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death with equanimity

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(Chapter III, cont.)

3.32

3.32 Iṅginīmaraṇa –

Iṅginīmaraṇa, the second kind of enlightened death “Paṇḍitamaraṇa” or ‘Fasting Unto Death With Restrictions On Movement And Service According To Own Capabilities’ is accepted by those aspirant practitioners of Sallekhanā who after having weakened their bodies and passions sufficiently through the practice of Bhakta– pratyākhyāna, wish to further curtail their comforts by restricting their movements to predecided area only and to dispense with the services and assistance of the attending monks. Its salient features are as follows: –

1. Eligibility – Iṅginīmaraṇa is, thus, a more exalted form of voluntary Peaceful Death as compared to Bhaktapratyākhyānamaraṇa and can be practised by only those monks who are of flawless monastic conduct, well–versed in scriptural knowledge, who have adopted proper “nude” monastic appearance, who are of humble and equanimous disposition.iIṅginī or iṅgit means capability and the kṣapaka who curtails these two aspects of his practice up to the limit of his capability is said to practice Iṅginīmaraṇa. The aspirant practitioner “kṣapaka” vows not to move out of a specified area and, dispencing with the others’ services, resolves to take care of his own needs until his death, because such assistance is denied in this form of Voluntary Peaceful Death or Samādhimaraṇa.

According to Gommaṭasāra “Karmakāṇḍa”, the kṣapaka aspiring to Iṅginīmaraṇa type of samādhimaraṇa must serve himself with the help of his own limbs. On falling sick he must treat himself and not take treatment at someone else’s hands. If a person dies observing all these restrictions, he is said to have practiced Iṅginīmaraṇa.ii

2. Preparation – In Bhagavatī Ārādhanā, Ācārya Śivakoṭi has delved deeply on the subject of Iṅginīmaraṇa and shone enough light on its importance. According to this work, the aspirant practitioner aspiring to the practice of Iṅginīmaraṇa informs his near and dear ones, such as relatives and friends in the case of a lay person and the Ācārya and the other members of the order in the case of a monk. He, then, takes various measures such as undertaking various practices connected with Iṅginīmaraṇa and contemplating various actions to be taken on taking the vow of Iṅginīmaraṇa, ascends the ladder of pious thoughts and, generally, spends his time in undertaking various severe forms of penance and further weakening his body and passions. iii

3. Leaving The Monastic Order For A Lonely Place – Thereafter, he pardons and begs pardon from all young and old members of the order and confesses, criticises and condemns his conduct–flaws in front of his guru and repenting for them separates from his monastic order and goes to a lonely shelter, like some place outside the village or a mountain cave or a lonely alcove in a jungle, and lives there alone after selecting appropriate place for the grass bed for meditating or lying down “niṣīdhikā” and disposal ground and making an appropriate death–bed or saṁstāraka.

4. Making Of The Death–Bed – While selecting a place for his saṁstāraka and making one for his end–practice, he takes care to select a level, dry and uninfested ground, the straw to be used for making the bed, too, must be dry, holeless and free from the infestation of insects. He spreads the grass–bed in such a way that its head remains in the East or the North direction.iv

5. Taking The Vow – Then he takes the vow of Iṅginīmaraṇa and resolves not to move out a specified area there as also not to avail of anyone else’s services.v Then, he engages himself in the practice of various types of external and internal penance and thinks about the lonely existence of the soul where no one can help in experiencing the due retribution of one’s own karma and no power can mitigate it. It is one’s own spiritual endeavour that can help one reduce the burden of karmic encumbrance, because the aspirant’s soul is the lone doer of actions, lone enjoyer of its fruits and lone destroyer of its bonds through appropriate internal and external penance.

