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Suvirya Ratna Vijayji Maharaj: 17-year-old Boy Converts from a Board Topper to Jain Monk

Varshil Shah, who achieved percentile as well as 99.9, has become Suvirya Ratna Vijayji Maharaj

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Suvirya Ratna Vijayji Maharaj, Varshil Shah
Suvirya Ratna Vijayji Maharaj: 17-year-old Varshil Shah Converts from a Board Topper to Jain Monk

-by Surbhi Dhawan

  • 17-year-old Varshil securing 99.9 percentile, became a monk
  • Varshil was dressed up as a groom before his conversion into a monk
  • Varshil denounced the world on Thursday with the permission of his parents

June 25, 2017: A 17-year-old who should be enjoying his teenage, has found his place in an entirely different divine world.  Varshil Shah, who achieved percentile as well as 99.9, has become Suvirya Ratna Vijayji Maharaj. He has denounced the materialistic world for playing the real-life role of a Jain Monk.

Jain monks disconnect themselves from social and worldly activities and aim all their activities at self-purification for self-realization. They practice meditation which helps them gain knowledge and self-discipline. These monks are not allowed to live in their homes and stay in temples. They do not use telephone and electricity and perform open defecation and urination so that no living creature is harmed.

The student who achieved heights in academics, united with his guru in his spiritual hunt in an early morning ceremony at Surat on Thursday. He was all changed to a baldheaded monk with white clothes with a profound adieu to the material world.

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According to Hindustan Times, the ceremony started about 4.30am with a procession called Vashidaan in which members of the Jain community dispose of jewellery and cash on the banks of the Tapi River, symbolising shunning of material world .The procession was followed by tonsuring of Varshil’s head and chanting of prayers. This was preceded by the intense ritual of seeking permission of his parents to abandon the world.

On the eve of the ceremony, Varshil was fully dressed from head to toe like a groom, wrapping in an over bright sherwani which was paired with a turban. This was the last moment of his life when he was wearing colored clothes. He would wear white dhoti from the very next day and walk in free bare feet for rest of his life. He will eat whatever he receives from people, as monks are not allowed to cook meals.

Varshil’s parents are satisfied with their son’s decision. The decision of becoming a monk and leading a peaceful life somehow become valid because of the way he is brought up. Varshil grew up in a home, where electricity use was minimized. His house does not have a television and a refrigerator.  According to Shahs, power generation kills many aquatic animals which is opposed to the Jain pledge of ahmisa, or non-violence. The name Varshil is over and Suvirya Ratna Vijayji Maharaj is the future.

– by Surbhi Dhawan of NewsGram. Twitter: @surbhi_dhawan

 

 

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Peace and Non-Violence: Inculcation of Jain Philosophies in the Youth for a Better Tomorrow

Jainism and its philosophies teach us the significance of non-violence and sacrifice

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Jainism , peace , non- violence
Jain Teerthankar (Representational Image), Wikimedia
  • Jain philosophies teach us the importance of non-violence
  •  Governor Vajubhai R. Vala in his speech has conveyed the importance of propagating Jain philosophies in the younger generation
  • He also joined Garba dancers who were dancing to the rhythm of the folk music

New Delhi, July 8, 2017: Vajubhai R. Vala, the governor, said that Jainism taught us what the significance of non-violence and sacrifice non-violence is and how it helped to improve India’s rich heritage while talking on Friday at the installation ceremony of Chaturmasa Mangala Kalash at Jain Mutt at Shravanabelagola in Channarayapatra taluk.

The governor gave an instance of Mahatma Gandhi and said that he inculcated non-violence in all his struggle movements as he was highly influenced and impressed by the philosophies of Jainism. He said that there is a great need to incorporate such values belonging to Jainism in today’s younger generation as it will help us continue the culture of non-violence (ahimsa) and truth in India. Ahimsa indicates the absence of physical violence along with the absence of desire to get into any kind of violence. It will help maintain peace in the world.

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He added that one of the best art works, the Gomateshwara statue at Shravanabelagola symbolizes the values portrayed by Jainism. The big event of Mahamastakabhisheka which will be organised next year has been gathering support from the rulers since past 1,000 years and the government at present.

According to The Hindu report, the governor also joined the Garba dancers performing to folk tunes as he comes from Gujrat where this dance form was originated. This gesture of the governor earned appreciations from Jain Mutt seer Charukeerti Bhattaraka Swami among others.

