Two of the
most important festivals for the jains are
Paryushana and Diwali. Diwali is celebrated
to commemorate the nirvana of Lord Mahaviara
on the amavasya of the Kartika month. What
is the historical basis of Paryushana? Its
origin is related to the staying of the
monks in one place for the rainy season.
"Paryushanaa" is staying of the
monks in one place. In popular terminology
this stay is termed "chaturmaasa"
because the rainy season is regarded to
be about four months. However the minumum
duration of Paryushanaa is regarded to be
70 days. For this minimum duration, Paryushanaa
must be initiated by panchami (fifth day)
of the shukla phase of the Bhadrapada month.
In the scriptures it is described that Lord
Mahavira used to start Paryushanaa on Bhadrapada
The date for the Paryushana festival is
thus Bhadrapada Shukla panchami for both
major sects. Because of computational and
other differences there can be some minor
differences among various subsects. Recently
there have been an attempt to get everyone
to agree to use the same date.
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). In the Digambaras,
it is done by starting a 10-day period from
Paryushana (Bhadrapada Shukla panchami)
during which the dashalakshana vrata is
undertaken. In the Swetambaras an 8-day
festival is celebrated that ends with Bhadrapada
Shukla panchami. The last day is called
Samvatsari, short for Samvatsari Pratikramana,
as described below.
During the 8-day festival, the Kalpa Sutra
is recited in the Swetmbara sect, that includes
a recitation of the section on birth of
Lord Mahavira on the fifth day. In the Digambara
sect the Tatvartha-sutra of Umaswati is
recited. On the dashami, the sugandha-dashami
vrata occurs. The Digambaras celebrate Ananta-
chaturdashi on the chaturdashi, special
worship is done on this day. Many towns
have a procession leadinbg to the amin temple.
The original Prakrit(ardha-magadhi) term
for Paryushana is "Pajjo-savana".
Remember that in case of Jain terms, the
prakrit forms of the words are the original.
(Samayika): Renewal meditation
Pratikramana means turning back. It is a
form of meditation where one reflects on
his spiritual journey and renews his faith.
For both Swetambaras and Digambaras, it
takes the form of periodic meditation. The
period can be twice daily (morning and evening),
once every lunar phase, every four months,
or every year. The annual Pratikramana in
some form is the minumum for a Sravaka.
The annual Pratikramana is Samvatsari Pratikramana,
in short Samvatsari. Since it coincides
with Paryushana, the terms "Samvatsari"
and "Paryushana" are sometimes
Samayika: to stay in equanimity by withdrawing
to the self.
Prayers to the Five Supremes, 24 Jinas and
the 4 mangalas, including the Dharma as
presented by the ancient Masters.
Prayer to the Master(Guru) or the Deity.
Reflections on vratas and past transgressions.
Kayotsarga: detachment from the body by
Pratyakhyan: making resolutions for the
next period (next year for Samvatsari Pratikramana).
The detailed recommended procedure can be
found in the handbooks. Detailed Pratikramana
takes about 3 hours, however all essentials
can be done in a much shorter time if needed.
Pratikramana is also sometimes termed Samayika
in the Digambara tradition.
By tradition certain postures are recommended
for Pratikramana. They can be found in the
This is a vrata that celebrates components
of the dharma: Noble kshama (forbearance),
mardava (gentleness), arjava (uprightness),
shaucha (purity), satya (truth), sanyam
(restraint), tapa (austerity), tyaga (renunciation),
akinchanya (lack of possession) and brahmcharya
(chastity), as described by Umaswati.
In the full form, it is a 10 day vrata that
spans 10 years. It may be undertaken during
Shukla Panchami to Chaturdashi of Bhadrapada,
Magh or Chaitra. However it it common to
do it during Bhadrapada, in which case it
starts with Paryushana.
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 the Paryusha day for
the Swetambara and on Pratipada (first)
of Ashwin Krashna for the Digambara