Svecchamrityu (Iccha-mrityu)

Svecchamrityu (Iccha-mrityu)

Svecchamrityu (Sanskrit: स्वेच्छामृत्यु) {Sva (self) + iccha (will) + mrityu (death)} is an adjective which means - having death at one’s own power or dying at one’s own will [1] It is also called Iccha-mrityu (इच्छा मृत्यु) meaning self-willed death but it is not to be confused with immortality or self-inflicted death. Shantanu had granted to his son Gangaputra Devavrata, also known as Bhishma, the supernatural power of Svecchamrityu.[2] Mahabharata records that Bhishma did choose the time and manner of his own death.[3]

In the course of his visit to Amarnath cave, Swami Vivekananda had the vision of Lord Shiva in the cave and was blessed with the boon of death-at-will (iccha-mrityu).[4] He had predicted that he would not live forty years, he did not. Mahatma Sisir Kumar and Pandit Dinabandhu Vedantaratna are also believed to have willed their own death.[5]

The Svadhishthana Chakra is the Abode of the Tattva Apas; one conquers death with the awakening of this chakra.[6] As one of the twenty-six siddhis that form part of Kundalini yoga, Iccha-mrityu siddhi gives the yogi the power to die at will.[7] According to Aurobindo the sadhaka of Integral yoga aims at complete liberation from all attacks of illness, and the power to prolong life at will – Iccha-mrityu.[8]

In Hindu astrology, the Iccha-mrityu yoga is caused if Saturn situated in the 12th house from the lagna is aspected by powerful Jupiter occupying the 4th house.[9] The methodical recitation of Rishi Markandeya’s Yajurveda Mahamrityunjaya Mantra consisting of thirty-three syllables:-

In Devanagari script:
ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम् ।
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान् मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मा ∫ मृतात् ।।

is recommended for warding-off the evil and/or death-inflicting effects of planets, and to prolong one’s life-span.[10]


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