According to Hindu tradition and its sacred texts, only a male family member (such as a husband, father or son) can perform the last rites.However, in some cases women have taken on this role.
As Narayanan explains, "Rituals give us a way of cathartically dealing with our grief.
(I'm not positive where we stand, we're still in the unsure weird stage that happens after being vaguely asked out / accepted.) So we're both teenagers and we're... (I'm not positive where we stand, we're still in the unsure weird stage that happens after being vaguely asked out / accepted.) So we're both teenagers and we're living with host families.
With the exception of the bodies of children and sanyasis, bodies are usually cremated.
There are, however, some Hindu communities which practice burial.
"The protocol that surrounds the Hindu funeral in America has changed, the style and texture of the event is far more Americanized than any other rite of passage," observes Narayanan.
Indeed, the body is not kept at home as in India but must be taken immediately to a funeral home, and the funeral services reflect Judeo-Christian ones, with mourners watching the rituals take place, while in India these are done in private.
The soul never dies and we have discarded this body because the soul is here and always will be.
When you read the verses in the Bhagavad Gita in your time of grief, they speak to you.
In Vedic times, there were incidents of the putrika--a daughter who could assume the role of a son.
In later years, the religious patriarchy interpreted the putrika as the grandson, and reserved the conducting of the last rites for males.
When the person dies, the family is in a state of grief.