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Antyeṣṭi

Antyeṣṭi, Antyeshti. (‘cremation’) The sixteenth sacrament in Hinduism, dealing with funeral rites. There is no other saṃskāra for the body after the last rites. In modern times, when cremation can be by gas or electricity, only a token ceremony is performed and mantras are recited, but generally no oblations can be offered.

On the third day, the near relatives go back to the funeral ground and collect the few remaining bones and either bury them in the ground nearby or throw them in the river. The Vedas do not mention any rites, yet in practice on the twelfth day, relations and friends are invited for the feast of the wake. The annual śrāddha (ancestor veneration) is performed by the surviving relatives.

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