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Jain Ascetic

In the Digambara Ascetism the monks are known as Muni or Muni Maharaj. They are organized in two different sanghas or groups which are known after the leader of the group or Acharya.

The one who wants to renounce the world on religious grounds, begins to qualify successively for the 11 basic vows. He starts to control his behavior, to abstain from violence, to practice truth, to abstain from possession and attachment, and to live a life of a celibacy. Thus disciplined over a period of time, a person prepares for renunciation. He approaches an Acharya or the head of a group of monks and asks his permission for diksha, initiation. If the candidate is a grown-up person devoid of bodily faults and has acquired the consent of his nearest relatives-parents or wife-he is given permission to renounce the world. The community gets together in a festive atmosphere. He is given a new name which ends in such compounds as 'sagar'(means-ocean); or 'ananda' (means-joy); for example, 'shantisagar " (means-the ocean of peace) or 'vidyananda' (means-joy of knowledge).

Among Digambara Ascetics three stages of monkhood can be distinguished. The monks of the first stage are called ksullaka and are permitted to wear two white clothes. Those of the second stage are ellaka and allowed to wear one loincloth. The monks of the final stage or the munis go naked. Also, different degrees of asceticism are expected during these three stages of monkhood. A ksullaka, for instance, is allowed to shave his head unlike the monks of the other two stages who have to pluck out the hair. A full monk eats once a day in standing posture, where as ksullaka may eat twice in sitting posture.

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