6. Costs & Materials

 “You invested so much in this world. 
What have you saved for the next?” 
– Sri Ramakrishna

“From Illusion lead me to Truth.
From Darkness lead me to Light.
From Death lead me to Immortality.”
- Katha Upanisad

General Checklist and Costs
1. Funeral Overview
Very thorough funeral expenses may include approximately: 
$2000 - $5000 for specific funeral rites in India or Nepal, including: 
$5000 - $20,000 for optional yagyas (such as graha shanti) before and after death,
  • $500 for cremation and ashes immersion ($2500 in USA and Europe)
  • $500 for high quality yagya samagri (ingredients), including gifts of gold,
  • $500+ dakshina to brahmins, gurukulams, and ashrams, 
  • $500+ for travel, lodging and food expenses for beneficiaries and friends attending Funeral Rites.
  • $1,000 for Go Dhan - Gift of milking cow(s) and cow feed to brahmins (optional).
  • $5,000 - $15,000 for Bhagavat Saptah yagya one year after death (optional),
        Your pandit (and yagya service) can offer a wide range of funeral budget options. The cost will depend on 1) the number of pandits involved, 2) the type of gifts to pandits, 3) the quality of puja samagri (puja ingredients), such as gold, etc., and 4) the size of the bandhara (feeding of guests).

         First and foremost, find a knowledgeable, pure minded pandit. If you do not have a personal pandit, take the recommendation of a trusted friend. Do not bargain for costs during the yagya. It will spoil the feeling level. After you have agreed on a budget with the pandit, then simply witness the expertise and care that is conveyed to the departed soul. The main ingredients are the purity of the departed soul and the silent wishes of those who participate.

The pandit will gather most of the yagya ingredients, but there are a few items, which you should collect before the onset of death. Some of these items may be available from your local health food store. Click on each item for recommendations of the best quality products at the best prices available from amazon.com.
1. For Organic Tulsi Tea Click Here - The final blessing of taste.
2. For Tulsi Malas Click Here - A final blessing of touch.
3. For Rudraksha Malas Click Here - A final blessing of touch.
4. For Kusha Grass Mats for the Deceased Click Here - For Cremation Blessing
5. For Pure camphor Click Here - For Cremation Blessing
6. For Sandalwood Sticks Click Here - For Cremation Blessing
7. For Decent Pure Sandalwood Incense Click Here - For Cremation Blessing
    For Better Quality Pure Sandalwood Click Here
    For Best Quality Pure Sandalwood Click Here
8. For Sandalwood Essential Oil Click Here - For All-Time Blessings and Cremation
     See Section 8 - Transcending for the Blessings of Aroma Therapy
9. For Aloes Wood Incense Click Here - For Cremation Blessing
10. For Organic Ghee Click Here - For Cremation Blessing
11. For Organic Black Sesame Seeds & Ganges Water Click Here - For Cremation Blessing

This website does not make commissions from any of these recommendations. These are only suggestions. You may have other preferred sources.

Also consider:
1. Maharishi Veda App - For All-Time Blessings

2. Before Death
  1. Neat, clean, quiet, well-ventilated room with flowers and ghee lamp.
  2. Vata pacifying teas and fragrances - especially tulsi.
  3. Vedic Recitation - Maharishi Veda App plays Gandharva Ved and other stotrams automatically - without having to monitor which raga is played for the correct time of day. (only $4/month)  Many other beneficial stotrams with perfect pronounciation are included.
  4. Pure Spring Water. Ganga Water.
  5. Pure, simple, fresh vegetarian food prepared by loved ones.
  6. Rudraksha and/or tulsi malas. (See story below.)
  7. Graha Shanti Yagyas and Mahamrityunjaya Jap (Optional. $500 - $20,000)
  8. The Journey Home: Inspiring Passages From Near-Death Experiences to Comfort the Dying by Michael A. Quinn and Linda L. Quinn is the most comprehensive compilation for overcoming the fear associated with death. By reading the passages from those who have experienced profound unconditional love and incredibly beautiful Near-Death Experiences, the authors inspire a genuinely positive vision for the journey to the next world. They show how to create a precious inner sanctuary in the heart to hold, nourish, comfort, and cherish the soul whenever fear or sorrow arises.
3. Cremation - Agni Sanskar ($300 - $700)
         In 1980 about 5% of Americans were cremated. By 2015 that figure was about 50%, according to the National Cremation Association of North America. The National Funeral Directors Association reports that cremation of a body costs about $700, whereas traditional burial may cost more than $7000. 

