The Last Sermon (Antim Sandesh)

                 * A loose translation from Marathi to English

 At the holy shrine of “Kunthalgiri”, (Dist. Osmanabad), on the 26th day of His “fast unto death” (this is known as ‘Yama-Sallekhana’ - a religious ritual undertaken by some Jain monks) on Thursday, 08th Sept 1955, from 05.10 PM till 05.32 PM - the following sermon was delivered by Shri Shanti-Sagar maharaj in Marathi.

Om Jinay Namah. (Salute to the Jina)

Om Siddhay Namah.(Salute to the Siddha)

Om Arh-Siddhay Namah. (Salute to the Arh-Siddha)

Bharat Airavat kshetrastha bhut-bhavishya-vartamaan tees - chobiso Bhagwan namo Namah. (Salute to those timeless 24 Gods resident in the Bharat land)

Seemandhar-aadi vees viharman Tirthankar Bhagwan namo Namah (Salute to the Tirthankaras such as Seemandhar)

Rushabhadi-Mahaveer paryant choudashe bavan ganadhardevay nako Namah. (From Rushabh to Mahaveer... salute to the various 1452 Gods)

Chousasth rudidhari munishwaray namo Namah. (TBD)

Antakrut kevali munishwaray namo Namah. (TBD)

Pratyek Tirthankarveli daha-daha ghoropsarg vijay Munishwaray namo Namah. (TBD)


The ancient religious scriptures (of Jainism) is like a huge ocean (of knowledge). Today there aren’t any shrut-kevali (ones who have reached to the supreme knowledge) or kevali (again, the saints who attained the supreme knowledge) who would simplify, describe and explain this knowledge (from the religious scriptures) to us. What would an ordinary being like me explain to you! The “Jeena-vaani” (roughly, the doctrine of Jainism) is the knowlege-Godess with which every soul can attain salvation. The knowledge itself is like an infinite ocean. So the one who will follow “Jeena-dharma” (the religion and practices of a Jain), he will surely benefit from it. Amongst this is the holy word of Om !!! A soul who offers himself to the mantra of Om, such Soul certainly progresses on the spiritual path. (From ancient pable related to Jainism...) two fighting monkeys on Shikharjee (a holy place) attained heaven due to recital of this word (Om); Shri Sudarshan attained heaven due to recital of this word, the infamous thief Anjan attained heaven - attained salvation; what more... a lowly soul of a dog attained salvation due to listening to this holy word from Jeevandhar-kumar. Such is the greatness of this Jain religion. But alas, nobody follows the practices of this great religion. Even those who are born as a Jain, do not have enough faith in the religion. From the beginning of time immortal, it has been as clear that Jeev (the mind/soul) and Pudgal (the matter) are different from each other, yet no one believes! Everybody (has become materialistic) and cannot separate himself (the soul) from the matter around. Both (mind and matter) have distinct characteristics. They both are different from each other. Is mind same as matter? Or vice versa? Pudgal (the matter) is Jad (devoid of energy). It is characterised by specific touch, taste, colour/texture, smell etc. Knowledge, realization, energy are the properties of a soul. You and me are (in its core form) souls! So it is... join the sides with Jeev (the soul) and the Pudgal (matter) ceases to be; or change the side to Pudgal (matter) and Jeev (the soul) isn’t anymore. But remember it is the soul who is ultimately going to attain salvation, not the matter. To look after well being of one’s soul, to attain to the ultimate bliss is one’s own responsibility...but, the whole world is been trapped by the illusions caused by the “mohaniya karma” (the worldly temptations and the karma accumulated due to falling prey to such tempting illusions). Darshan-mohaniya-karma (the karma associated with viewing and perceiving things wrongly) betrays samyakatva (seeing the way the things are). Similarly, the Charitra mohaniya karma (the temptations that cause oneself to lose his character and the karma accumulated thereby) kills one’s character. So what should we do in such situation? What should we do to attain to the ultimate happiness? To reduce one’s accumulation of Darshan mohaniya karma, one should follow the path of samyakatva. To undo the Charitra mohaniya karma, one should practice samayam (mastery and restrain over one’s senses, desires, mind etc). This is my message to you - as my command, as my advice!!!


