daslakshan parva / paryushan
this festival has its own age-old history, but nothing definite can be said about its origin and since when it is being celebrated.
when the auspicious month of bhadrapad (bhado) comes every year, the whole jain community celebrates this festival unitedly without any difference of high and low, rich and poor.the digambaras and the svetambaras, both sects of jain community celebrate the self-uplifting festival with great enthusiasm. the fifth day of the bright fortnight of the holy month of ‘bhadrapad’ is auspicious for both.
the digambaras celebrate this festival annually for ten days, from the fifth day to the fourteenth day of the bright half of the month. whereas the swaitamberas celebrate it only for eight days, and the fifth day is the main day of their celebrations held under the title ‘samvatsari parva’.
normally shwetambers refer to it as paryushana, while digambers refer it as das lakshana. paryushana means “abiding, coming together”. it is believed that the devas do an eight-part puja for the tirthankaras, which takes 8-10 days. paryusana is a time when the laity take on vows of study and fasting with a spiritual intensity similar to temporary monasticism.
the duration of paryusana is for eight or ten days and comes at the time when the wandering monks take up temporary residence for the monsoon period or “chaturmaas” “four-month”. for this minimum duration, paryushana must be initiated by panchmi (the fifth day) of the shukla paksha phase of bhadra. the last day is called samvatsari. the date for the paryushana festival is bhadra shukla to chaturthi. it is time for the householders to have an annual renewal of the faith by listening to the statement of the dharma and by meditation and vratas (self-control). digambaras starting a 10-day period from bhadra shukla panchami, during which the dashalakshana vrat is undertaken. shwetambers celebrate an eight-day festival that ends with bhadrapada shukla chaturthi.
das dharma of daslakshan parva
the dharmas are all prefixed by the word ‘uttam’ (supreme) to signify that they are practiced at the highest level by the jain monks. the householder practises them to a lesser extent. it lasts over a period of ten days, each day being dedicated to one of the ten dharmas. please click on each dharma to read more.
- uttama kshama – the noble virtue of supreme forbearance.
- uttam mardavam – humility or modesty
- uttam aarjavam – straight forwardness
- uttam socham– purity of thought and freedom from greed
- uttam satyam – speaking the truth
- uttam sanyam – self-restraint or self-control
- uttam tapa – the practice of austerity
- uttam tyaga – renunciation
- uttam akinchinya – without even slight attachment and
- uttam brahmacharya – chastity.
most of the jains observe fast and ekasana (meal/boiled water once in a day) and soak themselves in the rituals associated with the event and try to ready themselves for a virtuous life. the span of the fast could be anything between a day and 30 days or even more. in the digambar sect, shravakas do not take food and/or water (boiled) more than once in a day when observing fasts while those of the shwetambers sect observing a fast survive on boiled water, which is consumed only between sunrise and sunset.
- ekasana: eating 1 meal a day at one sitting.
- beasana: eating 2 meals a day, 1 meal per sitting.
- chut: no consumption of food for two days consecutively. (upvas) ·
- attham: no consumption of food for 3 days consecutively(upvas)
- atthai: no consumption of food for 8 days consecutively. (upvas)
upvas: no comsumption of food for an entire day. can consume as many glasses of water however must also consume before sunset.
jainism discourages fasting in diabetics, pregnant women, other patients taking medications. please consult your doctor before any fasting, as fasting can interfere with health in aforementioned cases.
digambaras celebrate the last day of paryushan is known as anant chaudas. special worship is done on this day. many towns have a procession leading to the main temple.
kshamavani – requesting forgiveness
at the conclusion of the festival, the shravakas request each other for forgiveness for all offences committed during the last year. forgiveness is asked by telling “micchami dukkadam” or “uttam kshama” to each other. it means “if i have caused you offence in any way, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought word or deed, then i seek your forgiveness”. people send cards to relatives and friends asking for their forgiveness.