For the average 12th grader, a 99.9 percentile score in Board exams would mean a much sought after entry into the top colleges. There was, however, no major celebration when the 17-year old Varshil Shah from Ahemdabad was found to be among the toppers in the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board Examination.
Though the result was as expected, Varshil has decided to renounce the world and become a monk. The Diksha ceremony took place on the 8th of June in Gandhinagar and marked his initiation as a Jain monk.
Belonging to a simple middle class Jain family, Varshil believes in the principal of Jivdaya, or, compassion for all living beings. The family believes that a lot of aquatic animals are killed in the generation of electricity, which hurts the Jain sentiment of Ahimsa, or non-violence; hence it’s usage is restricted in the household. They don’t even keep a refrigerator or a television and use electricity only when necessary, like when the children are studying at night.
Varshil likes to keep to himself, and away from public attention. It was his uncle who talked to the press.
“The result is as per expectations, but to attain and maintain peace, I think renouncing the world is the only way,” he quoted Shah as saying. “On Thursday, donning a white dhoti and wrap, he joined his guru Kalyan Ratna Vijay. From now on, he will only dress in a white dhoti worn by the members of the Svetambara, or “white clad”, sect of Jainism. He will walk bare foot and make all his journeys on foot as well.” His parents, Amiben Shah and Jigarbhai, are happy with his decision, as reported by Hindustan Times. As monks are not supposed to cook, he will eat what he will receive in alms. Varshil is history as Suvirya Ratna Vijayji Maharaj begins his spiritual journey.