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The Sixteenth Pinda As A Hidden Insurance Against Ritual Failure

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on a ritual whose performance generally questions the validity of earlier performed rituals by assuming their failure, and aims at eliminating the results of this assumed failure. Nowadays Hindus execute most of the rituals during the first twelve days after death, anticipating the end of the year on the twelfth or thirteenth day with the performance of the sapiṇḍikaraṇa, the 'creating of the piṇḍa-community'. The chapter gives a short account of the rituals which took place on 22nd August 2002 in Bhaktapur/Nepal. Mahendra Sharma guided the chief mourner in almost all respects. Other family members were present but scarcely active, except for the cousin of the chief mourner, who assisted him in providing materials. Mahendra Sharma directed the chief mourner to place fourteen of the fifteen sacrificial balls on a diagram, which he had previously drawn, and consisted of fourteen square fields in three rows.

Keywords: Mahendra Sharma; Nepal; ritual failure; sacrificial balls; sapiṇḍikaraṇa; Sixteenth piṇḍa



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