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Liberated souls ascent to the apex of heaven to become one with the Brahman

Hinduism's concept of death lies on the basis that it believes that the soul is immortal and imperishable. The soul is merely part of a body, which temporarily and eventually comes to an end. Thus, the Sanskrit word for death, "dehanta," means "the end of the body" but not the end of life. Hinduism holds a strong belief in the rebirth and reincarnation of souls based upon their karma, it believes that every thought and action has its repercussions; a soul becomes what it does. Thus, unless the soul achieves moksha and becomes one with the supreme i.e., the universe neither life nor life is permanent. They are both illusions for the soul to keep walking towards self-knowledge.

It is interesting to note the parallel of this Hinduism belief in science as similar to Hinduism belief that souls (life energy of beings) are immortal and can't be destroyed, science states, "Energy can neither be created nor destroyed."

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Mourning clothes were elaborate and expensive

Most of the cultures in the world today wear either black or white for mourning. Conservative cultures adopt wearing white as the absence of colour signify a sort of renunciation in memory of the dead. Those who wear black, however, propagate a culture that has a rich history and significance.

Black clothes originated during the Industrial Revolution as working with soot, steam, and coal often stained clothes irreparably. Darker shades allowed for a much cleaner outlook, and were preferred by the working class. But to buy these clothes was difficult because black dye which was extracted from the darker substances was expensive, and only the wealthy could afford to clothe their slaves in it.

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Placing a Yama Deep in the evening of Trayodashi of the dark fortnight of Kartik prevent untimely death

Each year Diwali is celebrated on Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi, the 14th lunar day of the dark fortnight in the Tamil month of Aippasi. Ancient scriptures of India advise people to worship Yama, the deity of death on the days of Dhantrayodashi, Narak Chaturdashi and Yamadwitiya. People light an oil Diya or 13 oil diyas made of wet wheat flour in the evening. They are kept facing southwards just outside people's residences. These lamps which are traditionally dedicated to Lord Yama are known as Yama Deepam.

It is believed that placing a Yama Deep in the evening of Trayodashi of the dark fortnight of Kartik month prevents any untimely death in the family. The legend of Skanda Purana says that the lighting of Yama Deepams with faith and devotion by the devotees can get the lord to bless them with grace and long and healthy life. Yamadev, the lord of death himself gave assurance to his attendants that even though death is inevitable and cannot be avoided those who perform this Deepdan on Dhantrayodashi will not suffer an early death.

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Photo by Diane Picchiotino on Unsplash

Mass graves marked by individual crosses

Just as much as man has evolved from the time of the nomads, his practices and rituals have grown more and more sophisticated. With time, things that once were just formalities have acquired ritual significance and are observed in solemnity. Death was once something that marked the end, but now is an important life change event that is memorialized. Some people come alive only after death.

In nomadic times, men buried their dead companions or family along the route they traveled. They would place a stone or any heavy object over it, to prevent the soil from becoming loose around the body, or to keep it safe from scavengers. This practice is no longer followed as the animal kingdom and man's world have become distinct from each other.

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