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Paryushan Parv / Das Lakshan Resources
Here are some resources on this festival:

Pratikraman  Book in English by Pravin Shah

Celebration of the Soul - Paryushan Parv and Das Lakshan -
Paryushan is an eternal festival relating neither to people nor to any historical event. It is a time to celebrate the natural qualities of the Soul. Just as the Soul does not have a beginning or an end, Paryushan does not have a beginning or an end. It falls three times a year but is only celebrated once, around August/September because at this time, business is slow (in India), businessmen can take time off for spiritual pursuit. Also, it is the time of the monsoon retreat for monks and nuns in India. During this time when insects flourish, the monks and nuns reside in one city or community to avoid long distance  travel so as to minimize trampling or harming living beings.

8-10 Days of Living a Jain Way of Life -
Paryushan Parv/Das Lakshan are festivals for celebrating the qualities and essence of the Soul. These auspicious 8 or 10  days offer us an opportunity to focus on our spirituality with the hope that we will live a Jain Way of Life for the rest of the year.
Disciplining oneself for these practices is a difficult task. The following activity recommendations are for people of all ages along with point incentives. A family can print this page and give one copy to each member of the family to fill out and add up the points at the end of the festival. A gift can be offered for achieving a certain point target. Each family member should encourage and help others to achieve their best.

The Practice of Equanimity and Pratikraman -
Pratikraman is a practice of confession and repentance and can be done in many different ways. It can be performed at any time but is specifically done on the last day of Paryushan Parv celebration. It includes the following six essentials:


PARYUSHAN means: Festival of self friendship and realization of soul. Festival of sacrifice, penance & endurance. Festival of soul purification & self search, time to keep aside the post, wealth & prestige & be with the God. The time to forget & forgiveness make the enemy a friend & increase the love and kindness.

1st Day of Paryusan: The day of making the mind & soul pure and concentrate in vitrag.

2nd Day of Paryushan: On this day with the help of our sweet & kind speech spread the fragrance of inspiring virtues & constructive activities. Donate with free hand & become a king.

3rd Day of Paryushan: To make the Mind (soul) & Body Pure and pious with the self of sacrifice & penance. Self control & self-friendship is also practice. Meditation for enlightment.

4th Day of Paryushan: Rare occasion of gaining AatmaLaxmi.

5th Day of Paryushan: The day of "KALPASUTRA" sacred document of Jainism. On this day Bhagwan Mahavira's birth is celebrated with special celebrations, a part of which is the auction of 14 items, dreams of by the Lords mother Trishala Devi, while she was carrying him.

6th Day of Paryushan: 'SWAN' floating in the MANSAROVAR of Jain Empire (Religion SASAN)

7th Day of Paryushan: Day of Divine message of Tolerance & power of endurance.

8th Day of Paryushan: 'SAVANTSARI':  The Day of the grand 'GATE WAY' of 'SALVATION' (Moksha).

Paryushana is a time of reflection on actions and meditation on the past year. Paryushana is marked by strict observance of the ten cardinal virtues: Forgiveness, Charity, Simplicity, Contentment, Truthfulness, Self-restraint, Fasting, Detachment, Humility and Continence. During the eight-day Paryushana festival, the Swetambaras recite the religious text, the Kalpa Sutra (including a section on the birth of Lord Mahavira), on the fifth day. During this festival, Jains of all ages visit the divine Temples/Derasar or Upashrayas to listen to the discourses and readings of Kalpa Sutra. In the evenings, Jains perform a kriya called Pratikraman, a form of meditation to reflect on spiritual journey.

Most Jains fast in some form or the other in these days. It is not and uncommon sight to see 8 day fasters, who do not consume anything in these eight days. Even water must be boiled and can be drunk only between 9-10 a.m. to 5- 6 p.m. (approx.) Every now and then one does come across a faster who has not eat for a whole month too!!! Penance and fasting are the key words in these days. Many Jains abstain from onions, garlic, potatoes, fermented food, root vegetables and green vegetables.

In the Swetambar sect, an 8-day festival is celebrated that ends either on Bhadrapada Shukla 4 or  Bhadrapada Shukla 5. The last day is called Samvatsari, short for Samvatsari Pratikramana. Seven days are days of attainment and the eighth day is one of fulfillment or achievement. It is at this time that Jains embark on their respective annual pratikramana - a reflection on their spiritual journey for the past year.

