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Impurity Attached To Death In Hinduism

In Hinduism, impurity on death renders one ‘untouchable’ and one cannot perform religious rites. Generally, the impurity caused by death lasts through three nights or a maximum of ten nights. If a child dies within ten days of birth, the parents have to observe jananasauca. If a child dies before teething the sapinda-relatives have only to take a bath, while the parents have to observe asauca for three days.

In the case of a girl dying after betrothal (vagdana) and before marriage, the sapinda relatives of her father have to observe asuacha for three days. If a woman dies at her father’s house after marriage, her parents, step-mother, full brothers and step-brothers have to observe asauca for three days and her paternal uncle for one day.

A married woman has to observe asauca for three days on the death of her parents or step-mother if ten days have not elapsed. On the death of her paternal uncle, she only has to take a bath.

In all these matters the general rule is that a male whose upanayana (initiation) has been performed and a married woman alone are subject to asaucha for the death of any relative other than the parents.

On the death of a parent, however, a male, though without initiation, and a woman, though unmarried , are subject to asauca.