Saturday, May 17, 2008

Jain monk walks barefoot across India to reform the men

By Santanu Barad

Jain Monk Prasanna Sagarji Maharaj takes rest at Raghunathpur Village near Berhampur during his Ahimsa Sanskar Padyatra on bare foot to reform men.

Berhampur (Orissa): The monks at normal times live in the wood and pray for the welfare of the human civilization. However, there are few monks like Prasanna Sagarji Maharaj, who lives among the people to reform the men and their attitude by restoring degradation in morality owing to modern living habits.

Prasanna Sagar was born in the Chatarpur region of present Madhya Pradesh left the home at the age of 19 years and became a Digambar Jain monk.

Since then, Prasannaji has been walking bare foot across the country to bring a reform in the men by changing theie lifestyle and the attitude that ought to be in the human being for the development and welfare of the human civilization.

Prasannaji was recently at Berhampur during his tour and stayed for a night at the Raghunathpur village.

During his tour in last 20 years, he covered at least 25,000 kilometers in bare and left a kind of indefinable mark in the minds of the people he met.

As per the tradition of the Digambar section of the Jain, the monk walks bare foot, wears no cloths and remains in bare body throughout the year. He takes food or water only once in a day, maintains silent in the night, uses no vehicle, uses no metal either, pulls the hair of the head by hand only.

Moreover, he never uses any kind comfortable things, sleeps on the bare floor, never takes bath and always carries a Jhadi made of peacock's feather for the security of lives and holds a pot for the purification of the body.

To the astonishment of many people present at the village, Prasannaji broke his silent in that evening before this correspondent, though in the evenings he remains silent as per the Jain tradition.

When asked, he said, "when a monk speaks few people listens, but when a scribe writes the message reaches among the masses. Hence, the journalists should write for the people that could bring a reform in the society by creating awareness".

Speaking about the aims of his Ahimsa Sanskar Padyatra, he said that with each passing day, the men are loosing their moral characters, idealism are being vanished and human attitudes are being changing. So, he felt the need of propagating the people about the reforms in themselves by changing the attitude, spreading love and peace in the society.

Putting emphasis on welfare of the human being and high moral value, Prasannaji said putting aside one’s selfishness; the men should work for the betterment of the society in order to revive the rich social and cultural heritage of the country.

1 comment:

  1. I have been reading about the Jain Monks,especially the Digambar monks because they live a much harder life than the Shvetambar Monks, and I was very moved, and I have felt a great deal of pain just reading about them. I wish to say a few things:
    1. Regarding their custom of plucking hairs from their heads instead of using scissors. After watching a video of a few monks taking their deeksha, I plucked two hairs from my head and felt tears in my eyes. So it must be an excruciatingly painful process. So why not permit the monks to use scissors? Needles suffering should be avoided. If the monks are reluctant to use tools such as scissors, at least permit the devotees or the junior monks (who wear white clothes)living with them to cut their hairs.
    2. I understand their determination to live on one meal a day, but I am baffled about why they are not permitted to drink even water more than once a day. Isn't drinking enough water throughout the day to remove the metabolic toxins from the body, toxins such as urea, a necessary thing for maintaining good health? Especially in summer when India can be terribly hot? I tried to live for a week on one meal a day and drinking water once a day also, but on the second day I needed to drink water three times a day, and I lost five pounds at the end of the week. I lost my excess body fat.(I was thin to begin with, and I have always been a vegetarian). I have continued the practice(!) and I have lost 15 pounds in all, and now I look very thin, but not emaciated, and maintaining a steady weight.
    I saw a video of four young men, 23 to 27 years old, taking their deeksha, taking their oaths during their initiation. They renounced every thing, even their yellow loincloths and stood naked in front of thousnads of people, without feeling self conscious at all. Words can not describe my admiration for them, and my heart went out to them, but I must say that I also felt a great deal of pain, and when I thought of their parents, who in all likelyhood, were in the audienece to watch their young sons taking their deeksha, I cried. I cried for two days because I felt as if those young men were like my own sons. They looked so lean and fragile, but with bright eyes radiant bodies, and it was mind-boggling for me to think that they had renounced every thing. They did not even have a plate to eat from.
    You have written that the monks never take a bath. I think it is partly true, because instead of taking a bath or a shower, they use a wet cloth to thoroughly scrub their bodies, as the nurses do to clean the patients in the hospitals. From what you wrote, it created an impression that the monks, because they do not take a bath, perhaps have smelly bodies. But the monks. in reality, are scrupulously clean. But your article on the whole was very informative, and I enjoyed reading it. Thank you very much for writing it. God bless.


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