The Paryushana Parva

Two of the most important festivals for the jains are Paryushana and Diwali. Diwali is celebrated to commemorate the nirvana of Lord Mahaviara on the amavasya of the Kartika month. What is the historical basis of Paryushana?

Its origin is related to the staying of the monks in one place for the rainy season. "Paryushanaa" is staying of the monks in one place. In popular terminology this stay is termed "chaturmaasa" because the rainy season is regarded to be about four months. However the minumum duration of Paryushanaa is regarded to be 70 days. For this minimum duration, Paryushanaa must be initiated by panchami (fifth day) of the shukla phase of the Bhadrapada month. In the scriptures it is described that Lord Mahavira used to start Paryushanaa on Bhadrapada Shukla panchami.

The date for the Paryushana festival is thus Bhadrapada Shukla panchami for both major sects. Because of computational and other differences there can be some minor differences among various subsects. Recently there have been an attempt to get everyone to agree to use the same date.

Because at this time the monks have settled in the town for a longer duration, it is time for the householders to have an annual renewal of the faith by listening to the statement of the Dharma and by meditation and vratas (self-control). In the Digambaras, it is done by starting a 10-day period from Paryushana (Bhadrapada Shukla panchami) during which the dashalakshana vrata is undertaken. In the Swetambaras an 8-day festival is celebrated that ends with Bhadrapada Shukla panchami. The last day is called Samvatsari, short for Samvatsari Pratikramana, as described below.

During the 8-day festival, the Kalpa Sutra is recited in the Swetmbara sect, that includes a recitation of the section on birth of Lord Mahavira on the fifth day. In the Digambara sect the Tatvartha-sutra of Umaswati is recited. On the dashami, the sugandha-dashami vrata occurs. The Digambaras celebrate Ananta- chaturdashi on the chaturdashi, special worship is done on this day. Many towns have a procession leadinbg to the amin temple.

The original Prakrit(ardha-magadhi) term for Paryushana is "Pajjo-savana". Remember that in case of Jain terms, the prakrit forms of the words are the original.

Pratikramana (Samayika): Renewal meditation

Pratikramana means turning back. It is a form of meditation where one reflects on his spiritual journey and renews his faith. For both Swetambaras and Digambaras, it takes the form of periodic meditation. The period can be twice daily (morning and evening), once every lunar phase, every four months, or every year. The annual Pratikramana in some form is the minumum for a Sravaka.

The annual Pratikramana is Samvatsari Pratikramana, in short Samvatsari. Since it coincides with Paryushana, the terms "Samvatsari" and "Paryushana" are sometimes used interchangably.

Pratikramana includes

  • Samayika: to stay in equanimity by withdrawing to the self.
  • Prayers to the Five Supremes, 24 Jinas and the 4 mangalas, including the Dharma as presented by the ancient Masters.
  • Prayer to the Master(Guru) or the Deity.
  • Reflections on vratas and past transgressions.
  • Kayotsarga: detachment from the body by controlling it.
  • Pratyakhyan: making resolutions for the next period (next year for Samvatsari Pratikramana).

    The detailed recommended procedure can be found in the handbooks. Detailed Pratikramana takes about 3 hours, however all essentials can be done in a much shorter time if needed.

    Pratikramana is also sometimes termed Samayika in the Digambara tradition.

    By tradition certain postures are recommended for Pratikramana. They can be found in the handbooks.

    Dasha-Lakshana Vrata

    This is a vrata that celebrates 10 components of the dharma: Noble kshama (forbearance), mardava (gentleness), arjava (uprightness), shaucha (purity), satya (truth), sanyam (restraint), tapa (austerity), tyaga (renunciation), akinchanya (lack of possession) and brahmcharya (chastity), as described by Umaswati.

    In the full form, it is a 10 day vrata that spans 10 years. It may be undertaken during Shukla Panchami to Chaturdashi of Bhadrapada, Magh or Chaitra. However it it common to do it during Bhadrapada, in which case it starts with Paryushana.

    Requesting Forgiveness

    At the conclusion of the festival, the Sravakas request each other for forgiveness for all offenses committed during the last year. This occurs on the the Paryusha day for the Swetambara and on Pratipada (first) of Ashwin Krashna for the Digambara.


