Category: Jain holidays
Samvatsari is considered to be the holiest of all the Jain festivals. It can easily be summed up to be a festival of forgiveness.
It is observed on the last day of the Paryusana, which is the Jain festival lasting for 8 or 10 days. Paryusana is the main festival for both the sects of Jain – Swetamvaras and the Digamvaras.
The period of samvatsar arrives 50 days after and 70 days before the end of Chaturmas period that is strictly followed by the Jain monks.
Samvatsari as mentioned earlier is the holiest day for the Jains. Jains seek forgiveness from all the creatures of this world that they could have hurt knowingly or unknowingly. The hurt could have been caused by word, actions or thoughts. They then utter the phrase Michchami Dukkadam, Khamau Sa or Khamat Khamna.
It is a day when most of the Jain devotees keep a complete fast and much of the day is spent in prayers. A yearly penitential retreat is offered on this day known as samvatsati pratikramana. Afrer the Pratikramana, they seek the forgiveness from all.
Michchami Dukkadam is an absolutely old Prakrit phrase which loosely means I seek your forgiveness. This whole day is spent in fasting and praying. Food is partaken on the next day which is called Parna.
As a ritual, the Jains on this day go to meet relatives or make a point of catching up with them uttering Michchami Dukkadam. People who are outstations are also conveyed this message and a vow made that whatever the grievance may be, they will not carry it forward to the next year.
Samvatsari has a great significance in today’s world, as there are unresolved issues which gives rise to most of modern day problems. Thus this day teaches us that:
- Forgiveness is equivalent to tolerance.
- Tolerance teaches us to overlook the negativity in anger and animosity.
- The person who judges others and doesn’t grant pardon is himself lowly.
It takes complete lack of ego to grant forgiveness and pardon to people who have slipped and made mistakes. That is a man who is truly on the path of Nirvana.
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