One of the two significant festivals celebrated in Jainism is Paryushana. The annual sacred event of forgiveness, Paryushana (also known as Paryushan or Daslakshana) is 8-10 days long festival, beginning from August 18 to August 25 this year. The devotees celebrate by fasting in the name of God and increased meditation. Paryushana derived its name from Paryusana meaning “abiding and coming together”, with the monks staying in one place and is a time when the Jains take five main vows of study and fasting. Jainism has two main sections, Svetambara and Digambara, who celebrate this festive occasion of Paryushana a little differently. Paryushana 2017 is another time of the year when the Jain followers will practice vows – Ahimsa (Non-violence), Satya (Truth), Asteya (Non-stealing), Brahmacharya (Chastity) and Aparigraha (Non-possession) according to their ability and desires.
Paryushan 2017 will begin on August 18 at 1 am, and several Jains celebrate this week long festival according to their abilities. Paryushan translates to ‘”abiding and coming together’, and it is the time when Jains vow to study and fast according to their best abilities. There are no stringent rules on fasting and celebrating this festival. However, most Jains observe a fast that ranges in the time span from a day to even 30 days or more. The idea behind Paryushan is to purify the soul and uplift oneself.
Paryushana 2017 Dates
The date of Paryushana is Bhadra Shukla Chaturthi, and the observance begins by the Panchami (the fifth day) of the Shukla Paksha phase of Bhadra. According to Shrimad Rajchandra Mission, the festival of Paryushana Parva begins on Friday, August 18 with the Snatra Puja in the morning and Bhakti and Pravachan in the evening. The last day of Paryushan, which is also celebrated as Kshamavani or forgiveness day by Svetambara, falls on August 25, 2017.
History & Significance of Paryushana
Paryushana is the festival of reflection in Jainism where Jains seek forgiveness for all their sins, and the festival is referred to as Das Lakshana Dharma by Digambar Jains while Svetambara refer to the festival as Paryushana. Jains celebrate this festival of forgiveness and reflection by observing fasts and also indulging in several spiritually enlightening session of meditation. The celebration of Paryushana is observed by reciting the ten chapters of Tattvartha Sutra for Digambara Jains, who also organise several processions. The Svetambaras celebrate the festival by reciting Kalpa Sutra, which is a Jain text.
Fasting rituals for Paryushana
There are no hard and fast rules about fasting during Paryushana festival. While some people fast for the full length of the festival, ending their fast after the last day of Payrushan or on forgiveness day, others chose to observe an intense fast that can last up to 30 days or more. Jainism does not compel any said days of fasting and people who cannot fast for a long period of time also chose to observe a one day fast. The time span of Paryushana also differs among Svetambara and Digambara Jains. While Svetambara Jains celebrate Parushana for eight days, Digambara Jains observe the festival for ten days.
The main rule of Paryushana is to remind and emphasis on the five fundamental ethics – Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truth), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (chastity) and Aparigraha (non-possession). The festival of forgiveness aims at uplifting the soul and during the fasting, period Jains refrain from consuming anything but boiled water. On the final day of Paryushana, Jains ask for forgiveness for any sins that they committed by saying by saying ‘Micchami Dukkadam’ or ‘Uttam Kshama’. (Edited By: Aishwarya Krishnan)