An eightyearold girl gave up a fortune to join a religious order in India. Up until this week, Devanshi Sanghvi was one of the heirs to the company Sanghvi and Sons, a jewelry manufacturer founded in 1981 and valued at US$61 million (over R$300 million), according to the country’s credit agencies.
The child, a practitioner of Jainism, lives in the city of Surat, known worldwide for its power in the precious stone trade.
She decided to give up “earthly pleasures” to devote herself to the religion, one of the oldest in the country, which preaches nonviolence, strict vegetarianism, and “love of all creatures.”
Traditionally, initiation of Jain monks and nuns does not occur this early, but according to his parents, Devanshi had been asking to undergo the ceremony for some time.
In response to requests, she faced a fourday ceremony to make her appeal official and was taken to her new home in a carriage drawn by an elephant, according to images local media.
When she arrived at the temple yesterday afternoon, she stripped off all her jewelry and exchanged her glittering attire for a white cotton tunic with no embellishments. In addition, her long black hair was cut short.
“Devanshi never watched TV, watched movies, or went to malls or restaurants,” said a person close to the family in an interview published by The Guardian.
The girl, who frequents temples, is one of the youngest people to undergo the “diksha” ceremony the name used for initiation into various Indian religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism itself.
Despite testimonies of the child’s willingness to join the order, Indian media have claimed that many experienced parents encourage their children to become nuns or monks in order to improve the family’s social status.
Jainism has over 4 million followers in India. Its followers follow a very strict vegetarianism, with several monks and nuns covering their mouths with cloths to prevent them from accidentally swallowing insects.
Restriction rituals are part of everyday religious life and are sometimes criticized. In 2016, a 13yearold rural girl died after falling into a coma after fasting for two months as penance, drinking hot water only twice a day during that time.
The young woman’s parents were accused of murder and received public criticism from people who claimed they encouraged their daughter to fast.