Paryushan - Festivals of the World | TheGhouseDiary.com
"Festivals of the World" is an educational series by Mike Ghouse since 1993. When we live in the same communities as neighbors, we might as well learn about each other. The best way to build cohesive societies is for its members to participate in festivities as well as commemorations of each other, or, at least understand each other's' joys and sorrows. Please note the simplicity in writing is designed for people of other faiths to learn and to know, so we can function cohesively.
Paryushan - a Jain festival of forgiveness
For the Jains, followers of Jainism, a world religion, this is the month of reflection. Some observe fasting for 9 days and some for 7 days. It is a time to review the past twelve months and acknowledge the good, bad and the ugly aspects of life, and begin it again with a clean the slate.
At the end of the 9 days, they celebrate on the 10th day and call is Dus Laxan, every Jain greets the other with “Jai Jinendra” followed by a powerful phrase “Michami Dukadam,” - let you and I clean our slates and start the new year afresh - Happy Paryushan!
Pariyushan is an annual festival that Jains celebrate all around the Globe, it is either seven or nine days celebration depending on the sect; Swetambra or Digambra, they observe fasting for seven days or 9 days and conclude it on Dus laxan, 10 blessings on the tenth day. Throughout the time they observe complete fasting and abstain from ill-will, ill-thoughts and ill-actions, just as Muslims do for a month in Ramadan and Hindus do during Navaratri. It is a beautiful way of refreshing our souls on an annual basis.
There is a beauty and joy in forgiving and be forgiven. It brings Moksha, Mukti, Nirvana, Nijaat, salvation and true freedom to every soul. Indeed, the idea of forgiveness is central to every religion; that was Jesus's focus, the dearest person to God is one who forgives, says Mohammad the prophet and Sri Krishna reiterates that throughout in Bhagvad Gita. If all the psychologists in the world were asked, what will bring the most freedom to the mankind, they may be tempted to say "Michami Dukadam".
"I forgive (without any reservation) all living beings (who may have caused me any pain and suffering either in this or previous lives), and I beg for the forgiveness from all living beings (no matter how small or big) to whom I may have, knowingly or unknowingly, caused pain and suffering (in thoughts, speech or action, in this or previous lives, or if I have asked, or encouraged someone else, to carry out such activities). (Let all creatures know that) I have friendship with everybody and have no revenge (animosity or enmity) toward anybody."
Michami Dukadam: Indeed, that phrase resonates with me. I had talked about the meaning of Michami Dukadam in several congregations.
In July 2013 when I had a heart attack, after recover I wrote this.
Here is an article about Ramadan - which has a similar essence.http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guestvoices/2009/08/ramadans_spiritual_discipline.html
***** Jainism is a full fledged religion like Hinduism and Buddhism and none is an offshoot of the other as it is often mis-understood. Jainism is contemporary of Buddhism. Both the faiths are life centered where one's deeds (Karma) determine his or her spiritual, physical and mental well being. Although Mahavir is referred to as God in common parlance, in the system, he is the 24th Tirthankara (the enlightened one - an equivalent of a messenger or a prophet in the Abrahimic traditions) who wrapped up the entire philosophy of the 23 earlier Tirthankaras. In Dallas, oops, it is in Fort Worth, we had an exhibition of the artifacts from that period at Kimball Art Museum several years ago, it was a fascinating experience.
Mahatma Gandhi's non-violence approach emanates from Jainism and the idea of validity of multiple paths of the foundation for pluralism ( www.foundationforPluralism.com) has its origin in the idea of Anekant Vaad from Jainism. We have a Jain Temple in Richardson, a suburb of Dallas, and if you want to enjoy the best vegetarian food, go to the temple on Sunday Mornings! I will have to figure out one in Washington D.C.,