Felix solemnly said, “My friends, I am sorry if I have hurt or wronged you in any way.”
With a puzzled frown, Scorch replied, “Why are you apologizing? You haven’t done anything wrong!”
“Well, I have been reading up on Paryushana, a festival of the Jain community,” said Felix.
India is home to several diverse religions. One such religion is Jainism. About 0.72% of India’s population belongs to the Jain Dharma. Did you know Jainism is one of the three most ancient Indian religions still practiced today? It is thousands of years old. According to Jainism, the path to enlightenment is through non-violence or ahimsa.
Paryushana Parva or Das Lakshana Dharma is observed during the monsoon months. During this period, Jain monks and nuns stop moving from place to place and instead settle down with a community. Regular people go to them for religious guidance and instruction.
There are two sects in Jainism: the Svetambaras and the Digambaras. The Svetambaras observe Paryushana for eight days. After the festival is completed for the Svetambaras, the Digambaras celebrate it for ten days. Tapa or fasting, Prayashchitta or atonement (making amends), and Kshamapana or forgiveness are the important aspects of Paryushana. Through fasting, Jains purify their bodies, especially from their bad deeds (karma). Along with this, the people listen to the Kalpasutra, an important Jain text, being read by the monks and nuns.
For both sects, Paryushana ends with a day called Kshamavani for Digambaras or Samvatsari for Svetambaras. On this day, Jains seek forgiveness from all living things for any mistakes committed. To do this, they use the phrase ‘Micchami Dukkadam’.