TEN UNIVERSAL VIRTUES
The Festival of
Self-Uplift by the Holy Observation of Ten Universal
The Jain community like
other communities throughout the world celebrates many social and
religious functions annually.
The superb Jain festival
popularly known as ‘Paryushan Parva’ organized every year in the
auspicious month ‘Bhadrapad’ of the Hindu calendar extends from the
fifth day to fourteenth day of the bright fortnight.
The festival ordains the
Jains to observe the ten universal supreme virtues in daily practical
Besides assuring a
blissful existence in this world and the other world for every living
being, it aims at the
attainment of salvation - the supreme ideal for mundane soul.
The non-Jains also express
high reverence for this Jain festival.
All members of Jain
community- high and low, young and old, and males and females, participate
with full vigor and zeal in the various religious rituals and cultural
They listen with rapt
attention to the holy sermons of the saints and learned Jain scholars
arranged during the ten-day festival.
In these celebrations lie
dormant the seeds of the well being, peace and
happiness of the common
On the eve of this
festival all activities, which add to social discord or bitterness are
declared taboo from the temple pulpits.
harbinger social harmony and amity and preach the lofty Jain motto ‘Live
and Let live’.
The ‘Paryushan Parva’
celebrated annually for self-purification and uplift is meant to
adhere to the ten
universal virtues in practical life; and leads us on the right path, far
the mad strife for
material prosperity, which ultimately leads us to our true destination
Two popular titles of this
festival, viz. (i) Paryushan Parva and (ii) Dash Lakshan Parva
are in vogue; but the mode of performance and aim of the festival is
According to Sanskrit
grammar the underlying idea of the festival and its interpretation is
dhante karmani yasimannasau paryushnm”
I.e., The celebration
through which the karmic matter attached to the soul is totally burnt or
vanquished (both internally and externally) is known Paryushan
Various meaningful and
sublime titles have been assigned to this festival in different
Jain scripture; e.g.,
festival which carries a special and greater significance; its
spread over a longer
duration and it is more soul-stirring than any other Jain festival.
- It is an
ancient and chief of all Jain festival.
Dash Lakshan Parva
The festival for the observance of ten universal virtues; viz.,
and celibacy, which aim at the uplift of the soul and are vividly
preached and practiced
during the festival.
The festival through which an attempt is made to put an end to all
vices, passions and
lustful desires in thought, speech and deeds.
festival in which one meditates upon the inherent virtues of the soul in
thought, speech and
action; or one attains peace of soul i.e., celestial peace.
- The festival in which an attempt is made to obtain peace
discarding all passions
and lustful desires through various means; and observe harmony in the soul
through the study of scriptures.
- This word
of Prakrit language carries the same meaning as explained in
The festival which is celebrated annually to subdue all passions and
lustful desires. This
title is popular to the Swaitamber sect of Jainism.
expression to the perfectly purified trait of the soul, through
which one gets rid of
worldly discords and allurements and one gets fully absorbed in the
eternal truth on
experiencing and realizing the true nature of soul.
In other words we can say
that the natural realization of the trio ‘the True, the Good and the
Beautiful’ is fully possible only through Paryushan. In fact the other
name of the Jainism, which is universal religion, is Paryushan.
This festival puts an end
to all evils in man; gives him realization of the eternal bliss, and
spiritualism becomes alive by the celebration of this festival.
Since times immemorial the
living beings have fallen prey to the bewitching worldly
They are involved day and
night in such a poisonous environment of lustful desires and sensuous
pleasures that despite being cautioned time and again, they fail to rid
themselves from the bondage of the net work of worldly illusions.
Jain Acaryas have,
through their sermons and ideal moral code of conduct, inspired the
mundane souls to keep aloof from the blemishes of the world, which breed
nothing but sorrow and misery for the mankind.
But the insatiable
ambition of man for sensuous pleasures, material comforts and luxurious
life has always allured him since antiquity. Consequently man has
bitterly failed to make
distinction between self and non-self, and to understand the real
nature of soul.
