LIST OF FINAL RITES – KARTHA (Sanathana Hindu Sutra)
Om Namasivaya Nama:
Om Gam Ganapathaye Nama
KARTHA – THE RESPONSIBLE PERSON FOR CONDUCTING THE FINAL RITES OF THE DECEASED –
As per “Smruthi Mukthaphalam” and “Vaidhyanatha Dhikshitheeyam”.
According to learned scholars and practising Purohithas, 32 family members by priority are allowed to conduct the final rights of Kriya for the deceased. According to Veda sastras, the person who conducts this Apara Kriya is eligible to obtain the rewards of conducting 100 Aswamedha Yaagam because assisting the helpless Jeevathma to ascend to a celestial world is the biggest ever duty one can do. Without the nonperformance of final rites, the Jeevathma will float around in the atmosphere without the chance to join another body. The period of conducting this Kriya varies from each school of discipline that follows different Vedas, Sutras, Region, Religion, Samskaram, and sub-sect, etc.; however, everyone does something that helps the helpless Aathma to attain Paralok or next birth. Some sects do not believe in doing any of these Kriyas because they believe that the Jeevathma has no expiry and leaves one body and enters another. Therefore, no need to do any of these prescribed Apara-Kriyas. However, the majority believes in conducting final rites followed by remembering them and offering food as a part of life. People feed other living beings on their behalf/name (In fact, this is called Srardh to ancestors by Vedas).
Many types of Puthras/Sons (children) are mentioned in the Sastras, as we can see in our daily life. The priority among Puthras is Aurasa Puthran. Puthran means Aathmajan (father becoming son through women/wife) who rescues parent’s Aathma from Naraklok called “Puth”; therefore, he is called Puthran. This Aurasa Puthran is defined in 5 ways.
1 AURASA PUTHRAN (Deceased Eldest Son born to a legitimate first wife out of his own Bheeja/Semen/Garbhadhaan).
- The Eldest Son.
- If they were twine, then the firstborn.
- If the deceased had many wives and all of them had children, then the seniormost Son.
- If the deceased had adopted a child (Dhathu Puthran) as a senior son, but later his own wife gave birth to an Aurasa Puthran, then the Aurasa Puthran would become the first Kartha.
- If the deceased had two wives and the Child adoption procedures (Vaideega Sweekaaram) were conducted through the first wife, and later the 2nd wife gave birth to a son, then this Aurasa Puthran is Kartha to father, 2nd wife as well as the first wife.
- PAUTHRAN (Grandson of own Son)
- PRA-PAUTHRAM (Great Grandson – Children of the first grandson)
- DHATHAN (Adopted son)
- DHATHA PAUTHRAM (Adopted son’s son)
- DHANAHAARI DHAUHITHRAN (Appointed Legal heir, born to own daughter’s grandchild).
- DHAUHITHRAN (Son of other daughters).
- PATHNI (First wife, in case of many wives), if joint family, then his BROTHER gets first priority from his first wife since women cannot conduct Apara Kriya.
- SAPATHNI PUTHRAN (In case a mother/wife dies and she does not have a Male Child, then her husband’s 2nd wife or deemed wife’s male child).
- BARTHA in case of a wife.
- DHOOHITHA (Daughter)
- BRATHA (Brother) own brother for Man. In the case of women, the husband’s brother.
- BRATHRUJA (Brother’s Male Children older to younger availability)
- ASOTHARA/BINNOTHARA BRATHA (Father’s another wife’s male child)
- ASOTHARA/BINNOTHARA BRATHA PRAJA (Any Male children of any father’s wife).
- PITHA (Father) mainly for own Children
- MATHA (Mother) mainly for own Children where the husband is also not alive.
- SNUSHAA (Daughter-in-law).
- PAUTHRI (Grand-daughter – Son’s daughter)
- DHAUHITHRI (Grand-daughter – Daughter’s daughter)
- PAUTHRASYA PATHNI (Grandson’s wife – father’s side)
- DHATHU PUTHRI (Adopted daughter)
- DHATHU PATHNI (Adopted son’s wife, deemed daughter-in-law)
- BHAGHINI (Sister elder or younger according to availability)
- BHAAGHINEYAN (Sister’s son – nephew)
- SAPINDAN (10 days Asoucha blood relative)
- SAMAANODHAN (3 days Asoucha blood relative)
- MAATHRU SAPINDAN (Mother side ten days Asoucha blood relative – mother side Uncle’s).
- THATH-SAMAANODHAN (Mother side three days Asoucha blood relative – mother side Uncle’s).
- JAMATHA (Son-in-Law)
- SAKHA (Close friend)
- DHANHARI (Legal heir who will enjoy the assets of the deceased).
In my opinion, I would add the following members too. Considering current lifestyle affairs, it is imperative to look for alternatives. At the end of the day, no SMRUTHI is permanent. It can be changed according to time, space, and region. Many senior citizens are enrolled in old age homes or orphanage homes, and many children will not even look back to their parent’s statuesque. In such cases, of course, SAKHA is allowed to take care, yet some more options will give peace of mind to the deprived families.
- SISHYA (Disciple)
- SWAYA GOTHRAN (Any male member of own Vedic Gothra)
- SWAYA SUTRAN (Abasthamban, Boudhayanan, Vadhoolan etc…)
- PUROHITHAN (Family or community priest)
- PAROPAKARI (Social service people)
Besides the final rites (Part One), after the Sanjayanam (immersing bones and ashes into holy rivers or sea) (Part Two), the Jeevathma’s expectations increase many folds. Therefore, the next 12 days are crucial (Actually, it is up to 354 days, i.e., 29.5 lunar days x 12 months). At least a pot of water and Anna Pinda must be provided to them with a Sankalp (resolution/determination).
Om Swaha-Swadha-Dakshina Devyai Nama:
Compiled by R. V. Venkiteswaran (Venky) – April 2023
SRI BALA THRIPURA SUNDHARI DEVI
Violet Aura on Devi Chaithanyam
Great Holy Kailas Parvath
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