Paryushan Maha Parva or the Daslakshana is the most important Jain festivals other than Mahavir Nirvan Diwas i.e. Diwali. It is celebrated in the auspicious month ‘Bhadrapad’ of the Hindu calendar.
The festival ordains the Jains to observe the ten universal supreme virtues (Daslakshana) in daily practical life.
For Svetambara Jains this festival is named as Paryushana and that for Digambara Jains it is named as Daslakshana.
‘Paryushan Parva’ is celebrated to purify our soul by staying closer to our own soul and look at our own faults. To ask for forgiveness for the mistakes that have been committed and take vows to minimize our faults in future. This festival shows the path of salvation.
Fasting During Paryushan :
During this festival, most of the Jains observe fast i.e. consume only boiled water or Ekasan i.e. having meal once in a day or Biyasana i.e. having meal once in a day, etc any time between sun rise and sun set. These can be done for a day or 30 days or even more.
Food Consumed during Paryushan :
Jains do not to eat any root vegetable like potatoes, onions, etc, vegetable of any kind and fruits during Paryushan. A few Jain people stops eating root vegetable throughout their life. Other than these, there are a number of restrictions on diet that Jain people follow during Paryushan. A few of these restrictions are as follows:
1. Drink boiled water.
2. Refrain from root vegetables like Potatoes, Garlic, and Onion.
3. Abstain the intake of fermented (soured) food.
4. Don’t take the green vegetables.
Pratikraman and Other Rituals :
There are several religious activities which are followed or carried out during Paryushan. One of them is the pratikraman which is one of the most important ritual. It is perform at sun rise and/or at sun set.
During pratikraman we say sorry for our non-meritorious activities on a daily basis. We realize our mistakes and ask for the forgiveness, which helps us to minimize the intensity of the karmas.
In current days it is difficult for many people due to the pratikramana daily. Therefore it is important to do the pratikramana on last day of paryushan. This annual pratikramana is known as Samvatsari Pratikramana.
Micchami Dukkadam and Kshamavani :
Michchhami means to be fruitless (forgiven) and Dukkadam (Dushkrut) means bad deeds. Therefore the meaning of Michchhami Dukkadam is my bad deeds (with you) be fruitless. In other words it means ” forgive me if I have caused you offence in any way, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought word or deed.
On the last day of Paryushan i.e. Samvatsari the Jain people pay request to each other and ask for forgiveness for all offenses committed during the last year by saying “Micchami Dukkadam” or “Uttam Kshama” to each other. This occurs on the Paryusha day for the Swetambara and on Pratipada (first) of Ashwin Krashna for the Digambara.