death with equanimity



(Chapter II,cont.)

2.2 – 2.22

2.2  Various Kinds Of Deaths –

Jaina canonical literature and its explanatory literature of latter times divides death into two main categories – Voluntary death “Sakāma–maraṇa” and Involuntary death “Akāma–maraṇa”ias well as Ignorant death “Bālamaraṇa” and Enlightened death “Paṇḍitamaraṇa”. The involuntary death in a state of ignorance without any appreciation of its inevitability and with binding attachment to life in disregard of its utility or otherwise and consequent fear of death is ignorant death. Voluntary death with due appreciation of its inevitability, with due consideration of utility of life and, hence, without fear of death is the enlightened death.

2.21 Voluntary And Involuntary Deaths –

Sallekhanā and Samādhimaraṇa come in the category of preparation and practice of voluntary death. Sallekhanā is the preparatory penance while Samādhi–maraṇa or Santhārā is the practice of ‘Voluntary Peaceful Death’. Santhārā is of three types, namely 1. Bhaktapratyākhyāna–maraṇa, 2. Iṅginī–maraṇa and 3. Pādapopagamana–maraṇa.

Vyākhyāprajñapti–sūtra, describes twelve types of ignorant deaths and two of the enlightened types,ii while the Samavāyāṅga mentions ten types of the former and six of the latter and one of the mixed kind.iii The Uttarādhyayana Niryukti, too, describes seventeen types of death with slight change of order and nomenclature. They are as mentioned hereunder: –

Vyākhyāprajñapti sūtra

Samavāyāṅga sūtra

Ignorant Death “Bālamaraṇa”

  1. Valayamaraṇa,
  2. Vasaṭṭamaraṇa,
  3. Attosallamaraṇa,
  4. Tadbhavamaraṇa,
  5. Giripaḍaṇamaraṇa,
  6. Tarupaḍaṇamaraṇa,
  7. Jalappavesamaraṇa,
  8. Jalaṇappavesamaraṇa,
  9. Visabhakkhaṇamaraṇa,
  10. Satthovāḍaṇamaraṇa,

  11. Vehāṇasamaraṇa,
  12. Giddhapiṭṭhamaraṇa,


Ignorant Death “Bālamaraṇa”

  1. Āvīcimaraṇa,
  2. Avadhimaraṇa,
  3. Ātyantikamaraṇa,
  4. Valayamaraṇa,
  5. Vaśārtamaraṇa,
  6. Antah<śalyamaraṇa,
  7. Tadbhavamaraṇa,
  8. Bālamaraṇa,
  9. Vaihāyasamaraṇa,
  10. Gṛddhapṛṣṭhamaraṇa,


Vyākhyāprajñapti sūtra

Samavāyāṅga sūtra

Enlightened Death “Paṇḍitamaraṇa” –

  1. Pāvovagamaṇamaraṇa
  2. Bhattapaccakkhāṇamaraṇa

Enlightened Death “Paṇḍitamaraṇa” –

  1. Paṇḍitamaraṇa,
  2. Chadmasthamaraṇa,
  3. Kevalīmaraṇa,
  4. Bhaktapratyākhyānamaraṇa,
  5. Inginīmaraṇa,
  6. Pādapopagamanamaraṇa,

Mixed Death “Miśramaraṇa” –


A brief description of their characteristics, as given in the Samavāyāṅga,Bhagavatīsūtra and Uttarādhyayana Niryukti is under: –

  1. Āvīci–maraṇa – Death due to exhaustion of the life–span determining karma is Āvīci–maraṇa.iv Just like the sand in the hour–glass falls every moment and ultimately exhausts itself, so does the life and when it exhausts completely the death occurs.

  2. Avadhi–maraṇa – Repeated deaths in the same class, such as human class, is Avadhi–maraṇa.v

  3. Ātyantikamaraṇa – Death when the living being is not reborn in the same class from which it dies is said to be Ātyantika–maraṇa.vi

  4. Valaya–maraṇa – Death while suffering the pangs of hunger or by succumbing to corruption of the taken vows is Valaya–maraṇa.vii

  5. Vaśārta–maraṇa – Death due to succumbing to sensory pleasures such as heavy drinking etc in which there is a preponderance of despondence and angered thoughts is Vaśārta–maraṇa.viii

  6. Antah<śalya–maraṇa – Dying while the munitions such as arrows or bullets etc are still embedded in the body is material Antah<śalya–maraṇa. Dying without atoning for one’s misdeeds due to shame or pride is internal or volitional Antah<śalya–maraṇa.ix

  7. Tadbhava–maraṇa – To embrace death in the current life is Tadbhava–maraṇa.x

  8. Bāla–maraṇa – Death of the ignorant living beings who are deeply attached to the mundane matters is Bāla–maraṇa.xi

  9. Paṇḍita–maraṇa – Death of the world renounced restrained persons is Paṇḍita–maraṇa. This is usually in a state of right–belief, right–conduct and with due discretion.