         Cremation makes the greatest environmental and economic sense. Every year in the USA more than 825,000 gallons of poisonous, formaldehyde-based, embalming fluid is pumped into dead bodies. Casket construction consumes more than 180,545,000 pounds of steel, as well as 5.4 million pounds of copper and brass, and 30 million board feet of hardwoods and tropical woods. Burial vaults in graves require 3.275 billion pounds of reinforced concrete and 28 million pounds of steel each year. (Pre-Posthumous Society of Ithica, New York)

         For information about handling funeral details without paying for unnecessary and expensive funeral home services, see: www.funerals.org and www.finalpassages.org.

4. Immersion of ashes and bones - Asthi Visarjan ($200 -$500)
Materials for immersing ashes (Ashti Visajan). Leave it to the pandit. 

5. Antyeshti Kriya Ingredients  - 13 Days Vedic Funeral  ($1000 - $5000)
       The cost of Antyeshti Kriyas will depend on whether you want a simple ceremony or an expensive, elaborate ritual. A moderate ceremony might include the following approximate costs: 

1.   13 days of pujas. Approximately $20/pandit/day. 3 to11 pandits, 

2.   Basic puja samagri (ingredients), include all the usual puja samagri plus pinda balls made of barley dough, black sesame seeds, honey, milk, water, and ghee. Also gold and silver items. $200.

      The pandits can assemble all the basic ingredients for you, but for an extraordinarily nice touch, get extra kusha grass mats for a ‘royal’ bed of grass on which to make the offerings. Usually the pandits only provide a few blades of grass. Also, get copper plates and dishes for offerings made on the kusha grass. This is nicer than offerings on the bare cement ground.

      Finally, purchase black sesame seeds, honey and ghee to offer to the ancestors in the pinda balls. Other prized Shraddh ingredients include: sandalwood and aloe wood incense, sandalwood paste, barley, sesame, yellow flower, sugar, banana, ginger, white cloth (handkerchief), betal nuts, betel leaves, and water mixed with tulsi leaves and poured through a conch shell over a Shaligrama Stone.

3.   Gifts offered to the departed soul include food grains (rice and barley), sesame, honey, ghee, spices, salt, clothes, mattress (kusha grass or cotton or foam), bedding (blankets or quilts), wooden bed (optional), shoes, umbrella, gold (a small coin or ornament is customary), sandalwood paste, yellow flowers, barley, sesame, sugar, banana, ginger, white cloth, betal nuts and leaves, and panchratna metals (five tiny gems or metals). These items can be inexpensively assembled by knowledgeable pandits. Pandits accept these gifts on behalf of the departed soul. $1000.

4.   Generous distribution of food and dakshina to pandits, brahmin families, gurukulam school brahmacharis, sadhu ashrams, and other deserving beneficiaries. Brahmin dhan for pandits may include ghee and dry goods for the year ahead, metal cups, scriptures, (such as Ramayan, Vishnu Sahasranam and Bhagavad Gita), cloth (Dhoti and Kurta), five copper puja vessels, five copper eating plates and bowls (panch tamra bardan), a kusa grass mat, Tulsi Malas, Janaoo (Sacred cotton thread), towels, and Dakshina. At least gifts of a meal, dhoti, kurta, and dakshina (cash) must be given. Theoretically, the greater the gifts to the pandits, the greater the benefit to the departed soul - and to the family of the departed. $1000.

