‘Of late the practice of writing RIP (Rest in Peace) at the end of a tribute paid to someone after his death has started. Even intellectuals have fallen prey to this new fashion.
1. Pay tribute after death, to each one, as per his religious faith
Please do not pay tribute to a Hindu after death as ‘Rest in Peace’. This is meant only for Muslims and Christians whose bodies are buried after death.
‘Every individual in the world has a right to undergo last rites as per his religious faith’. Do you know who said this ? None other than Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. He said this when after annihilating Afzal Khan by tearing open his abdomen the Maulas were taking his body for cremation. He said that with death his enemity with Afzal Khan was over. Now as it was a body of a Muslim cremating it would amount to denigration. So as per Islam, Chatrapati Shivaji buried Afzal Khan and built a tomb over it. Are we following Chatrapati Shivaraya’s teaching that each one should be given the last farewell as per his religious faith ?
2. Meaning of Rest in Peace
‘Rest in Peace’ is telling the buried corpse we have buried you in the soil, and on the day of the ‘Last Judgement’ God will give you justice; so remain here till then. The religions which bury their followers say this because they do not believe in rebirth, they believe that that corpse remains there till the day of the Last Judgement.
3. Difference between the Hindu Dharma and other religions
Understand the exact difference between the Hindu Dharma and other religions. In the Hindu Dharma the corpse is cremated, not buried. (Note : Depending on the age, the spiritual level and the spiritual path of the deceased, even in Hindu Dharma the final rites have certain variations.) The body is burnt to release the soul for its further rebirth. So how can we tell the soul to rest in peace ? The Hindu Dharma believes that death gives the soul a status (gati) after death. the soul is freed. We should wish that its further journey for next birth occurs smoothly. Hindus do not restrict, bind or bury a soul, they free, it but other religions bury the corpse in the soil and keep it in bondage saying ‘rest in peace till the Last Judgement’.
For this Hindus should read the Garud Puran written in the context of death.
4. Pray to the Hindu departed soul that it attain a good status after death
Hindus should offer homage with spiritual emotion that the departed soul may attain a good status after death, that its further journey may occur without any obstacles. When a righteous meritorious soul passes away one can pray to God to release it from the bondage of life and death.