Thank you for your excellent article which spans the core basis of this festival and how richly it is celebrated in North America.
Here in Jain Center of Greater Boston, we celebrate jointly with pujas and lectures for all 18 days. Two scholars are invited – one for the first 8 days and another scholar for the next 10 days.
The most unique part of our celebration, however, is a joint Pathshala puja done by over 100 kids and their parents and Pathshala staff. All the kids are asked to wear clean puja clothes. Then together we perform the Astha Prakari Puja and then Dev, Shastra Guru Puja. Childeren (and their parents who are watching and at times helping their 5 year old son or daughter) participate hands on in both the pujas where the explanation are given in English. The Pathshala teachers meticulously teach the youngsters the finer points of the Pujas. We add a little meditation, a lecture from the visiting scholar, as well as strong audio / visuals through live instrumental music and computer projection of the puja meanings. The message that our youngsters get is that Digambar and Swetambar idols and the respective pujas and all 18 days are both part of our JAIN rituals and practices and we respect all views.
Attached are some photos of this touching and wonderful event. If any center would like to get the slides and handouts for this, please feel free to contact us.
Paryushana and Das Laxana Parva
Jains around the world celebrate Paryushana and Das Laxana Parva every year. The span of the period is during August – September, during which time there is heavy monsoon. The monks would like to stay one place to avoid hurting small insects during rainy season. They give Pravachanas to strengthen the belief, propagate knowledge and help purify conduct of the listeners. Eight days of Paryushana starts on 12th day of Shukla Bhadrapad and ends on 4th day of Krishna phase of Bhadrapad (and some times on panchami of Bhadrapad when Chaturthi and Panchami combines)
During Paryushana Kalpa Sutra is read in the morning. Kalpa Sutra is one of the oldest scriptures describing the life of Bhagwan Mahaveer Swami. It depicts the coming of in human life (Garbh), birth, and life of Bhagwaan. The scripture also tells about Lord Parshvanath, Neminath, Rishabnath, and all other Thirthanakars. The story of past life of Lord Mahaveer is read with great respect. In the evening Samayik and Pratikraman is done and monks/scholars give Pravachanas to the audience. Fasting is done as much as possible including children. Usually on Sunday Bhagwan's Janma Divas is celebrated with great vigor. Eighth day Samvatsari Pratikraman is done to ask forgiveness from all living beings in the universe. The Pratikraman has recitation of Navkaar Mantra (vanadan of Arihants, Siddha, Acharya, Upadhyaya, and Saints) and Logassa (Vanadan of 24 Tirthanakaras) done repeatedly. Navkaar Mantra is called Beej Mantra of all fourteen Purvas. It brings highest quality to a person because bowing down to highest level without any bias or name. Logassa, Navkaar recital, and repentance, also called Chaturvishtistva, Vanadan, and Pratikraman respectively are part of six necessary and required conduct of Jains. Recitation of 160 Navkaar Mantra or 40 Logassa is done by all, sitting in Samvatsari Pratikraman. Next day Parna is done by all who have been fasting. At the end of Paryushana everyone feels more purified due to fasting, keeping vows and listening to scriptures.
During Das Laxan Parva lasting for ten days starting on Bhadrapad Panchami (usually next day or same day of end of Paryushana), people do fasting, listening to Pravachanas each day for one Dharma, and do Samayik. It is said that on this Panchami the cycle of Utsarpani starts ending the Avsarpani period which in the end persisted for 49 days of terrible disasters (in which everything is destroyed by wind, fire, rain, also called Pralay). On Dasvi – it is called Dhoop Dasam; people go to temple and light up Dhoop. (incense). Dhoop describes the burning of Karmas. Last day of Das Laxana ends on Chaturdarshi (called Anant Chaturdarshi) with fasting and Pratikraman. Ten Dharma are part of Samvar (stoppage of incoming Karma), and Nirjara (Annihilation of Karmas). We will use following sequence from Tattvartha Sutra leading to Das Laxana (Ten Dharma):
- Samyaka Darshana Gyana Charitrani Moksha Marga: Right belief, right knowledge and right conduct are the path of Moksha.
- Tatvartha Shraddhanam Samyak Darshnam: Belief in Tattva is Samyak Darshana.
- JIvajivasravbandhsamvarnirjaramokshasttvam: Jiva, Ajiva, Ashrava (incoming of Karma), Bandh (Bondage of Karma), Samvar (stoppage of incoming karma), Nirjara (annihilation of karma), and Moksha (liberation) are seven Tattvas.
- Kaayavagmanakarma Yoga Sa Ashrva: Karma comes in due to activity of mind, speaking and doing things.