This festival has its own
age-old history, but nothing definite can be said about its origin and
since when it is being celebrated.
In fact, the celebration
of this festival is beyond the scope of known history.
The truth is that
spiritual matters like self-purification and renunciation cannot be
measured by Time scale.
When the auspicious month
of Bhadrapad comes every year, the whole Jain community celebrates this
festival unitedly without any difference of high and low, rich and poor.
The Digambaras and
the Swaitamberas, both sects of Jain community celebrate the
self-uplifting festival with great enthusiasm.
The fifth day of the
bright fortnight of the holy month of ‘Bhadrapad’ is auspicious for
celebrate this festival annually for ten days, from the fifth day to the
fourteenth day of the bright half of the month.
Whereas the Swaitamberas
celebrate it only for eight days, and the fifth day is the main day of
their celebrations held under the title ‘Samvatsari Parva’.
References about the
celebrations of ‘Paryushan Parva’ or Dash Lakhan Parva are
available here and there
in ancient literary books as well; which show that it has been a
popular festival since
The householders celebrate
it jointly suspending all their business, agricultural and commercial
activities for the time being.
A fine description of the
closing ceremony of this festival is available in the ‘Bhattarak’
era extending from 1350 AD to 1450 AD.
In that age the
house-holders got manuscript copies of the prominent holy books prepared
by the scholars, and offered these to the ‘Bhattaraks’ and their
disciples with due devotion at the end of ceremonies.
Even today ‘Dash
Lakshan Parva’ is the most suitable occasion for giving donations and
charities; and on the last day of the festival the house-holders observe
full day fast and make every attempt to donate to religious and social
institutions in cash or kind some thing within their capacity.
Very often the Jain
scholars viz. poets and writers get their literary works initiated during
the festival days and thus pay their homage to this grand festival.
‘Jin Datt Charit’
is an epic poem of Hindi language. The author of this literary work,
the great poet Raj Singh
finished this book on the holy day of 5th day, of the bright moon
of ‘Bhadrapad’ in
The learned poet Raj Singh
chose this day for the initiation ceremony of his great book simply to
immortalize the glory and significance of this day.
The following verse of the
poem throws ample light on the special significance
of ‘Dash Lakshan Parva’
in the 14th century.
‘Samvat terven chauvane
bhadav shudi panchami guru dine’
Jin Datt Charit
Similar to the modern age,
the Dash Lakshan Parva was celebrated with great zeal and joy
thousands of years ago as well; austerities viz. self-meditation, doing
penance, fasting and study of holy scriptures were performed during that
The householders purged
their soul by keeping fast on the last day of the ceremonies and
celebrated the closing ceremony with great pomp and show. When the ten day
celebration are over, this festival leaves behind deep impress on the mind
and heart of every Jain - young and old.
All Jains - Digambers
and Swaitambers, will celebrate this sacred festival forever
throughout India and abroad.
The former appear to have
the best pretensions to antiquity and cultural heritage and to have been
most widely diffused; the later have only as yet been traced as far back
as 5th century AD.
The former are almost
certainly the same as Nirgrantha, who are referred to in numerous
passages of Buddhist Pal Pitakas and must therefore be as old as
6th century B.C. rather earlier.
idea of exclusiveness appears to be one of recent growth. In fact, Jainism
is a prehistoric religion propounded by the first Tirthankara Lord
Aadi Nath. Upon all these grounds we think that the celebration of
Paryushan Parva is a holy tradition coming down from the ancient past
to the present times.
To sum up, Paryushan
Parva is a grand Jain festival of self-introspection,
self-enlightenment and self-achievement, which ultimately leads to the one
and only one final goal, i.e., liberation or salvation.
Do not minimize the value
of ideals. They appeal to the imagination, stir the heart,
stimulate the noblest
springs of action, but ideal and practical must be blended into one
harmonious whole. There
must be no divorce between the real and ideal.