Paryushana-Parva explained by Harkishan mehta – [email protected]

Paryushana-Parva is the holiest time of the year for Jains. It originates from the time that monks settled in one place over the rainy season.

To mark this settled period, Jains review their faith by meditating, praying and fasting. Depending on the sect of Jainism this period of dedication lasts for eight or ten days.

Festival of forgiveness
Me-cham-me du-kah-dum (phonetically spelt)

I give forgiveness to any being that has caused me any mental, emotional, or physical pain knowingly or unknowingly in this lifetime or at any point in time. I give forgiveness to: (include human and animal beings) I ask for forgiveness anytime I have caused pain to anybody mentally, emotionally, or physically at any time.

Eight days of activities:

First day

“Many start fasting to cleanse the body and to have time for introspection.”
One could choose one of the following plans:
(1) Follow a vegetarian diet, but without under the ground vegetables, dairy products and egg products; or
(2) Eat only one meal or no meal per day (vegetarian as above); or
(3) Plan to fast one or more days, except water, and follow one of the other plans on days that you do not fast.

It is easier for most working people to follow plan (1) or (2).

What can I do today to begin to cleanse my body?
What is my food plan for the full eight days?

Second day

“We consider our own self, our moods. We work on overcoming projections, paranoia. And on having a feeling of amity.”

Am I able to recognize those patterns in myself that I desire to overcome? Was that the other person who felt/acted that way, or was it me? What can I do (what have I done) today to overcome those feelings that I want to transcend? Can I forgive (have I forgiven) myself for having these lessons? (You can be as specific as you want to be.)

Third day

“Is for introspection on relations with others. Whom have we hurt in thought, word or deed? Include animals, plants and the whole universe. Compassion and non possessiveness are part of this contemplation.”

Am I getting along with other living things, in the respectful manner that I aspire to operate in? Am I aware of the power of thoughts as well as words and actions? Am I able to remember that each living entity has the right to be free and to make its own decisions? Is this my cat, my dog, my child, my spouse, my friend? Have I been unintentionally hurtful or disrespectful? Can I forgive myself and change a small part of how I relate to others, and to myself?

Fourth day

“Is to check out our ego . . . In order to have accurate, inner perception. We meditate on equanimity . . . The healer and peacemaker.”

Am I the center of my universe? Do things have to be done my way? What is the most important factor in the aspects of growth that I am working on? Can I meditate on and project the energy of harmony that will bring inner peace, outer peace, and world peace? Can I do my small part? How can I do it? When and where do I begin?

Fifth day

“Is to look at greed. Do we always want more? Do we share? Do we appreciate the good in ourselves . . . And in others? Appreciation sweeps out jealousy, and clears the ground for acceptance.”

Do I need to look at any issues of greed at this time? Do I already have that I need? In what area(s) do my “greedy” tendencies lie, i.e. Food, money, things, etc.? Am I appreciative of what I have? Do I rejoice in the happiness of others? Do I rejoice in my own happiness? Do I give thanks for all the blessings that I have in my life in the current moment, and in the future? Today I shall give thanks!!! And, I shall give something back to the universe!!!

Sixth day

“People think of the Tirthankaras. The souls who once struggled, overcame their inner enemies. And reached freedom, omniscience. This helps us to be inspired. If they were able to do it . . . So can we.”

Thoroughly study your personal choice(s) of spiritual reference at this time, during the festival; whether it is Mahavira, Buddha, Krishna, Christ etc. See how they attained enlightenment. Practice being with that loving, forgiving and compassionate energy, as your role model for your own personal evolution.

Seventh day

“Especially . . . The people go to be with the teacher, and to absorb the teaching with openness. They aspire to put into practice the teaching . . . To transform a mental idea into one’s own inner experience.”

Review in your mind, the truths of the universe; irrespective of your personal religious belief system. There is only one truth; but there are many ways of expressing it. Get in touch with universal truths, such as the universal teaching of . . .
Love is all, and all is love!

Eighth day

“Is the special day for forgiveness. Whether in person, by letter or phone, in meditation or prayer we forgive and ask for forgiveness. If a person will not give forgiveness, there is no need to worry; you have untied the knot from your end, but you must feel deep, sincere forgiveness and have a feeling of love for the other . . . And yourself.”

Choose how to implement your personal plan to reach those people whom you want to receive forgiveness from, or give forgiveness to; whether you choose to send a letter, call them on the phone, or send the message via prayer and meditation. List these beings freely (this is your own personal workbook that others will not see – therefore, you can be as specific as you wish to be). Most important is to feel the forgiveness in your heart, your mind and within your whole being. Let go of the old hurts, and the old conditions.

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