Death & Dying - Hindu Culture

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One who has taken his birth is sure to die, and after death, one is sure to take birth again. –Bhagwad Gita The Hindu tradition is one of the oldest living religious traditions of the world. Through spiritual practice Hindus try to establish contact with the divine reality and then manifest that divinity in all their actions. Family and community interconnectedness, karma, and reincarnation are major beliefs of Hinduism. The healthcare decisions are made by the most senior family member or the eldest son. Hinduism encourages family members to take a role in the care of family members; especially emphasizes respect for all older people, with children having special responsibility towards their parents. It is considered a family obligation to care for the elderly and the sick. Health care provider must take this into consideration when developing care plans or suggesting nursing or residential care. Karma is a combination of cosmic and moral cause and effect that can cross lifetimes and life lessons learned for spiritual growth. The belief in reincarnation gives great comfort to the dying and their families’ because they know their loved one will be reborn into a new life and that they are not gone forever. Enduring physical suffering may lead to spiritual growth and more fortunate rebirth. Death is a universal experience. It doesn’t matter what our culture, our religion, our race, or our country of origin, we will all die. How we approach death, how we think about suffering and grief, and what we believe happens after we die vary based on our culture, religion, and spiritual beliefs. Spiritual beliefs ground our thinking about end-of-life concepts. Hindu teachings place great importance on the state of mind at death, as a main determinant of the soul’s destination either in taking another body or in achieving final liberation. According to the Bhagwad Gita, “One’s thoughts during the course of one’s life accumulate to influence one’s thoughts at the...
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