Sallekhana, Sallekhanā: 3 definitions


Sallekhana means something in Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

[«previous next»] — Sallekhana in Jainism glossary
Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 7: The Five Vows

Sallekhanā (सल्लेखना) refers to the “vow of voluntary pious death” according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 7.22.—Accordingly, “the householder courts ‘voluntary pious-death’ at the end of his life”. What is ‘courting voluntary pious-death’ (sallekhanā)? It is making the physical body and the internal passions thin /weak by abandoning their sources of strength gradually at the approach of death (maraṇa). What is meant by death ‘maraṇa’? The loss of senses and the vitalities at the end of one’s duration of life acquired by one’s own dispositions is called death. When and why one should start ‘courting voluntary pious-death’ (sallekhanā)? When some calamity/fa’mine’ or extreme old age occurs or incurable disease has inflicted the body resulting in difficulty in observing the vows (vrata) by the individual affected, then to at least safeguard the vows one should start ‘courting voluntary pious-death’.

Is ‘courting voluntary pious-death’ (sallekhanā) synonymous with suicide as in ‘courting voluntary pious-death’ one severes the ten vitalities intentionally? No; sallekhanā is not suicide as there is no passion or inadvertence ‘laxity’ (pramāda) in ‘courting voluntary pious-death’. To end life with passionate activities and violence is suicide. Deaths without passionate activities are essential to observe ‘voluntary pious-death’. Thus it cannot be said as suicide. Use of the implements of violence to end one’s life is suicide.

According to the Tattvārthasūtra 7.36, what the five transmigressions (aticara) of vow of voluntary pious death (sallekhanā) are? These are desire for life /or to live, desire for death, recollection of affection to friends, recollection of pleasures and longing for enjoyment.

General definition book cover
context information

Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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India history and geography

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary

Sallekhanā.—(EI 3, 6; SITI), Jain; a religious practice of the Jains; starving oneself to death; starving oneself to death in fulfilment of a vow; same as samādhi. Note: sallekhanā is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

India history book cover
context information

The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Kannada-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Sallekhana in Kannada glossary
Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Sallēkhana (ಸಲ್ಲೇಖನ):—[noun] (jain.) a kind of religious vow, in which the person who has undertaken the vow, abstains from taking food, till his or her death.

context information

Kannada is a Dravidian language (as opposed to the Indo-European language family) mainly spoken in the southwestern region of India.

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