The festival of Paryushana Parva is celebrated by Jains (a Hindu sect)
across the world, mainly in India, in the Hindu month of Bhadrapad. It ordains them to observe the ten universal supreme virtues in daily practical life, which bring bliss into this and the next world. The main aim is the attainment of salvation, the ‘supreme ideal for a mundane soul’. The festival is for self purification and uplift, leading one on the right path away from materialism. It is for introspection and enlightenment.

As the holy texts state in Sanskrit,

Parismantadushayante dhante karmani yasimannasau paryushnm

Paryushana Parva is the celebration through which the karmic matter attached to the soul is totally burnt or vanquished both internally and externally (known  as Paryushan),  i.e., self-purification.

Jains use the festival to focus purely on experiencing the ‘true nature’ of the soul, putting an end to the evils of man and giving realisation of ‘eternal bliss’.

How long does it last for?

The festival lasts between eight to ten days (depending on the sect) and is a time of learning, confession and introspection. The Digambaras and the Swaitamberas, both sects of Jain community celebrate the self-uplifting festival with great enthusiasm. The Digambaras celebrate this festival annually for ten days, from the fifth day to the fourteenth day of the bright half of the month. Whereas the Swaitamberas celebrate it only for eight days, and the fifth day is the main day of their celebrations held under the title ‘Samvatsari Parva’.

How is the festival practised?

All members of the Jain community, regardless of age practise this festival. There will be many sessions with learned Jain scholars in temples, sometimes invoking their holy saints, which all will come to listen too. According to

In these celebrations lie dormant the seeds of the well being, peace and happiness of the common man

Any activities promoting social discord or bitterness are not allowed in the temple pulpits, as the festival is about social harmony, preaching the Jain motto ‘live and let Live’.

Study of holy texts will occur and be read out loud in temples. Paryushan means ‘abiding’ or ‘coming together’. It is also a time when people take on vows of study and fasting with spiritual intensity. It concludes with a time of confession and forgiveness for the transgressions of the previous year.

The festival has been practised for thousands of years via. self-meditation, doing penance, fasting and study of holy scriptures were performed. People ‘purged their soul’ by fasting on the last day of the ceremonies and celebrated the closing ceremony with great vigour.

When celebrations are over, this festival leaves behind a deep impression on the mind and heart of every Jain – young and old.

To find out more about this festival please go to:

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This entry was posted on Friday, September 2nd, 2011 at 12:41 am and is filed under days of significance, General, social practices, South Asia . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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