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Ascetic practice carried out to achieve spiritual power or purification. In Hinduism, it is associated with Yoga as a way of purifying the body in preparation for the more exacting spiritual exercises leading to liberation. In Jainism, its practice is a central means of breaking the cycle of rebirths by preventing new karma from forming and by eliminating the old. Tapas can take many forms, including fasting, controlling the breath, and holding difficult and painful body postures. Extreme forms are carried out by sadhus, many of whom earn alms for their unusual abilities or deprivations.
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