sabato 3 settembre 2011

Death, body and Atman

Gange, Varanasi: Cremation

In the Hindu tradition, the body is nothing but the casing, the dress used by the Atman to incarnate itself and take the long journey that will lead this 'spirit', this 'soul' to join the 'universal spirit', the Brahman after many reincarnations until the complete exhaustion of the 'karmic residue.'
The body, especially the human body, is important, it is the instrument, the only one that could allow the achievement of the moksha, final liberation and interruption of samsara, the cycle of rebirth. It is not given to any other living being, only humans can attain liberation.
Gandhi said that the body is like the charka, so it must be kept, maintained, repaired, oiled, used properly, but it is just a tool, nothing more.
Consequently, the death affects only the body, the soul or, more correctly, the Atman does not die, cannot die because is ‘being’ and being cannot 'not to be.' The soul is innate, that is not born as always existed and - like everything that is born dies - what is not born cannot die.
In the Bhagavad Gita (II, 20) reads: "The soul that is inside every man ever born nor dies, it was not, will not be back. It is innate, necessary, eternal, primal, and it doesn’t die when the body dies.
For this reason, despite the pain that death causes among men, in India it is seen with a view different from the West, is considered as a new birth.
This is not something that ends up, but something that continues. So much so that death in India is not opposed to the life but to the birth and, like birth, it is just one of many passages from one state to another.
Significantly, the mother's womb is considered a grave where a certain state of being dies and born back and, on the contrary, the tomb is regarded as a uterus where it is consumed the destruction of the body and from which Atman will be to a new state through a new birth.
The belief that "you are not your body" has the consequence that the funeral rites and ancestor worship are different from those in the West.
The destruction of the body by cremation (completely majoritarian method used in India to get rid of the body) and consequent rituals are all designed to enable Atman to pursue properly the path that has yet to accomplish.
Does not exist, that there is no reason, a body to worship and a tomb on which to pray, there not a name to remember, the deceased lost name and form (namarupam), there is only the Atman and the rites are used to commit the path that Atman has to do.
The deceased lost the connotations of individuality so that takes a name common to all the other dead. Typically, if he was Brahmin is called Sarma, if Kshatriya Varma, if Vaisya Gupta, if Sudra Dasa and are dedicated to him the rituals only until the third generation. In practice the rites are celebrated for their father, grandfather and great-grandfather dead. When the son dies, the great-grandfather will not be the most celebrated rituals and so forth.

Nessun commento:

Posta un commento