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Symbolism Of Donating Salt And Bhakri Just Before Death In Hindu Family

In Hindu traditions, the rituals and symbols surrounding death are rich with meaning and intended to ensure a peaceful transition for the dying person. One such ritual involves the donation of salt and bhakri (a type of Indian bread), or using these items in specific practices to aid the dying person.

Symbolism of Salt

Salt holds significant symbolic meaning in various cultures and religions, including Hinduism. It is often associated with purification, protection, and the removal of negative energies. Here are some key aspects of its symbolism in the context of a person nearing death:

  • Purification: Salt is believed to have cleansing properties. In the context of death, it symbolizes the purification of the soul, helping to cleanse any lingering negative energies that might impede the soul's journey to the afterlife.
  • Protection: Salt is also seen as a protective agent. It is thought to ward off evil spirits and negative energies that may attempt to take control of the dying person. This protective aspect ensures that the soul can leave the body without being hindered by malevolent forces.
  • Spiritual Transition: The donation of salt symbolizes the opening of the gates to Heaven. It signifies that the person’s soul is ready to move on to the next stage of its spiritual journey, unhindered by earthly attachments or negative influences.

Symbolism of Bhakri (Indian Bread)

Bhakri, a staple in many Indian households, carries its own set of symbolic meanings:

  • Sustenance and Nourishment: As a form of bread, bhakari represents sustenance and the basic necessities of life. In the context of death, it symbolizes the provision for the soul's journey, ensuring that it is well-prepared for the transition.
  • Earthly Connection: Made from grains, bhakri is a product of the earth. Offering bhakari can signify a grounding element, helping the dying person stay connected to their earthly life while also preparing to let go and transition to the spiritual realm.
  • Community and Sharing: Bread is often a communal food, shared among family and community members. Offering bhakri can symbolize the collective support and prayers of the family, helping to ease the person’s journey and ensuring they are surrounded by love and care.

Rituals and Practices

The specific practices involving salt and bhakri in the context of death include:

  • Donation of Salt: This act symbolizes the giving away of any residual negative energies and ensuring the purity of the soul. It helps in opening the gates of Heaven for the person, making their transition smoother.
  • Casting Off the Evil Eye: This involves using salt and bhakri to perform rituals aimed at removing the evil eye (negative energy or jealousy from others). The ritual typically involves waving the items around the person’s body or placing them near the person to absorb any negativity.
  • Facilitating the Release of Pran (Vital Energy): In Hindu belief, pran is the vital life force. Negative energies can cause the pran to get trapped in the body, leading to prolonged agony. These rituals help in lessening the control of negative energies, allowing the vital energy to leave the body peacefully.

The donation of salt and the use of bhakari in rituals before death hold deep symbolic significance in Hindu traditions. These practices are aimed at ensuring a peaceful and unhindered transition for the dying person. By purifying, protecting, and providing spiritual sustenance, these rituals help the soul to leave the body effortlessly, minimizing agony and preventing any negative forces from exerting control. The communal and supportive nature of these practices also underscores the importance of family and community in the process of death and dying, providing a sense of closure and peace for both the departing soul and the loved ones left behind.