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The human beings according to the Hindus are made of the following 3 basic ingredients:
- SOUL or Athma,
- SPIRIT or Aavi (Life Force) and
- SAREER or Body.
According to the Hindu Religion the human ‘Sareer’ or Body is made up of the following 5 Basic Elements of Nature / Cosmos called:
- EARTH or Mud
- VAYU or Air,
- JAL or Water,
- AGNI or Fire and
- AKASH or Ether
According to the Hindus, the ‘Athma’ or Soul of the human being is ‘Immortal’ from the time they get created by the creator-God, ‘Brahma’.
The Hindus believe that there would be Seven spans of Life called ‘Genmams’/ ‘Avatharams’ or Incarnations.
Some people would say that the number of incarnations would be unlimited, varying from case to case.
At the end of the last such incarnation, the soul would attain the state of ‘Shanti’ or ‘Peace’.
Death is only a process of disintegration the above 3 basic ingredients of Soul, Spirit and Sareer.
After death of human beings the above 5 ingredients of the ‘Sareer’ or body would go back to their origins.
The immortal soul would get a re-incarnation in some other body of either a human being or any other living being, such as animal, bird, insect or reptile etc., depending upon the Will of the God of Creation- Brahma.
Some of the souls would attain the state of ‘Shanthi’ / ‘Mukthi’ or Repose, relieved of further re-incarnation/s.
The ‘Mukthi’ or ‘Re-incarnation /s of the souls would be decided by the Creator God Brahma.
The mukthi or reincarnation would be based on the ‘Punniyams’ or the Good Deeds doneand the ‘Paavams’ or the Evil deeds committed by the human beings in the previous incarnation or birth, from the records of ‘Pavams and Punniams’ or Good Deeds and Evil Deeds, maintained by ‘Yama’ assisted by ‘Chithragupta’.
The Hindus pray for ‘shanthi’ or the repose of the soul of the deceased people by chanting ‘mantras’ or prayers.
The Prayers of the Hindus for the Souls of the Deceased:
The ‘Funeral Prayers’ are chanted on behalf of the relatives of the deceased people of the Hindu Religious elders and ‘Gurus’ or Priests.
Verses from the epic ‘Mahabharata’ in Sanskrit, called ‘Mantras’ or ‘slogans’ are recited in the Funeral Prayers for the dead souls of the Hindus, called ‘Thithi’ for the attainment of ‘Shanthi’ of the souls of the deceased.
The Hindus pray for the repose the soul of the deceased /’Atma Shanti’ of the dead persons, starting from the day of death on various days such as on the 16th day, 40th day and the Anniversary day/s etc.
However, the status of the souls of the deceased, whether they have attained ‘Shanthi’ would not be known to the other people living.
So, it is a custom in Hindus to wish and pray that the deceased soul to attain ‘Shanthi’ in the present jenma / birth.