Jains begin their annual ‘Chaturmas’

Posted: 04.07.2017

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The Hindu Newspaper

 


Duty-bound: Jain community people taking part in a procession with the disciple of their religious teacher in Madurai on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: R. Ashok

 

Welcome the disciple of their teacher in Madurai

About 150 people of the Jain community in Madurai on Sunday welcomed the disciple of their teacher Acharya Mahashraman, Sri Pragyasri, for their annual ‘Chaturmas’, a festival that takes place between July and November.

The followers of the Terapanth sect marched from Vilakkuthoon to Muthiah Pillai Lane, carrying colourful flags preaching the dictum ‘Live and let live’. They chanted slogans as they reached Jain Terapanth Bhavan.

The period of Chaturmas, which means ‘four months’ in Sanskrit, usually has several followers fasting, listening to discourses about ‘karma’ (destiny) and engaging in discussions about ‘ahimsa’ (non-violence).

“This is a special month for us as we get to host one of the disciples. Our aim is to cater to the needs of the followers who observe fast. We give the disciples the food that we cook at home,” said Sapna Golchha, a resident of the city for 23 years.

According to the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Jain group, Ashok Jirawala, the disciples usually undertake a yatra (journey) following the instructions of their Acharya for eight months of the calender year to different parts of the country in order to spread the chief philosophies of Jainism. During the monsoon season, they rest in certain temples and ashrams and deliver discourses on the founding principles of their religion.

Several youngsters enthusiastically participated in the procession. Bhavesh Purad (14) said all religions must practise ahimsa. “We don’t worship idols. We only practise the axioms that our gurus teach us. The art of non-violence must be followed by all people irrespective of religion,” he said.

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