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What Must Be Avoided During Mourning Period FollowingThe Death Of A Close Relative

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  #1  
Old 01 February 2010, 10:01 PM
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Question What Must Be Avoided During Mourning Period FollowingThe Death Of A Close Relative

Namaskar

My brother in law died about 10 months ago. I have received conflicting advice over whether I can observe Shivaratri this year.

Does anyone have knowledge of this subject? I know that marriages and most celebrations are tabu during the first year after a close relative's death.

Thanks in advance for your advice.
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Old 01 February 2010, 10:09 PM
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Re: What Must Be Avoided During Mourning Period FollowingThe Death Of A Close Relativ

Devisarada: These customs vary slightly from sampradaya to sampradaya.

For me, a minimum of 31 days would be observed for close relatives or friends.

For a spouse, of maybe a child when you're really grieving, maybe a year. But even that would be up to you. The 31 day thing is compulsory, but not for distant relatives or distant friends. Some sects practisse only 21 days as well. So if it was me, unless I was patriculary close to this brother in law, it would be okay. So was it your sister's husband, or your husband's briother. That might also make a difference.

I would certainly seek out more than one opinion. A priest, maybe.

Aum Namasivaya
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Old 01 February 2010, 11:59 PM
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Re: What Must Be Avoided During Mourning Period FollowingThe Death Of A Close Relativ

Thank-you, Eastern for your reply. He was my husband's older brother. These days, I find that if you ask 2 pundits, you get 3 different opinions. In our tradition, (West Indian, Guyanese) we are to refrain from celebrations until the 1 year puja.

I personally do not consider shivaratri a celebration (although it does comemmorate the marriage of Lord Shiva to Parvati) as much as a solemn occassion to worship Lord Shiva.

I sometimes find these rules confusing.
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Old 02 February 2010, 05:25 AM
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Re: What Must Be Avoided During Mourning Period FollowingThe Death Of A Close Relativ

Namaste Devi Sarda,

Quote:
Originally Posted by devisarada View Post
My brother in law died about 10 months ago. I have received conflicting advice over whether I can observe Shivaratri this year.

Does anyone have knowledge of this subject? I know that marriages and most celebrations are tabu during the first year after a close relative's death.
I don't belong to any sampradaya. The Hindus in India are not so much divided on Sampradaya basis. Normally born Hindus don't celebrate any festival upto one year from the death of any close relative. This year is counted from Holi to Holi, as Holi is considered the first day of the Year for Hindus. If Holi comes before one year even short of a month or two, people play Holi & thereafter celebrate all festivals.

Your husband's brother is definitely your close relative as per Hindu family system.

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Old 02 February 2010, 06:38 AM
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Re: What Must Be Avoided During Mourning Period FollowingThe Death Of A Close Relativ

Namaste,

I think the question should be left for the experts like devotee and EM, but I just wanted to say I am sorry for your loss. Surely your husband's brother when he passed on into the astral world realize how great it was to be free of a body. I wish him and you all the best.
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Old 02 February 2010, 08:23 AM
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Re: What Must Be Avoided During Mourning Period FollowingThe Death Of A Close Relativ

Quote:
Originally Posted by devisarada View Post
Thank-you, Eastern for your reply. He was my husband's older brother. These days, I find that if you ask 2 pundits, you get 3 different opinions. In our tradition, (West Indian, Guyanese) we are to refrain from celebrations until the 1 year puja.

I personally do not consider shivaratri a celebration (although it does comemmorate the marriage of Lord Shiva to Parvati) as much as a solemn occassion to worship Lord Shiva.

I sometimes find these rules confusing.
Devisarada: What you say is so true about getting different answers. Even Devotee (whom I respect dearly BTW) and I gave you two different answers. So yes it is tough decision. For me personally, I would consider an austere event like Sivaratri even more important to miss, because the reasons for these things, in my opinion, are mystical, and Sivaratri is a mystical event. (for me) ....

As for differences, Devotee would not be surprised when I say I don`t celebrate Holi at all, because it is regional. So when he talks about Holi, that correctly applies to his area of expertise in Hinduism. For me there is only one new year, and that is Tamil New Year April.

Here is my perhaps better recommendation. The main pundit at the Toronto Vishnu Mandir, a Dr. Doobay, originally from Guyana, has worked tirelessly for years to build that temple and keep the religion alive for Guyanese in Canada there. I have met him on 3 separate occasions, and he also hosts a Hinduism weekly TV show. In short, I would trust his opinion for the Hinduism variety from Guyana. You can probably contact him or a representative from that temple for your question. Best wishes. In the end, of course, it is up to you and you alone.

One of the most difficult affectionate detachment` ideas we can go through is temple festivals. What I mean is to not be troubles or upset when you miss them. I`ve often thought of doing a 21 day festival, but purposely missing the last day.

