Soul is the central point of spiritual discipline.-Mahavira
Jainism was founded around 600BC, though Jains believe that their tradition has no historical founder, it came as a reaction against the domination of brahmans and the spread of the agricultural economy.
Jainism has 24 Tirthankaras (savior and spiritual teacher of dharma), Rishabhanatha the first one, and Mahavira the last. Upon stifling through traditional accounts, it was found that Rishabhanatha was born to King Nabhi and Queen Marudevi in the city of Ayodhya whereas Mahavira was born in Kundagram in 540 BC. Extreme penance was his only solution to attain salvation.
Jainism as a religion is divided into two broad sects: Digambaras and Svetambaras. Both of these adhere to five basic vows of non-violence (ahimsa), truth (Satya), not stealing (acharya), celibacy (brahmacharya), and detachment (aparigraha). There are several teachings you might come across.
What is Deeksha?
Deeksha is a Jain ritual of renunciation which is followed by devout Jains. They highly believe in asceticism as a path of spiritualism. Jains believe that all miseries arise when we desire affiliation and associate our happiness with those around us. They believe that after taking Deeksha, the soul starts walking towards salvation and is freed from the universal attachments.
But post-Deeksha an austere life awaits them, they have to walk barefoot for the whole of their life, use no electricity, eat only what they receive in alms, pluck their hair, never use a vehicle again. They keep no worldly relationships and even abandon their parents. They do this to free themselves from the cycle of rebirth. With time the ceremony of Deeksha has been aggrandized, the stage is set, the future monks are dressed in royal attires, all the relatives are called upon and the milieu is the same as that of a marriage.
Deeksha in its literal sense means “taking righteous path”.
In the pursuit of life, we become busy earning money, keep associating ourselves with materialistic things and forget about our true self and ethics. Instead of taking time to discover ourselves, we waste our time in questing the delusional happiness of the world.
The Jain community though a minority is very influential. They have a very high literacy rate and 60% of the diamond business of the world is carried on by Jains. Despite having all the luxuries of life they live a very basic life and as a repercussion are attracted to spiritualism. Jainism believes that the more worldly wealth a person possesses, the more he is likely to sin to acquire and maintain the possession. Most of the Jains have given away all their wealth in charity. For them, the world is a temporary place for the soul and the soul has got a purpose to serve and that purpose is not limited to the boundaries of the world.
The young generation despite being full-time netizens and social media buffs has understood that life is beyond the tangible assets we covet for and talking about the Jain youngsters, they are much more into their religion. They are worried about the long-term goals of life (salvation) than the short-term goals. Also, the level of stress among the human population is an ever-increasing menace and it can be curbed by practicing self-enrichment which is a by-product of following a spiritual path.
Life after Deeksha
The number of people taking Deeksha has increased year to year. Less than 2% of them revert to their original life. The youngest till now was 12 years old who took Deeksha in the year 2019. The path of Deeksha is arduous. A person can own only 2 white garments, a bowl for alms, and a white broom. The diksharthis have to go through painful procedures like kesh lochan (hair plucking). This deeply painful ritual signifies disregard for physical pain. Upashraya is the place where Jain monks stay temporarily as they don’t travel in the monsoon season. Deeksha though filled with adversities is a path of independence as a person completely stops being reliable on anyone for anything and emanates a sense of liberation within an individual.
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Author at Factsberry