The Most Auspicious Jain Festival: Paryushan
Paryushan literally means to retreat from all sides towards yourself. It is the biggest and most important of all festivals for Jains across the world. Each year we celebrate it for at least eight days retreating from all worldly matters as much as possible and taking the time to come closer to ourselves. It is a time for silence, contemplation, reflection and realization. It is a time to cleanse our soul through meditation, soul-searching, self-study, fasting, compassion, seeking and granting forgiveness, etc.
On the last day, Jains observe a unique custom, where they ask every individual they may have offended during the year for forgiveness… a forgiveness that is born out of immense inner work.
Forgiveness is a virtue celebrated as the ornament of the brave. So they fold their hands and say “Micchami Dukadam” seeking forgiveness. Michchhami means to be fruitless (forgiven) and Dukkadam (Dushkrut) means bad deeds. Therefore the meaning of Michchhami Dukkadam is may my bad deeds (with you) be fruitless.
The following is the prayer we say:
“KHAMEMI SAVVE JIVE,
SAVVE JIVA KHAMANTU ME
METTI ME SAVVE BHUYESU,
VERAM MAJAHAM N KENAI”
It means: “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 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 befriend all in my heart without reservation and I have no animosity toward anybody.”
This year Paryushan starts on 29th August. I invite you all to take some time off and turn within to introspect deeply, honestly and entirely and write a letter of Micchami Dukaddam. This can be sent to your family, your friends, yourself, any Being or life… seeking forgiveness or even forgiving them and befriending them.
We hope you can take your own Paryushan. Tell us how you are getting closer to yourself.Posted with permission from www.srdivinetouch.org, an Affiliate organization of Spiritual Playdate.