Top 5 things to know about Jain Funerals

Top 5 things to know about Jain Funerals

Last updated on August 19th, 2023

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Jainism, one of the world’s oldest religions, has its roots in ancient India. Jainism, founded by spiritual teacher Lord Mahavira, is based on the ideals of nonviolence (ahimsa), truth (satya), non-attachment (aparigraha), and compassion (karuna). Jainism, with its emphasis on self-discipline and enlightenment, provides a distinct viewpoint on life, ethics, and spirituality.

The belief in the existence of countless souls, both human and non-human, with the capacity to achieve liberation (moksha) from the cycle of birth and death is central to Jain philosophy. Jains endeavour to follow the path of righteousness and nonviolence not just through their acts, but also through their thoughts and words. This encompasses vegetarianism, respect for all forms of life, and charitable and compassionate gestures.

The Ahimsa Hand is a Jain sign that displays a hand with a wheel in the palm, representing the Jain tenet of nonviolence. Jain temples, also known as Jain derasars or Jain mandirs, are places of worship and reflection where devotees can pray, meditate, and study sacred scriptures.

Jainism thrives today as a religion that promotes nonviolence, compassion, and respect for all forms of life. Its teachings serve as a reminder of humanity’s interconnectedness and the significance of living a virtuous and ethical life.

The Pillars of Jainism:

Jainism is founded on its essential beliefs, known as the Pillars of Jainism. These principles influence Jain followers’ ethical and spiritual practises. The five main pillars of Jainism are as follows:

Ahimsa (Nonviolence): The fundamental and most important pillar of Jainism is Ahimsa. It promotes compassion, respect, and the avoidance of physical, mental, and emotional harm by emphasising nonviolence and non-harming towards all living beings.

Satya (Truthfulness): Satya represents honesty and truthfulness in one’s ideas, words, and acts. Jains strive for honesty in all parts of their lives, fostering sincerity, transparency, and integrity.

Asteya (Non-stealing): Asteya is a non-stealing and non-misappropriation advocate. Jains believe in not taking what is not legitimately theirs, both materially and spiritually. This idea promotes charity, contentment, and respect for the property and things of others.

Brahmacharya (Chastity): Brahmacharya emphasises self-control and self-restraint over one’s senses and passions. It encourages people to live a disciplined and modest lifestyle, avoiding overindulgence and keeping purity in their ideas, acts, and relationships.

Aparigraha (Detachment): Aparigraha fosters detachment from material possessions, desires, and worldly attachments. Jains follow a basic and minimalist lifestyle that is free of greed, possessiveness, and attachment to material wealth.

5 Profound Practices of Jain Funeral Services:

Jain burial ceremonies are distinguished by their simplicity, nonviolence, and emphasis on spiritual emancipation. Here are some of the unusual rites done at Jain funerals:

Cremation: Cremation is a common practise at Jain funerals. The body is incinerated, and the ashes are gathered and reverently submerged or strewn in a chosen spot, such as a sacred river or a Jain crematorium.

Sallekhana: When a person is terminally ill or elderly, he or she may opt to practise sallekhana, also known as Santhara or Samadhi Marana. Sallekhana is a voluntary fast to death in which the individual steadily limits their intake of food and drink with the goal of gently leaving the world.

Prayer and singing: Prayers and singing of sacred texts such as the Navakar Mantra and the Namaskara Mantra are common features of Jain funeral ceremonies. Family and friends assemble to pay their respects and partake in devotional practises to honour the soul of the deceased.

Non-Attachment: The notion of non-attachment is emphasised in Jain funerals. In the face of loss, family members and mourners are advised to let go of worldly attachments and practise serenity. Accepting the impermanence of life and expressing thankfulness for the time spent with the departed soul are examples of this.

Charitable Acts: Following the funeral, it is customary for Jain families to perform acts of kindness and charity in memory of the deceased. Donations are donated to Jain organisations, temples, or philanthropic activities in order to help others and produce good karma on behalf of the deceased soul.

Procedures of a Ritualistic Jain Funeral:

  • Prior to the Funeral:

Informing: When a person dies, his or her family and friends are notified, and funeral arrangements are made.

Preparation: The body is readied for the funeral according to Jain customs. This includes bathing, dressing in plain white clothes, and applying sandalwood paste or other perfumes on the body.

Prayer and Chanting: Jain monks or family members may lead prayers and read sacred texts, including the Navakar Mantra, which is frequently accompanied by the presence or depiction of the swastika symbol as a sign of spiritual aspirations.

  • Throughout the Funeral:

The body is carried in procession to the cremation yard or Jain Crematory. The swastika emblem, which is associated with auspiciousness and beneficial energy in Jainism, may be put on the casket or carried alongside the procession.

Cremation: The body is placed on a pyre and burnt at the cremation ground. The presence of the swastika emblem reminds family members of the eternal nature of the soul and the interconnection of all beings.

  • After the Funeral:

After the cremation, the ashes (asthi) are collected and reverently immersed in flowing water, such as a river or sacred body of water, in the presence of the auspicious swastika emblem.

Memorial ceremonies: To honour the dead soul, Jain families may arrange memorial ceremonies or remembering gatherings. Prayers, talks, and charitable deeds are permitted, with the swastika symbol serving as a reminder of the eight-fold path’s spiritual aims.

The swastika symbol is a distinctive feature of Jain funerals. In Jainism, the swastika, also known as the “ashtamangal” or “eight auspicious symbols,” is considered sacred and signifies the eight-fold path of spiritual aspirations.

The swastika emblem may be drawn or etched on the casket or funeral procession vehicles during the funeral. It is thought to convey positive energy, auspiciousness, and blessings to the departed spirit on their trip to the afterlife. The swastika represents the cycle of life, death, and rebirth, reminding mourners of the soul’s eternal essence and the interconnectedness of all beings.


Finally, Jain funeral rites are extremely important within the Jain community, serving as a venue to honour the departed soul and support the bereaved family. These funeral ceremonies uphold the qualities of nonviolence, truthfulness, non-stealing, chastity, and non-attachment, representing the essential values of Jainism.

In this context, we would like to highlight the funeral services provided by Kaashimukthi. They exemplify Jain beliefs by providing caring and dignified funeral arrangements in accordance with Jain customs and traditions. Kaashimukthi guarantees that the final journey of the departed soul is done with the utmost care, respect, and reverence, thanks to their knowledge and devotion to upholding Jain ideals. Let us remember our loved ones and uphold Jain ideals by selecting complete and dignified funeral preparations for them.

Also Read : 7 Places For Asthi Visarjan Rituals in India

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