Eight-year-old Devanshi Sanghvi could have grown up and studied to run a multimillion-dollar diamond business belonging to her family. But now the daughter of a wealthy Indian diamond merchant lives a spartan life, clad in rough white saris, barefoot and going door to door begging. Because last week Devanshi, the eldest of Dhanesh and Ami Sanghvi’s two daughters, renounced the world and became a nun.
The story was told by Bbc which explains that the Sanghvis are among the 4.5 million Jains who follow Jainism, one of the world‘s oldest religions, which originated in India more than 2,500 years ago. Religious scholars say the number of Jains who renounce the material world has increased rapidly over the years, although cases involving young children like Devanshi are rare.
Tens of thousands of people attended the ceremony last Wednesday in the city of Surat, in the western state of Gujarat, where Devanshi took his “diksha” – vows of renunciation – in the presence of elderly Jain monks. The girl arrived at the ceremony bejeweled and dressed in fine silks. On her head rested a diamond-encrusted crown. After the ceremony, she stood with other nuns, dressed in a white sari that also covered her shaved head. In the photographs of her, she is seen holding a broom which she now has to use to sweep the bugs out of her way to avoid accidentally stepping on them.
Since then, Devanshi has been living in an Upashraya, a monastery where Jain monks and nuns live. The sanghvis belong to the only Jain sect that accepts child monks while the other three only admit adults. Though there is support within the Jain community for the practice, Devanshi’s renunciation has led to debate, with many questioning why the family couldn’t wait until he reached adulthood before making such important choices. on his behalf.