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Indus Script Deciphered 14

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14. Sallekhana

The other prominent inscribed Indus signs shown below are equally important in Jain ethics, and not seen in any other religious culture in the world. The ascetics sleep mindful with alertness and self-restraint in order to cover a minimum of space, side-wise with folded legs pulled to their chest, as shown in the first sketch, according to their code of conduct. The end of life involves welcoming death with selfrestraint known as sallekhana or satlekhana while realizing the truth of the changing of the body form via death, what has already repeated itself since eternity. While death, one will face the fruits of self-earned karmas and for this purpose one dissolves not only the physical body or nokarma [no = nine] but also the other dravya karmas on the soul by sallekhana.

 ISD 14 1 jpg ISD 14 2 jpg

To an outsider the sallekhi appears to be the same person fasting and utterly suffering thus thinned and reduced in body form, but in fact it is an effort to reduce the mountain of karmas to zero at time of death. Then, in lying, sitting position or even standing in kayotsarga the sallekhi reaches salvation. A very self-disciplined life with a minimum of facilities for oneself is lived in order to achieve maximum tolerance to be able to face any type of critical moments before death through sallekhana. The easiest way is to restrict oneself in diet and water, at the same time controlling one’s thoughts with fulfillment under renunciation.

 ISD 15 1a jpg

It is a very difficult expression to draw out as a sketch but Indus experts have done it with great ease in two simple lines, one big adjacent to a small one as ISD 14 newtext jpg where the smaller line denotes the mount of karma reduced to almost nil, while the bigger line denotes the body thinned to a stick, as skin-on-skeleton through fasting, realizing the power of the soul as consciousness in it. Indologists have totally misunderstood these lines so far, but they all signify the sallekhana of Jain shramanas and preparedness even of whole sangha for sallekhana ISD 14 99 jpg. Some people mistakenly think of sallekhana as suicide by fasting to death, which in fact is not true. Indus seals display this from their textual background, as one, two, three, four and five lines. Some scholars have therefore identified those figures as Bhishma, the Hindu warrior in the Mahabharata, who died after laying considerable time on a bad of arrows. But in that case the ‘bed’ was straight, not curved.

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