  10. Bālapaṇḍita–maraṇa – The death of the part–restrained persons, such as the lay followers who have accepted one or more of the householders’ vows, is Bāla–paṇḍita–maraṇa.xii

  11. Chadmastha–maraṇa – the death of the accomplished aspirants who have attained sensory, scriptural, clairvoyant and telepathic perceptions but have still not attained omniscience is Chadmasthamaraṇa.xiii

  12. Kevalīmaraṇa – The death of the enlightened omniscient beings is Kevalīmaraṇa.

  13. Vaihāyasamaraṇa – Death by external means such as by hanging from the tree–branches, etc is Vaihāyasa–maraṇa.xiv

  14. Gṛddhapṛṣṭha–maraṇa – Death by entering the carcass of large animals such as elephants when the entrant’s body is also eaten away by carrion–birds is Gṛddhapṛṣṭha–maraṇa.xvSamavāyāṅga mentions two subtypes – 1. Gṛddha–spṛṣṭhamaraṇa in which the dead–body is left for picking by the carrion birds “like vultures, etc” to feast over and 2. Gṛddhapṛṣṭamaraṇa in which the death is sought by one’s flesh to be picked by the carrion birds and the living aspirant enters the carcass of a large dead animal like an elephant or a camel etc.xvi

  15. Bhaktapratyākhyāna–maraṇa – Voluntary death by giving up food for life “fasting unto death” is Bhaktapratyākhyāna–maraṇa.xvii

  16. Inginī–maraṇa – Voluntary death by confining oneself to predecided premises is Inginī–maraṇa.xviii In this type of death the aspirant practitioner can look after himself but may not accept the others’ services.xix

  17. Pādapopagamana–maraṇa – Voluntary death by fasting unto death while lying down motionless, like a fallen tree, and neither serving oneself nor accepting assistance from the others, is Pādapopagamana–maraṇa.xx

The Uttarādhyayanasūtra also mentions these two types of deaths and calls them as Akāma–maraṇa and Sakāma–maraṇa respectively.xxi It declares the former as an undesired and undesirable type while the latter as voluntary, desired and desirable type of death. The ignorant persons, deeply engrossed in mundane attachment for sensory pleasures, and thereby indulging in many cruel acts, die many a death while the noble death of the enlightened occurs but once.xxii Further, it goes on to say that the aspirant desirous of embracing voluntary “peaceful” death “Sakāma–maraṇa” must practice it in either of the three ways “Bhaktapratyākhyāna, Inginīmaraṇa or Padapopagamana” of accepting it.xxiii

2.22 Savicāra, Avicāra, Nirhārī And Anirahārī Maraṇa –

Voluntary Peaceful Death in the form of Bhaktapratyākhyāna and Iṅginīmaraṇa can be either with movements or without any movements. The Uttarādhyayana Vritti terms the former as Savicāra–maraṇa and the latter as Avicāra–maraṇa.xxiv The Digambara tradition considers the practice where there is an alternative of form is available as Savicāra–maraṇa and the one without such concession as Avicāra–maraṇa.xxv

Again, there is yet another consideration for terming a voluntary death as Savicāra “with due thought” or Avicāra “without due thought”. When a person is hale and hearty, has sufficient strength and enthusiasm and still wishes to undertake the Sallekhanā vow, ending in voluntary death in the form of Bhaktapratyākhyāna, it is said to be a voluntary death with due thought and consideration. On the contrary, when a person accepts the vow of Bhaktapratyākhyāna under an emergent situation when the death is imminent and he does not have sufficient time to give due thought to his taking the vow, it is said to be Avicāra Bhaktapratyākhyāna–maraṇa or emergent fast unto death.

