‘Scoring top marks doesn’t give happiness’: India’s best student renounces the world to become monk


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A top Indian student who received the highest score in the exams has decided to take an unusual path. Instead of applying for prestigious college, he renounced the world’s pleasures and became a monk, saying that scoring top marks in exams “does not give happiness”.

Varshil Shah from the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat state scored 99.9 percent in the May 27 Class 12 exam, topping the state, the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) said.

However, the teen said that he was not interested in a prestigious college or high-ranking job and announced his decision to become a Jain monk. He began his spiritual quest in an elaborate ceremony Thursday.

READ MORE: Hundreds of Buddhist monks in violent standoff with Thai police (VIDEO)

The 17-year-old boy shaved his head and wore white robes for the initiation ceremony. He also sought permission from his parents to renounce the world. Now he will commit to the austere life of a monk and will live an ascetic life, meditating.

The teenager reportedly told his uncle that his exam result was “per expectations,” the Hindustan Times reported

“But to attain and maintain peace, I think renouncing the world is the only way,” his uncle quoted Varshil as saying.

“Though I scored high marks, I don’t want to pursue the usual path where people run behind earthly possessions. My goal is to attain inner peace and eternal happiness. That will be possible only when I leave behind everything and become a Jain monk,” he said.

Varshil, a son of an income-tax officer, was raised in a house without television or a fridge, HT reported, and where electricity was used only when necessary.

Before the holy ceremony, the teenager told journalists that he has always aspired to attain “eternal happiness without hurting anybody,” according to NDTV. 

“Scoring top rank in board exams does not give happiness. The material world does not give eternal happiness that millions seek,” said the teen who was renamed Suvirya Ratna Vijayji Maharaj after the ceremony.

Janism is an Indian religion which teaches “a path to spiritual purity and enlightenment through disciplined nonviolence to all living creatures,” according to Encyclopedia Britannica. 

Jain monks and nuns must “fight against the passions and bodily senses to gain enlightenment, or omniscience and purity of soul.” The Jain believers follow a strict vegetarian diet and promote the ideals of non-violence.

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