From the beginning of time immortal the Jeeva - the misguided soul - is moving through time and space aimless and directionless, on account of the mithya-karma (the karma accumulated by oneself due to one’s false perceptions towards outside world). So one should annihilate his own mithya-karma. One should follow the path of samyakatva. What is samyakatva?? This (the samyakatva) has been thoroughly explained by Shri Kundkundacharya (an ancient saint in Jain tradition) in his compositions like Samaya-sar, pravachan-saar, niyama-sar, panchastikay, ashta-pahud and gommat-sar. But no one believes these ancient scriptures anymore! So the soul who is keen on his well-being and elevation in this world, puts his faith and experiences the  truthfulness of the preachings thereby. If he doesn’t, then he will continue to wander in the darkness (of ignorance) as he has been always; there is no go. So what is the solution to it? What should one do? One can get rid of Darsha-mohaniya-karma by aatma-chintan (self introspection). Aatma-chintan is the only way of reducing one’s karma (and the illusions thereby). If one adopts ways of charity or worship, it results into punya (karma accumulated by good deeds), nonetheless it is a bondage. Similarly the pilgrimage (of holy shrines) too leads to punya-bandha (the bondage of positive karma). All such ritualistic activities ultimately cause punya-bandha (bondage of positive karma). But to attain to keval-dnyana (literally, sheer knowledge or just knowledge and nothing else), to nullify all the accumulated karma... aatma-chintan (self introspection) is the only way out. This (process of) aatma-chintan, if followed 6 hours per day is considered as good, if done 4 hours per day is considered as fair, if 2 hours in a day is considered to be less. But I would say please follow it minimum 10-15 minutes a day, even 5 minutes a day. Unless aatma-chintan is followed, samyakatva cannot be reached, the affinity towards the outer world wouldn’t end. The cycle of Janma (birth), Jara (illness), Maran (death) cannot be done away with. Without samyakatva, the Darshan-mohaniya-karma cannot be reduced. Similarly, without samayama (restrain and control over sensory pleasures) , the Charitra-mohaniya-karma cannot be reduced - there is no other go. So in any case, one should learn to practise samyama. Don’t be afraid to practice samayama. It cannot be practiced (beyond certain limits), while one yet has not given away his clothes (and not overcome their necessity and hasn’t developed the innocence or spiritual awakening to live without them). With clothes, one cannot go beyond 7th guna-sthana (In Jainism, the progress of a Soul from the first state of ignorance to that of the supreme knowledge is been marked by 14 steps, known as the 14 guna-sthana). Unless one progresses up to the 7th guna-sthana, he cannot be ready for atm-anubhav (self realization, or realization of one’s own divinity). Unless one realizes his true self, he really cannot do away with his accumulated karma. Unless one cannot lift the veils of his own karma, he cannot attain the supreme knowledge. And, unless one gets the ultimate knowledge, he cannot attain salvation. Therefore (I say), don't be afraid to practise samayama. Om, Siddhay Namaha!!!


There are two types in Samadhi (Samadhi can be vaguely interpreted as state of culmination of meditation) - the savikalpa samadhi and nirvikalpa samadhi. The savikalpa samadhi can be attained by a cloth-clad gruhastha (one who still stays in his house, with his family). But by wearing clothes (or being attached to one’s clothes), it is not possible to attain nirvikalpa samadhi. It is not possible to attend samyakatva, without attending nirvikalpa samadhi. So I appeal to you all, don’t be scared, go on to become a Jain monk (this implies giving away the clothes, as in Jainism monks wear nothing). The true samyakatva comes only after attaining nirvikalpa samadhi. The true samyakatva isn’t possible without atm-anubhav (self realization). The vyavahar-samyakatva, which is practised in day-to-day life (that is trying to perceive the true nature of things around you), is just a mean to attain the samyakatva in it’s real sense. Like the flowers are means of bearing the fruits, so is the vyavahar-samyakatva; this has been told by Shri Kundkundswami (an ancient Jain saint) in his composition Samay-sar. Nirvikalpa-samadhi is attained only upon becoming a monk. The journey of a soul from 7th guna-sthana until 12th guna-sthana happens thus. In the 13th guna-sthana, attains the soul to the state of ultimate-knowledge (keval-dnyana). This is the rule, this is explained in the scriptures. So don’t be scared, don’t be afraid. Practise restrain. Otherwise there is no way ahead. We generally acknowledge that the Jeev (soul) is distinct from the Pudgal (matter), but seldom it becomes part of our awareness. Had one truly realized this, he wouldn’t have thought of others in terms of my friend, my brother, my mother, my father etc. This is all the game of Pudgal (matter). For the soul, there is nobody, absolutely nobody!!! He is all alone, on his own. He has to attain the ultimate salvation also on his own. Dev-puja (worship), Gurupasti (service and obedience towards one’s Guru/teacher), swadhyay (self learning, practice, discipline), samayama (restrain), tap (meditation and/or chanting) and daan (charity) these are the six kriyas (recommended practices). Asi(), Masi(), Krushi (agriculture), shilpa (sculpture), vanijya (commerce) and vidya (teaching), these are the six different occupations of man, which directly-indirectly, intentionally-unintentionally cause sins and make a man accumulate bad-karma. Such bad karma can be reduced by the above mentioned six kriyas. By following these kriyas, man accumulates punya (good karma) which would ultimately win him worldly pleasures. By refraining from committing sins (panch-paap), one can earn sensory pleasures, but not salvation!!! Wealth, children, higher positions and even kingdom of heaven can be won by accumulation of good karma; but the ultimate salvation can be won only by doing aatma-chintan (self introspection). Use your prudence, your knowledge and and your experience and think about it... what leads a man to his ultimate salvation? It is with one’s self introspection. These are the words of God. This is the only truth. A slight glimpse of this truth causes a soul to attain the ultimate freedom. What is this language... its’ of Aatma-chintan (self-introspection). Everything else (good deeds) causes bondage of punya (good karma). Aatma-chintan is the sole cause, that leads to salvation. It has to be done. To summarize, “dharmasya mool daya” (compassion is the source of religion). For Jainism, this source is Satya (Truth) and Ahimsa (Non-violence). We all simply speak about Satya-Ahimsa (but do not really practise it). Can someone fulfil his appetite by  mere speaking about food? Unless one eats - unless one acts - one cannot fulfil his hunger. One must act upon (should not mere speak).

Leave everything else... follow Satya-Ahimsa. Satya (truth) leads oneself to Samyakatva (rightness/completeness/perfection) and Ahimsa leads to protection of all life around us. So practice is. Adhere to it. It leads to well being. Enough for now.


Om Namah.

 

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