Jain festival Paryushan parva or Das Lakshna Parva is one of the most auspicious and religiously important festivals for Jain community. There are two sects of Jain- Swaitamber and Digamber. The swaitamber titles this festivity as Paryushan Parva and Digamber titles as Das Lakshna Parva. But mode of performance and aim of festival is same. This festival lies in the auspicious month of ‘Bhadrapad’ as per Hindu calendar and in August/September as per Gregorian calendar. Swaitamber observe the festival over a period of 8 days but Digamber observe over a period of 10days.
History- Rituals & Celebrations of Paryushan Parva
Paryushan Parva, the festival of soul-purification and self-observance. The origin of Paryushan Parva cannot be dated back to any particular year. It may be assumed that it is being followed as Jainism was in existence. The swaitambers celebrate this festival annually for eight days, the fifth day is the main day of their celebration held under the name ‘Samvatsari Parva’. It may be interesting that Paryushan occurs three times during the year but it is widely celebrated in August/September. This is a festival of self-discipline through fasting and other religious practises. In fact the natural realization of trio ‘ the Truth, the Good and the Beautiful’ is possible only through Paryushan. This festival puts an end to all evils in man and gives him realization of the eternal peace & spiritualism. Paryushan literally means ‘abiding and coming together’.
People who are on fast, survive on boiled water and are allowed to take it only between sunrise and sunset. Also, others (who do not perform fasting) try not to eat anything else than cereal & pulses (no vegetables, no fruits). As cereal & pulses are considered to have least number of organism whom you can harm. There are regular sermons and ceremonies in the temples. Chapters from Tattyartha Sutra (religious book) are read out to the devotees. The members of Jain community greet one another and seek forgiveness for any pain & heart that might have been caused knowingly or unknowingly by any of their action during the past year. This practice is called ‘Samvatsarik Pratikraman or kshama wani’.The ritual of forgiveness is sometimes called ‘universal friendship’. The persons who undertake complete fast during festival days, are taken to the temple in a procession on the last day whereafter they break their fast. Following the principle of Jainism ‘Live and Let Live’ saints and monks avoid traveling during this period as they do not want to hurt any living being.
Rituals and Celebrations of DaslakshnaParva
Daslakshna Parva is nothing but another form of Prayushan Parva. This festivity is celebrated by Digambar Jains for ten days, from the fifth day to the fourteenth day of the bright half of the month Bhadrapada. Actions performed during this festival are almost similar to Swaitambers. However all Digamber Jains celebrate it for self-purification and uplift. This is the festival for the observance of 10 univarsal virtues namely:
1). Uttam Kshama- Supreme forgiveness
2). Uttam Mardaya- Tenderness or Humility
3). Uttam Arjaya- Honesty/Straight forwardness
4).Uttam Shaucha- Purity/ Contentment
5). Uttam Satya- Truthfulness
6).Uttam Sanyam- Self-restraint
7).Uttam Tapa- Austerities
8).Uttam Tyaga- Renunciation
9). Uttam Akinchanya- Lack of possession/ Attachment
10). Uttam Brahmcharya- Celibacy/ Chastity
Digambers practice these teachings over a period of ten days. Devotees listen with good attention to the holy sermons of the saints and learned Jain scholars arranged during ten- day festival.Even today ‘Das Lakshna Parva’ is observed as suitable occasion to give donation & charities. On the last day of the festival house-holders perform full day fast and make every attempt to donate. At the end of the festival, they seek for forgiveness to each other for all offences committed during the last year.
When the auspicious month of Bhadrapada comes every year, the whole Jain community celebrate these festivals unitedly without any difference of high and low, rich and poor.