Ethical-legal Dimensions of Religious Death Practice of Samadhimaran in Jainism and Hinduism


Time stops at death. In the intricate tapestry of Jainism and Hinduism, the practices of death with utmost equanimity i.e. Samadhimaran, encompassing Sallekhana, Santhara, and Prayopvesa, emerge as profound rituals deeply rooted in spiritual philosophies of detachment and liberation. The study’s primary objective delves into the juxtaposition of these practices against modern societal perceptions of euthanasia and suicide, further elucidating their religious, ethical, and legal implications. A qualitative approach is employed, comprising an in-depth examination of religious scriptures, critical legal case evaluations, and enlightening interactions with experts from both faiths. The author has conducted empirical research by travelling across India and conducting interviews, surveys etc. These analyses reveal nuanced theological distinctions between Jainism and Hinduism, shaping their perceptions of Samadhimaran. Modern legal systems confront numerous challenges when addressing these ancient practices, especially given the dynamic interpretations of personal freedom, the right to life, and religious rights. The contemporary ethos, heavily influenced by globalization and shifting moral paradigms, further complicates the assimilation of these age-old traditions in today’s world. In conclusion, while both religions revere Samadhimaran as a spiritually profound choice, the societal and legal intricacies surrounding its execution necessitate a balanced blend of religious sagacity and contemporary legal prudence. Encouraging interdisciplinary dialogues offers a promising path forward, aiming to bridge the spiritual depth of these rituals with the pragmatism of modern jurisprudence. The study underscores the urgent need for mutual respect and understanding in navigating the complexities of faith and law in a rapidly evolving global landscape.


Rishabh Gandhi
PhD Scholar, Department of Law and Governance, Vishwakarma University, Maharashtra, India


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


2024 Special Focus—Spaces, Movement, Time: Religions at Rest and in Movement


Samadhimaran, Death, Euthanasia, Equanimity, Voluntary-acceptance-of-death-but-not-a-suicide

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