Paryushan 2023: Date, Significance, Rituals Of The Jain Festival
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One of the most important Jain festivals, Paryushan is celebrated all over the world by both Shwetambar and Digambar Jain communities, especially in Indian states like Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. The Shwetambar Jain community celebrates Paryushan for eight days, while the Digambar Jain community celebrates it for 10 days. According to the Hindu calendar, Paryushan falls on the Shukla Paksha of Bhadrapada, which generally falls in the months of August and September in the Gregorian calendar. Here is everything you need to know about Paryushan 2023, its date, significance and much more. 

As per Digambar legends, Paryushan 2023 is also known as Das Lakshana Dharma, and is celebrated for 10 days. The 10th day of Paryushan, according to this community, coincides with Anant Chaturdashi (the date on which Ganpati Visarjan takes place at the end of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival) and is called Samvatsari. In 2023, Paryushan will be celebrated from September 12 to September 20 as per the Shwetambar Jain community calculations. 

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The Historical Significance Of Paryushan 

According to Jain myths and legends, Paryushan 2023 originated when Jain monks of all sects came together to stay in one place for the long rainy season called Chaturmasa. Today, Paryushan 2023 is celebrated by both Shwetambar and Digambar Jains to reconnect with the essence of one’s soul, purge the soul of negativity and seek absolution for past sins. So, the festival of Paryushan 2023 involves taking a vow or pledge to make amends for the past and move on to the future with the resolve to do better.  

Each day of the Paryushan 2023 festival involves specific rituals that can help devotees along their path to absolution. For example, on the third day of Paryushan, a procession of the Kalpa Sutra is held to signify the sacred dreams Trishala, Lord Mahavira’s mother, had while he was still in the womb. The 10th day of Paryushan 2023 also signifies the attainment of Nirvana by the 12th Jain Tirthankara Vasupujya. So, as each day goes by during the Paryushan festival, devotees evoke prayers and fasts to honour ancient rituals as per Kalpa Sutra texts. 

Rituals Of Paryushan 2023 

Since Paryushan 2023 is a festival that helps connect people to their soul’s essence and improve lives, the rituals of the festival are centred around fasting, meditating and praying. During Paryushan 2023, Jains of all sects fast to purify their body and soul by removing all temptations that bind them to the world. The days of fasting during Paryushan are concluded on Samvatsari, when after days of self-reflection and purification, Jains ask for forgiveness for past sins and make vows for the future. In 2023, Samvatsari is expected to fall on September 19 or September 20 depending on Muhurat timings. 

During the days of Paryushan 2023, all Jain devotees are expected to keep an intermittent fast, broken by only one sattvik meal in a day before sunset. As you may already know, Jain dietary restrictions say that the consumption of non-vegetarian foods, tubers, etc is not allowed. During Paryushan 2023, which coincides with monsoon season, this list of foods that are not allowed for consumption also includes green vegetables. Even the water consumed during Paryushan is supposed to be boiled before consumption. So, the sattvik diet of Jain devotees during Paryushan 2023 is even more limited and restrictive, keeping complete purification of the body and soul in mind. 

This apart, all Jain devotees are expected to meditate, practice non-violence and restrain anger during Paryushan 2023. This process is known as Pratikaman, a two-and-a-half hour period of prayer and meditation, and its sole purpose is to seek forgiveness for past sins and raise the self-awareness that these don’t get repeated. The Micchami Dukkadam text is recited during Paryushan 2023 after the Pratikaman. It is also ritual practice during Paryushan to listen to Jain monks reciting prayers at temples and monasteries.