Tuesday, March 7, 2017

My late elder brother - Vishwanath S. Iyer (Rajamani)

Contents of my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1867516670131568, dated Feb. 24th 2017, are given below:

A sad news from my family side. My dear elder brother, Vishwanath S. Iyer, passed away yesterday around noon at Dombivli (near Mumbai), Maharashtra. He was ailing for a year or so, and was seriously ill for the past few weeks. The cremation was done yesterday evening.

He was around 63 years old. He is survived by his wife and only child, his daughter, Priya (who is married and settled).

He was a very loving man who would get along with everybody and was much loved. He will surely be missed by many.

He was a keen devotee of Lord Ayyappa (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayyappan) and has made the pilgrimage to Sabarimala, Kerala, many times. He also was a key office bearer in an Ayyappa Seva samithi in Dombivli for many years, which used to conduct annual community Ayyappa pujas (worship).

I pray to Lord Ayyappa to shower His Grace on the soul (incorporeal essence of a being) of my elder brother, and give courage and strength to his family members including me to cope with this loss.

Jai Sairam!
--- end contents of my Facebook post ---

Today, 7th March 2017, the 13th day rituals associated with my late elder brother got over.

What is given below is from my understanding of the Tamil Brahmin death rituals.

The belief is that on the twelfth day of the rituals, the departed soul is said to have reached its destination and joined with its ancestors.

The thirteenth day ritual marks the return of the family to regular life. The mourning period is over. There are traditional worship rituals that are done (e.g. Navagraha homa), which the family was not permitted to do during the earlier mourning period. Chandan and Kumkum (dots) can be applied to the face & body. Now, as I understand it, the family is free to visit temples for individual worship and also participate in the community worship and other functions there.

The Brahmin priests who conducted the rituals are thanked. Donations are made to them. I think some of this happens on the 12th day, and some on the 13th day.

The Brahmin priests are also fed a typical South Indian Brahmin feast on the 13th day. The family also joins in the prepared feast. [I have to say here that food is an important part of Tamil Brahmin life. During the mourning period there are restrictions on the food the family can eat. This is besides the lifelong restrictions on non-vegetarian food (if one strictly follows Brahmin traditions). The thirteenth day ceremony is marked by a feast (for lunch after the rituals are over in the morning; no rituals in the evening) where the mourning period diet restrictions are removed! So even as a kid I got the message through the food provided that the mourning period is over :-)!]

Some links providing info. on Brahmin death rituals are given below.

Tamil brahmin death rites - demystified by Ramaswamy Sastry & Vignesh Ghanapaathi, http://ramaswamysastry.blogspot.in/p/understand-death-to-understand-life_84.html

Vedic rituals after death in a Brahmin Family, https://espiritokashi.org/2011/10/25/complete-post-death-rituals-in-a-brahmin-family/ [Has pics of the ceremony of what seems to be a North Indian Brahmin family in Varanasi (Kashi), Uttar Pradesh, India. It also has a 24 min video link of the death rituals (I have not yet looked at it, barring a quick glimpse at a few parts of it).]

Introduction to death & dying, http://www.srimatham.com/death-samskara.html (An Australian website following Sri Vaishnavism South Indian traditions).

Hindu Death Rituals and Beliefs, http://mailerindia.com/hindu/veda/index.php?death

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