For a follower of Sanatan Dharma his life on this Martyalok is sandwiched between the 1st and the 16th Sanskar.
- The Garbhadhan is the mantra of conception, where the parents-to-be invite individual soul of the baby-to-be for its incarnation here on Martyalok. Mantra power the intention and Agni carries it to the designated jivatma, fortifying it and then bringing it into Martyalok, establishing it within the astral bodies of the parents-to-be.
- And after the designated lifetime of work is done, it is back to Pitrulok with the last Antim Sanskar, the Anteyshthi. The rightful heir offers the discarded physical body/sthool sharir to Agni at the Shmashan bhoomi. The mantra power the intention and Agni carries the jivatma back to Pitrulok.
We adore Agni, the Jaatved, the primordial energy, the power of motion. He is the start, the continuation, the end of illusion and also exists beyond the end of illusion.
The Shmashan श्मशान is a high energy environment superficially turbulent and dangerous but subtly silent and very still. On the energy level, the Shmashan bhoomi is a specific location, ‘made with mantras’, ie we do not perform Anteyshthi at any random place. There are criteria for selection and a process which changes the energy of a generic plot of land into a Shmashan. A flat land with flowing water/ sea next to it. Mantra are used to invoke and install the energies of the Shmashan Devata here and only then it does it become a Shmashan bhoomi. Bhagwan Mahakaal, Devi Shmashankali and their Gan are present here in all their fierce awareness.
This physical land resonates with the inner Maha Shmashan at the third eye. This is why doing Sadhana reduces all attachments to the created world. You offer your Karma (imbalances) and Vasana (conditionings, desires) to Bhagwan Mahakaal sitting at your 3rd eye in your own Maha Shmashan. As your accumulated baggage burns, you realise that your family, job, identity, everything is an illusion. As the limited self ego burns the Eternal Advaita emerges. When you do your daily pujas, the act of applying Bhasma to your forehead indicates your intention to resonate with the Bhagwan Mahakaal within you.
After physical death, the soul has to safely traverse from the Martyalok to the Pitrulok. Burning the body in the Agni, in a proper Shmashan, with the proper mantra and by the correct heir gives a tremendous energy boost to the departed soul, helping it reach Pitrulok easily. If this is not done systematically, the jivatma suffers and sometimes remains trapped here in Martyalok as a ghost.
There are a few rules to be followed in a Shmashan bhoomi. The energies are violent, catastrophic and dangerous, so women and small children are generally not allowed inside. They are more susceptible to this turbulence and can more easily influenced by the entities who reside here. (This not a fantasy, am sure everyone has seen what happens when a living person gets influenced by an entity.) Only exception to this rule is when the Guru allows them to enter here under his protection. This Bhoomi is the visible environment of the 8th house, death, occult, final exits, dangerous travel through unimaginable routes, destruction, conscious fire, Agni etc. The energies of the purest Vishuddha Tamogun or the destructive Tandav are clearly evident available here.
Even for the men who go there for the Anteyshthis of their family/ friends should be careful as this land creates a temporary but intense sense of detachment, this is called Shmashan vairagya. Seeing the bodies of loved ones being consumed by the Agni is in itself an unsettling experience on the physical level. Added to this is the continuous bombardment of energy as the energies of the Shmashan are the gateway between the Martyalok/ Pitrulok. Plus the intense energies of the spirits and other beings who reside here. Very rarely, this Shmashan vairagya can get so intense that it can convert into genuine Vairagya and the person does not return to the society, ie takes up Sanyas and remains as a devotee of Shri Mahakaal.
If you go here on specific times, nights, midnights, twilights or even midday, you will see occult aspirants doing their practices. The Agni of the Anteyshthi and the Shmashan bhoomi is very high energy, very quick results can be achieved here. But quick results always means extreme danger, tremendous energy, strict rules, high levels of control and rapid transformations. Best keep a safe distance from such aspirants in this location.
Boys above the age of 6yrs, ie after wearing the Yajnopavit sutra and doing their Gayatri mantra can go to the Shmashan if there is an Anteyshti in their family. If they participate in some way, they will get merit/ punya from the activities here. Helping out at Anteyshtis of family members, friends, people in the neighbourhood, etc is a chance to balance karma before the departed jivatma leaves for Pitrulok. This type of Punya especially ensures the birth of healthy children and the continuity of the lineage. For those who go to the Shmashan, remember that it is the domain of the Bhagwan Mahakaal. So before going there, ensure that you have created the proper mindset within your self. Pray to him, ie recite your personal mantra or the Mahamrytunjai mantra etc. Offer a few coins to the Shmashan. Then do whatever you have come here to do. Avoid unnecessary interactions with strangers or unnecessary activities here. When you go back home, sprinkle Ganga water or clean water on yourself, wash your hands, feet, face (ideally take a bath) before entering your house. This refreshes the aura, ie the occult energies you have picked up from the Shmashan are replaced by your regular aura.
In the past decade, the media is subtly encouraging women to perform Anteyshti for their departed family members. A woman is not the proper heir for this purpose and her doing this subtly damages her and her future generations. Also the departed soul is deprived of the complete merit / punya from the Anteyshti Sanskar of the body it has discarded thus may face obstacles on its onward way. And by doing this, she will have prevented the proper heir from performing his duty, another negative against her. (If you know someone like this around you, observe for yourself how her life unfolds.)
