The young boys and girls who appeared for their Class 12 board exams are now queuing up for college admissions, a process that keeps getting more competitive with each passing year.
But not Varshil Shah. The 17-year-old from Gujarat scored in the 99.99th percentile but his dreams are not of this world.
While his peers are looking forward to take the leap into college life, Shah will embrace the white robes of a Jain monk. He is set to take diksha or, in other words, be initiated into an ascetic order in Surat.
The Times of India has reported that Shah was inspired by a Jain monk, Kalyan Ratnavijaysuri Maharaj, whom he refers to as his guru. Shah told TOI that spending time with the monk and hearing his views on various issues made him realise that he too wanted to live the life of a monk. He also said that the happiness which everyone in the world is chasing cannot be found in materialism and hence his decision to renounce all things wordly.
Shah's father is an income tax officer and his mother is a homemaker. Both are religious and have been a major influence on Shah and his decision to become a monk. His relatives said that even as a child he observed all the religious practices and showed a proclivity towards an ascetic life. They also said that Shah did not even want to go and check how much he had scored or collect his marksheet since his mind was already made.
A report in the Hindustan Times says that the Shahs live very simply and do not have a television or a refrigerator at home. Use of electricity is restricted in the house because they believe that in the process of generating power, many aquatic creatures are killed which goes against the Jain teaching of non-violence.
Shah has an elder sister who was studying to become a Chartered Accountant but has now quit her studies.
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