5.   “Go Dhan” - The gift of a cow to deserving brahmins is the ultimate offering. A live, milk-yielding cow is best. Otherwise, a small statue of a cow made of silver, gold, copper, or ghee may substitute. If a live cow is given, water is poured over its tail. Then the tail (attached to the cow) is handed to the brahmin with the chanting of mantras. Always include a donation for cow feed. If a cow is not given, at least feed cows generously. ($50 - $2000) Deserving recipients include local goshalas in India, as well as:

Lakshmi Cow Sanctuary 1515 Ridge Rd
Bangor, PA 18013
Tel: 610-599-8824 

San Diego Purple Cow Sanctuary
PO Box 301775
Escondido, CA 92030
Tel: 760-749-4790 

Equal Vision Cow Sanctuary PO Box 140
Angelica, NY 14709
Tel : 585-466-7457 

ISKCON Cow Sanctuary New Vrindaban
Rd 1, Box #319 Moundsville, WV 26041 
Tel: (304) 843-1600 

6.   Follow-up yagyas include:
            Monthly Shraddh performances on tithi (lunar day) anniversaries. ($20/month. Often pandits will perform all monthly pujas at one time during Antyesthi Kriyas immediately after death. $100 - $500.

            Shraddh Rites after one year ($50 puja for one day puja with one pandit. Or full Bhagavat Saptah yagya for 8 to 9 days costing approx. $5000 to $10,000. Several families may join resources to sponsor a large Bhagavat Saptah yagya for their ancestors. Display photos of ancestors at yagyas.

7.   Generous reimbursements to Executor/Beneficiaries, friends and guests for all expenses related to funeral arrangements, including travel, lodging and food. $1000 or more.

9. Narayan Bali Yagya 
         If death is due to unnatural causes, Narayan Bali Yagya must be performed on 11th or 12th day of Antyeshti Kriyas. ($500)

10. Brahmin Dakshina 
         A satwic meal is always offered to the head pandit and other pandits. Ideally serve 13 brahmins (or more). After the meal, the brahmins are offered gifts and dakshina. For some great saints, Brahman Bhojan may be served on the 16th day.

         Gifts given to Brahmins are meant to convey comforts to the deceased as (s)he crosses to the next world. The gift of food nourishes the soul on its journey. The gift of an umbrella protects the soul from hot sun and rain. A gift of shoes protects the soul from the rough ground. A gift of clothing protects the soul from extremes of weather. A gift of bedding (and even a wooden bed) gives comfort and rest to the wandering soul. A gift of a water pot provides a regular source of drink. A gift of a cow brings all the comforts of heaven. 

         Traditionally payment was simple. Pandits took care of the wealthy families, and those families took care of the pandit’s needs. Now it is more complicated, because there is more of a business relationship between pandits and yajamanas (yagya sponsors). Intense bargaining diminishes the purity and effectiveness of the rites. Naturally, wealthy patrons are expected to pay more than poor villagers. In fact, the shastras prescribe 6% to 16% of one’s yearly income should be spent on Antyeshti Kriyas for parents. 

         Dakshina depends on the value that you place on the pandit’s services. It is a sign of respect and gratitude. Accepting gifts is a very serious karmic obligation for a pandit. The pandit takes on karma by performing funeral rites. The shastras prescribe rigorous purificatory meditation and (gayatri) japa for the pandits who handle offerings to the deceased. This requires several hours of japa and meditation during the day (trikal sandhya vandan). Unfortunately, some pandits omit this purificatory phase, and as a result, they may accumulate some of the dosha (impurity) of the death rites. This dosha may interfere with the pandit’s peace of mind. Therefore it is ALWAYS better to arrange a respected, known pandit in advance, rather than to put yourself at the mercy of pandits looking for business.

         If you do not have a family pandit, get a recommendation from a friend. Ideally a family member or close friend should preside over the ceremonies with a picture of the deceased and jyotish information available. However, pandits can arrange to perform the Antyeshti rites without family members present. A surrogate family member can be hired for the purpose of performing all the kriyas. In addition, pandits can perform the cremation rites with a grass doll substituting for the body of the deceased.

