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_PARYUSHANA_ (_Pajjosavana_ in Magadhi Prakrit : पज्जोसण) or _DASLAKSHANA_ is the most important annual holy events for Jains and is usually celebrated in August or September. It lasts 8–10 days and is a time when Śrāvakas (lay people) increase their level of spiritual intensity often using fasting and prayer/meditation to help. The five main vows are emphasized during this time. There are no set rules, and followers are encouraged to practice according to their ability and desires.

Normally, _Digambaras _ refer it as _Das Lakshana Dharma_ while _Śvētāmbaras _ refer to it as _Paryushana_ ("abiding" or "coming together"). The duration of _Paryushana_ is for eight days for _Śvētāmbara_ Jains and ten days for Jains belonging to the _Digambara_ sect. The festival ends with the celebration of _ Kshamavani _ (forgiveness day).

CONTENTS

* 1 Meaning

* 2 Observances

* 2.1 Fasting * 2.2 Requesting forgiveness

* 3 _Dashlakshana Dharma_

* 3.1 Forgiveness (_Uttam Kshama_) * 3.2 Modesty/Humility (Uttam Maardav) * 3.3 Straightforwardness (Uttam Aarjav) * 3.4 Contentment/Purity (Uttam Shauch) * 3.5 Truth (Uttam Satya) * 3.6 Self-Restraint (Uttam Sanyam) * 3.7 Penance (Uttam Tap) * 3.8 Renunciation (Uttam Tyaag) * 3.9 Non-attachment (Uttam Aakinchan) * 3.10 Supreme Celibacy (Uttam Brahmacharya)

* 4 Date * 5 Closure * 6 See also

* 7 References

* 7.1 Citations * 7.2 Sources

* 8 External links

MEANING

_Paryusana_ means "abiding and coming together". It is a time when the Jains take on vows of study and fasting .

OBSERVANCES

_ Das Lakshana_ (_Paryusana_) celebrations, Jain
Jain
Center of America , New York City
New York City

The _ Digambara _ Jains recite the ten chapters of the sacred Jain text, _ Tattvartha Sutra _ on ten days of fasting. _Digambaras_ celebrate _Ananta chaturdashi_ on which a special worship is done. Many towns have a procession leading to the main Jain temple
Jain temple
. _Anant Chaturdashi_ marks the day when Lord Vasupujya
Vasupujya
attained _Moksha_ (_nirvana_).

At the conclusion of the festival, followers request forgiveness from others for any offenses committed during the last year. Forgiveness is asked by saying _ Micchami Dukkadam _ to others, which means, "If I have offended you in any way, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word or action, then I seek your forgiveness."

During the 8-day festival, the _Śvētāmbaras _ _ Murtipujaka _ recite the _ Kalpa Sūtra _, which includes a recitation of the section on birth of Mahavira on the fifth day. Some _Śvētāmbara_ _Sthanakvasis _ recite the _Antagada Sutra_, which details the life of great men and women who attained _moksha _ during the eras of Neminatha and Mahavira.

FASTING

Main article: Fasting in Jainism
Jainism

During _Paryushana_, Jains observe a fast. The span of the fast can last from a day to 30 days or even more. In the _Digambara_ sect, _Sravakas_ (laymen) do not take food and/or water (boiled) more than once in a day when observing fasts, while those of the _Śvētāmbara_ sect observing a fast survive on boiled water which is consumed only between sunrise and sunset.

REQUESTING FORGIVENESS

See also: Micchami Dukkadam and Kshamavani

At the conclusion of the festival, the _ Sravakas _ request each other for forgiveness for all offenses committed during the last year. This occurs on the Paryusha day for the _Śvētāmbara_ and on _ Pratipada _ (first) of _Ashwin Krashna_ for the _Digambara_. Forgiveness is asked by saying _Micchami Dukkadam_ or _Uttam Kshama_ to each other. It means "If I have caused you offence in any way, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought word or deed, then I seek your forgiveness".

_DASHLAKSHANA DHARMA_

Main article: Dharma (Jainism) _ Das Lakshana_ (_Paryusana_) celebrations, Jain Center of America , New York City
New York City

_Das-Dharma _ (ten righteous virtues) are mentioned in the Jain
Jain
text , _ Tattvartha Sutra _. These are:

* _Uttam Kshama_ (forbearance) * _Uttam Mardava_ (supreme modesty) * _Uttam Aarjava_ (straightforwardness) * _Uttam Satya_ (truth) * _Uttam Shauch_ (purity) * _Uttam Sanyam_ (supreme restraint) * _Uttam Tap_ (austerity) * _Uttam Tyaga_ (renunciation) * _Uttam Aakinchanya_ (non-attachment) and * _Uttam Brahmcharya_ (supreme celibacy)

In the full form, it is a 10-day _vrata_ that comes every year. It may be undertaken during _Shukla Panchami_ to _Chaturdashi_ of _Bhadrapada_, _Magh_ or _Chaitra_ months. However it is common to do it during _Bhadrapada_.