6. Fast Unto Death – With the contemplation of such soul purifying thoughts he keeps reducing his food gradually and ultimately renounces all food for life while he gives up all internal and external attachments as well.vi

7. Final Penance And Contemplation – After renouncing all physical and volitional encumbrance he patiently bears all hardships that present themselves and constantly gaining increasing purity of the spirit, he engages himself in pious contemplation of his spiritual duties or Dharmadhyāna.vii Thereafter he practices various kinds of severe penance and thereby gains the power to remain steadfast in face of afflictions by various demonical powers such as ghosts, demons and evil spirits. viii

8. In The Realm Of Supernatural Powers – As a result of such severe penance he also gains various supernatural powers such as Vaikriyalabdhi “power to change forms at will”, Āhārakalabdhi “Power to assume a fine form that can travel to other regions at great speeds comparable to the speed of light”, Cāraṇalabdhi “Power to fly like a bird”, Kṣīrāsravalabdhi “Power to generate inexhaustible supply of foods and fluids”, etc, which he remains aloof to. ix

9. Freedom From Desire – Having attained equanimity of mind, the aspirant practitioner “kṣapaka” develops an attitude of indifference and accepts limitless fast. At this stage, he has no desire left for any kinds of earthly or heavenly pleasures and aims at spiritual emancipation and final liberation only.x

10. The Result – By practising Iṅginīmaraṇa like this, some aspirant practitioners “kṣapakas” liberate altogether and become free from all mundane miseries while others gain rebirths in Vaimānika heavens. xi

i “Pavvajjāe suddho uvasampajjittu liṅgakappaṁ ca |

Pavayaṇamogāhittā viṇayasamādhīe viharittā ||” – Ibid, verse 2025.

ii “Appovayāravekkhaṁ parovavayārūṇamigiṇīmaraṇaṁ ||”

Gommaṭasāra ‘Karmakāṇḍa’, 61.

iii “ṇippāditā sagaṇaṁ iṅgiṇīvidisādhaṇāe pariṇamiyā |

Sidimāruhittu bhāviya appāṇaṁ sallihittāṇaṁ ||” – Bhagavatī Ārādhanā, verse 1926.

iv “Puvvuttāṇi taṇāṇi ya jacittā thaṇḍallami puvvutte |

Jadan,āe santharittā uttarasiramadhavā puvvasiraṁ ||” – Ibid, verse 2030.

v “Pariyāigamālociya aṇujaṇittā disaṁ mahajaṇassa |

Tividheṇa khamāvittā abākabuḍḍhāulaṁ gacchaṁ ||

Evaṁ ca ṇikkamittā anto bāhiṁ va thaṇḍile joge |

Puḍhavīsilamae vā0 appāṇaṁ ṇijjave ekko ||” – Ibid, verses 1927, 1929.

vi A. “Arahādiantigaṁ to kiccā ālocaṇaṁ suparisuddhaṁ |

Daṁsaṇaṇa=ṇacarittaṁ parisāredūṇa ṇissesaṁ || – Ibid, verse 2032.

B. “Savvaṁ āhāravidhiṁ jāvajjīvāe vosirittāṇaṁ |

Vosaridūṇa asesaṁ abbhantarabāhire ganthe ||” – Ibid, verse 1933.

vii “savveviṇijjiṇinto pariṣahe dnidibaleṇa sañjutto |

Lessāe virujjhanto dhammaṁ jjhāṇaṁ uvaṇmittā ||” – Ibid, verse 2034.

viii “Bībhatthabhīmadarisaṇaviguvvidā bhūdarakkhasapisāyā |

Khobhijjo jadi vi tayaṁ ṇa so sambhamaṁ kuṇai ||” – Ibid, verse 2039.

ix “Veuvvaṇamāhārayacāraṇakhīrāsavādiladdhīsu |

Tavasā uppaṇṇāsu vi virāgabhāveṇa sevadi so ||” – Ibid, verse 2052.

x “Bhattapaiṇṇā Iṅgiṇi Pāuvagamaṇāṇi jāṇi maraṇāṇi |

Aṇṇe vi evamādī bodhavvā ṇiravakaṅkhāṇi ||” – Mūlācāra, verse 349.

xi “Evamadhakkhādavidiṁ sādhittā iṅgiṇīṁ dhudakilesā |

Sijjhanti kei keī havanti devā vimāṇesu ||” – Bhagavatī Ārādhana, verse 2055.

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