What is Paryushan?
Paryushan is an 8 day festival in Jainism observed around August and September, depending on the lunar calendar. The word Paryushan has several meanings; ‘Pari’ means all kinds and ‘Ushan’ means to burn, so one meaning is to burn all kinds of karma. Another meaning of Paryushan is to get closer to one’s soul, through introspection, meditation, and austerities. Historically, Paryushan came about because of the monsoon season in India! During this time, Sadhus and Sadhvis do not travel because the frequent rain causes more insects to be around, increasing the chance that traveling could harm these small beings and create violence. In general, Jains historically stayed in one place during this time, so they had more time to focus internally.
Overall, Paryushan is a time in which Jains try to reduce their involvement with ‘worldly’ affairs like shopping, socializing, entertainment, and eating out. Instead, a Jain is supposed to spend the time focusing inward on their own soul, reflecting on their habits and actions and affirming their commitments to Jain principles. Many Jains achieve this inward reflection through going to temple, taking vows and fasting, reading scriptures, listening to lectures or “Vyakhyans”, and participating in rituals such as puja (Murtipujak Shvetambars) and Pratikraman (all Jains). The final day of Paryushan centers on forgiveness and is the day all Jains are asked to do “Samvatsari Pratikrmana.”
Stay tuned for more information about both Paryushan and Das Lakshan through YJA’s social media channels, and visit our website to find even more resources and information on local Jain center events!