Cremation is a ritual designed to do much more than dispose of the body; it is intended to release the soul from its earthly existence. "Hindus believe that cremation (compared to burial or outside disintegration) is most spiritually beneficial to the departed soul." This is based on the belief that the "astral body" will linger "as long as the physical body remains visible." If the body is not cremated, "the soul remains nearby for days or months"The only bodies that are not generally burned are unnamed babies and the lowliest of castes, who are returned to the earth.
The standard cremation ceremony begins with the ritual cleansing, dressing and adorning of the body. The body is then carried to the cremation ground as prayers are chanted to Yama, invoking his aid.
One of the most spectacular ceremonies in Bali is probably the cremation ceremony. In Balinese this ceremony is called Ngaben. Of course, like any ceremony in Bali, the cremation ceremony's size and spectacle depends on the importance of the deceased, and the money spend. While the poorest of the Balinese are buried, and finally cremated in group cremations, the people with some more money to spend are cremated right away. One thing is for sure, the body needs to be burned to set the soul free from worldly ties, and to start a new life in a world that is supposed to be as beautiful as Bali itself.
When the body of the deceased is carried to the place where the cremation is to take place, the often very beautiful and colorful temple-like structure called Wadah with the body is shaken and turned by the people carrying it, to make sure the soul doesn't find its way back home.
I panographed this, relative simple, cremation on Sanur Beach. During the cremation I heard people say, that the deceased was 61 years old, and died because of stress.