One ‘Muni Maharaj’ fell sick in a village. Shravaks of the village made him observe ‘ Yam Sallekhana’(\.e. abandonment of all kinds of food until death) finding his disease incurable.
The anguish of thirst began to oppress him gradually and when he could not endure it he started asking for water. When Shravak did not make it available, he began to threaten them with abusive words and curse.
‘Chaturmas’ of Shri Shanti Sagarji Maharaj was going on in a nearby village. Villagers came to him and asked for his guidance. Achharya Shri asked them to stay back at night and take rest.
Next day he himself arrived in that village and reaching the trance-engrossed ‘Mum-’, offered his ‘Namostoo’. The ‘Muni’ was perplexed seeing the great saint Achharya Shanti Sagar Ji bending down before him.
He uttered “‘Maharaj! What are you doing? I am your disciple. You are my venerable. Why are you saluting me?”
Achharya Shri replied, “Don’t worry. The trance-engrossed saint is of a very high status. I have come to know that you have thirst trouble and the people of the village are not giving you water even on demanding it. I have brought hot water in my ‘Kamanda . Get up and I will give you water to drink.”
The ‘Muni’, being in a fix, hearing unexpected words from the mouth of Achharya Shri, sat down taking some support.
Then Achharya Shri addressed him, “O Brother! Do you know where and in which “Gati ” (class of life) had you been in your last birth?
And where had you been even before that? This Jeeva (soul) has not left any “Yoni” (birth) untouched out of eighty-four lakhs of Yonis. Sometime it took birth as a crocodile,hell.
Even then, were you relieved of your thirst? That kept increasing by leaps and bounds. It is only the abstinence, which was not attained earlier.
A rare opportunity of abstinence has been found by you in this present mode of birth due to rise of some auspicious Karma. Today the thirst of your body intends to destroy the wealth of your soul.
Both recourses are open to you. You yourself decide what is beneficial to you? Whether you want water for assuaging the thirst of the body or want to protect the abstinence which satiates the soul.
You will have to choose any one of these two alternatives because both of them can not be practised together.” The state of mind of the ‘Muni’ had changed by the completion of address by Achharya Shri.
He was fortunate enough to have propped up before falling down, getting the proximity of the feet of Achharya Shri. In repentance his voice was choked by emotions.
He firmly seized the feet of Achharya Shri with his hands. Only one sentence could come out of his mouth. “I
want the refuge of these feet, Maharaj! Maharaj!! I do not want any thing more. May I get the proximity of these feet till the end of this “Paryaya ” (mode/class of life)? Kindly grace me with this favour. Now I have attained every thing.”
A unique firmness was incarnated in the state of mind of the Muni, the practitioner of the ‘Sallekhana’. Next day he attained “Sadgati ” (beatitude) completing his “Paryaya ” (mode of life) with flawless ‘Sallekhana’ and with a peaceful state of mind.
With gratitude: ‘Santa Saurabha’ by Neeraj Jain