A Short History Of The Terapanthi Sect Of The Swetamber Jains And Its Tenets ► 03 Short Accounts Of Notable Fastings ► 03.4 Short Accounts Of Notable Fastings

Posted: 05.09.2010

Swamiji Chunilalji Maharaj was a native of Sardar-shahr in Bikaner State. He was Oswal by caste and his Gotra was Nahata. He was the son of Saligramji Nahata. He was initiated in the year 1940 Samvat and passed away to Heaven on Pous Sudi 2 in the year 1975 Samvat while at Gangashahar in Bikaner State. From the year 1944 Samvat, be began fasting every alternate day. For 6 years he thus fasted every alternate day.

From Samvat year 1950 he began to fast for consecutive two days after taking food on one day i.e. he would fast a couple of days, then take food for one day and again fast for a couple of days,. In one month there would be ten days on which he would take food and^ ten couples of days on which he would fast. He continued this every couple-days fasting after one day's break-fasting for 23 years i.e. up to 1972 Samvat year. From 1972 he Ibegan to fast for three days continuously and would take food for one day i.e., in every four days there was three days' continuous fast and one day,of breaking fast; this he did for3i years. Besides these regular lastings on every alternate or alternate couple or alternate triple days with one days' interval for taking food, he also at times did other fast§ and the following is the list of these, during the course of his entire Sadhu life:

1 days' fast

2 days' fast

3 days* fast

4 days' s fast

900

36

36

44

5 days' fast

6 days* fast

7 days' fast

8 days*  fast

25

3

2

1

9 days' fast

10 days' fast

11 days' fast

12 days' fast

1

1

2

1

13 days' fast

14 days' fast

15 days' fast

16 days' fast

1

2

1

1

17 days' fast 1

16 days' fast 1

 

 

1

1

 

 

Swami Chunilalji undertook besides these regular and other occasional fasts, the Tapasya known as Leghu singha Tapas. There are four stages of this mode of fasting. In every stage there are 154 days of fasting and 33 days on which food is taken, but in the first stage, on the day of breaking fast the tapasw used Bigaya (ghee, milk, curd, sugar, gur and articles prepared in frying pans such as puri, sweetmeats and fried vegetables. Roti, dal, rice etc. are not Bigaya). In the second stage he refrained from using Bigaya. In the third stage, on breakfast day he did not use Lep (articles like ghee, butter and vegetables usually taken with roti or rice).

This Laghu Singha Tapa is very difficult to practise as one has to fast from 1 day to 9 days with gradual rises and falls and with breaks between for taking food and has to reduce the fasts in the inverse order. The following table shows the number of fasts and intermediate breakfast days. It is to be remembered that the intermediate day, when food is taken is only one always, whereas the continuous fasting days increase from 1 to 9 and again decrease from Q to 1 with rises and falls. To minimise space the fast days are noted thus:

1F is one day's fast,
2F is two days' continuous fast,
3F is 3days' continuous fast and so on and
BF means one day only for taking food.

Using these abbreviations we can now tabulate this hard mode of fasting as follows:

1F BF 2F BF 1F BF 3F BF 2F BF 4F BF 3F
BF 5F BF 4F BF 6F BF 5F BF 7F BF 6F BF
8F BF 7F BF 9F BF 8F BF 9F BF 7F BF 8F
BF 6F BF 7F BF 5F BF 6F BF 4F BF 5F BF
3F BF 4F BF 2F BF 3F BF 1F BF 2F BF 1F

One who can complete this Tapasya four times is known as a very austere Tapaswi. The first three stages have been described above. In the fourth stage, one has to take on the breakfast days, only bread and boiled water. Swami Chunilalji performed the first three stages but did not live to finish the fourth stage. It is estimated that during the 35 years that Swami Chunilalji Maharaj lived as a Sadhu, he fasted for about 8000 days i.e., about as many days as would come up to 22 years.

One of the Sadhus of the Terapanthi sect, Swami Hulasmalji, could perform and finish the 4th, 1st, and 3rd stage but could not undertake the 2nd stage.

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