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death with equanimity

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(Chapter II, cont.)

2.76 . 2.78

2.76 Antakṛddaśāṅga sūtra i

The eight divisions and ninety episodes of this eighth primary canonical work, Antakṛddaśā, mostly contain the skeletal life sketches of ninety spiritual aspirants who practised severe penance and at the end accepted voluntary deaths in perfect mental harmony and equanimity and achieved the ultimate destination of spiritual liberation. In other words they ended the worldly transmigration through their best spiritual endeavour topped by the fasts unto deaths of varying duration. Of these ninety aspirants fifty–one belonged to the religious order of the twenty–second Prophet “Tīrthaṅkara” Ariṣṭanemi and the rest thirty–nine to that of Lord Mahāvīra.ii The descriptions pertaining to Arjunmālī and Gajasukumāla are fairly detailed. The life–sketch of Arjunmālī points towards the fact that even a great sinner can attain spiritual solace and liberation within a short span of six months if he truly repents for his misdeeds and expiates with adequate penance and achieves equanimity of mind.iii The description of the events connected with Gajasukumāla bring out the fact that even a day’s intense practice and equanimity in the face of violent afflictions can put an end to the worldly miseries and yield the ultimate fruit of spiritual liberation.iv The seventh and the eighth sections contain the descriptions of severe penance and Samādhimaraṇa undertaken by twenty–three queens of Magadha king–emperor Śreṇika Bimbisāra.v The common thread that runs through all these life–sketches of different socio–cultural strata is that of embracing of voluntary peaceful deaths by each and every one of these ninety travellers of the path of liberation.

2.77 Anuttaropapātikadaśā sūtra vi

This Aṅga Āgama is the ninth amongst the primary canonical treatises. Its three divisions, ten chapters and thirty–three episodes contain the detailed and not so detailed life–sketches of thirty–three such spiritual aspirants who were reborn as gods in the ultimate heavens called Anuttara Vimānas beyond which lie only the abode of the liberated perfect souls – the Siddhaloka. Their spiritual endeavours were of such magnitudes that at the end of their heavenly tenure they would be reborn as humans of noble births and attain the ultimate destiny of liberation.vii

The first part contains the episodes of ten princes – Jāli, Mayāli, Upajāli, Puruṣasena, Vārisena, Dīrghdanta, Laṣṭadanta, Vihalla, Vehāyasa and Abhayakumara, who were the sons of king Śreṇika Bimbisāra of Magadha.viii

The second section, again, contains the episodes of thirteen Māgadha princes – Dīrghasena, Mahāsena, Laṣṭadanta, Gūḍhadanta, Śuddhadanta, Halla, Druma, Drumasena, Mahādrumasena, Simha, Simhasena, Mahāsimhasena, and Puṣpasena.ix

The third section contains the life–sketches of Dhanyakumāra, Sunakṣatra–kumāra, ṛṣidāsa, Pellaka, Ramaputra, Candrika, Pṛṣṭhimātrika, Peḍhālaputra, Poṭṭila and Vehalla.x The very first episode of this section contains a vivid description of the severe penance undertaken by Dhanyakumāra who started to observe continuous two days’ fasts at a time and took only insipid and unwholesome food discarded by the householders on the days of opening the fasts. His body was reduced to only a skeleton within a short span of nine months.xi The Lord had remarked about him that his penance was the most destructive of the karmic bondage. At the end of his severe penance he embraced voluntary peaceful death by observing one month’s fast unto death in a state of mental equanimity.xii

Like this, this primary scriptural text highlights the importance of penance and Samādhimaraṇa as a means of karmic separation and of gaining noble heavenly rebirths. The common feature of all these episodes is Samādhimaraṇa, which each of these aspirants practised at the end of their other forms of penance.xiii

2.78 Uttarādhyayanasūtraxiv And Daśavaikālika –

The fifth chapter of Uttarādhyayana, entitled Akāmamaraṇīya, deals with the subject of voluntary death with equanimity of mind, also known as Samādhimaraṇa and Paṇḍita–maraṇa.xv The thirty–sixth chapter, Jīvā–jīva Vibhakti, mentions the three types Sallekhanā – leading to Samādhimaraṇa.xvi

