Celebration of Daslakshan Parva (दसलक्षण पर्व)

Posted: 11.09.2010
Updated on: 30.07.2015

Celebration of Daslakshan Parva (दसलक्षण पर्व) by Jain Community in Dwarka

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Jain Religion, one of the oldest religions in the world, has its own significance and is widely known for its non-violence - Ahimsa paramo dharma (अहिंसा परमो धर्मः): ‘live and let live’ - which has its recognition in the Indian spiritualism.

Daslakshan Parva (दसलक्षण पर्व) is celebrated by the Jain community for self-purification and upliftment is meant to adhere to the ten universal virtues in practical life and leads us on the right path, far from the mad strife for material prosperity, which ultimately leads us to our destination i.e. salvation. This is the festival through which an attempt is made to put an end to all vices, passions and lustful desires in thought, speech and action. This is the festival in which ten universal virtues like forgiveness, contentment and self-restraint are venerated and worshipped for self -purification.

In this festival one mediates upon the inherent virtues of the soul in thought, speech and action or one attains peace of soul i.e. celestial peace. Besides this, in this festival an attempt is made to obtain peace discarding passions and lustful desires through various means and observe harmony in the soul through the study of scriptures. Jain community not only in India but in the whole world celebrates this Parva (पर्) annually to subdue all passion and lustful desires. It gives us an expression to the perfectly purified trait of the soul, through which one gets rid of worldly disorders and allurements and one gets fully absorbed in the eternal truth on experiencing and realizing the true nature of soul. In other words, we can say the natural realization of the trio Satyam (सत्यम), Shivam (शिवम्), Sundaram (सुंदरम) is fully possible only through Daslakshan Parva. This festival puts an end to all evils gives us realization of the eternal bliss, and spiritualism becomes alive by the celebration of this festival.

When the auspicious month of Bhadrapad (भाद्र पद) comes every year, the whole Jain community celebrates this festival without any difference of high and low, rich and poor. The Digambara (दिगम्बर) and Shvetambara (श्वेताम्बर) both sects of Jain community celebrates the self uplifting festival with great enthusiasm. During the Bhadrapada - Asvina month, i.e. generally in the month of August-September, Jain community observes Daslakshan Parva, not only in India but also in the whole world. This Parva purifies our soul and deeds. It has a great significance and importance in our life. The family members of the Jain community celebrate this parva for ten days. During these ten days from Bhadrapada Shukla Panchami to Anant Caturdashi (अनंत चतुर्दशी), Jains observe fast in various forms and give Dan (दान), which means alms. They leave certain things (Tyag, त्याग) and observe strictly the principles of the Parva. Each day of the Parva has its own importance.

Daslakshan Parva  is a festival of ten virtues observed by the Jains for 10 days (This year from September 12th to September 22, 2010 ). During these 10 days they strictly observe the following ten Dharma as written in Tattvarthadhigama Sutra (Chapter IX, Shloka 6) by Acharya Umaswami.   

उत्तमक्षमामार्दवार्जवसत्यशौचसंयमतपस्त्यागाकिच्ञवियब्रह्मचर्यानी धर्मः

The ten universal virtues of the daslakshan parva (दसलक्षण पर्व) are:

