SANTHARA - A RELIGIOUS FAST TO DEATH
When all the purposes of life have been served or when the body becomes unable to serve any purpose, I wish to be able to adapt Santhara, a religious fast to death. Then I would abandon all eighteen types of sins and four types of foods. I would also abandon my body, which is very dear to my mind, the abode of my faith, like a box of ornaments containing precious stones. I would not care for the body in spite of feeling cold, hot, hungry, thirsty, or undergoing insect bites, troubles by other people, diseases including those which may cause delirium, or other severe physical suffering. I wish to be able to abandon my body to my last breath. In this case, I would remain indifferent to death, to the extent of my ability.
At that time, I would sweep and clean the place of my need, would be very careful where I dispose the waste, lay a bed of grass or straw, sit on such bed, face the north-east direction, with crossed folded legs or a posture possible under the state of health, with folded hands, saying “Salutations to the Arihant Lords, who have already attained Moksha.” Then I would bow to a Guru, if present, and I would repent for my misdoings, violent acts, falsehoods, thefts, sensualities, and worldly belongings. During Santhara, I wish to be able to shun all unworthy acts personally by me, or asking some one else to do for me, or encouraging others to do so mentally, verbally, or physically.
There are following five major violations pertaining to this vow of Santhara:
1. Desiring worldly status like becoming an emperor, or wealthy after death,
2. Desiring to become a divine personality after death,
3. Desiring prolonged life with the view of becoming popular,
4. Desiring early death, in order to cut short the physical
pains, etc., or
5. Desiring sensual pleasures of the world.
I shall try to avoid all such lapses, but if I do indulge in any of the above acts, then I pray that may all my such sins be dissolved. TASSA MICHCHHAMI DUKKADAM.