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death with equanimity

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(Chapter III, cont.)

3.5

3.5 Result Of Undertaking Voluntary Peaceful Death –

Speaking about the result of undertaking Voluntary Peaceful Death, all the scriptures and Ācāryas are unanimous in holding the view that the practice of voluntary death in a state of equanimity of mind is soul–liberating. According to Dharmaparīkṣā a person who frees himself from the clutches of passions and binding desires and embraces voluntary peaceful death liberates in a maximum of twenty–one births.i In Ārādhanā– sāra, Ācārya Devasena says, “Even those aspirant practitioners who undertake only the minimal “Six month–long” practice of Sallekhanā liberate in seven to eight births”.ii In Pākṣikādi Pratikramaṇa the result of embracing Voluntary Peaceful Death is stated as liberation in about two to three births or in a maximum of seven to eight births.iii According to Ādipurāṇa, too, the householder who dies a voluntary peaceful death after steadfastly observing his householders’ vows becomes fully detached and liberates.iv In Prabodhakā–ṣṭakaṁ Ācārya Mahāvīrakīrti has held that the practice of Samādhimaraṇa is a remedy for the worldly miseries and, consequently, for liberating.v In Ratnakaraṇḍa Śrāvakācāra Ācārya Samantabhadra says that the aspirant practitioner, who practices Sallekhanā, ends all the worldly miseries, drinks the water of the ocean of eternal bliss and gains the rare accomplishment of spiritual liberation.vi Stressing the importance of death in a state of equanimity Śivārya, too, says in his canon–equivalent work Bhagavatī Ārādhanā that even those who engage themselves in the practice of the right faith for long but die in flawed frame of mind are condemned to endless cycle of worldly wandering.vii By prevarication, he implies that lifelong adherence to the right–faith and following the liberating ‘tri–gem “ratna–traya”’ also bears the ultimate fruit of liberation only when equanimity is maintained at the time of death. “One, who dies a peaceful death in a state of equanimity “samādhi” even once, does not wander much and liberates in a maximum of seven or eight births”, he says.viii Not only that, even those that praise the practitioner of Samādhimaraṇa also gain nirvāṇa after enjoying the heavenly rebirths.ix It is for this reason that even a lay follower prays for a Voluntary Peaceful Death in his daily prayers and says, “O’ Lord, the universal brotherµ I seek the shelter of your feet and pray that I may have the greatest gain of karmic separation and that of the discretion of embracing Samādhimaraṇa.x

i Dharmaparīkṣā, 19.96. ‘Q. from Vasunandi Śrāvakācāra, ibid, p. 271.’

ii “Jesiṁ hunti jahaṇṇā cauvvihārāhaṇā hu khavayāṇaṁ |

Sattaṭṭhabhave gantuṁ tevi ya pāvanti ṇivvāṇaṁ ||” – Ārādhanāsāra, 109.

iii “Ukkaseṇa do tiṇṇa bhava gahaṇaṇi, jahaṇṇe sattaṭṭha bhava–gahaṇāṇi, tado sumāṇusattādo sudevattaṁ, devattādo–sumāṇusattaṁ, tado sāihatthā, pacchā ṇiganthā hoūṇa sijjhanti, bujjhanti, muñcanti, pariṇivvāyanti, savvadukhāṇmantiṁ karenti |”

iv “Bhavānāmevamaṣṭānamantaḥ kṛtvānuvartanaṁ |

Ratnatraysya nirgrantho bhūtvā siddhiṁ samaśnute ||” – Padmapurāṇa, 4.204.

v “Ekatrayādi–bhaveṣu mokṣaṁ jananīṁ saṁsāra–rogapahāṁ |

Prabodhakāṣṭakaṁ, 7.

vi “Niḥśreyasamabhyudayaṁ nistīraṁ dustaraṁ sukhāmbunidhiṁ |

Niḥ pibati pītadharmā srvairduḥkhairnālīḍhaḥ || – Ratnakaraṇḍa Śrāvakācāra, 130.

vii “Suciramapi niravicāraṁ vihirittā ṇāṇa–daṁsaṇa–caritte |

Mraṇe virādhayittā aṇantasaṁsārio diṭṭho || – Bhagavatī Ārādhanā, verse 15.

viii “Egammi bhavaggahaṇe samādhimaraṇeṇa jog ado jīvo |

N,a hu so hiṇḍadi bahuso sattaṭṭha–bhave pamattūṇa ||” – Ibid, verse 681.

ix “Sallehaṇāe mūlaṁ jo vaccai tivva–bhattirāeṇa |

Bhottūṇa ya deva–sukhaṁ so pāvadi uttamaṁ ṭhāṇaṁ ||” – Ibid, verse 680.

x A. “Dukkhakkhao kammakkhao samāhimaraṇaṁ ca bohilāho ya |

Mama hou Jagadabandhava µ tava jiṇvara caraṇasaraṇeṇa ||

  • Bharatīya Pūjā, p. 87 ‘Q. Preface to Samādhimaraṇotsāhadīpaka,

Veer Seva Mandir Trust, Varanasi, 1984, p. 28.’

  1. Dukkhakkhao kammakkhao samāhimaraṇaṁ ca bohilāho a |

Sampajjau maha eaṁ tuha nāha paṇāmakaraṇeṇaṁ || 4 ||

  • Jayavīyarāya stotra, Śrī Pañcapratikramaṇasūtrāṇi, Jainabandhu Printing Press, Indore, 1964, p. 8.

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