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Paryushan Parv and Divine Fasting Recipes

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Paryushan parv- Day One – Uttam Kshama or Forgivness Day

Anupama Jain

It was a humid September afternoon. September is the month of various religious festivals like Ramadan, Ganesh Chaturthy and Jain Paryushan parva etc. but in spite of this, an uneasy calm prevailed in the atmosphere. My car was passing through the busy street and my hands carefully moving on the wheels ,I was also listening to the radio news ,a news reader with concerned voice was giving a sad account of a hostage drama where terrorists took hostage of a mother and her three kids My heart went for poor mother and her innocent kids. . It saddened me more. Nowadays everybody talks about earth being a global village but are we getting devoid of sentiments of non-violence, compassion and peaceful co -existence?.They are totally forgotten in this global village. Where are we heading for?. Suddenly I heard the sound of temple bells and devotional songs .Amidst that sound and chanting of Namo kar mantra, I saw images of some serene looking jain monks slowly descending from temple steps followed by the stream of devotees. I got down from the car ,bowed before revered monks and whispered Namostu! I was told that Muni maharaj jee were going for pravachans( Sermons) Yes, this is the period of auspicious paryushan parv – A jain festival of self upliftment ,self purification and forgiveness I prayed to god- give those terrorists “sadbudhee” and free those poor souls from their clutches . And gradually pious aura of monks overshadowed those thoughts of sadness and despair ,with a ray of hope positive thinking took the front seat as if a message has been delivered from the protector almighty- Don’t worry- Be good and do good karmas and everything will be ofine Like all other religions of the world, Jainism very strongly propagates principles of non-violence, peace, love, compassion and peaceful coexistence it would be more appropriate to say that these tenets are the basis or the mool mantra of Jainism. It preaches that we should not harm not only humans but any living being by our thoughts and words let alone by our deeds.( Man – Wachan – Kaya )
Fasting is the important part of this process of self upliftment .According to jain scriptures, it is necessary for spiritual growth as well as it purifies the body and mind and bring freshness and agility but before we share some wonderful pious or satvik recipes for this special period of enlightenment, let us first concentrate on A B C of Paryushan Parva for a while
The Jain community ,whether they are in living in downtown of Delhi- Chandni Chowk or Manhattan -New York , Australia or Dubai, they celebrate this religious function with same fervor everywhere annually. This festival popularly known as  Paryushan Parva celebrated every year in the auspicious month of  Bhadrapad of the calendar extends from the fifth day to fourteenth day (Panchmi to Chaturdashi) of the bright fortnight. The festival ordains the Jains to observe the ten universal supreme virtues in daily practical life. Besides assuring a blissful existence in this world and the other world for every living being, it aims at the ultimate that is- attainment of salvation – the supreme ideal for mundane soul. The non-Jains also express high respect for this Jain festival. All members of Jain community- high and small, young and old, and males and females, participate with full enthusiasm in the various religious rituas and cultural programs. In these days Temples are filled with devotees, even small kids are encouraged to visit the temples daily. In the early hours devotees perform poojas and Abhishekam and in the evenings listen the holy sermons of the saints and learned Jain scholars during the ten-day festival. During this festival all activities, that pollutes the world with social discord or bitterness are specially declared taboo. It will be more appropriate to describe this festival Celebration of Human values -brotherhood ,compassion and peace. These celebrations harbinger social harmony and amity and propagate the essence of Jainism that is Live and let Live and Ahimsa.
The word Paryushan is derived from par-means- all kinds, and ushan-means-,to burn  hence to burn or shed all types of karmas, Jains celebrate these holy days by practicing renunciation, austerities, donation, meditation and scripture reading. In nutshell it is a holy festival of self introspection self enlightenment with a ultimate desire for salvation or moksha.
Function is celebrated in Chaturmas or the four months of rainy season it is the only period for jain monks to settle in one place for a longer duration who otherwise are always on move, it is time for the householders- sharavak to have an annual renewal of the faith by listening to the sermons of the Dharma and by meditation and vratas (self-control).
The real purpose of the Paryushan is to purify our soul by staying closer to our own soul from all ten directions and to stay absorbed in our own-self (soul), to look at our own faults, to ask for forgiveness for the mistakes we have committed, and take vows to minimize our faults. At least for these ten days We try to minimize our worldly comforts,needs of our body (like food) and our business so that we can concentrate on our-self and try to move toward self upliftment
These ten days one by one is dedicated to ten best characteristics of the soul called Ten universal virtues ( 10 components of the dharma): Uttam Ksham (noble forgiveness), Uttam Mrdav (Humility or gentleness), Uttam arjav (straightforwardness or uprightness), Uttam Shauch (content – absence of greed or purity), Uttam Satya (truth), Uttam Sanyam (restraint of all senses), Uttam Tapa (austerities), Uttam Tyga (renunciation,charity), Uttam akinchan (non-possessiveness or lack of possession ) and Uttam Brahmacharya (celibacy or chastity) .From these ten virtues first three i.e uttam kshama ,uttam mardav and uttam arjav are calledemotions and sentiments. Next five i.e uttam satya,uttam shauch, uttam sanyam, uttam tap and uttam tyaag are called solutions and remedies for these emotions and last two virtues i.e uttam aakinchan and uttam brahmacharya are called essence of ten supreme virtues

The ten day celebration starts from uttam Ksham (noble forgiveness),by asking forgiveness from all living begins including human beings.animals,birds,insects even from plants for any mistake committed by own self , knowingly or unknowingly, with the unity of the mind, speech body (man, vachan ,kaya) It also include bestowing forgiveness to all living beings for their deeds.

