More young Jains giving up the good life for diksha

Posted: 19.01.2016


The Times Of India


  

A Jain priest performs a ritual on an idol of Lord Mahavir. (TOI file photo)

A Jain priest performs a ritual on an idol of Lord Mahavir. (TOI file photo)

MUMBAI:

Born in the lap of luxury, life for 22-year-old Juhu resident Akhil Doshi was one big party till the day he decided to renounce it all and become a Jain monk. Akhil is one among eight young members of the Jain community who will renoun ce the world and take diksha on February 14 during a grand function in the country's consumption capital of Mumbai.

Diksha is preparation or consecration for a religious ceremony to renounce worldly life for an ascetic one.

For a person who would always move around in a car, Akhil will now have to cover huge distances on foot. His branded clothes will be replaced with simple white robes. He will have to eat sparingly on whatever alms he gets. Though the transition could seem drastic to others, Akhil says he has found his calling and inner peace. I was raised with all the comfort that one can ask for, but even in the midst of having everything, I realized that, in reality, I had nothing. The shallowness of the most vibrant materialistic pleasures stood as a stark truth in my face. It is these luxuries that make us forget who we are and consume our entire lives. It is an unending race towards futility," said Akhil.

The eight diksharthis, or what people who take diksha are called, credit monk Pujya Namramuni Maharaj Saheb for enlightening their inner souls; they will take diksha in his presence.

They have been under his guidance since four years, learning the ways of an ascetic life.

Only once Maharaj Saheb was convinced of their dedication and resolve, did he give them permission to take diksha. "My life was full of materialistic things - going for movies, shopping and meeting friends. One day I happened to accidentally listen to an audio CD of Gurudev and since then began to question myself and what my life was about. Then came a day when I made up my mind to give up everything," said Ghatkopar's Pooja Vegda (35), a doctor who has offered skin treatment to several celebrities.

Two more women from Ghatkopar - Tanvi Desai (24), a chartered accountant (CA), and lawyer Mona Fofaria (30) - will also give up their successful careers and "pampered lives", and so will Borivli's Shreya Shah (26), a textile designer.

The other four diksharthis who will join them are not from Mumbai. Like Akola's Kinjal Doshi. Kinjal (21) had an "exceptionally clear idea" about what she wanted to do since her ninth grade. She studied hard, scored 92% in her SSC exam and completed her HSc in Science. All this to pursue her dream of a successful career.But her "far-sightedness seemed too short" when she decided to take diksha. Jigisha Doshi (22) from Kolkata, too, decided on renouncing the world after her HSc in Commerce.

Rajkot's Mitul Mehta (24) was in his second-year engineering when the idea of a spiritual life grew roots in his mind when he attended a shibir by Maharaj Saheb. By the time he entered the final year of college, his mind was made up to pursue another, "higher life".

"I had a flowchart for everything - my life, education, work. But all these things didn't make sense to me once I realized that the life I was dreaming of is futile," said Mitul, an only son.

His parents have been supportive of his decision and say it will also help them walk the spiritual path too.

The final diksha is preceded by a set of events such as a shobha yatra that was organized in Vile Parle on Sunday. In the days that follow, live chat shows will be held across the city where the audience will get to interact with all eight of them.

A bike rally will also be held to create awareness about Jainism in Borivili and Malad.

A varshidan yatra, following which they will take their final diksha, will see them dispose of their worldly belongings such as jewellery, clothes and cash in public along the route.

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