Fasting awakens the soul

Fasting awakens the soul

For 18-year-old Leicester girl Dixa Hiteshbhai Shah, September 19 marks the 30th day of fasting without any food, only pre-boiled water.

Born in Mombasa, Kenya, in the surroundings of the stunning central and historic Jain Derasar (temple), she has demonstrated how strong the baton of tradition is when it migrates to new lands. Her father Hiteshbhai Shah transformed the Mombasa community through pioneering Jain education, and she in turn is now transforming the UK through genuine humility and selflessness. At a time when many young people are struggling all over the country, this migrant achieved top A Level results, and is celebrating them through sheer faith and willpower.

I am presently on my way to a Global Ethical Finance conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. The central theme is sustainability – how financial experts and institutions move from greed and selfishness to compassion and responsibility towards future generations. Dixa should be made a keynote speaker at such a conference and then ask finance leaders to practice fasting and awaken their inner spirit such that kindness becomes natural, and greed is exterminated.

Dixa means renunciation and finance leaders need to renounce materialism and replace it with selflessness, duty, responsibility and generosity. The markets and institutions which encourage greed, gambling and short-termism need to be rewired to ensure genuine long term sustainable investment. Growth should be dedicated towards knowledge and wisdom to do more for animals, society and nature, and away from expropriation.

The Jains should help guide this transformation just like our very own silent Greta Thunberg, Dixa Hitesh Shah. We can all learn a lot from her living example. Her life is a demonstration of the depth and breadth of Jain science and wisdom.

Professor Atul K. Shah [@atulkshah] teaches and writes about Indian wisdom on business, culture and community at various UK universities and is a renowned international author, speaker and broadcaster.


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