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Rite Of Picking Up Charred Bones After Cremation In Hindu Religion – Asthi Sancaya

In Hindu religion, Asthi Sancaya is the rite of picking up the charred bones of a dead person after cremation. The bones are collected on the fourth day after cremation. The performer of the rites (generally children or successor) walks thrice around the spot where the body is cremated, with his left side turned towards the spot, sprinkles milk mixed with water with a shami tree branch, muttering the Vedic mantra sitike (Rig Veda 10.16.14). Then, with the thumb and the fourth finger of the left hand, he picks up and puts each bone, with closed eyes, into an earthen pot, without making a rattling noise.

The bones of the feet are taken first and those of the head last. The relatives also join the performer in gathering the bones. Having gathered the bones and having purified them with a winnowing basket, he puts the pot in a pit or at the root of a tree, or hangs it from the branch of a tree. In some parts of India, the bones are put in a cloth bag especially prepared for the purpose. Sometimes a few coins or pieces of precious metal are mixed with the bones, which are reverentially called phula (flowers). During the day, water or milk is poured into it. Ultimately, the bones are immersed in a sacred river or the sea.