Hindu funeral rites, known as Antyesti, are both beautiful and complex; and of course, deeply spiritual. Family and community-driven, a Hindu funeral service brings everyone together with the purpose of both caring for the physical remains and through ritual actions (such as offerings and prayer), ensuring the reincarnation of the deceased's according to accepted Karmic principles.
Here at McKeon Funeral Home, we are very aware of the subtleties of Hindu death rituals, and do all we can to facilitate the emotional needs, personal desires, and religious expectations of the Hindu families we serve when providing them with funeral services. To arrange a Hindu funeral for a loved one, we ask that you call (718) 655-6464 to speak with a member of staff.
Hindu Funeral Traditions
"Wondrous indeed is this world where one who was here yesterday may not be found today." ~ The Mahabharata
What is Hinduism? Subhamoy Das, in the online article "Hinduism for Beginners", writes, "Hinduism cannot be neatly slotted into any particular belief system. Unlike other religions, Hinduism is a way of life, a Dharma, that is, the law that governs all action." And much like any of the major (and minor) religions in the world, "it has its own beliefs, traditions, advanced system of ethics, meaningful rituals, philosophy and theology." Just as in other areas where Hindu communities flourish; here in the Bronx, when an individual dies, family members come together to care for their loved one by following ages-old ritual traditions.
Thirty years ago, the New York Times published an article titled "Hindu Funeral Traditions", where the author affirms their "belief in reincarnation provides the basis for its death-related rituals. Though these practices differ somewhat among social and economic groups, there is a common core of tradition." Prescribed ritual traditions include the washing of the deceased's physical remains by close family members. We facilitate this essential activity by providing a dedicated space in our facility where the family can perform the required cleansing and physical care of the body in privacy.
The staff members of McKeon Funeral Home are also present to assist in the ritual activities involved in the visitation or wake held before the cremation. These activities include the application of ash (Vibhuti) or Sandalwood (Chandanam) to the forehead of deceased adult man; or Turmeric, in the case of a woman. Other ritual activities include the placement of a garland of flowers around the neck of the deceased, the placement of Tulsi, (often called Holy Basil) in the casket; and the chanting of mantras. Members of our staff will also participate as much as needed when it is time for the cremation to occur.
How We Serve Your Needs
Without doubt, we are known to do everything necessary to support Hindu families in the care of a deceased family member. And while those living in the Bronx may be members of the Bronx Hindu Temple, Shri Vishnu Mandir,and receive a great deal of emotional support from the temple community; we believe it's important for them to know that our staff is poised and ready to assist their family in the final care of a deceased family member according to deeply-held spiritual traditions. We invite you to call us at (718) 655-6464 to speak with us about Hindu funerals in general, or to make arrangements for a Hindu funeral ritual for a beloved family member.
Quotation from The Mahabharata