Paryushana Parv: Jain Festival of Forgiveness and Spiritual Renewal

Paryushana Parv

Introduction to Paryushana: What is Paryushana?

Paryushana, known as Paryushan Parv or Daslakshan Parva, holds profound significance in Jainism or in Jain Festival. Celebrated during the Bhadrapad month’s Shukla Paksha (bright fortnight) according to the Hindu calendar, typically falling in August or September, this festival spans over 8 days for Shvetambara Jains and 10 days for Digambara Jains. Paryushana culminates with Samvatsari, a day dedicated to seeking forgiveness and reconciliation.

A Jain temple decorated for Paryushana

Paryushana Meaning and Significance

Paryushana translates to “abiding and coming together.” It is a time when Jains intensify their spiritual practices through fasting, prayer, and meditation, focusing on the observance of the five main vows (Mahavrata) of Jainism: Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (chastity or celibacy), and Aparigraha (non-possession).

Observances During Paryushana Parva

Digambara Traditions:

  • First Day: Paryushana Parva begins with great fervor.
  • Second to Tenth Day: Digambara Jains recite the Tattvartha Sutra’s ten chapters over ten days. This period includes observances like Sugandh Dashami and Ananta Chaturdashi, marking significant events in Jain history and philosophy.

Shvetambara Traditions:

  • First Day: Shvetambara Jains commence the festival with the recitation of the Kalpa Sutra.
  • Second to Eighth Day: Shvetambara Murtipujakas focus on reciting the Kalpa Sutra, which details the life and teachings of Lord Mahavira, the 24th Jain Tirthankar.
  • Ninth Day: Shvetambara Sthānakavāsīs recite the Antagada Sutra, highlighting the stories of individuals who attained spiritual liberation.
Jains observing fasting during Paryushana

The Ten Dharmas of Paryushana

The ten dharmas, or virtues of the soul, are integral to the observance of Paryushana Parva. These virtues guide Jains in their spiritual journey and ethical conduct:

  1. Uttam Kshma (Supreme forgiveness)
  2. Uttam Mardava (Supreme humility)
  3. Uttam Aarjava (Straightforwardness or honesty)
  4. Uttam Shauch (Purity or contentment)
  5. Uttam Satya (Truthfulness)
  6. Uttam Sanyam (Self-restraint)
  7. Uttam Tap (Penance)
  8. Uttam Tyag (Renunciation)
  9. Uttam Akinchan (Non-attachment)
  10. Uttam Brahmacharya (Chastity or celibacy)
Jains performing a ritual during Paryushana

How Fasting is Observed During Paryushana

Fasting is a core practice during Paryushana. Both Digambara and Shvetambara śrāvakas (laypersons) observe fasting by consuming only boiled water between sunrise and sunset. The duration of fasting varies, with some Jains fasting for the entire 8 or 10 days of the festival.

Seeking Forgiveness: Micchami Dukkadam

Micchami Dukkadam, or Uttam Kshama, is a central ritual at the conclusion of Paryushana. Jains seek forgiveness from others for any wrongdoings committed in the past year. This ritual emphasizes humility and reconciliation among community members, fostering harmony and compassion.

Where and When Paryushana is Celebrated

Paryushana is celebrated during Bhadra Shukla Panchami, beginning by the fifth day of the Bhadrapad month’s Shukla Paksha. It coincides with the monsoon period, when Jain monks and nuns temporarily reside in communities to avoid harming microorganisms during their wanderings.

Why Paryushana is Celebrated

Paryushana is celebrated to intensify spiritual practices, reflect on Jain teachings, and seek forgiveness for past transgressions, fostering harmony and compassion.

Conclusion

Paryushana is a time for Jains to deepen their spiritual commitment and reflect on their faith’s principles. Through fasting, recitations of sacred texts, and seeking forgiveness, Jains renew their dedication to non-violence, truthfulness, celibacy, non-stealing, and non-possessiveness—the core values of Jainism.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How long does Paryushana last?
Paryushana spans over 8 days for Shvetambara Jains and 10 days for Digambara Jains, culminating in Samvatsari, the day of forgiveness.

2. What are the main observances during Paryushana?
Main observances include fasting, recitations of sacred texts (such as Kalpa Sutra and Tattvartha Sutra), and rituals of forgiveness (Micchami Dukkadam).

3. When is Paryushana typically celebrated?
Paryushana is typically celebrated during August or September in the Hindu calendar’s Bhadrapad month’s Shukla Paksha.

Author: Admin
Jain Sattva writes about Jain culture. Explore teachings, rituals, and philosophy for a deeper understanding of this ancient faith.

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