evaṁ vilapatīnāṁ vai
parigṛhya mṛtaṁ patim
arko ’staṁ sannyavartata
evam—thus; vilapatīnām—of the lamenting queens; vai—indeed; parigṛhya—taking on their laps; mṛtam—the dead; patim—husband; anicchatīnām—not desiring; nirhāram—the carrying out of the body for the funeral ceremony; arkaḥ—the sun; astam—the setting position; sannyavartata—passed away.
The time was appropriate for the body to be burned, but the queens, not allowing it to be taken away, continued lamenting for the dead body, which they kept on their laps. In the meantime, the sun completed its movements for setting in the west.
According to the Vedic system, if a person dies during the daytime it is customary for his funeral ceremony to be performed before the sun sets, regardless of whether he is burned or buried, and if he dies at night the funeral must be completed before the next sunrise. Apparently the queens continued lamenting for the dead body, the lump of matter, and would not allow it to be taken away for burning. This illustrates the strong grip of illusion among foolish persons who consider the body the self. Women are generally considered less intelligent. Because of ignorance only, the queens thought of the dead body as their husband and somehow or other thought that if the body were kept their husband would remain with them. Such a conception of the self is certainly for go-khara—cows and asses. We have actually seen that sometimes when a cow’s calf has died the milkman cheats the cow by presenting before her the dead body of her calf. Thus the cow, who would not otherwise allow milking, licks the dead body of the calf and allows herself to be milked. This substantiates the description of the śāstra that a foolish man in the bodily concept of life is like a cow. Not only do foolish men and women consider the body the self, but we have even seen that the dead body of a so-called yogī was kept for days by his disciples, who thought that their guru was in samādhi. When decomposition began and a bad smell unfortunately began to overwhelm the yogic power, the disciples allowed the dead body of the so-called yogī to be burned. Thus the bodily concept of life is extremely strong among foolish persons, who are compared to cows and asses. Nowadays, great scientists are trying to freeze dead bodies so that in the future these frozen bodies may again be brought to life. The incident narrated by Hiraṇyakaśipu from history must have taken place millions of years ago because Hiraṇyakaśipu lived millions of years ago and was even then quoting from history. Thus the incident occurred before Hiraṇyakaśipu’s lifetime, but the same ignorance in the bodily concept of life is still prevalent, not only among laymen but even among scientists who think they will be able to revive frozen corpses.
Apparently the queens did not want to deliver the dead body for burning because they were afraid of dying with the dead body of their husband.
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