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Jains celebrate ‘Paryushan Mahaparva’ with religious fervour

Hyderabad,India,September' 2008: The Jains of the twin cities are celebrating the ‘Paryushan Mahaparva’ - the most important festival of the Jains at all the Jain temples in city. ‘Paryushan Mahaparva’ is being celebrated by Jains for eight days i.e. from 28 August to 3rd September in city. The festival is called the king of festivals. It is for the Jains what Christmas is for Christians; Ramzam is for Muslims and Dussera for the Hindus. The Sri Jain Shwetamber Parashwanath Temple, Charkaman, near Charminar has been specially decorated with flowers, one thousand and eight diyas and colourful lighting. To mark the occasion and celebrate the same, Jain monks give religious sermons on Jainism. Thousands of Jain devotees are participating in the celebrations.

Acharya Sri Rajyesh Surishwarji Maharaj, a Jain monk from Gujarat has specially come to be a part of the celebrations here. He has travelled the whole distance from Gujarat by foot along with other monks. Giving details about the importance of today, he said that the fifth day of Paryusana is very special for the Jains and is in fact celebrated with greater fervour that the birthday of Mahavira. For today the discourse is centered on the fourteen dreams that Trisala, the mother of Mahavira had when Mahavira entered her womb. The astrologers invited by the King to interpret the dreams of Trisala declared that she would give birth to the King of Kings. If her son were to live a worldly life he would be the Emperor (King of Kings) and if he were to renounce the world he would be the Emperor of Dharma. It is our good fortune that Mahavira did not choose to be worldly king. Instead he renounced the world in his pursuit of truth. All the fourteen dreams are described in detail, with their hidden meaning in the discourse today, he informed. People in great numbers throng to the upashrayas to listen to this discourse and actively participate in the proceedings.

The word ‘Paryusana’ has been coined on its meaning. The scholars have named it as per its purpose. ‘Pari’ means from all sides, ‘usanam’ means to be. To be within the soul from all sides is what Paryusana literally means. Man is never content within. He always looks and searches outside. However, seeking refuge outside is like living in rented houses, wherein we not only need to pay to stay in but also forced to vacate someday. Paryusana beckons us to return home, ‘to dwell in the soul’, which happens to be our only refuge, informed Acharya Sri Rajyesh Surishwarji Maharaj.

The Paryusana (Paryushan Mahaparva) starts on the 43rd day of the beginning of the Chaturmas. It lasts for eight days ending with samvatsari on the last day. During these days, Jains do fasting and have just on boiled water and devote most of their time in temples. They offer poojas and get involved in spiritual and devotional activities. Even the water they consume is only during the day time. The celebrations conclude with the celebration of the last day as Universal Forgiveness Day.

The ‘Paryushan Mahaparva’ ends on 3rd September; it is the big day eagerly awaited by the Jains, when the varshik pratikaman for atonement of sins of the whole year is done. Almost all Jains fast on this last day of the Paryusana. The one word which is on the lips of every Jain is ‘Micchami dukaddam’, which means ‘kindly forgive me’. On this day one asks for forgiveness from family, relatives and friends. It is celebrated as the Universal Forgiveness Day, informed Mr. Pravin Jain, Secretary - Jain Youth Club. Ahimsa, Live and Let Live and Vegetarianism are the basic principles of Jainism, he added.

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