Ngaben is derived from the word "abu "mean ash. Cremation is only the
climax of a series of ceremonies, pengabenan, and there must always
follow a second, complementary series of ceremonies in which the
now-released soul is returned to God. A Balinese Cremation is a big and
dramatic event, and almost none of it has anything to do with a dead
body.In Bali, the body is nothing more than an impure, temporary cell,
having no significance, except as the container of the soul and its anchor
to earth. At the time of death, all thoughts are concentrated upon the
spirit and its passage to heaven. The body is just there to be disposed as
quickly as possible. Instead of grieving, the Balinese prefer cremating the
dead body in order to hasten its soul to oneness with God. In the
Hindu-Balinese cosmology, the body of man is a microcosm of the
universe. It is made up of the same five elements: air, earth, fire, water,
and space. These constitute, temporarily, a place for atman, the immortal
soul. After the body death, this soul, according to the principles of
samsara (reincarnation), will find a home in another form. It might go
through a kind of hell( neraka) spend some time in heaven, surga, or even
ascend to a state of ultimate oneness with God, moksa. But the soul of
someone who dies can not immediately leave the body. Only after the
body 's five elements have been returned to the macrocosm by burning
can the soul completely detach itself from the body. The series of
ceremonies that are involved with returning the five elements, panca maha
buta is called Pengabenan or Cremation.

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