Paryushan – A Festival of Ahimsa, Detachment & Forgiveness (1)

Every year in the months of August or September, (depending on the Jain Panchang; Calendar) the festival of Paryushan is celebrated by Jains all over the world. This year the festival s being celebrated from the 6th of September 2018 – 13th of September 2018. Belonging to quite a devout Jain family, this 8 day festival holds immense significance for everyone at home. From visiting the beautifully decorated Dearsar (Jain Temple) or Upashray to following a strict, saatvik diet, Paryushan is one of the holiest of festivals.

Teachings of Tirthankaras form the base of all activities during Paryushan. It is required to ardently persevere the teachings of Ahimsa – (Non-violence), Kshamapana – (Forgiveness) and (Vairagya) – (Detachment)

Jain Mandir - Parasnath Idol
108 Parasnath Mandir at Shikharji

A usual day of Paryushan comprises of the following activities –

1. Samayik – Everyone, I remember is expected to wake up early during these days and the first activity is Samayik – 48 minutes of meditation to detach from worldly bonds and to connect with ourselves.

2. PujaAfter Samayik, Upashaks (devotees) visit the Derasar or Upashray to conduct Puja of Tirthankara. In pure, unused attires, everyone in the family conducts the Puja with kesar and sandalwood.

IMG_20180907_095444_HDR.jpg

3. Pravachan – Daily sermons are organized in the morning hours. Jain saints (Maharajsaheb) address the devotees and guide them about the spiritual path.

4. Chovihar – As per a ritual, during Paryushan, everyone eats dinner before sunset and consumes nothing after that. As per Scientific research and Jainism, the air is filled with more micro-organisms in the evening as compared to the time before sunset. And what’s more this particualr ritual also ensures good digestive system!

5. Pratikraman – At the end of the day, Pratikramana is performed. It is a form of a prayer service wherein, the devotees seek for forgiveness from every organism and repents the wrong-doings of the day. It is a practice that lightens the mind and fosters peace and kindness.

6. Bhakti Bhavna – The day ends with a beautiful bhakti karyakram (devotional musical program) at the Derasar or Upashray. Everyone expresses their devotion by way of bhajans (religious songs) and then ends the evening with Aarti and Mangal Deevo.

Apart from the above, you may have often heard about Jains not consuming Potatoes, Onions, Garlic and other such root vegetables – let me try and shed some light on the reason behind this –

Jainism Beliefs & Philosophy

Jains believe in following Ahimsa to an extent where they refrain from hurting even the minutest of living beings and consider every organism; whether an ant or a human as equal. No organism, as per Jainism deserves to be the recipient of disrespect from one another.
There is yet another custom that quite of irks the curiosity of many of my Non-Jain friends and colleagues and I’ve often got this question – Why do Jain saints cover their mouths with a white cloth?

Jain Religion Trivia

There is more to this festival and I don’t think one post will be enough to talk about all the enlightening aspects. If you take a keen interest in knowing about mythological stories and about popular Jain devotional songs and rituals – do stay tuned for Part 2 ๐Ÿ™‚
Jai Jinendra

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47 thoughts on “Paryushan – A Festival of Ahimsa, Detachment & Forgiveness (1)

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  1. That’s a great primer on Jainism, Isha. The dates you mentioned varies. Digamber follows different dates usually a little later. Even among Shwetambers, various sects used to follow different dates. There have been talks of aligning it at least among Shwetambers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yes, the dates depend on te various calendars that each sect follows. The dates mentioned here are only for this year. However, I really feel that all sects should celebrate together. It would be so nice.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful article and covers all details beautifully. However, the dates this year are 6th to 13th September and not fro 7th. Your article covers only 7 days and not 8.
    Eagerly waiting for the second part

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I seriously admire Jainism for its belief systems. It’s one of the very few religions that gives it’s followers the right to decide about the time they leave for the humble abode. That’s supreme form of freedom, in my opinion. Hinduism doesn’t give that kind of freedom or has a day/week/month dedicated to forgiveness. I quite like your choice of subject. #surreads #myfriendalexa #blogchatter

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  4. Great post. I belong to a place ( Rajgarh) that has wide jain community, so I know all these principles since childhood. your post has made me nostalgic. these principles are so great. #surbhireads #Myfriendlaexa

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! I wasn’t expecting someone from Rajgiri to read this post! So glad to see this and you know what, the mention of Rajgiri brings back so many memories, the horse driven carts, the cave and more… Nostalgia is the common factor between us. ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Like

  5. I am a Jain.. And I admire how u have showcased our religion substance through this blog.. People have a lot of myths about we not eating potatoes etc.. And you have shared the information with some lovely insights

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed…it’s quite often disheartening to witness the myths that people believe. I’m hoping this post will help to spread some awareness ๐Ÿ˜Š I’m going to check out your blog…have any Jain recipes to share? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    1. Thank you Vandana. ๐Ÿ˜Š I had often thouhht how tough some of the principles were but only when I delved deeper into them did I realize how meaningful they are. Still have so much to learn.

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  6. I always wondered why the Jain monks wear muhapatti and thanks to your blog, it’s answered. I didn’t know about the enormous lives in potato and onion and garlic.

    Like

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