And finally, let us talk about the simple satvik food which we are supposed to take in this holy period Satvik food is prepared with ingredients which cause least amount of violence. This type of food is said to have the qualities of filling the body and soul with the feelings of compassion, bliss spirituality and morality. This is a pure vegetarian food and it includes grains, lentils, fruits some vegetables and dry fruits.Most of jains doesn’t take onion, garlic and root vegetables . So specially these days one should take pious food which nourishes the body so that we can remain healthy and communicate more effectively with god and dedicate our self to the almighty as they say jaisa khaye anna ,waisa hoi man so, specially in these day jains are very particular about the food that they eat it should be simple satvik or pious food It should not contain even fresh vegetables and fruits. only dried pulses, lentils, dried spices ,dry fruits ,milk ,curd and pure desi ghee can be eaten. any chewable eatable after sun set is absolutely no-no. According to Jain scriptures, fasting is necessary for spiritual growth. It purifies the body and the mind and brings freshness and agility. Fasting does not mean skipping the food .It is done with a clear goal that of practicing an austerity to purify the body, to lessen karmic bondage, to attain spiritual growth – while skipping a meal, happens because one is having hectic day or has overeaten at the earlier meal. The feeling on days of upavas is one of power, resolve and spiritual growth, while the feeling on days when a meal is skipped is of deep hunger, exhaustion and so on. Though the acts are the same, different objectives produce profoundly different physical, psychological and spiritual outcomes. Hence the sages have ver clearly defined the types of fasting and the need to take on them in a pre-meditated approach.
Happy paryushan parva & may god be with you always
Paryushan parv- Day Four- Uttam Satya or NobleTruth Anupama Jain
There is no god higher than truth. ~Mahatma Gandhi.
On the fourth day of paryushan parva  Uttam Satya Day or the day of truthfulness we dedicate this day to the invincible force of truth .Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of satyagrah has once said I have nothing new to teach the world .Truth and Non -Violence are as old as the hills. All I have done is to try experiments in both on as vast scale as I could. And truly With the power of satyagrah, not only he overthrew the almighty British empire but he described his entire life as experiments with truth . Mahatma installed power of non violence and truthfulness i.e. the basic principles of Jain doctrine and this force made a frail, half clad man Father of our nation. The philosophy of Jainism specially, doctrine of non violence- Ahimsa and satyagrah – truthfullness had a significant influence on mahatma, as we all know that mahatma put these principles in practice in his fight for India’s freedom.
Satya literally means Sat, which means existence. Existence is a quality of the soul. Recognizing the soul’s true nature as it really exists and taking shelter in the soul is practicing Nischay Satya Dharma .As elderly has said- absence of truth or Lying leads to an influx of paap karma. If talking is not required, then one must not talk but If it is really required then only use the minimum of words, and all must be absolutely true. One should always observe restrained in speech or vaanee and always follow the path of truth, so said the learned persons.
In the Indian philosophy truth also means the concept of ever pure and ever free soul it flows naturally into the practice of non hurting any one’s sentiments Practice of truthfulness means truthfulness not only in words but also in thoughts and deeds and it purifies us. Truthfulness of heart begets of course, a state of the sensibility which we call the love of truth. It is a feeling of spontaneity, arises in the sensibilities of one whose heart is truthful in contemplating truth this feeling is not virtue. It is rather a part of the reward of truthfulness of heart. And practice of truthfulness in daily life definitely makes our life simple, tension free and contended.
Paryushan parv- Day Two-Uttam Mardav or Humility Day
Anupama Jain
HUMILITY IS SIGN OF STRENGTH, CONFIDENCE AND COURAGE
IT IS NOT ME BUT GOD ,JUST SAY THANK YOU TO GOD- although these words on telephone were uttered three years ago, but an expression filled with utmost humility ,still echoes in my mind. Theses words came from a person who was quite high on social ladder , I requested him to help a friend for a genuine task, that seemed quite impossible at that time but that gentleman’s words did the wonder and made that task possible. When I thanked that gentleman he absolutely ,was not willing to take the credit himself but owed it to God . The way he disowned the credit, it forced me to think about real hunmility. On the second day of Paryushan Parv i.e. Mardav divas or humility day that gentleman became synonymous for humility for me . When a humble person does something that is good or praiseworthy he does not want to take credit for goodness but owes it to god, he very truthfully acknowledge the fact that what he did came from god and that was possible only because god wanted it to be and the humble person that he is, he is willing to admit it or we can put in this way- Humility is nothing but truth, and pride is nothing but lying and as they say very truly God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble
Arrogance diminishes wisdom– Today we are celebrating Uttam Mardav divas. Mardav-means Tenderness or Humility (To observe the virtue of humility subduing vanity and passions.) It refers to the complete absence of self-conceit. Such self-conceit or pride may be due to one’s own superior caste, one’s family prestige, one’s own bodily beauty, learning, wealth, courage and bodily strength. Due to these various reasons, a person may entertain the feeling of self-importance and arrogance whenever a man with such arrogance is insulted by other persons, he may lose his temper and start abusing with disrespectful words or conduct. Even an ascetic may get offended and lose his control of mind in such circumstances. But he will become a victim of pride and self-conceit. Total avoidance of this feeling of pride is called Mardav or humility.

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