Recently, in Secunderabad, a 'deeksha' ceremony was performed. Kandaswamy from Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu was initiated into the monastic order by Acharya Rajyashsuriji.
The whole celebration spanned over 8 days and had various ceremonies and 'poojas' culminating in the 'deeksha' ceremony on Monday, the 16th of June.
Why does an individual voluntarily give up worldly comforts and take on a life of hardships and difficulties?
Jain monkhood is literally a path strewn with thorns. No vehicles, no footwear, severe penance, no use of electricity.
In Jainism, the ultimate quest is that of 'moksh' - freedom for the infinite cycle of birth and death. That is what every true Jain strives for. Not money, not good health, not success and fame. The quest is only for 'moksh'. Any prayer, ritual or act of 'dharm' without the goal of 'moksh' in mind is meaningless. Rituals performed for self-aggrandizement are discouraged.
True Jains always wish that their deeds result in a pure soul rather than worldly comforts.
'Deeksha' is a means to this end. It is a major step in the quest for a soul unblemished by 'karma'. It is the first step towards achieving a soul that is pure, that is in its true form. When the soul gets rid of all its karma, it attains 'moksh'.