JVB Celebrates Festival of Soul Purification

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The Jain festival of Paryushan was  celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm at JVB Preksha Meditation Houston  center between August 26 and September 3.

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Houston (USA), September 3, 2011: The Jain festival of Paryushan was celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm at JVB  Preksha Meditation Houston  center between August 26 and September 3.

Festivals add color and meaning to Indian heritage, and are celebrated in various ways all over India. Some festivals welcome seasons of the year, such as the harvest, the monsoon, the full moon, or the new year. Others celebrate religious occasions such as birth dates of divine beings, saints or gurus (revered teachers). Most of these festivals celebrate the “outer world”. In the Jain tradition, Paryushan, which literally means “to dwell within your inner self”, is a celebration of the inner world and the purification of the soul.

Samani Akshya Pragya ji (left) and Samani Parimal Pragya ji.

Under the spiritual guidance of Samani Akshya Pragya Ji and Samani Parimal Pragya Ji, disciples of Acharya Mahashraman, community members learned the true meaning of the eight-day period of soul-purification and reflection celebrated by Jains worldwide. As Samani Akshya Pragya Ji explained, Paryushan is a festival of non-violence (ahimsa), resolution, self-purification, calming of negative emotions, forgiveness and social harmony. To achieve this “cleansing” of the atman (soul), Jain followers perform tapasya (fasting and other austerities), meditation, and chanting of special mantras, in addition to studying Bhagwan Mahavir’s life-story and Jain philosophy.
One main aspect of Paryushan is performing “Pratikraman” (literal meaning: ‘to turn back’). The purpose of Pratikraman is to reflect on one’s actions, ask forgiveness for sins, and vow to minimize such activities in the future. The concept of “Michammi Dukkadam” is central, which means to humbly and whole-heartedly ask forgiveness for whatever misdeeds or harms we have caused  knowingly or unknowingly to all living beings through thoughts, words and deeds. Likewise, we freely seek  forgiveness from  all living beings for the same.

Daily Paryushan activities at JVB included twice-daily discourses, chanting, meditation, and Pratrikraman. To encourage study of religious topics, the respected Saminijis devised fun activities such as “Kaun Banega Pragyawan” (Who wants to become spiritually knowledgeable?).  Participants young and old learned facts about Jain traditions and then answered questions in the style of the popular game show.

Another challenge to enable self-study and reflection was an assignment for team presentations on four important concepts of Jain philosophy, including Dharma, Samyak Darshan (right perception), Purusharth (self-effort), and Anand(bliss). Team members sincerely and thoughtfully discussed how these subjects are commonly perceived versus how they are discussed in the scriptures, followed by lively debate.

Overall, the vibrations of inner peace and spiritual cleansing were felt by all during the Paryushan festival at JVB Preksha Center .

Regular  activities of the Center include bi-weekly Gyanshala classes for children, co-ed and ladies-only yoga, meditation, study groups and discourses. Every Tuesday, from 10am to 2pm, a program specifically designed for those seeking to dive deeper into spirituality  is held, which includes mantra chanting, meditation, relaxation (kayotsarg), lunch,  religious discourses, and discussions.

On the 2nd Saturday of every month there is a free half -day  Preksha Meditation workshop led by the respected Samanijis. This month it will be on September 10th. The next big event will be the Annual Day Celebration on October 16.

For more information  visit www.jvbhouston.org or  call  Samanijis  at +1 281-596-9642  The JVB Preksha Meditation Center is located at 14102 Shiller Road, Houston, TX 77082. – News & Images Courtesy: Indo American News

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Post Author: JHC