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A Monograph Series Devoted To The Understanding Of Medicine, Mental Health, Man, Mind, Music And Their Matrix
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Year : 2004  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 38-39
How do we account for deaths like Jñaneshwara's and Rama's?


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Rights and PermissionsRights and Permissions

- S. G. Mudgal*

I give below a few examples :
  1. Jñaneshwara, at the age of 22, entered Samadhi;
  2. Manek Prabhu, at the age of 40, did likewise;
  3. Raghavendra Swami, at the age of 71, entered Vrindavan; (Vaishnava equivalent of Samadhi);
  4. Vadiraja Swami, at age of 120, entered Vrindavan.

There may be many more.

They were all yogis and used to be in Asamprajñata Samadhi. Very often, the happiness of God vision in Samadhi made them to remain in that state longer, and more often.

Thus, you can see that these cases do not fall within the purview of Suicide and Psychiatry. They were all perfectly normal individuals. Their contribution to Philosophy and Religion is unparalleled. For example, Jñaneshwari, Amrtanubhava, Upanishad Khandartha, Parimala, Mahabhashya Commentary, Yukti Mallika, to name a few, are famous works. They are not the works of diseased persons.**

Again, they also knew their mission. Jñaneshwara told his brother Nivrttinatha, who was also his guru: "Well, brother, my time has come. Permit me to leave this body." On being permitted by his Guru and brother, he got his samadhi built. On the appointed day, at a chosen time, he entered it, and asked his followers to close the entrance, once he reached the asamprajñata samadhi.

Same was the case with Manek Prabhu.

Raghvendra Swamy told his disciples in advance, the day, time, month and year of his leaving the body. It is recorded history that he exists in his astral body, in the Vrindavan. Sir Thomas Monroe, Collector of Bellary later Governor of Madras, records in the Madras Gazetteer, his interview with the Swamiji more than a few decades after he entered Vrindavan.

Thus, these cases have be the understood in a different way as they fall within the field of Psychology of Religion, and Para-Psychology. They were not distressed nor depressed. They were not schizophrenic. Again they have also to be understood is the context of Indian eschatology. The West believes in only one birth. This is not so with philosophies which have their origin on the Indian soil, except of course, the Carvakas.

Such individuals leave the body because their self is 'home sick' (Miss Underhills' terminology). Their discarding the body can only be described as entering into Samadhi (or vrindavan). This was true of Rama as also Laxmana, who entered the river Sharayu and underwent jalasamadhi.

This is how their leaving the body (or death, as you have put it) can be understood. Again there are four kinds of bodies which a Jiva has : (a) Sthulasarira (b) Anirudhasarira (c) Lingasarira and (d) Svarupasarira. Only when the Lingasarira is destroyed, one attains find redemption.

This is how I understand the above and other similar cases.

All Indian schools (except Carvaka), have condemned suicide. Further, they have appreciated leaving the body by the yogic method. Kalidasa refers to the Raghu dynasty with appreciation as 'yogenante tanu tyajam' i.e. those who leave the body at the end by entering into Samadhi. Thus, the correct way of describing the physical end of such persons is discarding the body, or leaving the body, i.e. 'Tanu Tyajam'.

   Note Top

*Prof (Dr.) S.G. Mudgal M.A., Ph.D., has been a distinguished Professor of Philosophy with a deep study of Indian thought.

** Prof. Mudgal is making the point that not all such deaths are the result of psychopathology. He is obviously referring to the 2% cases of suicides in which no abnormality could be found even by recent psychiatric researchers. The point is indeed well taken and psychiatrists must beware of using their methods to make sweeping generalisations. But they must do something about the 98% with psychopathology, which is indeed very important, and legitimately their domain. - Eds.


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