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Story - Importance Of Immersion Of Mortal Remains In Ganga River

Mortal remains in Hindu tradition is the bones that that are collected from the funeral pyre. There is a popular belief that immersion of the mortal remains in the Ganga River will help in attaining Moksha. The story narrating the importance of immersing mortal remains in Ganga is mentioned in the Kashi Kanda (Chapter on Kashi) in the Skanda Purana.

There lived a man who did not lead a good life. He did not respect elders and women and committed numerous sins. Once he was travelling through a forest and there a tiger killed him.

The lieutenants of Yama, the Hindu God of Death, arrived on the scene and carried his soul to Yama.

Meanwhile, the tiger ate the body of the man and vultures ate what was left. A vulture carried a piece of his bone and flew up into the sky. Another vulture tried to snatch the piece of bone.

While this was happening, Chitragupta, the keeper of records of all actions of human beings on Earth, was reading the deeds of the man to Yama. For the sins committed, he was to be awarded severest of hells.

But as Yama was about pronounce the punishment, the vultures that were fighting for the bone lost it and it fell below into River Ganga. The man attained redemption for his sins as he was purified by Ganga. He thus attained moksha and escaped from hell and rebirth.

Therefore, it is believed that by immersing the asthi in Ganga a person will cleanse all his sins and attain moksha.

Symbolically, this story explains the greatness of Ganga.