Jain Death Rites

Jain Funeral Traditions


Jain cremation ceremony is very simple. This is the order of the Rites:

  1. Dressing the body:
    Avoid natural flowers
    Use sandalwood mala (Garland)
  2. Near the deceased casket
    Place swastika
    On top of swastika: put a whole coconut, divo, and agarbatti
  3. Recite stavans and bhajans for about one hour
  4. Eulogy from family and friends
  5. Final view by visitors
  6. Family members get together by the casket and apply:
    Water and rice three times on the body
    Sandalwood powder on the body
    Ghee on forehead, hands, and feet.
  7. At the end of the ceremony, guests chant navkar mantra, and put:
    Sandalwood mala on body
    Piece of gold in the mouth
    A pearl in the right eye.
    After putting pearl in right eye, we convey magnalik sutra and forgiveness to the deceased person
  8. The casket is then closed
    The Jains cremate the dead as soon as possible. First the body is rubbed with a wet cloth. The corpse is then clothed and placed in a bier and covered with a kafan. The body is tied to the bier and taken to the crematorium. A suitable place without any living organisms like grass or insects is selected so as not to harm them. There a platform of wood is erected.
  9. The body is taken from the bier
    It is placed on the platform with logs of wood over it. Ghee, camphor and sandalwood powder are sprinkled all over the body and the eldest son of the deceased does the last rites.

The son goes round the pyre three times sprinkling water all over the body. Chanting the Namokar Mantra, he lights up the holy on the pyre. Then after sometime they pour milk over the place.

The remains are collected in bags and the place is thoroughly cleansed. The remains are not immersed in rivers as they can pollute the water. Instead they dig a hole in the earth and put the remains and sprinkle salt all over, so that it dissolves easily.

The Jains believe that the dead soul would be reborn immediately. So for them death is a festival or Mahotsav. Loud wailing and observing anniversaries are not part of the Jain Tradition.