Inviting Death: Historical Experiments on Sepulchral Hill (Revised Edition)
Professor Emeritus, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru
This book presents the history of the Jaina rules of inviting death, descriptive accounts of Puranic and historical personalities who embraced it, and an interesting body of epigraphical and archaeological remains over a millennium and a half on the Samadhi-betta, the Sepulchral Hill, at Sravana Belgola, one of the foremost Digambara Jaina centres in the world. The Jaina preoccupation with death has been so intense that without understanding their philosophy of death it is almost impossible to comprehend their notion of life. Jainism recognizes forty-eight types of deaths, grouped under three major heads called bala-marana (foolish death), pandita-marana (wise-death), and pandita-pandita marana (the wisest of the wise death). For them, death is a subject of intellectual exercise, they hold it as a force that permeates the social, religious, and philosophical sinews of life. This book, the revised edition of this classic of Jaina scholarship, includes fresh data and more illustrations which critically complement the author’s insights and arguments on the art and rituals of inviting death.