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Paryushan Parva 2015


  Paryushan Parva 2015

 Jain Tirthankar

The Jain community like other communities throughout the world celebrates many social and religious functions annually. The superb Jain festival popularly known as ‘Paryushan Parva’ organized every year in the auspicious month ‘Bhadrapad’ of the Hindu calendar extends from the fifth day to fourteenth day of the bright fortnight. This year Das Lakshan Parva begins from September, 2015 and end on September 27, 2015.  Two popular titles of this festival, viz. (i)Paryushan Parva and (ii) Dash Lakshan Parva are in vogue; but the mode of performance and aim of the festival is same.

According to Sanskrit grammar the underlying idea of the festival and its interpretation is given below:
“Parismantadushayante dhante karmani yasimannasau paryushnm”
i.e., The celebration through which the karmic matter attached to the soul is totally burnt or vanquished (both internally and externally) is known Paryushan ( self-purification).

The Paryushan is the most important festival among the Jain festivals. Paryushan  is a festival of self-discipline through fasting and other ascetic practices.  Men, women  and children as well as monks and nuns  undertake fasts with varying strictness.  Digambars celebrate Dash-Lakshanä Parva for ten days starting on the last day of Shvetämbar Paryushan. They celebrate ten best characteristics of the soul: Kshamä (forgiveness), Märdav (Humility), Ärjav (straightforwardness), Shauch (content - absence of greed), Satya (truth), Samyam (restraint of all senses),Tapa (austerities), Tyäga (charity), Äkinchan (non-possessiveness) and Brahmachärya (celibacy). Svetämbars celebrate eight days of Paryushan and the  last day is called Samvatsari. The original Prakrit(ardha-magadhi) term for Paryushana is "Pajjo-savana".

During Paryushana, there are regular sermons and ceremonies in the temples and chapters from Tattvartha Sulfa, are read out to the audience. On the last day, members of jain samaj  greet each other and ask forgiveness (Ksma-yachna)  for any pain that might have been caused knowingly or unknowingly by any of their actions during the past year. Those members of the samaj who undertake complete fast during the festival days are taken to the temple in a procession on the last day after which they break the fast.

Digambar Jains celebrate Paryushan for 10 days, and call it Dash Lakshan. During the Parva  they read and discuss 10 virtues,  which are called the cardinal virtues. These cardinal virtues are the inherent qualities of a human soul.  The 10 cardinal virtues are :

1. FORGIVENESS (KSHAMA) - Total lack of anger. 
2. HUMILITY (MARDAVA)  - Lack of pride. 
3. STRAIGHT FORWARDNESS (ARJAVA) - Lack of cunning. 
4. CONTENTMENT (SAUCH)-  Lack of greed. 
5. TRUTHFULNESS (SATYA)  -  Lack of falsehood. 
6. SELF-CONTROL (SAYAMA) - Control over physical  violence.  
7. AUSTERITY (TAPPA)-  Austerity is repentance of one's sins. 
8. RENUNCIATION (TYAGA)- Giving up possessions both internal and external.
9. DETACHMENT (APARIGRAHA)-  Lack of attachment. 

The festival ordains the Jains to observe the above mentioned ten universal supreme virtues in daily practical life. Besides assuring a blissful existence in this world and the other world for every living being, it aims at the attainment of salvation - the supreme ideal for mundane soul. The non-Jains also express high reverence for this Jain festival. All members of jain community  high and low, young and old, and males and females, participate with full vigor and zeal in the various religious rituals and cultural programs. They listen with rapt attention to the holy sermons of the saints and learned Jain scholars arranged during the ten-day festival. In these celebrations lie dormant the seeds of the well being, peace and happiness of the common man. On the eve of this festival all activities, which add to social discord or bitterness are declared taboo from the temple pulpits. These celebrations harbinger social harmony and amity and preach the lofty Jain motto ‘Live and Let live’.

Requesting Forgiveness

At the conclusion of the festival, the Sravakas request each other for forgiveness for all offenses committed during the last year.  This occurs on the the Paryusha day for the Swetambara and on Pratipada (first) of Ashwin Krashna for the Digambara. There are several great aphorisms (Sutras) to ask for forgiveness with the unity of the body, speech and mind, and one of them is as follows:

Khämemi Savve Jivä, Savve Jivä Khamantu Mi 
Mitti Me Savva bhuesu, Veram majjham na Kenai.

Meaning: I forgive all the living beings of the universe, and may all the living-beings forgive me for my faults. I do not have any animosity towards anybody, and I have friendship for all living beings.
The process of shedding our karmäs really begins by asking for forgiveness with true feelings, and to take some vows not to repeat mistakes. The quality of the forgiveness requires humility (vinay - absence of ego) and suppression of anger. Therefore, the real purpose of the Paryushan is to purify our soul by staying closer to our own soul, to look at our own faults, to ask for forgiveness for the mistakes we have committed, and take vows to minimize our faults. We try to forget about the needs of our body (like food) and our business so that we can concentrate on our-self.
 Paryushan Parva gives expression to the perfectly purified trait of the soul, through which one gets rid of worldly discords and allurements and one gets fully absorbed in the eternal truth on experiencing and realizing the true nature of soul. In other words we can say that the natural realization of the trio ‘the True, the Good and the Beautiful’ is fully possible only through Paryushan. In fact the other name of the Jainism, which is universal religion, is Paryushan. This festival puts an end to all evils in man; gives him realization of the eternal bliss, and spiritualism becomes alive by the celebration of this festival.

Paryushan Parva is a grand Jain festival of self-introspection, self-enlightenment and self- achievement, which ultimately leads to the one and only one final goal, i.e., liberation or salvation


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