Paryushan parva is a time of reflection on our past year actions. It is observed during every Chaturmas commencing on the twelth day of the shukla paksha of “Bhadrapad” month and ending on the fourth day of Krishna paksha of Bhadrapad. It is marked by strict observance of the ten cardinal virtues: Forgiveness, Charity, Simplicity, Contentment, Truthfulness, Self-restraint, Fasting, Detachment, Humility and Continence. Though we should be doing this every second of our lives, it is nearly impossible to do so in this day of age. Hence, we should at least take out 8 days a year out of our busy lives to reflect on ourselves.
Paryushan holds a special place in Jainism, one of India’s ancient religions. It’s a time for spiritual reflection, fasting, and self-control that centers on forgiveness, non-violence, and self-purification. Jains use this period to seek forgiveness for their mistakes, cleanse their souls, and grow spiritually.
During the eight-day / ten- day Paryushan festival, many fast and perform pratikaraman, meaning ‘turning back’. It is a form of meditation where one reflects on his spiritual journey and renews his faith. During this time, many drink boiled water and eat before sunset. Many abstain from onions/garlic/potatoes (root vegetables), fermented food, and even green vegetables. Penance and fasting are the key words in these days. The reason for such restriction is to hurt as less living beings as possible. Items previously mentioned have far greater number of lives (atmas) than simple grains. For example, when you take any piece of potato and put it in water, it will grow. but the same is not true for rice grain. By doing this, we commit less sin and bind with fewer bad karmas. this will later help us on our jouney to moksha.
During Paryushan, Jains follow various religious practices, including:
– Fasting: Many Jains fast as a way of self-discipline. Some don’t eat at all, while others stick to simple vegetarian meals.
– Prayer and Meditation: Jains engage in deep prayer and meditation to connect with their spirituality.
– Studying Sacred Texts: This period involves the study and discussion of important Jain scriptures like the Agamas and the Tattvartha Sutra.
– Acts of Kindness: Jains emphasize acts of charity and compassion, focusing on non-violence and helping others.
On the last day, known as Samvatsari, many also observe a unique custom where they ask every individual they may have offended during the year for forgiveness. Old quarrels are forgotten and friendships and relationships renewed as they fold their hands and say “Micchamidukkadam” or “Please forgive me.”
Samavatsari means Samta with vrat in the whole year.if I hurt you by words, actions or thoughts i heartily beg Chama.You are so good that you mill forgive me by all means.Michammi Dukdam
Jains seek forgiveness from almost all the creatures of the world whom they may have harmed knowingly or unknowingly by uttering the phrase—micchāmi mukkaḍaṃ.
Forgiveness is indeed a most important human value. It allows the human race to mend their past mistakes. It teaches humanity a lesson in forgiveness. There is nothing to be ashamed of in asking for forgiveness. And when asked for forgiveness from someone always give it. Forgiveness is a great healer.
On this Holy Day of Mahaparva Parsyushan,
May I Ask for Your Forgiveness If Knowingly
or Unknowingly I where Wrong On Our Deed,
Word, or Action.