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THE PATH OF ARHAT

Justice T.U.Mehta

Sanllekhana

This means a planned scheme of fasting and mortification. This is the process of austerity and penance undertaken to complete the process of Nirjara (drying up of accumulated karmas). A time comes in the life of everyone when the physical organs fail to perform their functions and the body becomes incapable of rendering any service either to the self or to the society. The physical existence itself becomes burdensome to all. This is the time to take leave of this world. A true Jaina realizes this and determines to put an end to such kind of purposeless existence. He, therefore, enters into a deep meditation at a suitable place, renounces all food and drink and puts an end to life. Some ignoramuses confuse this with suicide. But suicide is the cry of frustration and despair, while this process of Samllekhana is the highest form if austerity which can be undertaken only by the great souls like Vinobaji.

Thus Jainism recognises mildest to the hardest forms of religious austerities as Tapa, provided they are inspired from within and are in turn helpful to develop the spiritual advancement from within.