Extremely Good Karma
         The greater the yagya, the greater the benefits for: 1) departed ancestors, 2) brahmin pandits and 3) yagya sponsors (yajamanas). Two yagyas offered by the Maharishi Jyotish and Yagya Office are outstanding for their support on all levels. MY 507 is a Shiva Yagya which promotes evolution - before and after death - by purifying the soul and increasing spirituality. It is the yagya for overall happiness, easiness, growth, and removal of struggle and stress. MY 514 is a Vishnu Yagya for upholding evolution for the departed soul. This is favorable for removing troubles and anxiety, giving peace, and ultimately moksha. To arrange yagyas: Jyotish-Yagya@Maharishi.net and YagyaProgram@Maharishi.net .

         Vedic scriptures declare that penurious, pure-hearted brahmins, who are devoted to Vedic knowledge, are the most deserving recipients of gifts. Nothing yields greater merits for the donor. In this regard the Maharishi Yagya Service `stands out above all others. The Brahmananda Saraswati Foundation (BSF) has undertaken the most ambitious plan ever to support about 5000 pandits in 400 traditional Gurukulam Schools in Nepal and India to train young Brahmin men in their tradition of meditation, yoga and Vedic recitation. 

         BSF also employs about 2000 Vedic Pandits to perform daily yagyas for world peace in the Brahmasthan of India, the exact center point of India. Each day from that geographically sacred site, their Vedic recitation produces the most beneficial effect for the nation, the region, and the world. This group is not motivated by material gains, but is inspired by their dharma (duty) to enliven natural law. The pandit’s recitation is enhanced by Stapathya Ved Vastu housing and organic food.

         Donations to the Brahmananda Saraswati Foundation sustain these deserving young men with food, shelter, clothing, and stipends, while supporting their daily meditation, yoga and yagya performances for world peace. Although this website is not affiliated to the BSF, we want to highlight this well documented and well-managed institution, which supports the most ambitious yagya program in the history of the world to create harmony for individuals, and the whole world family. 

For more information visit:

For more details email: bequests@maharishi.net.
To arrange yagyas: Jyotish-Yagya@Maharishi.net

Brahmananda Saraswati Yagya Foundation is a non-profit organization
exempt from income tax under Section 501 (c) (3) of the US Internal Revenue Code. 
Donations for yagyas are tax-deductible for US taxpayers.

Choose your charities carefully, for “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” - Jesus

Elder Bhishma’s advice to Raja Yudhishthira about Brahmin Dakshina. 
Verses from Mahabharata, Anushasana Parva:

 8   “To do good to the Brahmins is the most sacred of all sacred acts. . . . My heart always yearns for those who, for the gratification of Brahmins, give unto them with devotion, food that is well-cooked and clean and wholesome. It is easy to fight in battle, but not so to make a gift without pride or vanity. In this world, O Yudhishthira, there are brave men and heroes by hundreds. While counting them, he that is a hero in gifts should be regarded as superior . . .. 

9   Failure to give a Brahmin a gift that has been promised deprives a man of all the fruits of his virtuous acts.

10 Appropriateness of the gift and the recipient is essential for good results in charity.

22 “The man who makes gifts to a deserving Brahmin multiplies his merit a thousand fold. A single righteous Brahmin possessed of wisdom and Vedic lore, observant of the duties laid down in the Vedas, distinguished by purity of behavior, is competent to rescue an entire race.”

 “The various gifts that people make in the world 
stand them in good stead in the region of Yama (Death). 
The gifts go before the person and make everything comfortable.”
- Sage Suta to Garuda, Garuda Purana

“Yagya is a process of bringing the individual
into harmony with the stream of evolution, 
which enjoys the favor of all the forces of nature, 
engaged in the advancement of life,
individual and cosmic.”
- His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Bhagavad Gita 3.11