Thursday, July 29, 2010

Jain Girl to Become Jain Nun

22-year-old rich girl chucks it all for sainthood
M R Venkatesh, Chennai, Jul 19, DH News Service:
Monday, July 19, 2010

As the medical world on Monday remembered the angelic Nurse Florence Nightingale for her deep compassion and devotion in tending the sick as ‘Nurses Day’, the Jain community here sprang a surprise.

In a different kind of compassionate response to cure men of the “sickness within”, Deepa, a 22-year-old commerce graduate, who could have gone miles for an MBA and a plum job, stunned her parents when she announced that she plans to “give up this world for a better tomorrow”.

Deepa, hailing from a well-to-do business class family in the city, whose forefathers had migrated decades ago to old Madras from Sojat district of Rajasthan, did not wish to go in search of more riches or gold.

Deepa’s father Tarachandji Garadia runs a profitable jewellery shop in Sowcarpet in North Chennai, the mini-Rajasthan in Tamil Nadu’s capital. The young girl could have got all that she wanted.

But a reflective Deepa chose to follow in the footsteps of her younger sister, Rekha, who has already taken ‘Diksha’ (initiation into monk-hood as per Jainism’s religious tradition) three years ago.

After getting the parental nod, including of her grieving mother Vimala Bai Garadia, the spiritual aspirant Deepa, clad in bridal attire, symbolically for the first and last time in her life, announced at a press conference here about her intent to become a ‘Jain Muni’.

“Deepa thinks that this world is so full of evil and ugliness; she strongly feels the only way to go to heaven as per our Jain tradition is to renounce the world and do some good to society as a monk,” Sangeetha, a close relative of the young girl told Deccan Herald. The ceremony for Deepa’s formal initiation into a life of renunciation – Diksha – has been fixed for July 21, Sangeetha added.

Former Tamil Nadu Director General of Police, S Sripal, a Jainism scholar himself, said when women take ‘Diksha’, “the hair on their head would be plucked”. The initiated girl would then have to don white attire and go barefoot, along with the other woman saints in the fraternity.

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