Friday, October 20, 2006

Lady Monk's miraculous escape: First praised, then persecuted for falling in love

First the story of female monk [Jain Sadhvi[ Siddhishri, 21, who went missing from the Sthanatk, which is the place of worship for a sect of Shvetambar Jains that do not have idols as they are atheists & against rituals.

The devotees had found ash in her room and soon the news spread that a miracle has occurred. Also, rumours of people having seen a flash light emerging from her room made rounds.

Everybody was now praising the Sadhwi for her penance and her extreme devotion to the dharma. She was credited with the miracle.

Hundreds of devotees gathered but it was later found that Siddhishri was in love with one, Raju Talwar, and that she had eloped with him. The plan was to leave behind signs everybody would consider as miracle-- result of her 'sadhna' and stop searching the female monk.

The worst part is that now everybody is gunning for her. She has been arrested and has also been charged with offending Religious Feelings under Section 295 (A) but also for criminal conspiracy, criminal mischief and other sections under the Indian Penal Code.

Raju was interested in 'darshan' of the sadhvi when he first heard of her and later turned her attendant. She also fell in love with him. Siddhishri's crime is that she is an adult and decided to marry. 

Like innumerable other monks, she was turned 'Sadhvi' at the age of 14. Like the minor [9 year old] girl whose parents said that she had shown wish to live the life of an ascetic [and the case is in Court], Samta was also turned into Sadhvi Siddhishri.

The Sadhvi or Sadhu has to live an austere life and can never marry besides shunning all blood relations. Jain monks always walk barefoot, accept small quantity of food in alms, have to move from place to place, never take up any transport and have to pluck off their hair [not cut them with razor].

Code of conduct is extensive with slight differences in various sects & sub-sects. Won't it be better if Jain Orders stop inducting minors as monks even if the parents are willing. Once they are grown up they can decide & if they still wish to devote their life then they can surely go ahead then.

Imrana gets justice

Good to see the court sending Imrana's rapist father-in-law to the jail for ten years. But what about the cleric who said that she ought to live with the father-in-law as wife? Heartening that Imrana's husband stood by her during her ordeal.