Ubud 1998

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 A Joyful Death

"When a man dies, tears give way quickly to deep joy.  The immortal soul freed from its earthly shape, can at last go on its great journey before being reborn in another shape.  Since death is reduced to a rite of passage, it loses its tragic aspect and becomes a reason for celebrations which reach their climax in the cremation rites"

Massed sarcophagi awaiting cremation in the Monkey Forest.

To close the circle of life, cremation should take place 42 days after death, but it is generally much later so the family can collect the large sums of money needed for the ritual.  Between death and cremation the body is buried. Collective cremation enables the poor to fulfil their sacred obligation to set free the souls of their ancestors

The Sudra sarcophagus below, takes the shape of an elephant fish.  The Satrias caste the shape of a lion And the Brahmans caste the shape of a bull
Relatives have the honour of carrying the remains to the sarcophagus. 
During its burial the soul of the departed is doomed to wander awaiting its liberation.   If this is too long in coming the unhappy soul may show itself by ill omens.  Incineration of the body is a sacred duty for every Balinese

 
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