Hindu Dharma is one of the oldest in the world; people following Hindu way of living know the value of their traditions. People living outside India too follow traditional life amidst the city life chaos. But, what stands important is the value by which they stand today. The traditional means of living especially comes into account while performing the last rights of the person deceased. People usually take for granted that some rituals if not possible are okay to let it go! But it is not so, the Vedic scriptures state all rights that are a must for deceased person in Hindu religion. The sacred rivers of India have been known for centuries for the purity it brings to the souls who bathe in it and the ashes immersed of the dead person.
The NRIs settled abroad for more then 3-4 generations, what make these NRIs stay grounded to their roots are their traditions inherent in their blood by their elders. At the same time current generation may not ever visit India for following Hindu last right ritual of deceased member of the family. This has caused huge concern in the mind of aged family members. Basically, this tension arose because many people got busy with their careers, family life, job obligation, etc, in order to over come these concerns, Mr. Harendra Koya thought of doing something for the Indian community living abroad.
A holy departure is what a deceased soul wants, the Vedic scriptures states every ritual that needs to be performed from the day of death up to the 13th day. Other than Asthi Visarjan, there is whole lot of rituals that needs to be done willfully by the families. Perceiving the Idea of giving the contentment to the families living abroad and also to fulfill the religious obligation of the Hindu community, Mr. Koya conceptualized the idea of AsthiVisarjan.com Through this portal, he aims to help Indian community to bring peace to the deceased soul of the family by not only immersing the ashes into the holy rivers of India but also perform all religious ceremonies that are mandatory.
With its first office set up in New York, AsthiVisarjan.com is all set to perform the religious ceremonies of the deceased family members of the people living in entire US. A person logs into the website, fills out the required information, and then follows the simple instructions. Along with the Asthi, two documents, namely the death certificate and the funeral home certificate, are collected. Then the Asthi is shipped through a private carrier to the location of the family’s choice in India to complete the ceremony. Subsequent to the ceremony donations and food to Brahmins is given and grass is provided as cow feed. Once all the rituals are performed, family members gets pictures & Videos via Mobile apps. It’s commendable that Mr. Koya has developed Mobile apps on iOS, Android & Windows platform for the conveniency of the people. Families who have used the service are sent an annual reminder informing them about any religious ceremonies and/or charity work that can be performed in the name of their deceased loved ones. A list of the charities that can be donated to are featured under the monetary donation section and are 100% tax deductible in the USA.
Performing ‘Shraadh’ came into spotlight internationally when Sylvester Stallone decided to perform dead son’s ‘Shraadh’ in Haridwar after he saw his dead son in his dreams and wanted his soul to rest in peace. Why need for such a website? However in India, performing last rites and shraadh (yearly prayers and donation) is an inherent part of the Indian culture which is now finding itself in an uneasy equation with the NRIs. “Over the years, I had observed that NRI families go through various difficulties to go to India to disperse ashes of their deceased family members. It is those challenges that motivated me to do something about this problem, says Harendra Koya, who is the founder and manages the overall operation of the website AsthiVisarjan.com in USA and also supports the team overseas. Expecting a great response, Koya adds, “a dipstick before starting this project asked almost 100 people who we did not know, to validate our idea. Almost all of those people not only liked our idea but they encouraged us…” In every other case people are usually not so aware and educated about how to go about performing last rites. “One of my friend’s sons asked his mother to throw the ashes of his deceased father into the trash,” shared the Gujarat born, Kolkata raised founder. According to him, the website will not only provide required Asthi Visarjan and Pind Daan services to Indians and Hindus residing outside of India, such as in the USA, but it also provide insight about the tradition and rituals to reader,” he says.
The entire project management is done Mr. Ritesh Sarvaiya, he executed a dream that was just a thought. He involved the biggest evolutionary ideas to get this project running and scouting for getting more experts that makes it more perfect. Also to add Ritesh leads Defencely Inc which is an International Cloud Security company involved in providing 360 Degree Security to keep companies secure from any and every online threats. The highly experienced priests who have experience of over 200+ years in Ritual performance and knowledge scholars have been involved to make every bit of process the rememberable one. Miss Tejal Sarvaiya has done the Content conceptualisation strategize and preparing content for the Portal. She acknowledged the idea and went ahead with research work and getting basic information on all rituals that needs to be performed.
The portal is not solely just a portal for Asthi Visarjan people can also make donations for the uplift of poor and feeding them. There are various packages one can opt for feeding and taking care of Cow shelter homes. It’s a noble cause, that every person wishes to do in lifetime but somehow due to finance or time constraints cannot do. Along with the religious ceremonies, its one of the best steps a family can do to save animals from Slaughterhouses. The unseen blessings from these speechless creatures go miles in enriching your life and also bring all the goodness in terms of peace to the departed soul of the family.
One thing is clear that if it has demand in USA then this services are also required for the rest of the world where NRIs are residing. Therefore it is obvious that on spreading its wings across the world, Mr Koya will have to have more funds and for that hunting for a VC may be one of the viable options or seeking help from family and friends is another. But there is still time since this is an emotional issue. Before anything the team needs to gain trust of the NRI residing in USA that the services are genuine and traditional. The only way to gain the trust is to get the testimony from people who used the services. The niche of the website is well defined by the founder. It will provide traditional Asthi Visarjan and Pind Daan services in India through the people who have been devoted to this line of service for more than two centuries with professionalism and efficiency. What makes the team extremely proud is the fact that along doing service to fellow NRIs, they will also do kindness to people and to animals through charitable donations.
Founder’s Vision and Challenges
Currently they are in process of doing a study to assess the feasibility of live streaming the rituals. Sharing their future plans, the team says “At this time we are concentrating initially in the United States. Once we are at the comfortable level, we will study the need in other countries and work accordingly.” He also points there are number of challenges in the path ahead. One of them being that there are clearly more places than the listed 14 for Asthi Visarjan & Pind Daan “It will be challenging to meet the demands for more places beyond our initial 14, but we are ready for it,” says an upbeat Mr. Koya.
We would like to know what you guys think about this concept & add your thoughts for the betterment AsthiVisarjan, which happening for the first time online.