Fortyfive Jains aged 12 to 59 years renounced their worldly lives to become monks at a ceremony in Ichchanath area of Surat on Monday. Of these 30 were women, and the rest were men.
The event organised by the Samyam Suvas Parivar which claimed this was the biggest initiation in 522 years, the last one being in Palitana where 38 had taken diksha.
The celebration lasted three days culminating on Monday where the children, men and women dressed up in all their finery, the women with henna on their hands and wearing sarees and the men in sherwanis, rode chariots driven by horses and camels, and some riding elephants through the streets showering gold and silver and currency notes, apart from clothes and household items.
Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel was to attend the event, but she was down with viral fever.
Of the 45 who attained sainthood, the youngest is 12 year old boy and 14-year old girl while the eldest is 59 year old male. Of the 30 females, 17 are from Surat, followed by 10 from Mumbai and five from Ahmedabad and remaining ones from others places from Navsari, Navsari, Halol, Kolkata, etc.
Over thousands of Jain community people from Surat and different parts of state and other states remained present in the pandal in Surat at Ichhanath.
On Monday morning, the 45 of them bathed for the last time and met their family members for the last time as their children. Accompanied by friends they entered the pandal in presence of thousands of Jains and took blessings from the priests. Following the bath, they were tonsured and shaved came out donning the white robes and assumed new names after the ritual.
The event coordinator team member Sanjay Vora said, “We all witnessed the historical event today which had happened after 500 years, wherein all together 45 people had embraced diksha and went from the worldly life to a spiritual one. These monks will now onwards never use worldly items and even will not stay at their homes. They have donated their life to the Maharajsaheb and work to spread jain religion across the country. These people will never ride motor vehicles and never bath till their last breath. They will also eat in simple wooden dishes. They can meet their parents and brothers and sister but they will not touch them. Their lives have changed.”