To me, Jainism is a lifestyle more than a religion. The five main concepts I associate with Jainism are Forgiveness, Contentment, Non-violence, Truthfulness, and Centeredness (detachment or self-control). Needless to say, it is best to follow these all year round. These eight days are set aside for us to go inward and take some rest from the material world we are surrounded by.
Some of the observances for Paryushan in my family are:
- Food restrictions. No green vegetables, and of course no potatoes, onions, or garlic, since these are root vegetables. Eat before sunset. Lot of families have variations on the diet they follow. Some families do not eat paneer or fermented food; some don’t eat tomatoes. Consult with the adults in your family for the specific restrictions followed.
- Going inward. We do pratikraman in the evenings. If you don’t know pratikraman, I would suggest meditation.
- No TV, no radio. Parents would recommend this so that the senses are not outward. Give rest to all your senses (smell, sound, sight, touch). For today’s generation, I’ll need to add: no YouTube. 🙂
- No harm by your words, thoughts, or actions. Speak gently; don’t curse. Do not kill insects, escort them out gently.
- Listen to knowledge. Immerse yourself in learning about the higher self, and the purpose of life.
Fasting is a big part of Paryushan. In my family we have done fasting some years. When I was a teenager, I have done atthai, an 8-day fast, and a few years ago, a 3-day fast.
Hope folks who are married to Jains and are looking to join in their spouse’s observances (or those who are looking to learn) find this helpful.
We are a Sthanakvasi Jain family. Each family is different; some are strict in their observances, some are not. If you are a Jain, your practices may be slightly different. What do you do in your family special for Paryushan? Please leave a comment below and share.
If there’s anything else you’d like me to write about regarding Paryushan, let me know.