Acharanga Bhasyam: Verses 2-11 : Fast Unto Death With Unrestricted Movement Called Bhakta-pratyākhyāna

Published: 20.06.2011
Updated: 02.07.2015

8.2 duvihaṃ pi vidittāṇaṃ, buddhā dhammassa pāragā.
aṇupuvvīe saṃkhāe, āraṃbhāo tiuṭṭati..

The enlightened monks, having thoroughly learned the religion, perceive the futility of external objects and internal bonds. Clearly discerning the benefits, accruing from the voluntary abandonment of the body that has been utilized right from the day of initiation and the like in due order (upto today), they desist from all activities.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 2

The enlightened monks, having thoroughly learned the religion, perceive the rejectability of the external causes of bondage such as the body and material equipment, and the internal cause of bondage such as attachment and the like. They look into the past - they minutely perceive the entire range of discipline beginning from their day of renunciation upto the present moment. 'Do I achieve more by keeping or by abandoning the body?' On contemplating this way, they understand the meritorious superiority of fasting through meditation. Again do they ponder - 'which type of death through meditation is suitable for me - is it the abstinence from food, a death accompanied with movement, or fasting unto death devoid of any movement?' Having known all this with complete determination, they withdraw from activity. Here the word 'activity' denotes action. 'Activity' means the search of food, drink etc. for the purpose of sustaining the body. Or the 'activity' stands for service to the monks, study of the scripture etc.

8.3 kasāe payaṇue kiccā, appāhāro titikkhae.
aha bhikkhū gilāejjā, āhārasseva aṃtiyaṃ..

The monk, while thinning his passion, should tolerate the hardships due to reduced diet. While reducing his diet, he may grow sick reaching near to death.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 3

In this Sūtra, the thinning of the passion and the reduction of the diet have been propounded as twofold austerity. The mere reduction of diet without thinning the passion cannot achieve the end. Therefore the internal austerity of thinning the passion and external austerity of reducing the diet are both accepted as penance by the followers of the Jina. Now the monk, reducing the diet, may fall sick[1] in the vicinity of death.[2]

8.4 jῑyaṃ ṇābhikaṃkhejjā, maraṇaṃ ṇovi patthae.
duhatovi ṇa sajjejjā, jīvite maraṇe tahā..

A monk should not long for life, nor will for death; he should yearn after neither life nor death.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 4

It is self-evident.

8.5 majjhattho ṇijjarāpehī, samāhimaṇupālae.
aṃto bahiṃ viusijja, ajjhatthaṃ suddhamesae..

As the equanimous one and perceiver of dissociation of karma, the monk should engage in ecstasy. Being unattached internally and externally, he should strive after absolute purity.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 5

While fasting unto death, the monk should be equanimous in favourable and unfavourable situations. He should be indifferent to pleasure and pain, concentrating only on dissociation of karma. By the perception of dissociation of karma, the ecstasy is well practised. When detached internally and externally, his exertion for pure spirituality becomes successful.[3]

8.6 jaṃ kiṃcuvakkamaṃ jāṇe, āukkhemassa appaṇo.
tasseva aṃtaraddhāe, khippaṃ sikkhejja paṃḍie..

If, when observing the discipline of attrition smoothly, any accidental impediment to the preservation of life-span comes to his notice, the wise monk should give up food in the very midst of the course of attrition.

Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 6

'Preservation of life-span' means smoothly running the life. 'Impediment'[4] means the object that destroys the life-span. The wise monk should know the welfare of the life-span. At that time, he should train himself quickly, in the midst of the course of attrition of body through penances. Here 'training', according to the tradition of Cūrni, stands for repeated practice of austerity which he has undertaken. Right from that moment, having confessed and restressed, he should revise the initiation into the great vows and immediately undertake the resolve to give up food.[5]

8.7 gāme vā aduvā raṇṇe, thaṃḍilaṃ paḍilehiyā.
appapāṇaṃ tu viṇṇāya, taṇāiṃ saṃthare muṇῑ.