- Mithyadarshanaviratipramadkshayayoga Bandhahetavah: Bondage occurs due to wrong belief, not keeping vow, carelessness, emotions and yoga (activity of mind, speaking, and doing).
- Asravanirodha Samvar, SaGuptisamitidharmanuprekhaparishajaycharitreh: Stoppage of incoming karma is Samvar and it is done through observance of three Guptis, five Samitis, Ten Dharma, twelve Anuprekhsa, victory over twenty two Parishah, and five Charitra.
- UttamKhsamamardavaarjavashochsatyasayyamtaptyagakinchanbramhcharyanhidharma: Forgiveness, no proud, straightforward, contended, truthful, keeping control, austerity, giving up, limiting material world, and living with own soul with Samyak Darshana is following of Ten Dharma.
- Anshanavmodryavritiparisakhanrasparityagviviktashyyasankayklesha bahya Tapa. Prayashchitavinayvaaiyavrityaswaddhyavyutsargadhyananyuttram:
Fasting, eating less, keep limit, not eating heavy food, spend time alone, and doing hard Asana are six out side Tapa (austerity)
Feeling sorry for wrong things, respect, helping others, reading scripture, keep material limitation and meditation are Inner Tapa. Meditations of two highest and positive qualities are called Dharma Dhyan and Shukla Dhyan.
- Agyaapayavipaksansthanavichyaya Dharmapramattsanyatsya: Following Lords and scriptures guidance, teach right things to people doing wrong things, link results to karma, and keep wider view is Dharma Dyana ( right meditation – leading to Heaven and Moksha).
10 Prithktvektvavitarkasukshamkriyaprtipativyuparatkriyanivritteeni: Prithktvvitark, Ekattvavitark, Sukshakriyaprtipaati, and vyuparatkriyanivrati are four types of Shukla Dyana leading to Moksha (liberation).
Following the path of Ten Dharmas thus lead to heaven and Moksha.
Here is how our revered Acharya guided us
Acharya Kunda Kunda, Pujyapad, and Yogindudeva. -
Leave exterior self and turn to Interior and Transcendental self
Acharya Jinbhadra– Follow path attaining right knowledge, right attitude and belief, and right conduct along with non-attachment.
Acharya Umaswati/ Umaswami and Siddhasengani– Concentrate on self, withdrawing the senses and mind from worldly things.
Acharya Umaswami/Umaswati, Subhchandra, and Hemchandra- develop virtues of
Friendship, appreciation, sympathy, and indifference
Acharya Hemchandra– Select proper posture, place, regulation of breath. Stay in progressive mental states of Slista (steady mind) and Suleen (without thought).
Acharya Haribhadra– Select proper posture, correct utterance, proper understanding of the meaning, concentrate on the image of Tirthankar, and abstract attributes.
Acharya Subhchandra and Hemchandra - Four levels of meditationfor going to higher level of consciousness are Pindastha (separating soul from non soul), Padastha (i.e., Navkaar Mantra Uccharan), Roopastha (imagine praying to Tirthankars in Samosaran), and Roopateet (Deep meditation of Parmatma).
During eight days of Paryushana, this higher level of consciousness is achieved by reading of Kalpa Sutra, pravachana, Navkaar Mantra and Logassa Uccharan, Deep Bhakti, austerity (Tapa) and learning and staying with our pure soul. During 10 days of Paryushana ( Das Laxana), this is attained by removing anger, deceit, ego, and greed from our conduct, be truthful, Keeping limitations on senses, austerity, giving up worldly things, keep restrictions on 14 internal and 10 external Parigrah, and staying with soul. By concentrating on our soul, removing impurities using 12 levels of austerities, the person can attain the stages of Pindastha, Padastha, Roopastha, and Roopateet.
How do we do together?One suggestion - by incorporating Ten Dharma pravachana every day during eight days of Paryushana, and by including Kalpa Sutra reading (similar to 1st Anuyoga - consisting of learning about 63 Salaka Purush), recital of Navkaar Mantra and Logassa (prayer of 24 Tirthankaras) during 10 days of Paryushana. More better we can do together Paryushana and Das Laxana in 10 days from Friday, and concluding on Sunday of 2nd week, keeping last as day of Samvatsari Pratikraman and Alochana Path , Parna and Tapasvi‘s Bahumaan. All can celebrate Bhagwan’s Birth on 1st Sunday.
Please refer to my article in 2007 JAINA souvenir how many of our brilliant centers (11 of them) put together creatively the Paryushana/ Das Laxana program using inclusiveness. Please write to me how your center has advanced Jain Unity during our pious days and planning to do going forward.
- Nirmal Dosi, Chairperson JAINA Scholars Program