physical body). Similarly, when we chant the mantras and offer the mortal remains of the body to Agni, the benefit goes to the soul even if the soul is no longer associated with the body. I think here lies the significance of the mantras.

This can be compared with all the pitR^i karmas we perform in which the benefit goes to our ancestors. (Even though the corresponding soul may no longer be associated with the gotras and the names with which we offer the shrAddha, the vasu,rudra and Aditya take care of delivering them to the soul irrespective of the current form of the soul).

> 3. Does the soul is still inside the dead body until the body is 
> burnt?. Does it mean that based on the type of agni, the soul will 
> either go to moksham(using tulasikaThaka agni) or take another body? 

I think that the soul would be separated from the body once it dies. But, as I mentioned earlier, the benefits of all the karmas done to the body reaches the soul. One more example for this could be the dhAnAs we do after a person dies, on his behalf. Garuda Puranam explains the things that happen to the soul after the death. Probably, it can throw some light in this regard. 
I hope that my answer clarifies your doubt to some extent. I am not an expert in this and whatever little I know, is from the books I have. Much more can be gained by the way of interaction.


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           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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