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Second, we must note the desire for a good death in a sacred space. Traditionally, many Hindus journeyed to special pilgrimage places such as Varanasi or Vrindaban hoping that death in such sanctified locations would ensure liberation. Although this practice is declining in India and rare among the growing numbers of Hindus in the diaspora, the desire 42 Religious Understandings of a Good Death in Hospice Palliative Care to die in a sacred space is still a strong preference. Keeping in mind that most Hindu homes have a room or part of a room that serves as a place of worship, the desire for sacred space at the time of dying may take the form of transforming the hospice room by the addition of an icon (murti) of one’s favorite form of God.

Anxious about death before the attainment of liberation, Arjuna, in the Bhagavadgita (6:37–39), asks Krishna if he will simply dissipate like a cloud. Krishna gives the assurance that neither in this world nor in the next is the destruction of such a person to be found. For no one who acts In virtuous ways ever goes to an unfortunate destiny, my dear friend. One gains a rare rebirth in a family of wise practitioners, and continues the religious journey toward God initiated in the previous life.

Murray, S. et al. 2003. Dying from cancer in developed and developing countries: Lessons from two qualitative interview studies of patients and their carers. British Medical Journal 7385: 362–68. Nimmannit, S. 2007. Hospice history interview. March 9. Phungrassami. 2007. Hospice history interview. March 10. Porubcˇanová, P. 2004. Hospice history interview. Oct. 14. St. Christopher’s Hospice. 1964. Aim and basis, mimeograph, revised. Saunders, C. 1960a. Letter to Jack Wallace. Feb. 10. ———. 1960b.

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Antiochian Ortodox Church by The Divine Liturgy.


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