Hinduism and Tribal Religions

Living Edition
| Editors: Pankaj Jain, Rita Sherma, Madhu Khanna

Burial (Hinduism)

  • Lubomír OndračkaEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1036-5_128-1

In Vedic India, bodies were disposed of in different ways ([11, 12]; [15], pp. 168–170); burial was one of them ([8], pp. 61–67). In fact, inhumation was the original dominant Indo-Aryan funeral practice ([28], p. 151), and traces of it are found in Vedic literature ([25], pp. 232–233). There are some surprisingly detailed parallels between Vedic funeral customs and old Indo-European ones ([34], pp. 365–366). Archeological excavations of Sintashta-culture graves (from Chelyabinsk, Russia) have helped scholars decipher some puzzling Ṛgvedic verses about burial practices ([2], pp. 408–409). This knowledge provides clear evidence that inhumation was the earliest form of funeral practiced by Vedic Indians. Although burial was soon replaced by cremation (antyeṣṭi) as the standard Vedic and, later, Hindu funeral custom ([14], p. 74), burial has never disappeared completely from Hindu society. On the contrary, inhumation is much more common among today’s Hindus than is generally believed. It...

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Faculty of ArtsCharles UniversityPragueCzech Republic