Jainism is an eternal and natural religion. Historians also accept that it is one of the oldest living religions of the world. Like other religions it also has a rich tradition of festivals. There are two types of festivals-
”’Astanhika, Dashlakshan or Paryushan Parva”’ (Festival).
# Related to People ”’Mahavira Jayanti, Deepavali, Rishabha Jayanti”’ etc.
# Related to Historical Events- Raksha Bandhan, Veer Shasan Jayanti etc.
Dashlakshan Parva sometime called Paryushan also is neither related to any person nor any historical event. It is an eternal festival which is celebrated from very ancient time probably from the time of beginning of the nature. Normally eating, drinking and enjoying are associated with the festivals but Dashlakshan Parva is opposite to all of it. It is time to purify our soul by staying closer to own soul, to look at our own faults and take vows to minimize our sins.
According to our scripture it comes every year three times in Chaitra, Bhadrapada and Magha month of Indian calendar but we celebrate it in the month Bhadrapada more actively because it come in Varshayoga (Rainy season). The Dashlakshan of Bhadrapada starts from Bhadrapada Shukla Panchami [fifth day of bright half of Bhadrapada] and continue up to Chaturdashi of the same month [fourteenth day of the month] known as Ananta Chaturdashi. This day is most pious day and generally observed through fast or ekashan (taking food only once in a day) by entire Digambara Jain community. These dates normally occur in the month September of Gregorian calendar system.
Dashlakshan Parva is a festival of ten virtues. These ten virtues which are also known as ten dharmas are given below. In fact dharma is one and these are the ways through which we can reach near religion. These are arranged in specific order intensely because for regular development of soul and leaving the bad deeds or sins we are more comfortable in this order. First we escape ourselves from passions; we proceed towards Sanyam, Tapa, Tyaga etc. which are essential for the upliftment of our soul. Ten virtues are useful for all mankind without any discrimination on the basis of caste, religion, sex or country. The main reason of its utility and equal importance for all is its Karmic base. We must know that all the pleasures and sorrows of our life are due to the Karmas associated with our soul accumulated by us in the present or past life span. Unless we remove the bad karma (Paap) associated with our soul through Purushartha (Good efforts) or Tapa (Penance), we can’t get real pleasure and peace in our life. It is possible that we achieve something due to fruition of some good karma (Punya) but as soon as they end we again come in discomfort. Therefore it is very essential that we must know the ten types of dharmas which are practiced in Dashlakshan Parva and follow them in best possible manner. In fact practice of these virtues/dharmas is the real key of peaceful, prosperous, meaningful and safe life.
==”’Uttama Kshama”’ (Supreme Forgiveness)==
To observe tolerance whole-heartedly,shunning anger.
This means not to allow anger to rise and in case it does, then to render it ineffective through internal power. Total lack of anger with a state of equanimity is defined as the supreme forgiveness.
””’Forgiveness is the virtue of the brave not a coward””’
””’KSAHMA VIRASYA BHUSHANAM””’
Anger is the greatest enemy of soul and it is the root of all evils. Real forgiveness comes from within, without any feelings of reward. To forgive because of respect for elders and upbringing is not the highest kind of forgiveness (Uttama kshama), it is merely good behavior.
==”’Uttama Mardava”’ (Tenderness or Humility)==
To observe the virtue of humility.
Lack of pride, selfishness or ego is humility. Pride is the attitude of a superiority complex. Flattery is the main cause of pride. To show humbleness because of poverty or weakness is meekness, lowliness is not a true humility (Uttama Mardava). To accept what one is humility. A person should understand the difference between self respect and pride and not confuse them.
==”’Uttama Aarjava”’ (Straight-forwardness or Honesty)==
To practice a deceit-free conduct in life by vanquishing the passion of deception.
Lack of cunningness or a fraudulent attitude is defined as simplicity or straightforwardness. Only a weak person will resort to deceit, because he is afraid of being caught. To hide his deceit, he will resort to further deception. There is no synchrony between the thoughts, speech and actions of a cunning person. He thinks one thing, says something else, and acts absolutely in a different way.
==”’Uttama Shaucha”’ (Contentment or Purity)==
To keep the body, mind and speech pure by discarding greed.
Lack of greed is contentment. Greed is a desire to possess. It is the root causes of all sins and is as dangerous as anger for the spiritual development of a person. It is the strongest vice and the last one to conquer, persisting almost to the end of the spiritual path of purification.
After making a control over four passions, people try to develop positive virtues in their soul. Control of passion is essential for the introduction of forth coming virtues.
==”’Uttama Satya”’ (Truthfulness)==
To speak affectionate and just words with a holy intention causing no injury to any living being.
For most of the people truthfulness means not to lie but it is not complete. Absolute truth is in knowing the thing as it is, and not just to differentiate bad from good. The indepth understanding of Anekantwada is essential for following Uttama Satya. Syadvada is a way of presenting our views according to Anekanta.
==”’Uttama Sanyam”’ (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.
Control over violence caused by thoughts speech or physical means against all living beings and control over worldly pleasures is the true definition of self-control. Self-control can lead to liberalization.
==”’Uttama Tapa”’ (Penance or Austerities)==
To practice austerities putting a check on all worldly desires by several means.
Austerity or penance is the repentance of one’s sins. It is the fire, which burns and reduces the forces of Karmic dust to ashes. Austerities are of two kinds: a) the external types, which consist of physical restraints and, b) the internal types, which deal with mental purification.
==”’Uttama Tyaga”’ (Renunciation)==
To give fourfold charities – Aahara (food), Abhaya (fearlessness), Aushadha (medicine), and Shastra Dana (distribution of Holy Scriptures), and to patronize social and religious institutions for self and other uplifts. Renunciation is also defined as giving up possessions, both internal and external.
==”’Uttama Aakinchanya”’ (Non-attachment)==
To enhance faith in the real self as against non-self i.e., material objects; and to discard internal Parigraha e.g. anger and pride etc. and external Parigraha like accumulation of gold, diamonds, and royal treasures.
==”’Uttama Brahmacharya”’ (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, polygamy, criminal assault on ladies. Unlimited sexual desire is the root cause of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), AIDS and destruction of families. Being faithful to his/her life partner one may give the stability to his/her family.
During Dashlakshan Parva Shravaka- Shravikas try to follow the above virtues on the concerned days. In fact these virtues are associated with each other and if you follow or observed one another come automatically.
Real forgiveness is supreme among all these from the point of view of spiritual development and peaceful worldly life. Therefore we start from it and after 10 days of parva we celebrate Kshamavani after one day of Ananta Chaturdashi. On the eve of Kshamavani we express our forgiveness to each other and start a new chapter leaving behind the bad memories or events.
In the present age of competition and physical development people have money and many physical instruments for luxury life but they lost the peace of mind. Through these virtues they can get more satisfaction and peace of mind. They can come out from mental depression if it exists and they can develop their luck by doing good deeds and leaving the bad deeds/sins. In many cases luck plays a vital role in the development of our career or business and the good luck can be achieved by forgiveness, simple & straight forward life, deceit free conduct and removal of greediness.
In light of this fact we must participate more actively in religious activities in the coming Dashlakshan Parva, so that we can get more peaceful life.
The above details of Dashlakshan Dharma are in short, those who want to know more may go through a very simple and interesting book Dash Dharma by Aryika Gyanmati, Digambar Jain Trilok Shodh Sansthan, Hastinapur 250404 INDIA (1999).