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Jain Community of Las Vegas Observes Paryushan Mahaparva, a Celebration of Spiritual Awareness

Under the auspicious of Hindu Temple and Jain Center of Las Vegas, the Jain families belonging to the Swetamber Sect of the Jainism, observed holiest of the holy Parva – Paryushan Mahaparva – the celebration of spiritual awareness – fromAugust 15th to 22nd, 2020. The word Paryushan means suppressing our passions such as anger, ego, deceit and greed from all directions. The Paryushan festival lasts eight days. Paryushan is a time for self-analysis and soul searching. It provides a break from routine life and allows us to reflect and contemplate on our past  conduct according to the teachings of Jainism and to make a determination to lead a spiritually cleaner life in the future. Paryushan also reminds us that the life’s ultimate and highest aim is not the pursuit of materialism, but the attainment of Nirvana. Paryushan also provides us with an opportunity to practice non-violence (Ahimsa) to a greater extent than during the past year, by engaging in self-discipline, and by performing penance such as study of scriptures, partial or complete fasting, introspection and repentance. We think of PARASPAROPGRAO JIVANAM – meaning all life is bound together by mutual support and inter dependence. 

The last day of the Parva is called Samvatsari and on this day the Swetamber Jains do Pratikraman. The word Pratikraman means renunciation of violence and turning back to the self. Pratikraman involves self-analysis, self-improvement, self-realization and introspection, resulting in repentance for transgressions, renunciation of bad thoughts and actions and a resolve to gain strength to prevent such offences in the future.The ultimate aim of Pratikraman is to minimize the impact of our mistakes on our lives and to ensure that such mistakes are not repeated.

During the Paryushan Parva we had a number of people ranging from 3 years old to 75 years of age, doing complete fasting with/without drinking boiled water, eating once or twice before sunset and nothing thereafter until the sunrise next day. Its worth mentioning that the total number of people who did the Tapascharya during the Paryushan was 30 which is record for the Jain Center. It is hoped that this tradition will continue in the years to follow.

We had a total of 40 UPVAS, 60 EKASHANA and 32 BYASHNA. 

Submitted by Kirti Shah, a member of the Las Vegas Jain community.

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