RENO, NV – Hindus have welcomed the recent greenlighting of the first crematorium in Cyprus, but they are insisting that the Cyprus Government should be firm in having a fully functional crematorium within 18-24 months as stated.
Hindu leader Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada on Nov. 12, said that the crematorium wait had been too long for Hindus in Cyprus. where reportedly attempts to legalize cremation were taken up in 2006 and law regulating cremations was passed in 2016.
Among the Hindu community, the cremation had been a pre-BC tradition prescribed in ancient Hindu texts, and burial was in contradiction of their long-held beliefs that burial hindered soul’s journey; Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, indicated.
Rajan Zed urged the Cyprus Government to subsidize cremations abroad until a proper crematorium was built and available for usage in Cyprus, as cremation abroad reportedly came to around €5,000 and added options could raise the cost further. If the Government was presently unable to offer a subsidy for cremations abroad, then in the meantime, Hindus should be allowed to cremate their deceased on traditional open pyres in Cyprus. For this purpose, the Cyprus Government should allot a cremation ground near a body of water. Cypriots reportedly have the right to be cremated under the law.
Zed pointed out that Cyprus should be more responsive to the feelings of its hard-working, harmonious, and peaceful Hindu community; which had made a lot of contributions to the nation and society; and continued to do so.
Rajan Zed further said that cremation signified spiritual release, helped sever ties to earthly life, and gave momentum to the soul for its continuing spiritual journey: “The world’s oldest extant scripture, Rig-Veda, told us: ‘Agni, set him free again to go to the fathers.’”
Funeral rites/ceremonies were one of the main samskaras (sacraments) of Hindu life. In majority cases, Hindus were cremated, except infants and ascetics. After some ancient rituals at the cremation, remains (bones/ashes) were ceremoniously immersed into holy river Ganga or other bodies of water, helping in the liberation of the deceased. “In Hinduism, death did not mark the end of existence,” Zed noted.
Being able to follow one’s faith traditions is a fundamental human right. Cyprus, a member country of the European Union, is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights; Rajan Zed emphasized. He urged Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades to help speed-up the crematorium process so that Hindus could send-off their loved ones with proper rituals-traditions-customs.
Zed also suggested that the proposed capacity of 70 for the hall being built for memorial/farewell services in the upcoming crematorium should be raised, as gatherings of families/friends/community at Hindu funerals usually attracted significantly higher numbers.
Hinduism, the oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.2 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are reportedly a considerable number of Hindus in Cyprus.