Bhanwarlal Raghunath Doshi borrowed the princely sum of Rs 30,000 from his father in the late 70s to start his own plastic trading business in Delhi. The son of a small textile merchant from Rajasthan, who embraced crippling hardships when he rejected his father's offer to join his family's modest business, was clear about one thing -- he would reach the top of his trade. He did.
Doshi built a business empire worth Rs 600 crore ($100 million) trading in plastic raw material. On Sunday he gave it all up to become a Jain monk at a highly publicized and heavily attended event at the Ahmedabad Education Society.
His 'diksha' or consecration ceremony was attended by both Jain spiritual leaders and the city's top industrialists.
The father of three now looks at a life of austerity -- he cannot cut his hair and has to walk without footwear -- the Ahmedabad Mirror quoted Jain monk, Diksha Daneshwari Gunratna Surishwarji Maharaj, who accepted Doshi as his 108th disciple, as saying.
"Taking diskha is not easy. A Jain muni's life is like that of conch shell that cannot be painted by any other colour," Surishwarji Maharaj said.
'SALVATION IS THE REAL PATH'
Doshi's status as a Jain monk will be unique since he's a married man, has money and considerable social standing.
But Doshi's decision to renounce his wealth was not on the spur-of-the-moment. He had been planning to give up his empire and embrace spirituality since 1982, reported the Times of India. It took a while to get his family to come around.
On Sunday, Ahmedabad's top brass was in attendance at the lavish ceremony that was spread over three days. The chairman of Adani Group, Gautam Adani, was present. A 7-km procession, featuring chariots, elephants, camel carts and musicians, was part of the event in which 1,000 monks participated.
His son Rohit, who has an MBA degree from the UK, said his father believed that the education of his sons and daughter "is of no use and the only real path is the path of moksha (salvation)".
Doshi was drawn to Jainism and spent a considerable portion of his money funding charities.
"He would have taken diksha three years ago but the family stopped him then. It is always tough when the head of the family wants to seek diksha. It took three years for him to convince us. We are proud of him. The honour and respect that he got when he announced his decision is something that can only be seen to be believed," he told the Mirror.
A Times of India report said 1,500 servers were appointed to serve food to guests during the three-day ceremony. The venue was built in the form of a ship. 500 hotel rooms were booked to accommodate guests. An estimated 150,000 people participated in the event.