25 August, 2011

About Paryushan Parva - Jain Festival

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. 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
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.
10. CELIBACY (BRAHMACHARYA).

(source: www.digarmbarjainonline.com)

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