The Survival of Hindu Cremation Myths and Rituals in 21st Century Practice: Three Contemporary Case Studies




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The 4,000-year-old Hindu Agni Sanskar (cremation) myth and ritual prescribed in the ancient scriptures continues to be an indomitable attribute of contemporary Hinduism. This qualitative dissertation focuses on cremations in three different Hindu communities of Bali, Mauritius, and Dallas, and notes recurring themes and patterns to exemplify the continuity and changes in Hindu cremation traditions. Personal factors such as age, gender, socio-economic status, educational qualifications, and family situation determine how a deceased person's cremation rites are performed. Cremation is also impacted by the socio-economic and political power of the Hindu community within the larger nation or city, as well as the historical context for settlement of the Hindu community in the "New" homelands. Despite global Hindu diaspora and in spite of modern innovations in cremation, the Agni Sanskar ritual remains the backbone of contemporary Hindu tradition.



Cremation—Religious aspects—Hindus, Hinduism—Rituals, Myth, Hindu diaspora, Hindus—Texas—Dallas, Hindus— Indonesia—Bali Island, Hindus—Mauritius


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