    Yuvacharya Mahaprajna, Need for solving the problem of Samvatsari, Tirthankara Vani, V.1, N. 1. (Hindi)

    Kapurchand Jain, Is Dashlakshana Parva in accordance with the scriptures?, Anekanta April, 1990, p.15.(Hindi)

    Padmachandra Sahstri, Paryushana and dashalakshana Dharma, Anekanta April, 1990, p. 17. (Hindi)

    C.R. Jain, Trans. , Ratnakaranda Sravakachar of Acharya Samantabhadra, 1917.

    Acharya Tulsi, Illustrated Sravaka Pratikramana, 1987.(Hindi)

    JAINA, Pratikraman, 1992.

    Kailashachandra Siddhanta-Shastri, Jain Dharma, 1985 (Hindi)

    Nirvana Sagar, Pratikramana-sutra, 1986.

    Vrata Tithi Nirnaya, Jata-Simha-Nandi.

    Yashwant K. Malaiya
    Back to Jain History Outline

    Why we say "Michchhami Dukkadam" by P. Gada

    Before I start on this I, myself want to say "Michchhami Dukkadam" to
    you all.
    My dear friends
    Let us understand what is meant by "Michchhami Dukkadam" and why do we
    say it?
    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. So concept behind saying or writing
    someone "Michchhami Dukkadam" is that if I have done any harm to you
    then those bad deeds to be forgiven (be fruitless).
    Those who did traditional Samvatsari (yearly) Pratikrman would remember
    saying "Tassa Michchhami Dukkadam" at the end of many of sutras. There
    it meant that if I have committed any violations or transgressions
    related to those minor vows or so then those violations be forgiven (be
    The following is the prayer we say while doing Pratikraman:
    which has been read by readers of this list many times. Those who are
    born in Jain families are familiar with the meaning and theme behind
    it. But when it is read or heard by those who are unfamiliar with it,
    then it may loose some concept in it though there was good discussion
    in this list. So as per my understanding by including some more words I
    have tried to expand its meaning and the scope which would make it more
    "I forgive (from the bottom of my heart without any reservation) all
    living beings (who may have caused me any pain and suffering either in
    this life or previous lives), and I beg  (again from the bottom of my
    heart without any reservation) for the forgiveness from all living
    beings (no matter how small or big to whom I may have caused pain and
    suffering in this life or previous lives, knowingly or unknowingly,
    mentally, verbally or physically, or if I have asked or encouraged
    someone else to carry out such activities). (Let all creatures know
    that) I have a friendship with everybody and I have no revenge
    (animosity or enmity) toward anybody."
    Why do we say "Michchhami Dukkadam"?
    If we reflect back on ourselves we would realize that our mind is
    continuously busy either thinking on something which may be near to us
    or could even be as far away as the other end of the world, talking or
    doing physical activities. This thinking, our words or our physical
    activities would be reflection of our happiness, sorrow, anger, greed,
    jealousy, and egoism, etc.  And, depending upon how we react to those,
    we attract various types of new karmas to our souls. No prudent person
    would like to attract bad karma and at certain stages any karma at all.
    It is not as easy as turning off a light switch but we have a choice to
    minimize our damage so that things would be more conducive for our
    social and spiritual uplift which should ultimately lead to salvation
    or liberation from this worldly life of any kind.
    Buzz word is "minimizing the damage to our soul". Jinas had explained
    that along with other karmas we should be careful that the bondage of
    Mohniya karma. Among all the subtypes of Mohniya karma we should be
    very still more careful about bondage of Anantanubadhi kashay Mohniya
    karmas (this does not means that other subtypes are acceptable.).
    Anantanubadhi kashay Mohniya karmas are accumulated not only when our
    passions (anger, ego, deceit, and greed) are sever while carrying out
    our actions but if we donM-^Rt repent for our other actions within one
    year of them. This Anantanubadhi kashay Mohniya karmas obstruct right
    belief and right conduct which are necessary ingredients to start the
    beginning of spiritual uplift which would ultimately lead to
    liberation. As a human we are able to recognize this factor better than
    other living beings and therefore we shall take continue to take
    advantage of knowing this secret to put us to advantageous level.
    Earlier discussion explained how  "Michchhami Dukkadam" can affect the
