aghodaka

(‘water libation during the period of impurity’)

Belief in the survival of the soul after death and the need to bring peace to the soul in a spirit body through appropriate obsequial rites are common to many religions. Hinduism goes to the extent of considering antyeṣṭi or death-rites to be performed immediately after the death of a person, a ‘saṁskāra,’ a rite that purifies and uplifts the soul. As part of this ceremony, water libation (udaka) is offered for the benefit of the deceased during the period of ceremonial impurity (agha). There are differences of opinion among the dharmaśāstra writers with regard to the number and duration of these water libations.

A near relative (called sapiṇḍa) of the deceased, should take water mixed with sesame in the añjali (joined palms) and offer it facing south, with appropriate mantras. It should be offered thrice a day for eleven days from the day of death.

‘Udakakriyā’ and ‘udakadāna’ are the other names used for this rite.

See also ANTYEṢṬI.