Mumbai (Maharashtra), August 14, 2012: Thousands of Jains across the country will begin observing the pious occasion of Paryushan, the holy festival of fasting, from Tuesday. Most Jains will fast on the first and the last day of the festival and abstain from eating from sunset on Monday evening to sunrise on Wednesday morning the next week. Paryushan is an eight-day fasting period described as a purification process. Jains hope to seek forgiveness for their sins, try to forgive those who have wronged them and at the same time aim for higher spiritual goals.
Fasting is a simple and proven way to cleanse one’s body, including one’s bad karma. It espouses the main tenet of Jain philosophy, which is to absolve oneself of desire. “We fast because we want to be free from the shackles of hunger, lust and greed. It’s about being at peace with oneself,” according to Babulal Jain Ujjwal, a veritable fount of information on Jainism.
“Through the fasts, one’s sins are burnt down with tap (worship),” he added. Kamleshbhai, a teacher of Jain philosophy, says that the purpose behind the festival of Paryushan is three-fold. “This is the time of the year when Jains ask for forgiveness for their sins, open their hearts and forgive those who have wronged them and then resolve to forget it all. It’s a purification process,” he said, adding that the eight-day festival also symbolizes friendship as it is a marriage between four days of Shravan and four days of Bhadarva (two seasonal months of the Jain calendar).
Different dates this year
This year, different Jain sects are celebrating Paryushan at different times because there are two Bhadrapaths (adhik month) in the Hindu calendar this year. So, Shwetambar Stanakwasis, Terapanthis, Shwetambar Murtipujaks, Achalgach and Khatargach will observe Paryushan from Tuesday. Murtipujak Tapagach and Sthanakwasi Gyangach sampraday will celebrate Paryushan from September 13-20. -Article Courtesy: Times of India