Category: Jain holidays
Jainism is an ancient religious sect, which propagates the path of Ahimsa, that is non-violence. According to Jain philosophy, everyone, who has won over all the six ripu s or inner instincts, has attained Nirvana, or the eternal knowledge is called a Jina or the conqueror.
Now the Jain communities most of the festivals that are observed starts on the note of renunciation. Navapad Oli too is not an exception.
The Jains celebrate two Navapads in a year, one in the shuklapaksha or the bright fortnight of Ashwina according to the traditional Hindu month or September October according to the Gregorian calendar. The other one is celebrated in the in the shukla paksh of the Hindu traditional month of Chaitra or March April as per Gregorian calendar.
The Navapad Oli, as mentioned earlier is one of the most important festivals for the Jains, observed for a period of nine days. The Navapad Oli, begins in the middle of navaratri, the Hindu festival. Jains perform the Ayambil Tapa for nine day of this Navapad Oli. Ayambil Tapa is a specific kind of fasting and penance where one can only consume boiled grains once a day. Nothing, not even salt is permitted to be added to this boiled grains.
Thus, observing this Ayambil Tapa for the entire Navapad is an extremely difficult thing to maintain. The Ayambil Tapas are performed to pay homage to the supreme nine that rules the universe. These nine supreme ruling posts are – Arihant, Siddha, Acharya, Upadhyaya, Sadhu, Samyag Darshan, Samyag Gyan, Samyag Charitra and Samyag Tapa. Nava in Sanskrit means nine and the Pada or Pad means posts. Thus the salutation to the Nine supreme powers of the universe in known as Navapad Oli.
Earth is at an angle where the day-night equation is almost similar twice a year. These are known as solstice. Navapad Oli is also celebrated during times when the duration of a day and night are the same. Thus the weather remains moderate and not extreme. According to the Jains Tirthankars, moderate seasons are the best of times to invoke the supreme powers. Thus the Ayambil at these times help us to remain healthy and prayers keep us mentally agile.
Navapad Oli is celebrated with the deserving austerity and devotion every year resulting in festivities during the last day. The Jain communities organize the Siddhachakra Mahapujan in many parts of India on the last day, which is the Sharad Purnima. Azimganj Jain Sangh in Murshidabad is one such place, which organizes and carries out the Navapad Oli every year with fitting devotion and gorgeous celebration on the last day of these nine days.
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