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death with equanimity

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(Chapter III, cont.)

3.33 – 3.332

3.33 Prāyopagamanamaraṇa –

Prāyopagamanamaraṇa or ‘fasting unto death,i like a fallen tree,ii without any movement and assistance,iii is the most severe form of Voluntary Peaceful Death, which is to be undertaken by only that kṣapaka who has already weakened his body and passions to the states of skin and bone and dispassion respectively and, consequently, does not even need to attend to nature’s calls iv and can remain static like a fallen tree, without any movement as also without any care of his body either by himself or by the others. He does not even use a grass–bed for this practice. v

According to Gommaṭasāra “Karmakāṇḍa”, Prāyopagamanamaraṇa is the kind of Samādhimaraṇa in which a kṣapaka lays down his body without attending to it himself or allowing others to attend to it.vi The reason is obvious – this practice is undertaken by a kṣapaka who is at the very verge of death and so, he can do without any kind of self–service or assistance.vii

Prāyopagamanamaraṇa is also known as ‘Pādopagamanamaraṇa “walking to the place of motionless death on one’s own feet”’viii or ‘Prāyogyagamanamaraṇa “Voluntary Peaceful Death by those of superior body–constitution and form to ensure the end of worldly transmigration”’ix

The kṣapaka resolving to accept this form of Samādhimaraṇa withdraws from all worldly activities and decides not to move from a place where he takes position for this practice even if afflicted by wild beasts or carrion birds etc, but keeps on lying unmoved like a log of wood.x If he is removed, by some one else, to a place other than the one he had taken, he does not move from there even if he faces imminent danger to his life there.

3.331 Types Of Prāyopagamanamaraṇa –

Depending upon the movement of the kṣapaka from the originally taken place for his end–practicexi and the requirement of disposal of the dead body after the conclusion of this end–practice,xii it can be of either ‘Nirhāriṁ’ or ‘Anirhāriṁ’ type of Prāyopa–gamanamaraṇa. Their description is as followsxiii: –

    1. Nirhāriṁ – If the death occurs in a village or town and the dead body is required to be disposed of either by a funeral rite or by another means, the practice is known as ‘Nirhāriṁ’ Prāyopagamanamaraṇa. Alternatively, for some reason, if the kṣapaka is moved from his originally taken place and dies there, the practice is known as ‘Nirhāriṁ’ Prāyopagamana–maraṇa. and

    2. Anirhāriṁ – If the death occurs in a jungle or a cave and the dead body is not required to be disposed of by funeral, burial, etc, the practice is known as ‘Anirhāriṁ’ Prāyopagamanamaraṇa. Alternatively, if the aspirant practitioner “kṣapaka” is not moved from his originally taken place and dies there only, such a practice is known as ‘Anirhāriṁ’ Prāyopa–gamanamaraṇa.

3.332 Salient Features Of Prāyopagamanamaraṇa –

  1. To be undertaken by only that kṣapaka who has been reduced to skin and bone by the practice of Bhaktapratyākhyāna and Iṅginī,

  2. Fast unto death form of penance only,

  3. Total detachment from the body, Not to take care of the body either oneself or by others,

  4. Practiceable by aspirants of superior body–constitution and form only,

  5. Not to move from the decided palce,

  6. To lie down on bare ground or rock without any bedding,

  7. Not to be moved by hardships and afflictions and to maintain equanimity in favourable and adverse situations,

  8. Not to have any desire for the worldly and heavenly pleasures,

  9. To rise above the mundane and remain fully detached,

  10. The considerations and rituals mentioned for Iṅginīmaraṇa are variously applicable to this practice also.

i Mūlacāra, verse 349.

ii Samādhimaraṇa, ibid, p. 106.

iii A. Ibid, 105.

B. “Ādaparapaogeṇa ya paḍisiddhaṁ savvapariyammaṁ ||”

Bhagavatī Ārādhana, verse 2058.

iv “So sallehidadeho jamhā Pāovagamaṇamuvajādi |

Uccārādivikiñcaṇamavi ṇatthi paogado tamhā ||” – Ibid, verse 2059.

v “ṇavaraiṁ taṇasanthāro pāovagadassa hodi paḍisiddho |” – Ibid, verse 2058.

vi “Saparovayārahīṇaṁ maraṇaṁ Pāovagamaṇamidi ||”

Gommaṭasāra ‘Karmakāṇḍa’, verse 61.

viiBhagavatī Ārādhana, Pt. II, p. 885.

viii Ibid, verse 28 ‘Vij, comm.’.

ix Ibid.

x “Puḍhavī āūteūvaṇpphaditasesu jadi vi sāharido |

Vosaṭṭhacattadeho adhāugaṁ pālae tadhavi ||” – Ibid, verse 2060.

“Vosaṭṭhacattadeho du ṇikkhivejjo jahiṁ jadhā aṅgaṁ |

Jāvajjīvaṁ tu sayaṁ tahiṁ tamaṅgaṁ ṇa cāledi ||” – Ibid, verse 2062.

xi Ibid, Pt. II. P. 885.

xiiBhagavatīsūtra, ‘Ed.’ Madhukarmuni, Pt. 3, 25/3/7, p. 493.

xiii “Tamhā vuttaṁ ṇīhāramado aṇṇaṁ aṇīhāraṁ |” – Bhagavatī Ārādhana, verse 2064.

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