Bhagavatīsūtra “Vyākhyāprajñapti” mentions two types of Pādapopagamana–maraṇa, namely 1. Nirhārī in which the aspirant dies in the residence in the inhabited area and his corpse is required to be taken out for disposal by cremation or otherwise, and 2. Anirhārī in which the aspirant practitioner goes into the forest and embraces death there and his dead body does not have to be so taken out for disposal.xxvi However, the Digambara interpretation of these terms is somewhat different. They consider the Prāyopagamana death at the same place as originally taken by the aspirant as Nirhārṁ and the one in which he is moved to another place, by someone for some reason, as Anirhāriṁ xxvii

i “Santime ya duve ṭhāṇā akkhāyā maraṇāntiyā |

Akāma–maraṇa] ceva Sakāma–maran,aṁ tahā ||” ¤ – Uttarādhyayanasūtra, 5/2

ii “Duvihe maraṇe paṇṇatte, taṁ jahā – Bāla–maraṇe ya Paṇḍiyamaraṇe ya |

Vyākhyāprajñapti sūtra, Ed. Madhukarmuni, Beawar, 2–1–25, p. 180.

iiiSamavāyāṅga, Ed. Muni Kanhaiyālal Kamal, Beawar, Samavāya 17, folio 9.

ivBhagavatīsūtra, Abhayadeva Vṛtti, 13,7.

v A. Samavāyāṅga–17, folio 32.

B. Utarādhyayana Niryukti, verse 216.

vi A. Ibid. B. Ibid.


A. Ibid. B. Ibid.

viii A. Ibid. B. Ibid, verse 217. C. Bhagavatīsūtra 2.1, Abhayadeva Vṛtti, folio 252.

ix A. Ibid. B. Ibid, verse 219. C. Ibid.

x A. Ibid, folios 32–33. B. Bhagavatīsūtra, Ibid.

xi A. Ibid, folio 33. B. Uttarādhyayana Niryukti, ibid, verse 222.

xii A. Ibid, folio 32. B. Ibid,

xiii Uttarādhyayana Niryukti, ibid, verse 223.

xiv A. Bhagavatīsūtra, ibid, folio 252. B. Uttarādhyayana Niryukti, ibid, verse 224.

xv A. Bhagavatīsūtra, ibid, folio 252. B. Uttarādhyayana Niryukti, ibid, verse 224.

xviSamavāyāṅgasūtra, p. 54.

xvii A. Ibid. B. Ibid, verse 225. C. Sthānāṅga, 1, 2/414, 17/48. D. Smavāyāṅga 17/9.

xviii “Śrutvihit kriyāviśeṣaḥ iṅgyate pratiniyatdeśa eva ceṣtyate`syāmaśanakriyāmitiṅginī |

Muni Ratancand, Ardhamāgadhī Kośa, , Amar Publications, Varanasi, 1988, Vol. II, p. 127.

xix “Uvvattai pariattai kāigamāī`vi appaṇā kuṇai |

Savvamiha appaṇacciaṇa annajogeṇa dhitibaliyāo ||

Ācārāṅgasūtra, Śīlāṅka ṭīkā, folio 286.

xx A. Bhagavatīsūtra, ibid, folio 252. B. Samavāyāṅga, 17, folio 33. C. Uttarādhyayana Niryukti, verse 225.

xxi “Santime ya duve ṭhāṇā akkhāyā māraṇantiyā |

Akāma–maraṇaṁ ceva Sakāma–maran,aṁ tahā ||” – Uttarādhyayanasūtra, 5.2.

xxii “Bālāṇaṁ Akāmaṁ tu maraṇaṁ asaiṁ bhave |

Paṇḍiyāṇaṁ Sakāmaṁ tu ukkoseṇa saiṁ bhave ||

Tatthimaṁ paḍhamaṁ ṭhāṇaṁ Mahāvīreṇa desiyaṁ |

Kāmagiddhe jahā bāle Bhisaṁ kūrāim kuvvai ||” – Uttarādhyayanasūtra, 5.3–4.

xxiii “Ahakālammi sampatte āghāyāya samussayaṁ |

Sakāma–maraṇaṁ maraī tiṇhamannayaraṁ muṇi || – Uttarādhyayanasūtra, 5.32.

xxivUttarādhyayana Vṛtti, folio 602.

xxvMūlāradhanā, 2 verse 65.

xxviBhagavatīsutra, ibid.

xxviiSection – 2.3.

Bhagavatī–ārādhanā, Pt. II, P. 885.

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