When writing sympathy cards for Hindu loved ones, geography plays a vital role. Various worldwide locations connote different customs and norms.
What’s regionally accepted in Southern India, for example, may not be appropriate or even standard in the North. Whether you are going to a Hindu funeral or just want to send condolences to an acquaintance, we've provided 15 thoughtful examples as a place to start.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Hindu Condolence Messages for the Loss of a Parent
- Hindu Condolence Messages for the Loss of a Sibling
- Hindu Condolence Messages for the Loss of a Friend
- Hindu Condolence Messages for the Loss of a Partner or Spouse
- Hindu Condolence Messages for the Loss of a Child
We’ll take you through some examples of condolences or sympathies below and try to iron out what’s commonplace or what’s appropriate in specific contexts. Unlike some religions, you’ll also find that Hindus mourn for 13 days, which can also determine what you should and should not write. Take a look.
Hindu Condolence Messages for the Loss of a Parent
In the Southern state of Tamil Nadu, messaging can go one of two ways when losing a parent. For instance, if the family head shows or voices no grief, the guests will respond similarly. Otherwise, if they show and express sorrow, guests will offer words to help them accept what has happened to move forward.
1. Your father was a wise man. He would tell you that mourning only keeps you from fulfilling your role as head of this family. You have a great responsibility now.
In many rural areas of India, gender inequalities still exist where the men adopt the head of household position. Chances are you’ll know this about your friend’s familial history enough to gauge an appropriate message based on his upbringing.
2. I am sorry for your loss. Everyone in this community respected your father. You and your wife are well poised to take over your family. May Lord Krishna grant you strength.
Traditional stereotypes have shifted in other, more suburban areas of India. There, husbands and wives increasingly share household roles as dual-earners. If this cultural shift is your cousin’s history, it might be appropriate to mention that distinction to honor them both after offering condolences.
3. Your mother had a happy death. She lived her life to its fullest, so we should celebrate her life to honor her legacy.
“Kalyana saavu” is roughly translated as “happy death,” and you would use this phrasing to honor someone’s life and legacy. When someone has lived a happy, full life, there may be increased celebrations and dancing.
If you’re not familiar with these Hindu funeral customs, you may also see a lot of food and drink.
Hindu Condolence Messages for the Loss of a Sibling
When offering sympathy messages to an Orthodox Hindu for their sibling, you’ll find that the atmosphere of condolences is much different. In this sect of Hinduism, there’s no food or drink offered to the family for up to 10 days. And if you plan on visiting them—you’ll spend more time in silence rather than offering condolences.
4. On behalf of my family, I want to say how sorry we are for your loss. Your sister was a beautiful person. May she rest in peace. Hare Krishna.
Simple condolences are universally acceptable. After all, some of the wisest people can almost convey a book in a matter of a sentence. That said, it’s the intent alongside the words that mean the most to nearly anyone.
5. Surinder taught his children to live with intent and to be good ancestors. You can see he wanted his family to live well for many generations. May he rest in peace. Hare Krishna.
In Hinduism, there’s samsara—the continuous cycle of reincarnation. Recognizing and honoring this belief means that you grasp the idea of Brahman or the universal soul. It also conveys an understanding that while there is a cycle to life, there is only one reality.
6. Your sister was an honorable woman who sacrificed much for her family. We hope her journey is comforted by Lord Krishna (or Lord Rama). We are very sorry for your loss. Hare Krishna.
Sacrifice is not uncommon for Hindus, even if internalized. With that, parents will often go to great lengths to ensure the success of their families. In some cases, it would then be appropriate to recognize this care and give it the honor it deserves.
Hindu Condolence Messages for the Loss of a Friend
As author Arvind Sharma writes, “Hinduism is not a thing; it is a process.” He would more or less characterize Hinduism as a method or temperament. With this in mind, here are a few ideas for what to write in a sympathy note after losing a friend.
7. A kind friend never leaves our hearts; they will remain with us always. She’ll never be forgotten.
Some friends have the knack for hitting all the right notes and saying all of the right things. They’re good people inside and out, living a life marked with joy and fulfillment.
8. Please accept my condolences for your loss. I understand that not only did your friend mean a great deal to you, but also that Keyur was well-loved by his family and community.
