A River Sutra Characters

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Asha

One of Professor Shankar's young female assistants.

Ashok

Ashok, a Jain monk, has renounced his billionaire lifestyle to become an ascetic. As Mehta explains in the glossary to The River Sutra, Jain is an "Indian religion of extreme antiquity." The Jains, who follow the teachings of Mahavira, a religious reformer who lived in 500 B.C, broke with the Hindus over the rigid caste system that divided people into distinct classes. The monks of the Jain religion seek to lose all sense of themselves by following strict ascetic principles. In self-mortification, which includes begging for food and cutting off all ties with friends and family, they seek enlightenment. Living by the doctrine of "ahimsa," or nonviolence, these monks vow not to hurt a single living creature. To this end, they wear muslin masks over their mouths, lest they accidentally kill an insect that would fly into their mouths.

The...

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This section contains 3,183 words
(approx. 8 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A River Sutra Study Guide
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A River Sutra from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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