August 24, 2015

Jain Santhara : what it really means?

Jain Santhara, has become a big issue. Apparently the court has a put a restriction on it & this has enraged the Jain community. There is a India-wide strike today & a peace rally to protest the restriction & make the court lift the imposed restriction.

All that is okay, but I believe that the Jain community has really forgotten what Santhara really means. Santhara is not a way of dying, but a way of living.

What the general community thinks Santhara means?
What the general Jain community thinks Santhara means, little movement, no eating food & water & removing all possessions to be one with the Universe in peace.

This would be pretty right, except that the Santhara does not come from leaving things, but real Santhara comes from leaving the attachment to things.

It is the attachment that is the real cause of karma-bandhan (paap). For example, an ascetic has no possessions, but neither does a beggar. Then why do we revere ascetics & not beggars? Both have them have no possessions! Because the difference is not in not-owning-possessions, but the real difference is, in not having attachment (aasakti) to them.
Even if a beggar has nothing & lives by the roadside, he wants everything, from bungalows to cars. Whereas, an ascetic has voluntarily left all his possessions, along with, more importantly his or we attachment to those possessions. If an ascetic wants worldly things even after deeksha (sanyaas) then he is no more than a beggar in reality.

And that is the difference that the Jain community seems to have forgotten these days. We have started believing in leaving things rather than leaving our attachment to things. We are today  changing just our clothes for Samayik & not our thoughts, our way of thinking, our attitude towards life.

Santhara in truth is freedom from all worldly possessions & the attachment to them. & that is the real way of Jain living, not just dying. & none but we ourselves are responsible for living truly free from all attachments & there is no one, no law that can stop us from living free. But first we need to realise the difference.

It is just as, the real meaning of Christmas gifting is to help someone in dire need & not just gift to your own loved ones. The real sacrifice on Eid should be of the thing that is the most dear to you because these are the real sacrifices that free us & freedom is all that we really want.

P. S. : this post is based on my personal opinion & understanding of the world. No offence intended.