eMedinewS Editorial

Health Care 192 Comments

Sai Baba’s Maha Samadhi

This raises questions in our minds about methods and rituals of disposal of dead bodies. As doctors we must know these rituals and respect the sentiments of the family and of the society.

1. Bhoo Samadhi (burial underground)
2. Jal Samadhi (water burial)
3. Agni Dah (cremation) or Agni Samadhi
4. Body being consumed by vultures and other birds or beasts
5. Body being preserved in caves
6. Mummifying the body
7. Samadhi in Yoga

  1. Antyeshti or Hindu final funeral rites, is an important sacrament of Hindu society. It is well described in Garuda Purana.
  2. About 4000 years before, human bodies were either exposed to the elements of nature, and to the birds, or buried in the earth, in a river, and sometimes a cave or an urn. Centuries later, cremation became the usual mode of disposal of the dead bodies, with certain exceptions (infants, yogis, sadhus etc)
  3. Cremation is done with the notion that the soul cannot enter a new body until its former one has totally disappeared, and cremation was considered the fastest way to expeditiously dispose of the dead bodies.
  4. Hindu customs: Body of a child under 28 months is buried and not cremated. In some castes bodies of children up to the age of 3 years are buried.
  5. Mortal bodies of sanyasins are buried. This is Boo samadhi.
  6. The Parsi way of disposing of the dead is by keeping the corpse on serrated platforms on terrace of the Towers of Silence (known as the dakhmas) to be eaten away by vultures and other carnivorous birds. This was the Parsi way of showing respect to the environment, by not burying the cadaver which defiles earth, nor sully the fire by cremating the dead. For Parsis, the fire is holy and is revered in their temples.
  7. Hindus avoid converting major part of land into a graveyard. Cremation is the best method of disposal of a dead body, with due respect, honor and affection. This is agni samadhi. “Väyur Anilam Amritam, Athedam Bhasmäntam Shariram, Om Krato Smara Kritam Smara, Krato Smara Kritam Smara” (Sri Ishopanishad 17)

    Väyuh—air of life; anilam—total reservoir of air; amritam—indestructible; atha—now; idam—this; bhasmäntam—after being turned to ashes; shariram—body; om—O Lord; krato—O enjoyer of all sacrifices; smara—please remember; kritam—all that has been done by me; smara—please remember; krato—O supreme beneficiary; smara—please remember; kritam—all that I have done for You; smara—please remember.

    This translates as: ‘Let this temporary body be burnt to ashes, and let the air of life be merged with the totality of air. Now, O my Lord, please remember all my sacrifices, and because You are the ultimate beneficiary, please remember all that I have done for You.’

  8. Hinduism: All five elements must get to the five elements of the nature. Every Hindu longs to die on the banks of the Ganges River so that their body can be cremated and the ashes deposited in the river or ashes (bones) are respectfully collected from the cremation place and immersed in a nearby holy water with appropriate respect. (After Agni samadhi, Jal samadhi is also done).
  9. Those persons, who are accidentally carried away by water, and if their bodies could not be found out, it is honor to say that they have attained Jal samadhi.
  10. No post death obsequial rituals are done for a person who has met with a violent and unnatural death like an accident, suicide, murder, jumping into water, falling from a height, being killed by an animal etc. For these no mritakam (impurity) is observed by the family members and they become purified immediately upon the disposal of the corpse which is cremated without any rituals.

Samadhi in Yoga: Samadhi is discussed in the first part of Yoga Sutras called Samadhi–pada. Samadhi is Sanskrit word for “complete meditation.” Samadhi is the state of being aware of one’s existence without thinking. Three intensities (depths) of Samadhi are usually understood

  • Savikalpa Samadhi refers to the initial (beginning) state of Samadhi.
  • Nirvikalpa Samadhi is the end result.
  • Staying in Nirvikalpa Samadhi is effortless but even from this condition one must eventually return to ego–consciousness. However, it is entirely possible to stay in Nirvikalpa Samadhi and yet be fully functional in this world. This condition is known as “Sahaja Nirvikalpa Samadhi.”

Nirvikalpa Samadhi is a preparatory step to Maha Samadhi and serves as extreme uplifting of all body vibration and leads to complete healing of karmic wounds to the open doors to God and divine love for further progress on your way to God.

Maha Samadhi, literally meaning great samadhi is the word for a realized yogi’s conscious departure from the physical body at death. It is the final conscious abandoning of the physical body.

Jeeva Samadhi: Enabling the physical body to be placed in a tomb in jeeva samadhi at will, in a state of suspended animation, where the blood circulation and the breathing have stopped but a luminous pranic energy keeps the body–cells alive, with the possibility of the siddha dematerializing the body in the tomb and materializing it outside in a completely different locality and living out an extended span of life for several years.

Source(s): (C. Sri Vidya Rajagopalan)








Dr KK Aggarwal
Editor in Chief