Why are Parsi/Irani Zoroastrians so averse to cremation? (TMY – Jame Jamshed of 23-7-17)

  1. The mode of disposal of death prescribed by each religion is based on the world view of that religion. It is not just a way for disposing the body, it is also a way of following the teachings prescribed by the religion.

 

  1. For Zoroastrians, Dohkmenashini is the prescribed way to dispose the body as it is based on the following teachings of the religion – a. Causing the least possible harm to the natural elements of earth, water and air; b. Letting the body merge back into the most basic form of the elements of nature as soon as possible; c. Not polluting fire in any way by nasa (human dead matter) as fire is regarded as sacred and has a very special place in our religion.  d. Ensuring the timely release of the soul and other non-physical human constituents.
  2. However, disposing the body in the religious and best possible manner, is just one aspect of the practice of Dokhmenashini. This system is also meant to help in the speedy evolution of the soul. Zoroastrianism explains that the Kehrpa (astral body), Ushtan (animating life-breath) and the Tevishi (desire body), the semi–spiritual constituents of a human, also need to go back to their respective sources.
  3. Dokhmenashini is the only way which ensures that the semi–spiritual constituents go back to their respective sources, ensuring the speedy evolution of the soul. By opting for other modes of disposal, either voluntarily or by necessity, slows down the speed of the evolution of a Zoroastrian’s soul.

 

  1. It is generally believed that in cremation the body immediately gets disposed within a couple of hours by burning, but this is not true. What is actually meant by the disposal of the body is the ultimate merging of the physical elements of the body into the original natural elements. When a body is burnt a large part of the body is just transformed into hundreds of small suspended particles which are either caught in the scrubber or chimney or go out into the air. These are particular elements consist of flesh, muscles, bones, fat etc. which take a very long time to merge back into the natural elements. In burial too, a buried body takes several years to disintegrate.
  2. Thus Dokhmenashini, even in its present, marginally weakened form, where it takes a few weeks for the body to disintegrate, is still the fastest and best system for the disposal of the dead, and the most beneficial to the spiritual elements of a human being.
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