How I Sent My Father to Heaven
December 10, 2003 11:55 AM   Subscribe

How I Sent My Father to Heaven. A Hindu funeral. 'My non-believing heart had melted and I once again saluted my father's dedication to my mother. '
New content on The Call of Yama, a page about death and dying in Hinduism (and part of Kamat's Potpourri, a huge personal site devoted to Indian culture, history, art and scenery).
posted by plep (6 comments total)
Previous thread on 'The Timeless Theatre', a part of the same site which deals with Indian art and aesthetics and the parade of Hindu religious belief.
posted by plep at 11:58 AM on December 10, 2003

Very nice. Thanks Plep.
posted by pomegranate at 1:48 PM on December 10, 2003

The article talks about sending someone to heaven, but I had thought that Hindus believed in reincarnation. Does anyone know how the two concepts relate? I'm a little confused.
posted by unreason at 5:13 PM on December 10, 2003

Nice link, by the way.
posted by unreason at 5:14 PM on December 10, 2003

I think the title is figurative. He refers to being a 'non-believer' who is nevertheless clearly attached to his culture (as are many religiously sceptical Westerners of a Christian background).

That being said, my understanding of reincarnation in Hinduism is this :-
The next reincarnation is not necessarily as a human being; it's possible to come back as an animal, a divine being (deva), an 'anti-god' (asura), or spend some time in a Hindu 'hell'. Unlike in Christianity, reincarnation in a Hindu 'heaven' or 'hell' is not eternal (so hell is more like the Catholic purgatory, to be followed by yet another incarnation; similarly with a divine rebirth - even the gods are not immortal, as such).
The ultimate goal of Hinduism is not heaven, but nirvana, i.e. escaping from the wheel of rebirth entirely.

Note :- Unlike Buddhism, Hindus belief in the reincarnation of the self; Buddhists tend not to believe in the 'self' as such, so in Buddhism, while there is a causal relationship between two rebirths, it's not the same as the whole being reincarnated. Here's a virtual tour of the Buddhist wheel of life, which explains this a bit more.

There's a much more detailed explanation of how reincarnation works in Hinduism (and differences between the Vedas and Upanishads, as well as Taoism and Buddhism) here.
posted by plep at 11:11 PM on December 10, 2003

(That last page discussing reincarnation is on a Christian site, but I think that that particular section is a reasonable summary).
posted by plep at 2:06 AM on December 11, 2003

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