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What is Paryushan and What is the importance of Paryushan?

Paryushan Parva is the king of all festivals for the whole Jain community living across the globe. Thus, it is also known as Parva Dhiraj. Every Jain tries to follow the basic principles of Jainism during this festival, which are:

  • Right knowledge
  • Right faith
  • Right conduct

These are the three essentials for attaining liberation and Nirvana. We can easily understand the word Paryushan by breaking it into two parts: Pari means to recollect yourself and Vasan means at a place; Overall it means to know yourself or recollect yourself at a place in your spirit.

Every year, the Jain community celebrates Paryushan Parva for self-purification and spiritual development. The most distinguished holiday in their calendar is this celebration. Jains from all over the world celebrate Paryushan Parv with a strong sense of faith and conviction. They consider it to be a highly significant festival in which they get ready for 8 or 10 days of prayer and fasting. The Digambar Jains celebrate it for ten days, whereas the Shwetambar Jains observe it for 8 days.

PURPOSE AND IMPORTANCE OF PARYUSHAN?

The festival of Paryushan starts on Shravan Vad 12th or 13th and ends on Bhadarva sud 4th or 5th (late August – September). This festival’s true meaning and aim are to apologize and ask for forgiveness for any kind of sins committed. The disciples put their spiritual and mental growth ahead of their physical necessities while they observe the fast. They make amends for their misbehaviours and swear never to commit another mistake in the future. Fasting helps in mental and physical purification, and constant prayers and meditation offer a chance for soul-searching. Ratna-Tray, or the three gems of Jainism, right knowledge, right faith, and right behaviour, are the important beliefs of Jainism and they make sure to follow them, especially during Paryushan. They are encouraged to be non-violent, truthful, and non-stealing, maintain celibacy and abandon themselves from all attachments. While most Jains find it challenging to uphold these principles throughout the year, they make a special effort and make sure to follow these principles during Paryushan.

WHY IS PARYUSHAN CELEBRATED?

This festival gives everyone a chance for self-analysis and deep introspection. It also reminds us that life’s eventual and main aim is not the pursuit of materialism but to attain the state of Nirvana. Paryushan stands for some of the most important practices like:

  • Nonviolence (Ahimsa)
  • Engaging in self-discipline (Sanyam)
  • Partial or complete fasting Penance (Tapah)
  • Study of Scriptures (Swadhyaya)
  • Introspection (Pratikraman)
  • Repentance (Prayaschitta)

HOW IS PARYUSHAN CELEBRATED?

Fasting plays a significant role in Paryushan. While some Jains just fast on the first and last days, others follow this ritual during the entire 8 (Shwetambar) or 10 (Digambar) days period. They only eat before dusk and only consume boiled or cleaned water on the days they fast. Green leafy vegetables are avoided. They read sacred Jain books and scriptures. They meditate and perform prayers. They also sing devotional songs and listen to the Jain monks’ speeches and orations.

Pratikraman is also performed by many Jains during the festival. The word Pratikraman is made from the combination of two words, Pra meaning return and atikraman meaning violation. Literally, it means returning from the violations.

During the Paryushan days, below mentioned are the five essential things Jains try and observe:-

  • SADHARMIK VATSALYA: It means the welfare of the other fellow Jains.
  • AMARI PRAVARTAN: Following ahimsa or non-violence is also one of the major aspects of this festival.
  • ATTHAMA TAP: Fasting for days is also considered as one of the major aspects. People also practice ayambils which means one meal of tasteless food, during the whole day. 

Other forms of taps are:

  • Ekashana: Eating only once a day
  • Byasana: Eating twice a day.
  • CHAITYA PARIPATI: It involves daily visits to temples, pilgrimage to holy places, paying respect and devotion to the Lord Mahavira through worship, prayers, and meditation.
  • KSHAMAPANA: It is one of the most significant parts of celebrating this festival. Kshamapana means forgiveness. It involves asking for forgiveness from all the people whom we may have hurt in the past or present life. It also includes forgiving those who have hurt us and forgive them for their shortcomings and weaknesses.
  • SAMVATSARI: The last day of this 8-day long festival is Samvatsari, and it is the most important of all. Most Jains try to have a fast and get together to perform the Pratikraman. This is also the day where everyone asks to ‘Forgive and Forget’ – Tass Michami Dukkaram.

Paryushan is not just a festival to rejoice and celebrate; instead, it is a ‘parva’ in which all Jains try to discipline themselves. People try to live with the utmost simplicity and try to purify everything, from food to clothes and thoughts to deeds. Jains don’t eat underground beets and roots. Meals are avoided after sunset. People also do Vaas and Upwasa to purify their souls and body.

Unfortunately, the bad news is this festival of purity is nowadays taken as a burden by new generations. They only take it as a burden when they have to follow many regulations. They do not understand the foundation behind observing this festival. Still, the gurus and marasas are trying to rebuild the faith in the religion like it was used to be in the older days.

At last, Team UdaipurBlog would like to wish Happiness and Prosperity on this occasion of Paryushan Parv.

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