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Kerala PSC Indian History Book Study Materials Page 884Book's First Page
include abhiseka (washing the corpse) and the piling of the pyre. Next, fire is applied to the pyre with the Vedic hymns. • Udakakarma (offering of water): It is supposed that it cools the dead after the body undergoes cremation. • Consoling the mourners: The disconsolate survivors are soothed in their distress by an expert quoting a number of stories showing the transitory nature of life. • Asoucha (impurity): Social segregation. • Asthisanchayana (collecting the bones). • Santi-karma (pacificatory rite). • Smaraka (raising a mound over the remains of the dead). • Sraddha (offerings to the dead). • Sapindakarana (affiliation of the dead with the manes). This last sacrament takes into account the sentiments and requirements of the dead and the surviving, who are faced with the inevitable event of life, namely, death. MARRIAGE FORMS AND PRACTICES Marriage Forms Most of the Dharmasastras mention eight forms of marriage, of which the first four are approved forms and the last four unapproved forms. The first four approved forms are brahma, prajapatya, daiva and arsa. The distinction between the brahma and prajapatya forms of marriage is not all that clear. For in both these forms, marriage was performed according to the prescribed religious ceremonies. In the daiva form the bride was given in marriage to a priest, who officiated at a sacrifice. In the arsa form the marriage ceremony was duly performed, but a part of the ceremony was the presentation of a bull and a cow by the bridegroom to the pride’s parents. This form was considered inferior to the first three approved forms, because it contained elements of the ‘bride-price’.