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Antyesti Sanskar means funeral ceremony. According to the scriptures, after the death of a person, the dead body is dedicated to fire. Even today, fire is taken from the house ahead of the funeral. With this, chita (dead-body) is lit. This implies that the fire which was burnt in the divine house during the marriage ceremony; the same fire has been used for a person’s last sacrifice that is cremation.
Significance of Sanskar:
‘जातसंस्कारैणेमं लोकमभिजयति मृतसंस्कारैणामुं लोकम’
Human beings win this
lok (universe) from the sacraments like jaatkaram sanskar; Antyesti Sanskar is
the last rite from the famous sixteen sacraments of human life in Hindu
culture, where there is a difference as per caste and religious, but the
cremation ceremony of the deceased person is done in general. Antyesti means
the last sacrifice (yagna). In other words, this is the final religious rite of
life-journey. Ideally, sanskar (ethics) starts from the moment of conception
(pregnancy) and is done at every important stage in the life of the person.
When death approaches, relatives and priests are called upon, holy texts are
read and ceremonial presentations are prepared. After the death, the body is
taken to the crematorium at the earliest, which is usually located on the river
banks. The eldest son of the deceased person along with ceremonial priest
perform cremation. The first fifteen sanskars (rites) of a person’s life are
for making the life divine and holy.