Death and cremation: What are Yogananda’s teachings?


Hello ,

and all the very best to everyone involved in every form in spreading Ananda’s teachings worldwide. I want to ask you what are the spiritual implications for both after death rituals: cremation and interment .

Thank you very much.

—Costin Chiroiu Boteanu, Romania


Dear Costin,

Thank you for your kind words and all the best to you also. Thank you for writing us all the way from Romania!

It would take too long to answer you completely about the spiritual implications of death. But for a lot of good information on that subject, please see “The Final Exam” from Swami Kriyananda’s book Religion in the New Age.

Here’s a little more to answer your questions. After-death rituals? If you are with someone who has just died, Paramhansa Yogananda says it is good to chant AUM (Om-m-m) several times in his or her right ear. And pray deeply for the person to let go and go on into the astral world smoothly and without any fears, trying your best not to indulge in too much crying, emotional grief, that sort of thing. It might tend to hold a person down to his or her body, which you really wouldn’t want to do! Though you may be very sad for yourself, try to rejoice in their freedom! See them soaring in Divine Light.

We also have a beautiful Ananda funeral and graveside ceremony created by Swami Kriyananda. Part of that is the “Ananda Astral Ascension Ceremony” with really beautiful words, which are addressed to the soul of the departed. Let us know if you want more specific information about that.

Yogananda definitely said that a person’s body should be cremated as soon as possible after death (not buried). That way, the soul can go ahead and leave more quickly, to dwell in better places in the astral world, and not cling to the material body or this material world. We are now in the process of creating a beautiful new Memorial Garden by Lotus Lake at Ananda Village — a place for the scattering of ashes for all who wish to have that done for them here. Before now, people have done a variety of things, scattering ashes in the Ganges River in India or at any other place special or sacred to the deceased.