Jainism is observed as one of the most religious and sacred religion where paryushan parva is annually celebrated by them. The festival is considered as auspicious among the followers which signifies the conjunction of spiritual powers with physical state of humans.
Paryushana or Daslakshana is one of the most important annual holy events for Jains and is usually celebrated in August or September. It lasts 8–10 days and is a time when Śrāvakas (lay people) increase their level of spiritual intensity often using fasting and prayer/meditation to help. The five main vows are emphasized during this time. There are no set rules, and followers are encouraged to practice according to their ability and desires.
Normally, Digambaras refer it as Das Lakshana Dharma while Śvētāmbaras refer to it as Paryushana (“abiding” or “coming together”). The duration of Paryushana is for eight days for Śvētāmbara Jains and ten days for Jains belonging to the Digambara sect. The festival ends with the celebration of Kshamavani (forgiveness day).
Paryusana means “abiding and coming together”. It is a time when the Jains take on vows of study and fasting.
The word “Paryushan” has several different meanings:
Pari + ushan = all kinds + to burn = to burn (shed) our all types of karmas. To shed our karmas, we do twelve different types of austerities including fasting.
Another meaning of “ushan” is to stay closer. To stay closer to our own soul from all directions and to stay absorbed in our own-self (soul), we do Svadhyaya5 (self-study), meditation, austerities, etc.
Pari + upshamana = upshamana means to suppress, to suppress our passions (kashayas – anger, ego, deceit and greed) from all directions.
Time to Celebrate:
Paryushan Parva falls in the month of September.
The festival is celebrated by doing the fasting which is believed to be the most sacred and spirtitual way of purification the soul. Devotees visits the lord Mahavir’s temples in order to listen sacred scriptures and to receive the guidance of their monks. Fasting should be very strict where while observing it, one has to be prohibited himself by eating and drinking except to some constant. Fasting signifies the purpose of purifying the souls and seeking the forgiveness for the mistakes done in past which are the prime method of celebration the Paryushan Parva.
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.
To ask for forgiveness is the toughest thing to do. Therefore, our great Acharyas6 have said:
“Kshama Viram Bhushanam, Kshamavani Michchha Mi Dukkadam”
– To ask for forgiveness is a great quality of the brave ones and if I have committed any mistake, knowingly or unknowingly, I ask for your forgiveness.
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:
Khamemi Savve Jiva, Savve Jiva 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 karmas 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.