Paryushana or (Pajjusana) is an important festival for Jains. It is a time for Jains to reflect on their lives and to seek forgiveness from those they have wronged. The festival is celebrated by both the Digambar and Shwetambar sects of Jainism.
This year, Paryushan Parva will begin on September 12, 2023, and will end on September 20, 2023. During the festival, Jains will observe a number of austerities, including fasting, meditating, and abstaining from violence. They will also visit temples and participate in religious ceremonies.
The Jain University Org states: “The Paryushan is the most important festival among the Jain festivals; and it is observed during every Chaturmas commencing on the twelfth day of the fortnight of the waning moon, in Bhadrapad and ending on the fourth day of the fortnight of the waxing moon in the Bhadrapad. During these eight days, the entire Jain Society becomes spellbound in an atmosphere of enthusiasm and felicity.”
Best wishes to all those observing the festival of Paryushan in the UK and around the world. pic.twitter.com/25X2uhifS7
— The Labour Party (@UKLabour)
September 11, 2023
What Is the History of the Paryushan Festival?
The origins of Paryushan Parva can be traced back to the agricultural lifestyles of India centuries ago.
In those days, people lived in small, dispersed villages and their livelihoods depended on the land.
After the monsoon rains and harvests, there would be a break from agricultural work. The roads would become difficult to travel, and the increase in insects would make it difficult to travel without killing them.
Therefore, people would avoid travelling during this time. This gave them the chance to focus on purifying themselves, advancing their knowledge, and other spiritual practices.
The festival is believed to have originated in the 6th century BC when the Jain teacher Mahavira taught his followers to abstain from violence and to focus on spiritual purity. Paryushan Parva is a time to remember Mahavira’s teachings and to strive to live a more ethical and compassionate life.
What Is the Significance of the Paryushan Festival?
The significance of Paryushan is to cleanse oneself of all impurities, both physical and mental. During the festival, Jains observe a number of austerities, including fasting, meditation, and study of religious texts. They also avoid harming any living beings, including insects.
The festival begins with the Pratikramana ceremony, in which Jains confess their sins and vow to refrain from committing them again. They also ask for forgiveness from those they have wronged.
The next eight days are spent in religious observances. Jains attend temples, listen to sermons, and read religious texts. They also fast and meditate.
The final day of the festival is called Samvatsari. On this day, Jains take a vow to follow the principles of Jainism for the coming year. They also visit the temples to offer prayers and seek blessings from the Tirthankaras.
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