– prepared by Harsimran Kaur of NewsGram. Twitter: HKaur1025

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Gandhi Jayanti: India Gears up to Celebrate 147th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi

The Gandhi Jayanti week celebrations in Kerala will be focused on tree-planting, sanitation, and anti-drug campaigns

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Gandhi Jayanti
File Photo of Gandhi Ji Spinning on a Wheel during the Peace Movement. Wikipedia

October 2, 2016: To pay tribute to the father of the Nation, October 2 in India is celebrated with zeal and fervour among Indians as Gandhi Jayanti. This day holds immense significance as it marks Gandhi Jayanti or the birth anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. The political leader and social worker of India not only left a huge impact on the nation’s revolts for freedom; but with his ideology, philosophy, philanthropic acts and great teachings- India remains indebted to this legendary man, respected and adored as “Bapu”, for forever!

The political leader and social worker of India in the true sense of the term, not only left a huge impact on the nation’s revolts for freedom; but with his ideology, philosophy, philanthropic acts and great teachings- India remains indebted to this legendary man, respected and adored as “Bapu”, for forever!

The “Father of the Nation”, Gandhi Ji was born in 1869 in Gujarat to Karamchand Gandhi and Putlibai. 2nd October of 2017 marks his 148th birth anniversary or ‘Gandhi Jayanti’, and as per tradition, tributes, prayer services are offered and celebrations are held at Raj Ghat, New Delhi to pay homage to one of India’s greatest men.

Read How To Overcome Intolerance With Gandhi Ji’s View

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The man, who had millions of follower worldwide and promoted peace and non-violence, enlightened the globe with his greatest sayings.

His most famous teachings include-

  • “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
  • “Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.”
  • “Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever.”
  • “It is health that is the real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”
  • “Where there is love there is life.”
  • “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
  • “Non-violence is the first article of my faith; it is also the last article of my creed.”
  • “A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes.”
  • “The weak can never forgive; forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
  • “My life is my message.”
Gandhi Jayanti
Gandhi Statue in Indian Embassy, Washington DC. Wikimedia

Events and Celebrations For Gandhi Jayanti-

On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, a special long walk is to be organized across the whole city of New Delhi, as reported by the PTI. The organizer of the event is Delhi Tourism and the event, named ‘Gandhi Walks: Discover Gandhi’s Delhi and Feel Inspired’, is partnered by city-based ‘Delhi Walks’. The foremost agenda of this event is to offer a prime ‘insight’ into the times and life of the legendary Mahatma Gandhi.

Go to NewsGram and check out news related to political current issues.

President Pranab Mukherjee greeted the whole nation on the eve of Gandhi Jayanti, stating that his views on morality, ethics and truth remain immanent to the national consciousness of India. His message reminded India of Gandhiji’s ideals of peace, non-violence, freedom, religious tolerance and equality hold immense value eternally.

The Gandhi Jayanti week celebrations in Kerala will be focused on tree-planting, sanitation, and anti-drug campaigns; reported The Hindu. A ceremony at the Gandhi Memorial will launch the program and multiple functions are to be organized.

Read Gandhi Ji’s View On Education

Gandhi Ji is revered and followed all over the world and on Gandhi Jayanti of 2017 the nation is to rise up once again to reminisce and respect the life and teachings of the great Mahatma Gandhi.

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Meet Sergeant Gandhi: In 1915, he was awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind medal for his loyalty towards British Empire

Right up to the mid-1920s, Gandhi too struggled to explain his stand and gave contradictory statements. But, when the war ended, Gandhi felt Britain’s cause a righteous one and fought for it

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Mahatma Gandhi spinning yarn, in the late 1920s. Image source: Wikipedia
  • In 1914, Gandhi served as a sergeant-major of the British Army and in the next five months, he managed to convince Indians to join the corps
  • Gandhi got affected with pleurisy and left England in December and came India in January, 1915
  • In 1918, regarding the war effort, Gandhi donated a sum of Rs 102 from his own pocket

In August 1914, in South Africa, a British steamer SS Kinfauns Castle had reached the English Channel from Cape Town, when one of the passengers received important news: Germany and the British Empire were at war.  When, the person reached Britain, he declared absolute support to the British war effort and suggested to raise an Indian volunteer unit.

This person was none other than the barrister Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

Political gurus and Historians have always taken a great interest in the matter and struggled a lot to understand, why a follower of non-violence and peace had offered support to the British Empire during the First World War.

There are many debates going around regarding the incident. Some believe that Gandhi, being a loyalist had a great faith in the British, while quite a few believe that he saw an opportunity to exact the political concessions from the British during the First World War.

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Right up to the mid-1920s, Gandhi too struggled to explain his stand and gave contradictory statements. But, when the war ended, Gandhi felt Britain’s cause a righteous one and fought for it.