The _Das-dharmas_ are all prefixed by the word ‘_Uttam_’ (Supreme) to signify that they are practiced at the highest level by the Jain monks . The householder practises them to a lesser extent. It lasts over a period of ten days, each day being dedicated to one of the ten _Dharmas_. In the sections below a) stands for the temporary point of view of modes and modification (_vyavahar nay_) b) stands for the permanent point of view of underlying substance (_nīshyānay_).

FORGIVENESS (_UTTAM KSHAMA_)

See also: Forgiveness § Jainism
Jainism

a) We forgive those who have wronged us and seek forgiveness from those we have wronged. Forgiveness is sought not just from human colleagues, but from all living beings ranging from one sensed to five sensed. If we do not forgive or seek forgiveness but instead harbor resentment, we bring misery and unhappiness on ourselves and in the process shatter our peace of mind and make enemies. Forgiving and seeking forgiveness oils the wheel of life allowing us to live in harmony with our fellow beings. It also attracts meritorious karma.

b) Forgiveness here is directed to oneself. The soul, in a state of mistaken identity or false belief, assumes that it consists of the body, the karmas and the emotions – likes, dislikes, anger, pride etc. As a result of this incorrect belief, it inflicts pain upon itself and is thus the cause of its own misery. Nischay Kshama Dharma teaches the soul to correctly identify itself by encouraging it to contemplate in its true nature and hence achieve the state of right Belief (Samyak Darshan). It is only by achieving Samyak Darshan that the soul ceases to inflict pain on itself and attains supreme happiness.

MODESTY/HUMILITY (UTTAM MAARDAV)

See also: Mardava § Uttam Maardav

a) Wealth, good looks, reputable family or intelligence often lead to pride. Pride means to believe one to be superior to others and to look down on others. By being proud you are measuring your worth by temporary material objects. These objects will either leave you or you will be forced to leave them when you die. These eventualities will cause you unhappiness as a result of the ‘dent’ caused to your self-worth. Being humble will prevent this. Pride also leads to the influx of the bad karmas.

b) All the souls are equal, none being superior or inferior to another. The Nischay view encourages one to understand his true nature. All souls have the potential to be liberated souls. The only difference between the liberated souls and those in bondage is that the former have attained liberation as a result of their ‘effort’. With effort, even the latter can achieve liberation.

STRAIGHTFORWARDNESS (UTTAM AARJAV)

a) The action of a deceitful person is to think one thing, speak something else and do something entirely different. There is no harmony in his thought, speech and actions. Such a person loses credibility very quickly and lives in constant anxiety and fear of his deception being exposed. Being straightforward or honest, oils the wheel of life. You will be seen to be reliable and trustworthy. Deceitful actions lead to the influx of karmas.

b) Delusion about one’s identity is the root cause of unhappiness. The soul is made up of countless qualities like knowledge, happiness, effort, faith, and conduct. It has the potential to achieve omniscience (Kevala Gyana केवल ज्ञान) and reach a state of supreme bliss. Again, the body, the karmas, the thoughts and all the emotions are separate from the true nature of the soul. Only by practicing Nischay Arjav Dharma will one taste the true happiness that comes from within.

CONTENTMENT/PURITY (UTTAM SHAUCH)

Contentment or happiness, derived from material objects, is only perceived to be so by a soul in a state of false belief. The fact is that material objects do not have a quality of happiness and therefore happiness cannot be obtained from them. The perception of ‘enjoying’ material objects is only a perception. This perception rewards the soul with only misery and nothing else. Real happiness comes from within, as it is the soul that possesses the quality of happiness.

TRUTH (UTTAM SATYA)

a) If talking is not required, then do not talk. If it is required then only use the minimum of words, and all must all be absolutely true. Talking disturbs the stillness of the mind. Consider the person who lies and lives in fear of being exposed. To support one lie he has to utter a hundred more. He becomes caught up in a tangled web of lies and is seen as untrustworthy and unreliable. Lying leads to an influx of karma.

b) Satya comes from the word SAT, whose one of the meaning is "existence". Existence is a quality of the soul. Recognising the soul’s true nature as it really exists and taking shelter in the soul is practising Nischay Satya Dharma.

