September 16, 2015
Jains are observing a spiritual fast, called Paryushan Parv, this holy festival is neither related to any great Jain saint or to a historical event. According to them it is a celebration of the natural qualities of the Soul. Just like the Soul does not have a beginning or an end, Jains believe that Paryushan does not have a beginning or an end.
Paryushan falls three times a year. However, it is only celebrated once, around August or September. “A majority of Jains are into business and for most of us business is slow at this time of the year. These months are regarded as off peak season for our business. This makes it ideal for us to take some time off for spiritual pursuits,” Dinesh Kumar, a Jain businessman says.
Coincidentally, this time of the year is also the monsoon retreat for Jain monks and nuns in India. During this period of the year, insects flourish and avoiding long distance travel, Jain monks and nuns choose to reside in one city or community. By doing so the Jain monks and nuns believe that they are minimizing trampling or harming living beings.
Jains belonging to the Digambara sect and Swetambar sects observe Paryushan for ten and eight days respectively. During these days they observe ten virtues like forgiveness, charity, simplicity, contentment, truthfulness, self-restraint, fasting, detachment, humility and continence. During this eight and ten day period, some Jains choose to observe fasting on all the days where they consume only boiled water at specific times of the day.