"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
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
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