Paryushan

Paryushana (Magadhi Prakrit: पज्जोसण Pajjosavana) is an important Jain festival celebrated in the month of August or September.

Normally Śvētāmbaras refer to it as Paryushana, while Digambaras refer it as Das Lakshana. Paryushana means “abiding, coming together”. The duration of Paryusana is for eight days for Swetambar jains and ten days for jains belonging to the Digambara sect.

Paryusana is a time when the laity take on vows of study and fasting with a spiritual intensity similar to temporary monasticism.

The date for the Paryushana festival is Bhadra shukla chaturthi. For this minimum duration, Paryushana must be initiated by panchami (the fifth day) of the shukla paksha phase of Bhadra. The last day is called Samvatsari, short for Samvatsari Pratikramana. Because of computational and other differences, there can be some minor differences among various sects. It comes at the time when the wandering monks take up temporary residence for the monsoon period or “cāturmāsa” “four-month”. 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). Digambara Jains starting a 10-day period from Bhadra shukla panchami, during which the dashalakshana vrata is undertaken. Śvētāmbara celebrate an eight-day festival that ends with Bhadrapada shukla chaturthi.

During the 8-day festival, the Śvētāmbaras Murtipujaki recite the Kalpa Sūtra, which includes a recitation of the section on birth of Mahavira on the fifth day. Some Śvētāmbara Sthanakvasis recite the Antagada Sutra, which details the life of great men and women who attained moksha during the eras of Neminatha and Mahavira.

The Digambara Jains recite the Tattvartha Sutra (compendium of Jain principles). On dashami, a sugandha-dashami vrata is made. Digambaras celebrate Ananta chaturdashi on which a special worship is done. Many towns have a procession leading to the main Jain temple. Anant Chaturdashi marks the day when Lord Vasupujya attained Moksh(nirvan).