By Swami Harshananda
Burial and cremation of the dead bodies is an ancient practice and is still in vogue.
After cremation, the bones collected from the cremation ground were preserved in an urn and kept either in an open ground under a tree or temporarily buried in a place with some distinguishing marks to resurrect it later. After a sufficiently long time, grave used to be dug in a level ground, full of trees and natural beauty. Then the bones taken out of the urn are placed in the pit in a particular order.
Then it would be filled with bricks, clay and earth. A mound is raised over the spot like a monument. All this had to be done as per the procedure given in the Śrautasutras with appropriate Vedic mantras. This practice was not universal and went out of vogue in course of time.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore