Meaning: noun: Ball of rice (offered as offering to deceased ancestors).
ਪਿੰਡੁ ਪਤਲਿ ਮੇਰੀ ਕੇਸਉ ਕਿਰਿਆ ਸਚੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾਰੁ॥
piňḍ patal meree kesau kiriaa sach naam kartaar.
The Divine is my offering of rice balls on leafy plates, and the Creator and His true Name is my funeral ceremony
– Guru Nanak Sahib, Guru Granth Sahib, 358
Message: Are rituals after cremation obligatory?
Guru Nanak in the quote above says that he does not believe in meaningless rituals and readings of mantras, but in the conscious awareness of the Divine.
Further, in the hymn this verse is taken from, he asks us to make the love and wisdom of the Divine the lamp, which not only illuminates our lives here but will also remove the fear of supposed suffering hereafter. Just as a spark of fire can burn millions of wooden logs, the light of the Divine wisdom banishes all evils and wrong doings.
The true ablution of the soul takes place when we are imbued with the love for the Divine at all times. The Divine alone is our true support and saviour. The grace of the Divine is never exhausted, while the ceremonial offerings to deities or the dead ancestors are ultimately consumed by the priests themselves.
Instead of performing various rites and rituals after the death of a person, rely only on the Divine remembrance and reflection. Only acceptance of the will of the Divine can bring peace to us.
ਆਇਆ ਗਇਆ ਮੁਇਆ ਨਾਉ॥ ਪਿਛੈ ਪਤਲਿ ਸਦਿਹੁ ਕਾਵ॥
One came to and departed from the world, and after a while, even one’s name disappeared from memory. Afterwards, one may now offer food on leaves and may call the crows to eat. -Guru Nanak Sahib, Guru Granth Sahib, 138
Etymology: From Sanskrit piṇḍ (lump, the lump of food, the ball of rice).