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“What could have saved Indian society from the ponderous burden of omnifarious ritualistic ceremonialism, with its animal and other sacrifices, which all but crushed the very life of it, except the Jain revolution, which took its strong stand exclusively on chaste morals and philosophical truths?
Jains were the first great ascetics and they did some great work.
“Don’t injure any and do good to all that you can, and that is all the morality and ethics, and that is all the work there is, and the rest is all nonsense.”
And then they went to work and elaborated this one principle all through, and it is a most wonderful ideal: how all that we call ethics they simply bring out from that one great principle of non-injury and doing good.”
(Swami Vivekananda – The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 3, Buddhistic India – Lecture delivered at the Shakespeare Club, Pasadena, California, on February 2, 1900)
Jainism is one of the oldest religion, it prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings, its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation with compassion for all life, human and non-human.
Digambara monks and nuns practice strict asceticism and strive to make their current birth their last, thus ending their cycle of transmigration.
They wear no clothes, following the practice of Mahavira, they do not consider themselves to be nude.
Rather, they are wearing the environment, that is the quintessential, akasha or space.
Digambaras believe that this practice represents a refusal to give in to the demands of the body for comfort and private property.
Digambara ascetics have only two possessions: a peacock feather broom and a water gourd, they walk barefoot and sweep the ground in front of them to avoid killing insects or other tiny beings.
They practice non-attachment to the body and hence, wear no clothes, travel on foot and do not use mechanical transport.
This picture was shot along a road located in the center of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh where several devotees were waiting for those monks.
Some were walking with them for a while, others were seeking for their blessings and spreading a devotional atmosphere everywhere.
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