Two words Asthi (Leftover bones after the cremation of the body) and Visarjan (Immersion in the flowing water) but the significance of this ritual can’t be bounded in words in the life of a Hindu.
If planning for Asthi Visarjan over Ganga in India, one should have to keep the following things in mind:-
- Store the dead ash over the mud pot (Kalash) & cover it with a red cloth.
- While travelling to tirthsthal (i.e Prayagraj, Varanasi or Haridwar) do not place the Kalash on the ground.
- Always carry a white dhoti (for male) for yourself, to conduct the poojan.
- Select a knowledgeable priest, who knows all the rituals & know the correct way of performing the poojan, should be experienced.
- Every caste & community has a bit different way of performing the Pind daan & Asthi visarjan rituals, if you want to know about your community, feel free to contact us! Our Tirth Purohit will help you out in following the right way.
- We at Prayag Pandits help you out in conducting the rituals & would love to guide you in each step. Feel free to contact us anytime.
Significance: Spirituality and History
It is believed that the soul of the person cannot get Salvation “Mukti” until his/her Asthi and Ash are poured in Holy river.
Ancient texts are full of the significance of the ritual of Asthi Visarjan In Valmiki Ramayana shloka no. 41 in 43rd chapter in Balkand Sage Vishwamitra tells Rams while mentioning the story of Ganga Avtaran.
O’ Ram, you are the greatest in Raghu Dynasty as soon as Ganga’s water touches the ashes soul obtained heaven as all sins of soul cleared with a mere touch of Ganga.
Other shloka mentioned in Kurmpuran tells that
The number of years the ashes remain in Ganga the departed soul enjoys the stay in Heavens multiple times of thousand years.
Story of Bhagirath and Ganga
Both Mahabharata and Ramayana mentions the Story of Ganga Avtaran and mention how significant to do the Asthi Visarjan.
There was a Powerful King named King Sagar who had 60000 sons. He started performing 100 Ashvamedha Yagya, it was told that if all 100 Ashvamedha Yagya complete he will sit on the throne of the king of Heaven’s Indra.
After the 99th of Yagya, Deva’s from heaven got frightened and stole the horse and tied it to the home of Sage Kapil. When the sons of Sagar found the horse in the house of Kapil muni they tried to kill him by using immense power.
Kapil muni Turned all 60,000 princes into ashes. They were dead but their souls were restless due to untimely death. Anshuman the grandson of Kind Sagar asked for forgiveness and way so that he can free the souls from the restlessness and depart them to Swarga.
Kapil Muni said that only by touching the Devi Ganga (which was flowing in the cosmos at that time) these souls can get Salvation.
Anshuman started Tapasya to please God Brahama failed and so his son Dilip but he again failed.
Then came Bhagirath meditated so vigorously that Lord Bramha asked him for the boon he said that he wished to Ganga flow on earth so the souls of his ancestors get salvation.
Bramha told him to worship God Shiv as Shiv has the only power to control the flow of Ganga. Bhagirath followed the advice and worshipped pleased Shiv. Shiv hold Ganga in his hair and allow the flow by opening a “Jata” and allowing the flow.
As soon as the Ganga touched the earth, she started flowing from Gangotri to Gangasagar behind the chariot of King Bhagirath and along with names like “Bhagirathi”, “Jahnavi” and “Sursari”.
The mere touch of Ganga gave salvation to the departed souls, and hence it’s one of the most important rituals in Hinduism as it did to the ancestor of Bhagirath.
What to do?
After the body is set to fire some unburnt bones along with ash are required to be immersed in the Holy water/source of running water as soon as possible with proper chanting of mantras to help the departed soul to get Salvation.
India is lucky enough to get the complete flow of the holiest river “Ganga” which Flows from Rishikesh, Haridwar, Varanasi, Kanpur, Patna and other major areas so all humanity can get rid of its sin.