Since Vedic era in India there existed great Rushis , thinkers and philosophers, including one controversial Muni named “Chaarvaak”, of Ramayana era. According to him, the existing visible world and persons living here are, the only fact. “Only the visible perceptible proof is acceptable, called (1) Pratyaxa Pramaan. Ishvar/God is mere imagination. Any outside dimension or PERLOKE is nothing but only our fancy idea. When a person dies, nothing is left, even himself/herself-becomes “Zero”. So performing rituals upon death is meaningless. In essence, our aim is to enjoy and be happy in this very life at all possible cost”.
His famous aphorism/Sutra is;“To get such happiness, you may even take loan / be in debt to drink Ghee.” Yes, such way of life/thought is still present even today. This theory may emerge as a negative ideology nd impractical in context of law and order. There seems to be lack of understanding of real truth and they may be considered atheist /Nastik. They seem to disregard other five important logical Pramanas ( proofs).
On the otherhand, there were number of high thinkers, Mahatmas, highly intellectual Rushis and philosophers those against above ideas. All such (positive) ways of thinking is assimilated in our reliable scriptures. There exist powerful and pure- logical statements or arguments. Example, “a person is not only bundle of this flesh-body that we perceive or see. This is only very small percentage of its total existence. Behind the visible body, there are 23 and more invisible elements like 5 Pranas, mind, intellect, ego, senses (indriyas), 5 subjects of interest (vishyas,) Life & energy function (chetana/ Chaitanya), causal body, Prarabdha karma of past life and present life that standby to give result and more; all these are called a Jiva -personal soul. OR :- Jiva is immortal for it is Ansha/part of Parmatama. Jiva does not happens to destroy even after death of the body. These said elements (23++)are only attributes of Jiva”.
Those who deny and say that there is nothing left, “zero” after death, are like closing their eyes and sayng -there do not exist the Sun. This is undeniable truth. This implies that, a person after leaving one’s body, still exists and continues the journey,yet it may not be seen or is comprehensive.
So in essence, the question is:-upon the death of our family member should we should express our respect and pray for peace. If we believe Jiva then all necessary rituals after death should be performed with full faith and heartily. This is our duty. There may be some differences in ritual performance according to time, country, culture and circumstances, but main principle is TRUE.