Paryushan Parva – Festival Of Forgiveness
Paryushan means it is a time for opening the lock of the heart and cleaning of the dirt (karma) which is collected on the soul. – Namra Muni
Paryushana 2020 began on Saturday, 15 August, and ends on Saturday, 22 August.
Paryushan Parva is the main festival of Jainism, Paryushan Parva, and Das Lakshan Parva are celebrated by Jains throughout the world. Shvetambara celebrates this festival for 8 days and Jain followers of the Digambara sect celebrate it for ten days.
The mode of performance and aims of both the festivals are the same and might hold some important lessons for how we can better live in harmony with ourselves, all living beings, and the environment. Paryushan means, literally, “abiding” or “coming together”. It is also a time when the laity takes on vows of study and fasting with a spiritual intensity similar to temporary monasticism.
In this festival, the Jain’s try to make life meaningful by performing various meditative practices like Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharna, Meditation, and Samadhi Yoga with penance. The basic purpose of the Paryushan festival is to purify the soul and concentrate on the necessary undertakings and refinement of the environment is desirable for this.
On this auspicious occasion of the Paryushan festival, Jain saints and scholars provide inspiration to the society to follow Darshami education of the Paryushan festival. Paryushan festival is celebrated to awaken the sleeping conscience of humans, promote spiritual knowledge, strengthen the statement of social goodwill, and all religion.
This festival teaches that goodwill with knowledge and devotion is also essential in the attainment of religion, meaning, work, salvation, etc.
Also Read: Jainism in India
Origin of Paryushan Parva
The origins of the Paryushan Parva are rooted in the agricultural lifestyles of India of centuries ago, when people lived in small, dispersed villages. After the monsoon rains and harvests, people had a break from the agricultural work. Roads would become difficult to travel, and the increase in insects would make it difficult to travel without killing them. Therefore, the people and the Sadhus/Sadhvis would avoid any travel. This gave them the chance to spend these days to focus on purifying themselves, advancing their knowledge, and so on.
Men, women, and children, as well as monks and nuns, participate in the celebration of Paryushan. In these celebrations, Jains contemplate the well being, peace, and happiness of the common man. These celebrations harbinger social harmony and amity and preach the lofty Jain motto ‘Live and help others to live’.
Festival Of Forgiveness
Paryushan is a period of sincere and deep contemplation, meditation, spiritual studies, atonement, asking forgiveness, the dialog of the self with the self, fasting, and taking a personal stock of the whole year: what, where and why did I as an individual resort to hurt and violence (mentally, verbally and physically) to others around me with whom I come in contact within my life.
Paryushan Parva is a grand Jain festival of self-introspection, self-enlightenment, and self-achievement. Its teachings and celebrations hold tremendous lessons for how we all, not just Jains, can live in better harmony with ourselves, all living beings, and the environment.