    type of nature of karmas, but there is also another reason to say
    "Michchhami Dukkadam".  The physical bondage of karmas can be loose
    (sithil), tight (gadha), tighter(nidhatta), and tightest (nikachit).
    The loose, tight bondage can easily be shed off by repenting and
    apologizing for our deeds which caused them. The moderate bondage can
    be shed off by austerity while sever bondage can be only shed off by
    suffering the results of those karmas. Now going back to realize before
    we say "Michchhami Dukkadam", first we realize to that me have or might
    have done some harms to others and regret for doing so and then we feel
    sorry for doing so and want to apologize for the same. So these
    repenting and expressing apology by saying  "Michchhami Dukkadam" would
    help us to get rid off some of our karmas ahead of time which can
    change our future for a better.
    While we are in mood to be a better person we can do a little more
    contemplation and it would put on a different path. So I am taking an
    opportunity to add a few more words which should go along with
    friendship. Those contemplation including freidship are:
     1) Maitri Bhavana (Thinking of being a Friend)
    2) Pramod Bhavana (Thinking of Appreciation)
    3) Karuna Bhavana (Thinking of Compassion)
    4) Madhyastha Bhavana (Think to staying neutral or uninvolved)
    Let us understand how these bhavanas play important roles in our lives,
    how they can keep us away from bad karmas, and ultimately how they can
    improve our overall chances to uplift our souls.
    1. Maitri Bhavana  (Thinking of a Friendship)
     Jinas had taught us, "We must be a friend to all living beings." The
    feeling of friendship brings love and respect for others. It, also,
    initiates a feeling of brotherhood among all and in turn leaves no room
    for harm, deceit or quarrelsomeness with anybody. If we contemplate on
    Maitri Bhavana our thoughts, words, and actions will not be harsh, and
    we will not hurt anybody. On the contrary, we will support and protect
    everybody. Friendship will lead us to be tolerant, forgiving, and
    caring for one another. Therefore by developing a friendship with all
    living beings, we will avoid bad karma.
    2. Pramod Bhavana   (Thinking of Appreciation)
     In this bhavana, we admire the success of our friends, spiritual
    leaders and Arihants. One of the most destructive forces in our lives
    is jealousy. However, friendship combined by admiration, destroys
    jealousy . As jealousy subsides, negative impulses are turned into
    positive ones, and in time, you will be at peace.
    3. Karuna Bhavana  (Thinking of Compassion)
     Instead of succeeding, many of our friends may be getting into trouble
    for things they should not be doing, and even those who are successful
    may be accumulating vices such as greed and ego. If such is the case
    then, they are not on the right path, and may they are weak, helpless,
    and in distress. At a time like this, you should contemplate on the
    karuna Bhavana and show compassion towards them instead of being
    disgusted towards them or hating them. Show them a right path with
    patience, tolerance, and forgiveness and offer them the needed support.
    In this way, not only will you be avoiding bad karma, but so will your
    4. Madhyastha Bhavana (Think of staying neutral or uninvolved)
     Life appears to be nothing but involvement. Sometimes life works out
    favorable and sometimes it does not. So when the things donM-^Rt workout,
    instead of getting disappointed, angry, or more involved, you should
    contemplate on Madhyastha Bhavana which leads to feeling that M-^QI did my
    best to resolve the situation.M-^R If someone does not want to understand,
    then leave him/her alone without getting further involved. You should
    simply hope that one of these days, he/she may understand and change.
    By observing Madhyastha Bhavana, you will remain in equanimity, instead
    of provoking turmoil in your mind. When your mind stays neutral and
    uninvolved it keeps karma away.
    In short, you can avoid influx of bad karma and stay in peace while
    living in worldly life by developing a friendship towards all living
    beings, admiring their success, holding their hands when they are in
    distress, and leaving them alone at times when they do not understand
    what is right or wrong.
    So, until it becomes the natural way of life to observe the above
    bhavanas, one should contemplate on:
    as many times as needed. If there is a goal, then there will be an
    "Michchhami Dukkadam"