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Photographer's Note

A highly respected member of the Jain community guided me around in the Monastery Kundkund Bharati, so I leave the comment of this scene to him:
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A Jain Monk of the Digamber (the sky as clothes) Sect of the Jain Religion is being offered by the devotees his daily food and drink which is taken by monks and nuns once in 24 hours only in the morning or forenoon. The fresh food is not only purely vegetarian but no root vegetables i.e. that grow under the soil, are allowed to be served. Even the wheat flour used in making Indian Bread is not more than 3 days old to avoid that germs do germinate in it. There are several and severe restrictions as to what is permitted to be eaten or drunk. No plates or utensils are used for eating or taking liquids, they can only be used for serving by the devotees, the monks must eat from his bare palms while standing at one place.

Digamber sect is the oldest where the higher level monks, i.e., Munis or Acharyas voluntarily give up all worldly attachments to go naked in life. The 3 things that they are allowed to keep, but not to own, are a bunch of naturally fallen feathers of peacocks as not to kill small insects where they sit or even deter snakes when they travel through jungles or the countryside, secondly a pot of water for ablutions called "Kamandal" and thirdly spectacles so that they can better see insects while walking or sitting so that they do not tread on them and only after for reading only religious manuscripts.
R.P.Jain


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