A DEEP AND PROFOUND INSIGHT INTO THE GARUDA PURANA AND THE HINDU CONCEPTS OF DEATH, REBIRTH AND IMMORTALITY.
Why do Hindus feed their dead ancestors? And why do they prefer burning the dead to building tombs? Does Hinduism have no concept of Judgement Day? What is the impact of death on its notions of womanhood and caste? Is the Vedic approach to death different from the Tantric one? The idea of death and rebirth is embedded in the Hindu mind through ritual and story. Death is not just tragic, but ambiguous too. For instance, it is the end of one journey, but it is also the beginning of another. Similarly, while it is true that the ancestors are venerated and fed posthumously, death is also considered inauspicious, a source of impurity. There are a variety of rituals that seek to address these ambiguities, provide comfort to the living and deliverance to the dead.
In Garuda Purana and Other Hindu Ideas on Death, Rebirth and Immortality, Devdutt Pattanaik explores the many concepts around death across the spectrum of Hindu puranas and mythology. Bhuta, pishacha, preta, pitr and vetala make their appearance in this study, as do Yama, Hanuman, Kaal-Bhairav, Ram and other gods as well as lesser beings. The book is a unique enquiry into the inevitability that is death—but equally it is a guide for the living on the choices we make.