If you have passed your higher secondary exam
with an exceptionally good score, your next goal would most likely be cracking a competitive exam
and making it to one of the best colleges for a higher course. Indeed, you would be looking forward to a promising career
But 17-year-old Varshil Shah, who topped the commerce stream class XII exam
of the Gujarat state board
by scoring 99.9 percentile, had different plans. He surprised many by his decision to renounce everything normal by conventional standards and become a Jain monk.
But this rather odd choice for a 21st century teenager did not shock Varshil’s parents.
Raised by devout Jain
parents, Shah always led an austere lifestyle, which could appear to be an effect of religious devotion and education.
His mother Amiben Shah and father Jigarbhai, an income-tax official, are happy with their son’s decision. They said in a statement that the family was always spiritually inclined.
On Thursday morning, his diksha ceremony
took place on the banks of Tapi at 4.30 am, with nearly 10,000 people in attendance, after which he embraced monkhood. Varshil completed pre-dawn ritual as a Jain
disciple with shaved head and white robes after receiving the blessings of his family and guru.
And, from now he will be known by his new name, Muni Suvirya Ratna Vijayji.
Vrajesh Parikh, the principal of Navkar Public School
where Varshil went, said: "I remember him as someone who never complained about anything. He did not even come to school
to collect his mark sheet. Nor did he collect the Navkar Jyot Award which we have initiated this year for toppers.”
The Shah household avoids using electricity
and keeps it to a bare minimum, as they believe aquatic animals are killed in the process of power generation, something that is against the Jain
vow of ahimsa, or non-violence, reported Hindustan Times.
During the diksha ceremony, Varshil told the gathering: “Reaching till diksha was the pinnacle of happiness for me, more than topping Class XII. Where the human being finds happiness, he goes there on his own, he needs nobody to tell him.”
His friends remember Varshil as an all-rounder who is a great chess and cricket player, besides being an extraordinary singer and artist.