Vol. 5 No. 8 (2008): Make That Sesame on Rice, Please! Appetites of the Dead in Hinduism - By David M. Knipe
This paper documents the rituals of feeding the ‘the preta or jiva...that spirited entity that hovers, lingers, flits about after escaping from a useless body’ through the course of a Hindu funeral. The minutiae of the codes of stratification that accord special ‘unseeable’ status to the Brahmins who conduct the ritual and the menu of the food offerings – ranging from cereals to sweets to beverages – are listed. This list describes how food serves as a medium of vitality for the preta in transition between one life and the next and opens questions about the ‘life’ of the departed among the living.