According to Uttarādhyayana, the main aim of any spiritual practice is to attain equanimity and detachment from the mundane, which in turn lead to Self revelation and enlightenment.xviiSamādhimaraṇa is but a means to achieve such detachment and equanimity. Discussing the eligibility for embracing voluntary peaceful death the Uttarādhyayana says that one who is restrained, meritorious, and sense–controlled is eligible to undertake this practice. It is neither the exclusive preserve of the monks nor of all the householders, for while the householders are of various vocations, many a monk, too, is of corrupt practices.xviii Though the last verse of the fifth chapter mentions three kinds of Samādhimaraṇa, it does not name them as such.xix These are, however, mentioned by their names in the Uttarādhyayana Niryukti.xx

The Uttarādhyayana also describes, in detail, the five kinds of inauspicious psychic dispositions that hinder the practice of Samādhi “maraṇa”, by virtue of their being of distracting nature, as followsxxi: –

  1. Sensual Disposition “Kandarpa Bhāvanā” – All those thoughts and activities, such as laughter, funny gestures, suggestive actions, amorous tales, etc that promote cupidity, sensuality and amorousness come in this category.xxii

  2. Material Disposition “Ābhiyogī Bhāvanā” – To relentlessly think of pursuing material prosperity by right or wrong means is Ābhiyogī Bhāvanā. One with such disposition invariably employs various dubious means, such as incantations and ritualistic observances, to achieve his ends of securing material prosperity.xxiii

  3. Mean Disposition “Kilviṣī Bhāvanā” – Degenerative thoughts relating to slander, deceit, etc are said to belong to this category.xxiv To defame right–knowledge, the learned, the religious order and the monastic order are examples of this kind of disposition.xxv

  4. Demonic Disposition “Āsurī Bhāvanā” – Constant anger and use of supernatural powers for harming others are indicators of demonic disposition.xxviDaśvaikalika also uses the term ‘Asura’ for anger.xxviiUttarādhyayanaṬīkā interprets this kind of disposition as – constant quarrel, not to repent for one’s mistakes and not to forgive and forget even after begged pardon of.xxviii

  5. Deluded Disposition “Mohī Bhāvanā” – Indiscreet activities such as preaching false precepts, to find faults with the right faith, lack of belief in the right faith, indiscretion borne out of delusion and causing delusion in others have been termed as Mohī Bhāvanā.xxix A person under the influence of deluded disposition is given to intense passions and resorts to ending his life by violent means.xxxUttarādhyayana– sūtra mentions the use of the following means to end one’s life by a person of deluded disposition and goes on to say that such a monk keeps more than prescribed monastic equipage and only increases his worldly transmigration xxxi: –

  1. By the use of a weapon,

  2. By taking poison,

  3. By self immolation,

  4. By drowning.

Regarding the result of undertaking the practice of voluntary “peaceful” death, Uttarādhyayana is unequivocal in saying that it either results in ending all worldly misery or in liberation in a couple of noble rebirths.xxxii

Thus, we see that the Uttarādhyayanasūtra has dealt with the subject of Sallekhanā and Samādhimaraṇa in sufficient detail.

Ācārapraṇidhi, the eighth chapter of Dśavaikālika, which is the second Mūla–sūtra also deals with the subject of Sallekhanā and Samādhimaraṇa and along with other monastic chores such as regular inspection and cleaning of their monastic equipage, selection and careful inspection and dusting of the place for answering nature’s calls and disposal of wastes, etc also encourages them to embrace voluntary peaceful death through the practice of Sallekhanā–Samādhimaraṇa.

i A. Antagaḍadasāo, Ācārya Nānesh, ABSJ Sangha, Bikaner, 1985.

  1. Jaina Āgama Sāhitya Manana Aur Mīmāṁsā, Ibid, pp. 161–165.
  2. Antakṛddaśāsūtra, PM Chordia, Jinavāṇī Apr. 2002, pp. 195–198.
  3. Kudal M M, Antakṛddaśāsūtra Kā Samīkṣātmaka Adhyayana, Jinavāṇī Apr. 2002, pp. 199–215.

iiAntagaḍadasāo, Ibid, p. i, vii.

iii Ibid, 6/3, pp. 97–111.

iv Ibid, 3/8, pp. 36–61.

v Ibid, 7/1–13 and 8/1–10, pp. 134–185.

vi A. Jaina Āgama Sāhitya Manana Aur Mīmāṁsā, Ibid, pp. 166–169.