Gandhi_and_Indira_1924
Young Indira with Mahatma Gandhi during his fast in 1924. Image source: Wikipedia

“We have to understand that Gandhi was a politician back then, and like all politicians, he did contradict himself several times. But at that time in India, there was no demand for total independence or ‘poorna swaraj’ but dominion status. So it wasn’t just Gandhi but most political leaders of that time, cutting across party lines, supported in varying degrees the British war effort,” says military historian Squadron Leader Rana T S Chhina (Retd), according to a TOI report.

Gandhi was clear that the Indian Army would be needed on the Western Front. Therefore, he was also certain that many Indians would get wounded and need medical attention. As a result, Gandhi suggested raising an Indian ambulance corps and due to Gandhi’s loyalty towards the British, it was soon sanctioned by the British war office.

This incident took place in 1914, but this was not the first time that the Indians were asked by Gandhi to join British force and support them during the 1899-1902 Second Boer War as well as in Zulu War in 1906. He served as a sergeant-major of the British Army and in the next five months, he managed to convince Indians to join the corps. After joining, some of them also later served in the Brighton and Southampton hospitals where Indian victims were treated. Gandhi was accompanied by Kasturba (his wife) and Sarojini Naidu, who also supported the British Empire unconditionally.

Mahatma Gandhi and Sarojini Naidu at the 1942 AICC session. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Mahatma Gandhi and Sarojini Naidu at the 1942 AICC session. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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Soon, Gandhi got affected with pleurisy and left England in December and came India in January, 1915. This was the year, when Gandhi was awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind medal, said a TOI report.

After coming back to India, he continued to support the cause of the British but he also fought the British rule in India by organizing several movements- Champaran Satyagraha in 1917 and the Kheda Satyagraha in 1918. After, Kheda Satyagraha ended he became actively involved in campaigning for the war as a recruiting officer of the empire and appointed fighters. Other leaders who joined him were Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Gopalkrishna Gokhale and Mohammed Ali Jinnah who promoted the empire’s cause in several degrees.

Vedica Kant, a UK based author came to India to launch her first book, ‘If I die here, who will remember me? India in the First World War‘ says, Gandhi was not like other leaders. “Like others who demanded or expected concessions from the British in return for support to the war, Gandhi, right from the beginning, gave unconditional support. Gandhi was also instrumental in expanding the recruiting bases of the Indian Army to Gujarat and other places: places that didn’t have the so-called martial races as identified by the British. By 1918, the empire was in dire need of men and they had to look to Gujarat, Bengal, Madras etc for recruiting,” she adds.

Among the many recruiting centres that were set up, one was also set up in Gujarat was set up at Pollen Dharamshala in Godhra. This was in April 16, 1918 where a large gathering took place- Thakores of Rewa Kantha Agency and Panch Mahals as well as common people were present when they heard about Gandhi presenting a report about his recruiting work. Gandhi mentioned that the Kaira area had contributed the maximum in Gujarat.

Mahatma Gandhi after being assasinated in New Delhi, January 30, 1948. Image source: Wikipedia
Mahatma Gandhi after being assasinated in New Delhi, January 30, 1948. Image source: Wikipedia

Regarding the war effort, Gandhi donated a sum of Rs 102 from his own pocket. The money collected amounted to Rs 4,500 and additional 1,000 rupees came from a concert held in the evening. As a result, the British government felt a sense of gratitude and awarded recruiters and recruits.

“Voluntary enlistment is the right key to self-government, to say nothing of the manliness and broadmindedness it confers. The honour of our women is bound up with it inasmuch as by enlisting ourselves, we shall acquire that capacity for self-defence, the absence of which at present makes us unable to protect our women and children… The opportunity for military training now open to us all will not present itself in the future… A man who is afraid of death is constitutionally incapable of passive resistance. For a proper appreciation of the true significance of passive resistance the power of physical endurance needs to be cultivated. He alone can practise ‘ahimsa’ who knows ‘himsa’ not in the abstract but in fact,” Gandhi addressed in a mass gathering in Borsad taluka on June 26, 1918.

After the war ended, when British came with repressive measures, Gandhi lost faith in the system. He as well as others started categorizing Indian soldiers, who volunteered for the war as mercenaries and this is where the whole thing went wrong, says Kant. “The Indian Army fought with the consent of the Indian leadership. And that’s why our soldiers cannot be called mercenaries. Now, people today may not like it that so many Indians fought for the empire, but you can’t just write them out of history,” she further adds.

Due to the ongoing politics between the Indian leaders and the British, Indian soldiers never found their rightful place in the pages of history.

-by Deepannita Das, sub-editor at NewsGram. Twitter: @deepweep

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