Saturday, December 2, 2023

Paryushan Parv: A Spiritual Path of Self-Enlightment

By Lalit Garg

Everyone wants to live a life which is full of peace and happiness, but they can’t live this type of life. That is why in the Jain tradition, the spiritual festival Paryushan is celebrated, which will be held this year from September 4 to September 11, 2021. In these eight days of Paryushan Mahaparv, all Jain devotees will make efforts to make the body and mind spiritual. ParyushanParva has a great importance in the lives of Jains. It’s a period in which every Jain tries to purify and elevate his soul. For this purpose a shravak must perform the following five duties: Amari Pravartan (Total non-violence), Sadharmic Bhakti (helping people of same faith), Kshamapan (asking for forgiveness), Atham Tap (fasting for three days) and Chaitya Pari Paati (Visiting local Jain temples). In eight days; a positive environment  will be created, which will purify our life. From this point of view, this festival is a festival of spirituality as well as upliftment of life.
Paryushan Mahaparva is a medium to worship the inner soul – it is the festival of self-purification, self-enlightment. In fact, the Paryushan Mahaparva is such a dawn which takes us from sleep to wakefulness. This festival leads us from the darkness of ignorance to the light of knowledge. While doing penance, chanting, and self-study, we can find our inner strength and will get to know that real happiness lies in forgiving.

The literal meaning of Paryushan Mahaparva is to be residing in the soul. One of the meanings of Paryushana is the destruction of karma. The bad Karmas will be destroyed and only then the soul will be purified in its natural form, hence  Paryushan Mahaparva gives inspiration to the soul; to become selfless and pure. This Mahaparva mainly focuses on the connection between humans and humans and motivates them; it is the festival of opening the windows, skylights and doors of the mind.

Paryushan Mahaparva is not just a festival of Jains, it is a universal festival. It is a great and excellent festival for the whole world, because the soul is worshiped in it. This is the only festival in the whole world in which a person becomes self-realized by being self-absorbed and tries to attain salvation by ascending to the peak of supernatural, spiritual bliss. The Paryushan Mahaparva has its own unique and special spiritual significance in the renunciation-oriented culture of Jainism. This is the only inspiring festival of self-purification. It is the most recognized festival of Jain people. Paryushan Mahaparva is an occasion for many types of rituals like chanting, austerity, sadhna, worship, meditation, food restraints etc.

Paryushan Mahaparva is a spiritual festival, the central element of it is the soul. Paryushan Mahaparva continues to play an important role in revealing the pure, luminous form of the soul. Adhyatma means closeness to the soul. Paryushan Mahaparva is the symbol of Jain unity. Jain people give utmost importance to it. The entire Jain society becomes awake and engaged in spiritual practice on the occasion of this festival. In the Digambara tradition, it is recognized as “Daslakshana Parva”. Among them, its opening day is Bhadrav Shukla Panchami and the day of prosperity is Chaturdashi. On the other hand, in the Shwetambar Jain tradition, the day of Bhadrav Shukla Panchami is the day of Samadhi which is celebrated as Samvatsari with complete renunciation, fasting, self-study and abstinence. Even people who are unable to take time out during the year also wake up on this day. Even those who never fast are seen performing rituals on this day.

The theme of Paryushan Mahaparva is to destruct all the evil thoughts of mind and soul. The 10 gates of religion have been mentioned, in which the first door is forgiveness. Forgiveness means equality. Forgiveness is very important for life, unless there is no forgiveness in life, and then a person cannot progress on the path of spirituality. Lord Mahavir lived a life of forgiveness i.e. equality. No matter what the situation may have come, he remained equal in all circumstances. “Forgiveness is the jewel of the hero” – Only great people can take and give forgiveness. Paryushan Mahaparva is the celebration of the exchange of forgiveness. On this day everyone unravels the entangled glands of their mind, opens the knots of anger and hatred within them, they hug each other. Eliminate the mistakes made in the past through forgiveness and make life pure.
The end of Paryushan Mahaparva is celebrated as Forgiveness Day. In this way, Paryushan Mahaparva and Forgiveness Day – it is a festival to bring each other closer. It is a festival to consider each other as our own. It is also said in the Gita – “Atmoupamyen sarvatrah, same pashyati yorjuna” – “Shri Krishna said to Arjuna – O Arjuna! Treat the human as your equal. Lord Mahavira said- “Mitti mai Savva bhuesu, veranmjjhana kenai” I have friendship with all beings; I have no enmity with anyone.

Human unity, peaceful co-existence, friendship, socialism without exploitation, establishment of international moral values, non-violent life, support of the worship style of soul etc. are the main basis of Paryushan Mahaparva. From this point of view, efforts are expected to make this great festival a festival of the people. Whether a man is called religious or not, whether he believes in self-Parmatma or not, whether he believes in past birth and reincarnation, whether he should resort to non-violence as far as possible in solving any of his problems – this is the heart of the sadhna of Payushan. Violence cannot be a permanent solution to any problem. Those seeking a solution through violence have only exacerbated the problem. Keeping this fact in front, not only the Jain society, but also the common people should become faithful in the power of non-violence and use it with deep faith.

Paryushan is a festival of pleasure in the soul, a festival of self-purification and self-enhancement. This Mahaparva makes us become ego free. ThisMahaparva is a celebration of worship of non-violence. Today the whole world needs the non-violence and friendship. Paryushan Parv is a festival of destruction of all negative aspects of the soul and by this one can find the real meaning of life. Each day of the Parysuhan festival focuses on eliminating various impurities like anger, pride, deceit and greed and building good virtues

Today, the main problems like violence, terror, mutual hatred, Naxalism, corruption, corona epidemic have become a big cause of concern not only for the country but for the world and everyone wants a solution to these problems. For those people, the festival of Paryushan is an inspiration, a path, guidance and a practice of non-violent lifestyle. Today, in the glare of materiality, it is more important to maintain the relevance of this festival in the blind race of running life. For this, Jain society should become sensitive, especially the younger generation should be aware of the value of Paryushan festival and they themselves should be benefited from these rare moments of awakening self-consciousness through sharing, silence, chanting, meditation, self-study, dietary restraint, sense control, life-day etc. and explore the pure essence of this auspicious festival in front of the people.

(Lalit Garg is a Journalist, columnist, writer and member of Rajbhasa samiti, Ministry of Home Affairs. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at [email protected])

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