B. Jain Śvetā, AnuttaropapātikadaŚā sūtra, Jinavāṇī Apr. 2002, pp. 216–221.

vii Jaina Āgama Sāhitya Manana Aur Mīmāṁsā, ibid, p. 167.

viii Ibid, p. 167.

ix Samādhimaraṇa, Ibid, p. 50.

x Ibid, p. 50.

xi Jaina Āgama Sāhitya Manana Aur Mīmāṁsā, ibid, p. 168.

xii “Evaṁ khalu Seṇiyā µ imāsiṁ IndabhūI pāmokkhāṇaṁ codasaṇhaṁ samaṇasāhassīṇaṁ Dhaṇṇe aṇagāre mahādukkarakārae ceva mahāṇijjarayakārae ceva |”

Jaina Āgama Sāhitya Manana Aur Mīmāṁsā, ibid, p. 168.

xiii Ibid, p. 169.

xivUttarādhyayanasūtra, Ācāryā Śrīcandanā, Sanmati Jñānapīṭha, Agra, 1972.

xv A. Jaina Āgama Sāhitya Manana Aur Mīmāṁsā, ibid, p. 293.

B. Loḍha Kṛṣṇamal, Utarādhyayanasūtra, Jinavāṇī Apr. 2002, p. 323.

xvi Ibid, p. 304.

xvii “ṇimmame ṇirahaṅkāre vīyarāgo aṇāsavo | “ – Uttarādhyayana, 35/21.

xviii Uttarādhyayanasūtra, 5/18, 19.

xix “Sakāmamaraṇaṁ marai tiṇhamannayaraṁ muṇī ||” – Uttarādhyayana, 5/32.

xx “Bhattapariṇṇā Ingiṇī Pāovagamaṁ va tiṇṇI maraṇāiṁ |

Kannasamajjhimajeṭṭhā, dhii saṅghayaṇeṇa u visiṭṭhā ||”

Uttarādhyayana Niryukti, 224 ‘Niryukti Saṅgraha, p. 386’.

xxi “Kandappamābhiogaṁ kivvisiyaṁ mohamāsurattaṁ ca |

Eyāo duggaīo maraṇammi virāhiyā honti ||” – Uttarādhyayana, 36/256.

xxii “Kandappakukkuyāiṁ taha sīlasahāvahāsavigahāhiṁ |

Vimhāvento ya paraṁ kandappaṁ bhāvaṇaṁ kuṇai ||” – Uttarādhyayana, 36/263.

xxiii “Mantājogaṁ kāuṁ bhūikammaṁ ca je pauñjanti |

Sāyarasaid,ḍhiheuṁ Abhiogaṁ bhāvaṇaṁ kuṇai ||” – Uttarādhyayana, 36/264.

xxiv Sādhvī Vinītaprajñā, Uttarādhyayanasūtra : Dārśanik Anuśīlan, Chennai, 2002, p. 284.

xxv “Nāṇassa kevalīṇaṁ dhammāyariyassa saṅgha–sāhūṇaṁ |

Māī avaṇṇavāī kivvisiyaṁ bhāvaṇaṁ kuṇai ||” – Uttarādhyayana, 36/265.

xxvi “Aṇubaddharosapasaro taha ya nimittaṁmi hoi paḍisevī |

Eehiṁ kāraṇehiṁ Āsuriyaṁ bhāvaṇaṁ kuṇai ||” – Uttarādhyayana, 36/266.

xxvii “Āsurattaṁ na gacchejjā |” – Daśavaikālika, 8/25.

xxviii – Uttarādhyayana ṭīkā, Śāntyācārya, folio 709. ‘Q. Uttarādhyayanasūtra : Dārśanik Anuśīlan ibid, p. 284.’

xxix Pravacanasāroddhāra, 646. ‘Q. ibid. p.285.’

xxx – Uttarādhyayana ṭīkā, Śāntyācārya, folio 711. ‘Q. ibid, p. 284.’

xxxi “Satthagahaṇaṁ visabhakkhaṇaṁ ca jalaṇaṁ ca jalappaveso ya |

Aṇāyāra–bhaṇḍasevā jammaṇa–maran,āṇi bandhanti ||” – Uttarādhyayana, 36/267.

xxxii “Savvadukkhapahīṇe vā deve vāvi mahiḍḍhie | – Ibid, 5.25.

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