Priyank Vohera aged 37 and his wife Bhavyata, 33 from Ahmedabad have chosen to renounce the world and chose to become monk and nun in the Jain tradition. What is more significant is that their children Sur (7) and Siree ( 8) have been inducted into the Jain monastic order tow years back. What is even more significant that, the initiation to Jain monkhood is physically one of the most difficult and extremely demanding religious practices in the world.
In Jainism, the parents are allowed to stay with the children who have accepted the monkhood. ” We will be able to stay with our children” the couple said. Their children will be present during their Diksha ceremony to take place in Surat.
It is often argued for and against the proriety of allowing children at such tender age in chosing extremely hard and auster life style for entire life where one shuns all the material comfort in pursuit of spiritual upliftment. The Jain devotees however support the tradition.
Priyank who hails from Mithi Pladi village of Deodar in Banaskantha district of Gujarat married his wife Bhavyata 13 years ago. Priyank says that one only lives once hence, the opportunity to do such religious duty should not be wasted.” It is the best way possible to utilise human life” he is reported to have said.
Priyank will be winding up his auto parts business having turnover of around Rs. 70 lacs. He was anxious about the huge pending dues to be received from the customers but his father told him not to worry about it.
After initiation, the jain monk or nun is allowed to own only two white garments, a bowl for alms and a “rajoharan”, which is a white broom Jain monks use to brush insects away from an area before they sit — a mark of the path of absolute non-violence.
The initiation process begins with a traditional final meal before sunset. It is the last supper they have with their families. Here on, they are not allowed to cook for themselves and can only eat what they get as alms.
They are made to sit on decorated seats, to be greeted by family and friends. They touch the feet of their parents, shower them with rice and thank them for their birth and say final farewells.
The final part of the ceremony involves them going behind curtains where their hair was shorn. The first time, this is done with a blade. But later, twice each year, each Jain sadhu and sadhvi will have to go through a ritual called “keshlochan” (shedding of hair) where each strand is plucked out by hand. This deeply painful ritual signifies disregard for physical pain.
They sleep on the ground, use no fans in the summer, no heaters or woolens in the winter. They walk bare-feet, use limited water. They do not bathe and only sponge ourselves. One needs great endurance for this.