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Donated Rs 200 Crores to Become Monks

Donated Rs 200 Crores to Become Monks

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NEW DELHI, Apr 15: Following the footsteps of their children, an ultra-rich Jain couple from Gujarat has decided to adopt monkhood after sacrificing their entire wealth.

The couple Bhavesh Bhandari and his wife, who hails from Himmatnagar, the district headquarter of Sabarkantha, began their lives as monks after donating all their wealth worth over Rs 200 crores during a ceremony in February and will soon be setting out on a journey for salvation after officially committing to a life of renunciation at an event later this month.

Bhandari, who was in the construction business, and his wife follow in the footsteps of their 19-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son who adopted monkhood in 2022. People from their community say that Bhavesh and his wife were inspired by their children to “renounce their material attachments and join the ascetic path.”

After taking the pledge on April 22, the couple will have to sever all family ties and won’t be allowed to keep any ‘materialistic objects.’ They will then walk barefoot across India and survive only on alms.

They will be allowed to own only two white garments, a bowl for alms and a “rajoharan”, a white broom Jain monks use to brush insects away from an area before they sit — a mark of the path of non-violence they follow.

The decision by the Bhandari family, known for their immense wealth, has garnered attention across the state. They join a handful of others like Bhavaralal Jain, who had previously turned away from billions to lead a life of restraint. Bhavaralal Jain pioneered the micro-irrigation system in India.

The Bhandari couple atop a chariot dressed like royalty, along with 35 others, took out a procession spanning four kilometres where they donated all their possessions, including their mobile phones and air conditioners. In Jainism, taking ‘diksha’ is a significant commitment where the individual lives without material comforts, surviving on alms and wandering barefoot across the country.

Last year, a multi-millionaire diamond merchant and his wife in Gujarat made a similar move, five years after their 12-year-old son adopted monkhood. Incidentally, just like their son, who rode a Ferrari for his diksha ceremony, the couple drove a Jaguar for their initiation.

In 2017, another rich couple Sumit Rathore, 35, and his wife Anamika, 34, made similar headlines when they donated ₹ 100 crore and left their three-year-old daughter with her grandparents to become monks. A day before Sumit became a monk, the Gujarat State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (GSCPCR) had sought a report from the civil and police administration about the steps taken by the couple to secure the future of Ibhya, who will now have no relation with her parents as monks.

(Manas Dasgupta)


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