Macaulay’s Shadow

After the recent court decision to make Santhara, the Jain practice of fasting and voluntarily leaving the body, illegal, Sadhguru looks at how "consciously shedding one's mortal coil" is of paramount significance, and explains that these judgements are based on laws carried forward from British imperialism.
Macaulay's Shadow
 

After the recent court decision to make Santhara, the Jain practice of fasting and voluntarily leaving the body, illegal, Sadhguru looks at how "consciously shedding one's mortal coil" is of paramount significance, and explains that these judgements are based on laws carried forward from British imperialism.

Read in Telugu: భౌతిక దేహాన్ని ఎలా విడిచి పెట్టాలి..??

Sadhguru: The practice of conscious shedding of the physical form is not prevalent only in the Jain community. It is the very norm in yogic culture. It is very much a part of Hindu traditions too. Both historical and mythological accounts are replete with descriptions of conscious shedding of the mortal coil. It is seen as the fruit of wisdom, or as absolute acceptance of the mortality of one’s life. The practice is not just about depriving oneself of food and water, but about paying attention to the nature of one’s relationship with this acquired body, which is only a piece of the planet. In this attempt, fasting is one of the tools. In the yogic sciences, there are more than a few methods through which one can disassociate onself from the body within a few hours. The intention is to leave consciously and that is spiritually of paramount significance: to pass as a yogi, not as a rogi.

The intention is to leave consciously and that is spiritually of paramount significance: to pass as a yogi, not as a rogi.

There was a saint in Karnataka called Nirmalananda Swami. The last few years of his life, I was very closely involved with him. He was 72 years old when he consciously shed his body. A few weeks before that, he announced he would leave in January 1997. Then there was a ruckus in the newspapers; rationalists filed a case against him, saying he was going to commit suicide. So they posted two police constables at his ashram. His ashram was just four acres, and in 14 years he had never stepped out of this ashram. There were many fruit trees, but not once did he pluck a fruit. He didn’t want to hurt the trees. Only if fruits fell did he eat them; otherwise, he wouldn’t touch them. He had a little temple, and even for his pooja, he picked up only fallen flowers, never plucking them. He lived such a gentle life. So, when I went there to see him in late December of 1996, he hugged me and wept, “They have put police in my ashram.” Just the insult of that hurt him very much.

Unfortunately, many medical professionals, in imitation of their western counterparts, insist that everyone should pass in their hands, of course, at an enormous cost.

One day, he began fasting, and the controversy started building up. They were preparing to arrest him on the date he announced that he will go. But he was fed up with all this, and a couple days before that day, he sat on a small deck in front of about 40 people, including the police constables, and simply, silently left his body. Like this, there are countless examples in this country of individuals exiting their bodies when the time comes. Leave alone human beings, many creatures in the animal kingdom deprive themselves of food and water when they realise their time is up. I have been a witness to a few cobras wilfully denying themselves nourishment to pass peacefully at an appointed place.

Unfortunately, many medical professionals, in imitation of their western counterparts, insist that everyone should pass in their hands, of course, at an enormous cost. This unhealthy attachment to the body is essentially a western influence.

The justices of the Rajasthan High Court, with all due respect, are only interpreting the law. It should not be forgotten that these laws, and the Indian Penal Code (IPC), were formulated in 1860, a few years after the mutiny of 1857, India’s first war of independence. This judgement is just the dance of Macaulay upon eastern wisdom.

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in Outlook.

 
 
 
 
 
 
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4 years 1 month ago

Ambedkar also did a cut and paste job to create the constitution !

4 years 1 month ago

This is very true. there is a significance difference between this and suicide. In Tiruvannamalai, we saw a sadhu in 2003 shed his body on Maha Deepam day just by simply sitting.

4 years 1 month ago

Ambedkar did what he could do best at that time. If Ambedkar is to do everything then what are we here for.

4 years 1 month ago

Hari om. My Mother took the Praayopavesha Deeksha this June and disassociated with her body on the 20th August 2015. We were fortunate to be allowed to be with her during the deeksha. She was aware and conscious even during the last moments, she was Serene and Peaceful. She lived the life of a Yogin in today's world of restlessness and disbelief, setting an example that by controlling the karmendriya, jnanendriya, and concentrating on Self, one could merge with the Ultimate. Peace Peace Peace

4 years 1 month ago

Western medicine is opaque to what is not tangible. It relies too heavily on empirical data. It is myopic to anything beyond measurable parameters. It fails to realize that not all things can be measured, and evaluated in a gross sense. There are subtler aspects that remain intangible, and yet relevant. This judgement is clearly an example of such nonsense. With all due respect to the judiciary, people who man the courts are also human. They are influenced by crass western thought. At the same time, we see a change in the west. While We continue to embrace archaic western thought, many institutions of higher learning now embrace the east through new departments of holistic medicine and alternative healing. Grow up India! Learn to think independently. Our Indian culture is deeper than whatever the west has to offer.

4 years 1 month ago

It is puerile and childish to think that plucking a fruit hurts a tree; and that plucking flowers means hurting the bush.

These are loony Jain ideas who do not eat root vegetables; who forbid farming; who forbid its followers to take up arms. In other words they want others to grow food for them; to defend them against the enemies and die for them. This is the worst religion India has allowed to exist in our midst. It is devoid of balance. This religion is urging its followers to die without a fight and let their daughters be raped and converted to the religion of the victors.

To bring Jains back into its fold, Hinduism incorporated their loony practices. In the process they corrupted Hinduism thereby rendering India an easy prey to the foreign predators.

I have no time for such silly ideas. I was a victim of India’s Holocaust of 1947 and am a realist. I am not going to be swayed by any Guru. God has given me light to shine on anything I have to examine and make up my mind on the basis of my analysis.

Live with honour is the motto to live by and fight for your honour even if you die in the process.

4 years 1 month ago

Dear Friend,
No offence, But I want to ask you one question, where does your interpretation about Jainism, came from.

1. First Lord Adinath teach 6 things to every Human and Fighting/Dying for your own County and Farming was top 2 teaching. in fact, most part of the central Bharat, farming is the main business of most of the jain families. Jainism never forbid these practices.

2. Eating Root is forbidden because the roots are the most live part of a plant and provide all the nutrition to plant or basically the Parent of the plant.

I would suggest that kindly read some good literature on Jainism before commenting.

Thanks

3 years 10 months ago

Today, nobody is even allowed a natural death. Ambulance, ICU, ICCUs, ventilators (even if the patient is brain dead) are the natural steps which culminate into the ice box in the morgue where further time is spent before a decent cremation/funeral all because there are people to come from far off places.