Funeral Rites – Antam Sanskar

Antam Sanskar refers to the funeral rites in Sikhi. Antam (or Antim) means “final”, while sanskar means “rite”.

Death is a natural process and part of Vaheguru’s will or Hukam. To a Sikh, birth and death are closely associated, because they are both part of the cycle of human life of “coming and going” ( ਆਵਣੁ ਜਾਣਾ, Aaavan Jaanaa) which is seen as transient stage towards Liberation ( ਮੋਖੁ ਦੁਆਰੁ, Mokh Du-aar), complete unity with God.

For cremation, the body is first washed and dressed with clean clothes complete with the Five K’s (in case of baptized Sikhs). If the death occurs in a hospital, the body is taken home for viewing before the funeral. In Punjab, body will be burnt on the funeral pyre, but in Western countries crematorium is used. A prayer is said before the start of the funeral to seek salvation for the departed soul. On arrival at the crematorium, a brief speech about the deceased is generally given the Sohila, bedtime prayer is recited and the Ardas, formal prayer is offered.

ਸੂਰਜ ਕਿਰਣਿ ਮਿਲੇ ਜਲ ਕਾ ਜਲੁ ਹੂਆ ਰਾਮ ॥

sooraj kiran mile jal kaa jal hooaa raam ||
The rays of light merge with the sun, and water merges with water.

ਜੋਤੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਰਲੀ ਸੰਪੂਰਨੁ ਥੀਆ ਰਾਮ ॥

jotee jot ralee sa(n)pooran theeaa raam ||
One’s light blends with the Light, and one becomes totally perfect.

ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਦੀਸੈ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਸੁਣੀਐ ਏਕੁ ਏਕੁ ਵਖਾਣੀਐ ॥

braham dheesai braham suneeaai ek ek vakhaaneeaai ||
I see God, hear God, and speak of the One and only God.

ਆਤਮ ਪਸਾਰਾ ਕਰਣਹਾਰਾ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਬਿਨਾ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਣੀਐ ॥

aatam pasaaraa karanahaaraa prabh binaa nahee jaaneeaai ||
The soul is the Creator of the expanse of creation. Without God, I know no other at all.

ਆਪਿ ਕਰਤਾ ਆਪਿ ਭੁਗਤਾ ਆਪਿ ਕਾਰਣੁ ਕੀਆ ॥

aap karataa aap bhugataa aap kaaran keeaa ||
He Himself is the Creator, and He Himself is the Enjoyer. He created the Creation.

ਬਿਨਵੰਤਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੇਈ ਜਾਣਹਿ ਜਿਨੑੀ ਹਰਿ ਰਸੁ ਪੀਆ ॥੪॥੨॥

binava(n)t naanak seiee jaaneh jin(h)ee har ras peeaa ||4||2||
Prays Nanak, they alone know this, who drink in the subtle essence of the Lord. ||4||2||

Raag Bilaaval – Guru Arjan Dev Ji – Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji – Ang 846


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