Examining in a village or in a forest a plot of ground, free from living being, the monk should spread a bed of straw.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 7

Now, the procedure of abstinence from food for fasting unto death is explained. First of all the suitability of place, such as a village, forest, garden, mountain, cave, etc. He goes with the attendant monks to the location of practising abstinence from food. In the case of urgency, he may go alone. Regarding the process of examining and cleaning of the ground, the tradition of the Cūrṇi is as follows - the place where he undertakes abstinence from food and the place where he will rest his body should be cleaned by himself, if his associates are inexperienced or under training. He should ask them to dispose the body after death in a proper place and tell them the procedure of disposing the body.[6]

8. 8 aṇāhāro tuaṭṭejjā, puṭṭho tattha hiyāsae.
ṇālivelaṃ uvacare, māṇussehiṃ vi puṭṭhao..

Having abstained from food, he should lay peacefully, and touched by hardships like hunger, thirst etc., he should tolerate them. Even when oppressed by the favourable and unfavourable man-made troubles, he should not transgress his undertaking.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 8

Touched - It means touched by hunger, when the three kinds of food have been given up; also by thirst, if he had given up all the four types of food.[7] 'Transgression' means infringement of the undertaking.[8] Human beings are endowed with infinite power. On the awakening of that power, a man can tolerate every hardships. This is frequently indicated in the scripture in connection with unfolding of the power of endurance.

8.9 saṃsappagāya je pāṇā, jey a uḍḍhamahecarā.
bhuṃjaṃti maṃsa-soṇiyaṃ, ṇa chaṇe ṇa pamajjae..

Animals that crawl on the earth, the birds that fly in the sky and creatures that live in the burrows may feed on his flesh and blood, but he does not injure them, nor does he flap them away.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 9

It is self-evident.

8.10 pāṇā dehaṃ vihiṃsaṃti, ṭhāṇāo ṇa viubbhame.
āsavehiṃ vivittehiṃ, tippamāṇehiyāsae..

Creatures may injure his body, but he should not budge from his 'stand', he should tolerate, when oppressed[9] by various hardships.[10]

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 10

'These creatures injure only my body, they do not obstruct my knowledge etc.' - With such support, he should remain unmoved.[11]

The stand is twofold viz. The physical and the abstract. Of these, the physical is the halting place, the abstract is the abstinence from food. He should not feel perturbed in respect of both these stands. 'Hardship' means torture, pain or loophole. 'Being oppressed'[12] means being tortured.

8.11 gaṃthehiṃ vivittehiṃ, āu-kālassa pārae.
paggahiyataragaṃ ceyaṃ, daviyassa viyāṇato..

With the mortal coil falling off, he reaches the end of this life-span. Now follows a higher stage of fasting unto death (then simple fasting with un-restricted movement). This is undertaken only by a self-restrained monk who is endowed with extra-ordinary power of perception.

Bhāṣyaṃ Verse 11

The coil is twofold—the physical coil such as the body, clothing and the like, the psychological coil such as attachment and the like. On the falling off of these coils, that is, when these coils are abandoned, the monk reaches the end of this life-span and he also reaches the end of his determination of fasting unto death.[13]

Now, the death with restricted movement is being explained. This is higher, more excellent and more strenuous. The 'self-restrained' means with his attachment and the aversion calmed down. Such monk adopts this kind of fasting unto death. Such monk is a knowledgeable person—he is conversant with nine Pūrvas and therefore he is the possessor of super knowledge.[14] Whatever procedure such as attenuation (of passions), straw bed etc. has been prescribed in respect of abstinence from food (with unrestricted movement) is to be understood as prescribed here.


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Jain Vishwa Bharati

Ladnun- 341 306 (Raj.) India © Jain Vishva Bharti

ISBNS 1-7195-74-4

First Edition:2001

Courtesy :
Shree Chhotulal Sethia Charitable Trust Sethia House, 23/24,
Radha Bazar Street, Kolkata-700 001 (INDIA)

Printed by:
Shree Vardhaman Press
Delhi (INDIA)

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Body
  2. Cūrṇi
  3. Discipline
  4. Dveṣa
  5. Equanimity
  6. Fasting
  7. Jina
  8. Karma
  9. Meditation
  10. Nirjarā
  11. Soul
  12. Syāt
  13. Sūtra
  14. Upakrama
  15. Vṛtti
  16. samādhi
  17. Ācārāṅga
  18. Āyāro
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