Someone’s positive familial and community impact is enough of a statement to their character in and of itself. Those people are greatly missed as they create such a hole for those they leave behind.
9. Everyone one of us was inspired simply by knowing Avindash. His commitment to creating a better world was apparent in every project he started. Today is a sad day for us. But may his soul travel swiftly to the next destination.
You can quickly highlight a friend’s accomplishments without getting too wordy while acknowledging their belief systems—as a general way of living.
Join Cake's monthly newsletter.
Learn all you need to know about end-of-life.
Hindu Condolence Messages for the Loss of a Partner or Spouse
In Hinduism, there is no judgment day as there are in Christian belief systems. Similarly, there’s no understanding of heaven or hell, but there is the desire to achieve Nirvana. Once Nirvana is attained, the reincarnation cycle ends. Check out some ways to incorporate this idea when offering condolences for a partner or spouse.
10. “Weapons do not cut this Spirit, fire does not burn it, water does not make it wet, and the wind does not make it dry. The Spirit cannot be cut, burned, wet, or dried. It is eternal, all-pervading, changeless, immovable, and primeval. Atma is beyond space and time. (Bhagavad Gita, 2.23-24)
The Bhagavad Gita says that the body’s destiny is to die. The soul, however, must continue with its journey. As such, this message will work for the friend who sincerely believed in the transitory nature of the body itself.
11. Your wife is not born, and she has not died. She and her soul exist eternally. She is everything before and after yesterday—in a stillness of beauty.
Rather than quoting the Bhagavad Gita directly, you can also take its essence and interpret that into something meaningful. Here, reading 2.20 has been explained. See if you would agree.
12. Do not grieve for his body, for his soul is eternal.
This short message gets to the essence of the Hindu faith in just a few short words. It may work for a coworker or friend who has lost their spouse. It could even work over various social media platforms or a sympathy card.
Hindu Condolence Messages for the Loss of a Child
In Hinduism, it is not uncommon for someone to formulate their unique way of practicing their faith. As author Arvind Sharma would say, there are “as many Hinduisms as there are Hindus.” Just the same, this leniency does not give people a wash from tradition. Below, we’ll use this concept in offering messages for the loss of a child.
13. On behalf of this community, I would like to offer our heartfelt condolences and prayers to your entire family. We pray that Lord Krishna gives you great strength to travel through all of this suffering. May Lord Krishna grant everlasting peace to her soul. Hare Krishna…
Some people in India may denounce being Hindu, but their lifestyle may suggest that they still live like a traditional Hindu. As an elder or wise member of the community, it would still be common to invoke Lord Krishna’s name even if this is the parent’s chosen lifestyle.
14. May God bring speed to your child’s soul.
It’s important not to confuse peace and speed here, as speed is the best and appropriate choice. When one is in the cycle of rebirth, you would ask God to give momentum to the soul because the Hindu journey is ultimately to reach God.
15. May God guide your son’s soul to attain the right path.
Perhaps your friend’s child died as a teenager and didn’t have a chance to go to university or get married for many reasons. If that’s the case, then you would express hope for the path after death to be more apparent than the one during life.
Cross-Cultural Hindu Condolences
In our cosmopolitan society, it’s not uncommon to know or work with people from all over the world. And while most of the information provided above mixes trust with credible sources, there’s such variety to the Hindu culture and faith systems that what works in one scenario may not work in another. If unsure, the best thing to do is stick to something straightforward.
- A place to share knowledge and better understand the world. (n.d.). Quora. https://www.quora.com/
- Das, S. (n.d.). Hindu Quotes of Condolence and Healing. https://www.learnreligions.com/healing-words-for-tragic-times-1770148
- India Today Web Desk, I. (2020). Deepest condolence messages very helpful in grief. https://www.indiatoday.in/information/story/deepest-condolence-messages-very-helpful-in-grief-1657386-2020-03-19
- Sharma, A. (1995). Our Religions: The Seven World Religions Introduced by Preeminent Scholars From Each Tradition. Harper San Francisco.
- Saraff, Anjula & Srivastava, Harish. (2008). Envisioning Fatherhood: Indian Fathers' Perceptions of an Ideal Father. Population Review. 47. 10.1353/prv.0.0002.