Also known as ParyushanMahaparva, the ParyushanParva is a popular Jain festival, observed for eight consecutive days. The festival focuses on Jains seeking forgiveness for any sins committed by them in the past year, and undergoing repentance for the same. The term ‘’Paryushana’’ literally means abiding and coming together. It is during this festival, that there’s a big emphasis on the five vows of Jainism, which are: Ahimsa, meaning non-violence, Satya, meaning truth, Asteya, meaning non-stealing, Brahmacharya, meaning chastity, and Aparigraha, meaning non-possession.
Within the two sections of Jains: Digambaras and Svetambaras, the Digambaras refer to this festival as Das Lakshana Dharma, while the Svetambaras refer to it as Paryushana. While the Digambaras section observes this festival for a total of 10 days, the latter observes it for eight days. This year the ParyushanaParva, will be observed from the 18th of August till the 25th of August.
It is during this period that the Jains intensify their spirituality, often observing fasts. Jainism doesn’t impose any heavy rules on its followers for this period, and says people must observe fasts or this festival only to the best of their ability and affordability.
During the festival, the Digambara section of Jains recite ten chapters from the holy text of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra, as they go on to fast for a total of 10 days. On the other hand, the Svetambara section of Jains recite Kalpa Sutra, which contains a recitation from the birth of Lord Mahavir, on the fifth day, from their total eight days of observing fast.
As the festival concludes, followers of it seek forgiveness from one and all for any kind of sins or offense caused by them. They do so by saying, ‘’MicchamiDukkadam.’’ It means ‘’If I have offended you in any way, intentionally or unintentionally, in thought, word, or action, then I seek your forgiveness.’’ The alternate words used for ‘’MicchamiDukkadam’’ are ‘’UttamKshama.’’
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