Ten Daslakshan Parva

Meaning

1. Uttam Kshama Dharma उत्तम क्षमा धर्मं 

Forgiveness

2. Uttam Mardav Dharma उत्तम मार्दव  धर्म  

Tenderness or humility

3. Uttam Arjava Dharma उत्तम आर्जव  धर्म

Honesty

4. Uttam Shauch Dharma उत्तम शौच  धर्म    

Contentment or purity

5. Uttam  Satya Dharma उत्तम सत्य  धर्म

Truthfulness

6. Uttam Sanyam Dharm उत्तम संयम  धर्म

Self-restraint

7. Uttam Tap Dharma उत्तम तप  धर्म    

Austerities or penance

8. Uttam Tyag Dharma उत्तम त्याग   धर्म  

Renunciation

9. Uttam Akinchan  Dharm उत्तम  अकिंचन  धर्म       

Non-Attachment

10. Uttam Brahmachary Dharm उत्तम  ब्रहमचर्य  धर्म         

Chastity

  • Uttam Kshama Dharma (उत्तम क्षमा धर्मं)  ‒ Supreme Forgiveness: To observe tolerance whole-heartedly, shunning anger.
  • Uttam Mardava Dharma (उत्तम मार्दव  धर्म)  ‒ Tenderness or Humility: To observe the virtue of humility subduing vanity and passions.
  • Uttam Aarjava Dharma (उत्तम आर्जव  धर्म) ‒ Straight-forwardness or Honesty: To practice a deceit-free conduct in life by vanquishing the passion of deception.
  • Uttam Shauch Dharma (उत्तम शौच  धर्म) ‒ Contentment or Purity: To keep the body, mind and speech pure by discarding greed.
  • Uttam Satya Dharma (उत्तम सत्य  धर्म) ‒ Truthfulness: To speak affectionate and just words with a holy intention causing no injury to any living being.
  • Uttam Sanyam Dharma (उत्तम संयम  धर्म) ‒ Self-restraint: To defend all living beings with utmost power in a cosmopolitan spirit abstaining from all the pleasures provided by the five senses - touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing; and the sixth - mind.
  • Uttam Tap Dharma (उत्तम तप  धर्म) ‒ Penance or Austerities: To practice austerities putting a check on all worldly allurements.
  • Uttam Tyag Dharma (उत्तम त्याग   धर्म)  ‒ Renunciation: To give fourfold charities, Ahara (food), Abhaya (fearlessness), Aushadha (medicine), and Shastra Dana (distribution of Holy Scriptures), and to patronize social and religious institutions for self and other uplifts.
  • Uttam Akinchan Dharma (उत्तम  अकिंचन  धर्म) ‒ Non-attachment: To enhance faith in the real self as against non-self i.e., material objects; and to discard internal Parigraha (परिग्रह ) viz. anger and pride; and external Parigraha (परिग्रह ) viz. accumulation of gold, diamonds, and royal treasures.
  • Uttam Brahmachary Dharma (उत्तम  ब्रहमचर्य  धर्म) ‒ Chastity or celibacy: To observe the great vow of celibacy; to have devotion for the inner soul and the omniscient Lord; to discard the carnal desires, vulgar fashions, child and old-age marriages, dowry dominated.

Jains salute and pray for these virtues. By saluting the virtues, we only receive inspiration for right path, true happiness and total freedom from worldly miseries of life.

The Jain community celebrates this festival with great zeal and joy and austerities viz. self-meditation, doing penance, fasting and study of Holy Scriptures are performed during the Parva. The house holders purged their soul by keeping fast on the last day on the Parva and celebrate the closing ceremony with great pomp and show. When the ten day celebrations are over, this festival leaves behind its deep impression on the mind and heart of every Jain - young or old. Kshamawani Diwas (क्षमा वाणी दिवस), a special function, is organized on the tenth day. It carries a message to all living and non-living creatures in the world to FORGIVE ourselves all the deeds we have done either knowingly or unknowingly if such deeds have ever given you any pain or hurt the feelings.

This is one of the most important festivals of Jain celebrated throughout the world. Its origin is related to the staying of the monks in one place for the rainy season. Paryushan (पर्यूषण) is staying of the monks in one place. In popular terminology this stay is termed Caturmasa (चातुर्मास) because the rainy season is regarded to be about four months. However the minimum duration of Paryushan is regarded to be 70 days. For this minimum duration, Paryushan must be initiated by fifth day (पंचमी) of the light half  (शुक्ल पाख) of the Bhadrapada month. In the scriptures it is described that Lord Mahavira used to start Paryushana on Bhadrapada.

In fact Daslakshan (ten virtues) Parva or the festival of ten virtues is the Paryushan festival celebrated by the Digambar Jains annually for self-purification and uplift. This Parva ultimately leads us to our true destination i.e., salvation. All Digambar Jain celebrate this Parva for ten days. It is the festival for the observance of ten universal virtues; viz., forgiveness, contentment, and celibacy, which aim at the uplift of the soul and are vividly preached and practiced during the festival.


Kshamavani (क्षमावाणी) - a day of forgiveness

At the conclusion of the festival, the Shravakas (श्रावक) request each other for forgiveness for all offenses committed during the last year.

In fact, Jainism is a prehistoric religion propounded by the first Tirthankar Bhagavan Adinath ji (तीर्थंकर   भगवान् आदिनाथ जी), i. e. Rshabha. Upon all these grounds we think that the celebration of Daslaksan Parva is a holy tradition coming down from the ancient past to the modern times. To sum up this Parva is a grand Jain festival of self -introspection, self-realization, self-enlightenment and self-achievement, which ultimately lead to one and only one final goal i.e. liberation or salvation. Daslakshan Parva is the most suitable occasion for giving donations and charities and on the last day of the festival the house -holders observe full day fast and make every attempt to donate to religious and social installations in cash or kind within their capacity.

The festival has its own age-old history, but nothing definite can be said about its origin and since when it is being celebrated. The truth is that spiritual matters like self-purification and renunciation cannot be measured by time scale.

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