The proper heir for these activities is the nearest male relative from the same gotra. There will be some cultural differences but the following is generally applicable.
- For a man, this would be his son, adopted son, grandson, paternal brothers and their sons, etc.
- For a married woman, this is the men from her husband’s gotra, ie her husband, her son, adopted son, grandson, husband’s brother and his son etc.
- For an unmarried woman, this would be the men from her own gotra, ie her father, her brother and his son, her male cousins from her father’s side and their sons etc.
- If the deceased has no sons and has daughters then the daughter’s husband or her son can perform the Anteyshthi (but not the daughter herself).
- And if there is no male relative of any sort to do this final Sanskar for the departed soul, then any man can perform it with due respect in his heart.
- If this too is not possible, then the attendants at the Shmashan will take on this responsibility and help the jivatma reach Pitrulok.
Whoever does this, gets a huge chunk of punya /merit for himself and his entire family.
Another unsettling trend in these recent times is that if the son is abroad then the deceased’s body is kept in a morgue till he arrives. The morgue is the filthiest place imaginable with negative entities of the higher sort roaming around in search of victims. Leaving your loved one’s physical body here is equivalent to putting his individual soul alone with no protection in a jail with hardened criminals. The practices that we follow after physical death are intended to protect both, the family members and the departed jivatma, and there is a reason for everything, these are not meaningless ‘rituals’.
The Anteyshti should be performed as soon as practically possible. The nearest eligible male who is available at the spot should perform it and close the issue. The departed soul cannot be left lingering around semi-attached to the body, as during this time it is susceptible to attacks from the several negative things roaming around in this Martyalok. It needs to go to the Pitrulok as soon as possible, to first rest and then to continue its activities there.
Generally physical death is projected as a sad event. But if you deeply think, it is not really sad. Whatever work the individual soul had decided on before entering Martyalok, it has successfully completed it and is now going back. We come here to work off our karma, not for entertainment. As per some local traditions, drums are played, people are called to sing bhajans etc while taking the dead body to the Shmashan bhoomi.
Then there are several misconceptions regarding the people who serve in the Shmashan. That they are unclean or somehow impure. This is incorrect. On the energy levels they are practically the Gan of Bhagwan Mahakaal, so do respect them. They maintain the Shmashan bhoomi, His residence. They live and work in an environment where normal people think twice before going. They have the capacity to remain calm in the face of such intense catastrophic turbulence. They are on a different level of spirituality which regular people cannot even imagine. Nor understand. If you cannot respect them then at least do not insult them.
A bit on Sanyasis. Sanyasis formally discard the society and dedicate themselves to finding the Self. I have mentioned in some post that a Sanyasi can neither be considered to be ‘alive’ nor ‘dead’. And every follower of the Sanatan Dharm is supposed to take on Sanyas-ashram at the last quarter of his/her life, ie accept Sanyas. Ever wondered how Sanyas is ‘taken’? It is described beautifully in the Mahabharat, the Sanyas ashram of the Pandavs and their wife Draupadi.
Agni is the foundation of Sanatan Dharma. Every householder after his/ her Vivah sanskar has to maintain the Agni of their vivah for a life time, it embodies the Gruhast ashram. It is used to perform the daily Agnihotra and all the other pujas/ yajnyas where Agni is needed. All the Sanskars which follow their marriage in their and their unmarried children’s lives are performed using this same Agni. Even for the Anteyshti of a family member this same blazing Agni is taken to the Shmashan in an earthen pot.
In the Mahabharat, the Pandavs assiduously kept their Agni throughout their long and eventful life. Can you imagine the power of this continuously burning Agni? Even in the one year of Ajnyatvaas, when it would have been difficult to maintain it, the Agni was sent to their father in law Dhrupad’s home where he maintained it for them. But at end, when the Pandavs and their wife took up Sanyas ashram, this Agni was ‘taken’ within them. ie in a formal setting, this Agni of the Gruhast ashram of the Pandavs and Draupadi was put into water, extinguished. An Agni burning, blazing for decades, physically extinguished and ‘taken inside into oneself’. They had taken their Anteyshti Agni within themselves. Now onwards the Pandavs and their wife Draupadi were technically Sanyasi, they would continually burn in the fire of their own Anteyshthi until they exited the physical shell.
And it is the same thing when someone genuinely takes up Sanyas even today, he formally takes within him the conscious Agni of his own Anteyshthi. His tiny sense of the individual self is continually being consumed by the Anteyshthi which he has himself lit in his own third eye, in his own Mahashmashan. He has awakened the Shri Mahakaal within him, who will burn out his sense of ‘jiv’ and thus the ‘Shiv’ within will be evident. This is why they are not considered to be residents of either martyalok nor pitrulok, they are ‘existing’ continually in their own Maha shmashans.
My Sat Guru had formally taken Sanyas at the age of 17yrs.
My grand Guru, Shri Siddharameshwar Maharaj’s samadhi is at the Banganga Shmashan bhoomi, Mumbai, right on the Sindhu sagar (Arabian Sea). My Sat Guru and his Guru-brothers would go here very often with their disciples, (this pic is over 20yrs old). My Guru’s Guru-brother Shri Ranjit Maharaj’s samadhi was subsequently made at the same place.
(There were a few questions on Anteyshthi and the Shmashan bhoomi, thus this post)