On this day they 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 ask for "Micchamidukadam" or forgiveness. Michchhami means to be fruitless (forgiven) and Dukkadam (Dushkrut) means bad deeds. Therefore the meaning of Michchhami Dukkadam is my bad deeds (with you) be fruitless. So concept behind saying or writing someone "Michchhami Dukkadam" is that if I have done any harm to you then those bad deeds to be forgiven (be fruitless).

The soul, in its pure form, has infinite perception, infinite knowledge, infinite vigor, and is non-attached. These attributes are not seen in a worldly soul because it is soiled with karmas. By following religious principles principals and activities, we overcome our karmas and uplift our souls to liberation. There are various kinds of religious activities, sometimes called rituals, and among them Pratikraman is the most important ritual. During pratikraman we repent for our non-meritorious activities on a daily basis. We realize our mistakes and ask for forgiveness which helps us to minimize the intensity of the karma's bondage. Pratikraman is a combination of six avshyakas (essential rituals). The six Avshyakas are:
1) Samayik - a state of total equanimity
2) Chauvisantho - worshipping the twenty-four Tirthankars
3) Vandana - offering salutations to sadhus (monks) and sadhvis (nuns)
4) Pratikraman - realizing what we have done wrong and annotating on it
5) Kayotsagga - meditation of the soul
6) Pratyakhyan - renunciation

1) Samayik : In samayik, we stay in equanimity for forty-eight minutes. During samayik not only do we give up all worldly affairs, but we also stay away from attachment and aversion. This activity helps us to purify our passions and desires. To perform samayik, we put on simple, white clothes, and occupy a quiet place. While in samayik, we recite the Navkar Mantra, read scriptures, perform meditation, etc. Our samayik gives us a glimpse at the life of sadhus who live in samayik all of their life. It directly encourages us to lead the life of a sadhu or sadhvi.

2) Chauvisantho :Chauvisantho means adoration of the twenty-four Tirthankaras. By reciting it, we show our respect for the twenty-four Tirthankaras. While reciting this, we are reminded of how victorious these Jinas, who overcome inner enemies like anger, ego, greed, deceit, etc., were and such activity also and encourages us to be like them. It is also called Chaturvinshatistava.

3) Vandana: During vandana, we bow down to monks and nuns and express our reverence to them. They are our current religious guides, and preceptors. While bowing down, we become humble, and thus, help ourselves to overcome ego and anger. It also inspires us to become like them. (If there is no monk or nun then we bow down in the North-East direction to Arihantas who are currently living far away from here.)

4) Pratikraman: Pratikraman is the combination of two words, Pra meaning return and atikraman meaning violation. Literally, it means returning from violations. As Jain householders, we are supposed to observe twelve minor vows. During Pratikraman we review our activities for any violations that may have occurred among these vows. In this way, we ask for forgiveness for our actions, purify our souls, and improve our future activities. If we have not taken these vows then we should wish that there will come a day when we can take those vows. Pratikraman is usually done twice a day; once in the morning, Raisi (morning) Pratikraman and once in the late evening Devasi (evening) Pratikraman. Those who are unable to perform daily pratikraman should do a Pakshik (fortnightly) Pratikraman. There are some who somehow can not find even that much time, they should do a Choumasi (quarterly) Pratikraman, every four months. However, if someone can not even do that, then they should do Samvatsari (yearly) Pratikraman, considered a must for every Jain. By repenting during the pratikraman, you lessen the bondage of karma to your soul and avoid committing the same sins in the future. If we do not repent for our deeds at least once a year, then the bondage of karmas to the soul becomes severe and even harder to shed off. In all truth, one should perform pratikraman as soon as one realizes he or
she has committed a sin.

5) Kayotsagga :The word kayotsargga is made up of two words Kaya meaning body and utsarga meaning to give up. Kayotsagga means to give up ones physical comfort and body movements, thus staying steady, either in a standing or other posture, and concentrating upon the true nature of the soul as being separate from the body. This is a form of meditation and by practicing pure kayotsargga we slowly gain control over our mental, verbal, and physical activities.

6) Pratyakhyan: This is a formal renunciation of certain activities, which reduces to stops the inflow of karmas. This activity helps us to learn to control our desires and prepares us for a much bigger renunciation.

(Source: Ahimsa Times - Aug. 08 newsletter)

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