Aum Namasivaya
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Old 02 February 2010, 08:27 AM
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Re: What Must Be Avoided During Mourning Period FollowingThe Death Of A Close Relativ

Devisarada: Ooops. I looked at your profile. You're already in Toronto, and I'm sure you are already aware of said person. Sorry.

Aum Namasivaya
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Old 02 February 2010, 08:40 AM
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Re: What Must Be Avoided During Mourning Period FollowingThe Death Of A Close Relativ

Namaste EM,

I expected this response from you after writing that post.

Holi is not celebrated only in 3-4 states in Southern part of India. Rest of India celebrates Holi in a big way.

Yes, this year-to-year calculation may vary in some places.

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Old 02 February 2010, 08:50 AM
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Re: What Must Be Avoided During Mourning Period FollowingThe Death Of A Close Relativ

Devotee: Yes I knew that. Just wanted to get my little shot in. Nobody can ever speak for all of Hinduism. In Mauritius, and I have no idea how, there is a festival called Govinden which was the festival there. Thai Pusam is a national holiday as well. I am not very familiar with Guyanese variety, although most of the indentured labour there seem to have been taken more from the northern states of India. So Holi, RamNavami, Krishna Janmasthtami are all probably pretty big.

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Old 02 February 2010, 09:16 AM
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Re: What Must Be Avoided During Mourning Period FollowingThe Death Of A Close Relativ

Pranam all

Personally I dont see any restriction going to mandir and performing spiritually activities once the period of Sutak is over. Sutak applies both for birth and death.

One year period, is where the relatives perform various rights for the benefit of the departed souls, I was told by a priest the nearest planet takes nine month to reach. Pindas are offered every month after the initial ceremony of 13 days. These offering is done for a year, in Gujarati we call it varsi.
These days in UK at least due to lack of time or what ever this Varsi is performed and included with the Barmu or the twelth day, when all the pindas up to one year gets offered. I personally like to think if a person who was kind and helpful while living why should he become an obstacle after the departure.

Now coming to not participating in any event be it spiritual or social would largely depend on the loss one would have suffered, how near and dear that person was. One may grieve for years.

It is mainly a taboo to take part in social events, due to respect one has to be seen to give to the departed and to the relatives. in my opinion it is purely Social customs.

Spiritual practice like Sivaratri or Janamastmi there is no restriction that I know off except when one is impure. in fact spiritual practice or vrat are merits that one offers to the departed.

off course the firework at Diwali or playing with colour may be construed as having fun while a departed souls ashes have barely cooled, these are social constrained, as not to be seen as having no regards or respect for the departed souls.
 
 
 
Rules of Sutak
 
 
From the Preta-kanda of the Garuda Purana.

The impurity accruing from birth and death is fourfold. The rules of impurity are applicable to all the four castes.
The days of impurity are ten for the relatives on the fathers and mothers side. People should avoid taking meals during this period with the relatives of the dead. The bereaved family should neither offer nor receive gifts, should neither undertake nor conduct sacrifices. The study of the Vedas and Shastras (scriptures) is strictly prohibited.
One should observe the following while performing obsequies rites; suitability of place and time, sufficiency of wealth, justification of purpose, validity of reason and his capability.
If a person dies in a forest conflagration or in some foreign country, then the impurity is soon removed by merely taking a bath.
If a child is dead in the womb or is born dead (still born), there should be no obsequies rite, no water libation and no impurity at all.
Artisans, architects, physicians, servants (male or female), kings and Vedic scholars are purified immediately.
He who is undergoing a fast (abstaining from food), he who is performing a sacrifice reciting the mantras, he who has set up a sacrificial fire or he who is a reigning monarch (ruler) these are exempt from the rules of impurity as are also those who are exempted by the king.
For impurity accruing from birth, the rules are not so strict. Mother is purified after ten days; father just after taking a bath.
Manu has said that there is no impurity if a person dies during the days of marriage, during festivities, during days of sacrifice (religious ceremonies). The foodstuff prepared or collected for use can be utilised by the persons concerned.
Birth:relatives incur no impurity. Impurity attaches to parents alone. Primarily, it is the mother who becomes impure. Father is purified by the touch of water alone.
In birth or death, impurity lasts for ten days.
By giving food to the hungry and to the poor and the needy, the parents get rid of impurity the sages have declared.
Man is purified after bathing in water from an earthen jar, mixed with gingelly seeds and clay from holy places.
He should give gifts of some articles to the village assembly (local community organization). Wealth should be given to a Brahmin.
A person distanced by seven or eight generations or he who has not undergone the Sacrament incurs no impurity.
For men who have lost their lives for the sake of (protection of) Brahmins, cows, women, or in the battlefield, infirmity lasts for a single night only.
Brahmins do not incur impurity if they are engaged in auspicious rites. Those who arrange cremation of an orphan child with a Brahmin assisting them in this act become purified as soon as they take bath.

Jai Shree Krishna
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