Jainism was established by Lord Mahavira and it is no different from any Hindu Religion. It is an ancient Indian religion that is traditionally called as Jain Dharma and its followers are known as Jains. There are two subsects of Jain followers namely Digambara and Swetambara. The Digambars are referred to as Das Lakshana Dharma and Swetambara known as Paryushana (abiding or coming together). The two important festivals that are annually celebrated by Jains are Paryushana and Diwali.
Jains Worshipping Lord Mahavira on Paryushana Parva
Paryushana Parv: It is one of the most important holy events of Jains that is celebrated annually in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada of Shukla Paksha ( August or September ). For Swetambara Jains this ritual lasts for 8 days and for Digambara Jains it lasts for 10 days. The celebration of this festival ends on the forgiveness day that is termed as Samvatsri or Kshamavani.
Diwali: It is celebrated to commemorate the nirvana of Lord Mahavira on the Amavasya of the Kartika month.
History of Paryushana Parva:
Historically "Paryushanaa" denotes to the staying of the monks at one place in the rainy season. It is popularly known as "Chaturmasa" because the rainy season lasts for about four months minimum of 70 days. In the holy scriptures, it is well mentioned that Lord Mahavira used to start Paryushana on Bhadrapada Shukla Panchami. It is the best time for Monks to settle down in town for a longer duration, as it is the best time for householders to have an annual renewal of the faith by listening to the statement of the Dharma and by Meditation and Vratas (self-control).
Recently the Paryushana festival was in controversy regarding its date, usually the Swetambars and Digambars celebrate it on the same day, however, a common date is fixed now for all sects of Jainism. There are five fundamental vows prescribed for both the sects of people to follow if they wish to become an ascetic or sravaka (householder). They are as follows:
Five Main Vows of Jainism
Apart from these five main vows, a householder is expected to obey seven supplementary vowes (seelas) that are again divided into Guna vratas ( digvrata, bhogopabhogaparimana, anartha-dandaviramana) and Siksa vrata (samayika, desavrata, prosadhopavasa and athiti samvibhag). The last vow is known as sallekhana ( A religious practice of voluntary fasting till death where the followers reduce the intake of food and liquids).
The Digambaras celebrate Paryushana Vrata (Bhadrapada Shukla Panchami) for 10-days period during which they recite Tatvartha-sutra of Umaswati and Dasha Lakshana Vrata is undertaken. According to Umaswati this Vrata includes 10 components of dharma: Noble kshama (forbearance), mardava (gentleness), arjava (uprightness), shaucha (purity), satya (truth), sanyam (restraint), tapa (austerity), tyaga (renunciation), akinchanya (lack of possession) and brahmacharya (chastity).
In the full form, it is a 10-day Chaturdashi of Bhadrapada, Magh or Chaitra. However, it is common to perform during Bhadrapada, where it starts with Paryushana. On Dashami, the sugandha-dashami vrata occurs and Ananta- Chaturdashi on the Chaturdashi day. Special worship is conducted on this day in many towns and procession is carried out to the main temple.vrata that spans 10 years. It may be undertaken during Shukla Panchami till date.
The Swetambaras call it as Das Lakshana and celebrate it for 8-days which lasts till Bhadrapada Shukla Panchami. The holy Kalpa Sutra is recited to mark the importance of the birth of Mahavira on the fifth day. The last day is called Samvatsari.
Jain followers gathering on Paryushana Parva
The significance of this Festival:
It is a belief of Jains that every Deva performs Asthaprakari pooja for their Tirthankara for a period of 8 days and this celebration is called as Ashtanhika Mahotsav which is today known as Paryushana. The original Prakrit (Ardha-magadhi) term for Paryushana is "Pajjo-savana".
Importance of this Festival:
Requesting Forgiveness: The Sravakas request each other for forgiveness for all the offenses committed during the last year. It takes place only on the Paryushana day for the Swetambara and on Pratipada (first) of Ashwin Krishna for the Digambara.
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