SELF-RESTRAINT (UTTAM SANYAM)

a) Temporary (Vyavahara nay) 1. Restraining from injury to life – Jains go to great lengths, compared to other world religions, to protect life. This encompasses all living beings, from one-sensed onwards. The purpose of not eating root vegetables is that they contain countless one-sensed beings termed ‘nigod’. During Paryushan the Jains also do not eat green vegetables to reduce harm to the lower sensed beings. 2. Self-restraint from desires or passions – These lead to pain and are therefore to be avoided.

b) Permanent (nīshyānay) 1. Restraining injury to the self – This has been elaborated upon in Nischay Kshma Dharma. 2. Self restraint from desires or passions – Emotions, e.g. likes, dislikes or anger lead to misery and need to be eradicated. They are not part of the true nature of the soul and only arise when the soul is in a state of false belief. The only method to free oneself from these is to contemplate on the true nature of the soul and in the process commence the journey to liberation or moksha .

PENANCE (UTTAM TAP)

a) This does not only mean fasting but also includes a reduced diet, restriction of certain types of foods, avoiding tasty foods, etc. The purpose of penance is to keep desires and passions in control. Over-indulgence inevitably leads to misery. Penance leads to an influx of meritorious karmas.

b) Meditation prevents the rise of desires and passions in the soul. In a deep state of meditation the desire to intake food does not arise. The first Tirthankara
Tirthankara
, Rishabha
Rishabha
is said to have meditative in such a state for six months, during which he observed Nischay Uttam Tap.

RENUNCIATION (UTTAM TYAAG)

a) Renouncing worldly possessions leads to a life of contentment and assists in keeping desires in check. Controlling desires not only leads to an influx of meritorious karma, but also absolving oneself from bad karma. Renunciation is done at the highest level by Jain ascetics who renounce not only the household but also their clothes. A person’s strength is measured not by the amount of wealth he accumulates but by the amount of wealth he renounces.

b) Renouncing the emotions, the root cause of misery, is supreme renunciation, which is only possible by contemplating on the true nature of the soul.

NON-ATTACHMENT (UTTAM AAKINCHAN)

a) This assists the person in detaching from external possessions. Historically ten possessions are listed in Jain
Jain
scriptures: ‘land, house, silver, gold, wealth, grain, female servants, male servants, garments and utensils’. Being unattached from these, helps control our desires and leads to an influx of meritorious karmas.

b) This assists us in being unattached from our internal attachments: false belief, anger, pride, deceit, greed, laughter, liking, disliking, lamentation, fear, disgust, sexual desires. Ridding the soul of these leads to its purification.

SUPREME CELIBACY (UTTAM BRAHMACHARYA)

a) This means refraining from all pleasures associated with the sense of touch, e.g. a cool breeze on a hot summer day or using a cushion for a hard surface. The monks practice this to the highest degree with all their body, speech and mind.

b) Brahmacharya is derived from the word BRAHMA – Soul and CHARYA – to dwell. Nischay Brahmacharya means to dwell in your soul. Only by residing in the soul are you the master of the Universe. Residing outside your soul makes you a slave to desires.

DATE

The date for the Paryushana
Paryushana
festival is Bhadra
Bhadra
shukla chaturthi . For this minimum duration, Paryushana
Paryushana
must be initiated by panchami (the fifth day) of the _shukla_ paksha phase of Bhadra
Bhadra
. The last day is called Samvatsari , short for Samvatsari Pratikramana . Because of computational and other differences, there can be some minor differences among various sects. It comes at the time when the wandering monks take up temporary residence for the monsoon period or "cāturmāsa " "four-month". Because at this time the monks have settled in the town for a longer duration, it is time for the householders to have an annual renewal of the faith by listening to the statement of the Dharma and by meditation and vratas (self-control). Digambara Jains starting a 10-day period from Bhadra shukla panchami, during which the dashalakshana vrata is undertaken. Śvētāmbara celebrate an eight-day festival that ends with Bhadrapada shukla chaturthi.

It is believed that the devas (heavenly beings) do an eight-part puja (worship) of the tirthankaras , which takes eight days. Śvētāmbara Jains celebrate this period as Paryushana.

CLOSURE

In some Indian States, slaughter houses are kept close for 1–8 days during the Paryushana
Paryushana
festival. It is done in states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, that have large population of the Jain
Jain
community . On 14 March 2008, The Supreme Court of India held that the ban on slaughter houses in Ahmedabad during Paryushan festival is legal. The court noted:

In a multi cultural country like ours with such diversity, one should not be over sensitive and over touchy about a short restriction when it is being done out of respect for the sentiments of a particular section of society. It has been stated above that the great Emperor Akbar himself used to remain a vegetarian for a few days every week out of respect for the vegetarian section of the Indian society and out of respect for his Hindu wife. We too should have similar respect for the sentiments for others, even if they are a minority sect. (para 74)

SEE ALSO

_ Wikimedia Commons has media related to PARYUSHANA _.

* Mahavir Jayanti * Ratnatraya * God in Jainism