Seventeen-year-old Varshil Shah, who scored 99.99 percentile in the Class XII exam of the Gujarat state board, topping in the commerce stream, became a Jain monk Thursday. He will now be known as Muni Suvirya Ratna Vijayji.
He was one of 66 students in the ‘scholar batch’ of the Class XII commerce stream in Ahmedabad’s Navkar Public School, and is remembered as a student who never displayed anger. An ace chess player, Varshil did not bother collecting his marksheet after the results were announced.
“Right from childhood, he was always inclined towards religion. From the age of six, he would eat only twice a day and drink only boiled water. In the past four years, he started having one meal a day,” said Varshil’s father Jigar K Shah, an Income Tax Inspector. His mother, Ami, is a homemaker.
Before he took diksha on the banks of the Tapi in Surat, Varshil told a gathering: “Reaching till diksha was the pinnacle of happiness for me, more than topping Class XII. Where the human being finds happiness, he goes there on his own, he needs nobody to tell him.”
He said: “I would study for my Board exams and religion with the same zeal, because I had not set my goal….Two years later I realised the truth.”
When his friends asked him what would he do after Class XII, he would say, “CA” (chartered accountancy). “My guru (Kalyan Ratna Vijayji Maharaj) told me, “alright, you do CA. All those who have done CA are happy, isn’t it? If becoming a CA makes you happy, go ahead”…. And then I realised that all those who had reached the top wanted more, or worried about keeping the top position. I did not find anyone who said, ‘I have everything and am happy’,” said Varshil.
He added that he found happiness every time he came to his guru. “My parents took care that I don’t get affected by the outside world. They helped me reach here. Today I am in the prime of my youth, and now I seek blessings to help attain Moksha at the earliest,” he said, concluding his speech.
He then went to the room allotted to him, took a bath and later tonsured his head and returned to the pandal draped in a monk’s garments, which will be his clothes from now on.
According to his family, the decision to become a monk was discussed for two years. “We knew this would happen, but were not sure when,” said his father.
Shah said Varshil was the second in their family to become a monk. Last year, his brother-in-law’s son became a monk while he was pursuing CA. “Even my daughter, Jayani, who is 23 and is studying, is planning to follow in her brother’s footsteps,” he said.
The principal of Navkar Public School, said they never saw him angry. “We had heard about child monks, but never thought that we will get a chance to see one and be a part of his life. He is like a true divine child. Even when he was scolded, he never lost his cool,” said principal Vrajesh Parikh.
Parikh said he had no idea that Varshil would become a monk, till recently. “Now his close friends say Varshil would often talk about becoming a monk. They thought he may complete CA and then choose to be a monk,” he said.