As a non-Jain, I would always wonder about how and why do Jains indeed fast so rigorously. Why do they do as they do during Paryushana and have these strict fasts where they don’t touch most vegetables and fruits or eat before sunset. To begin with, it was a new way of life while honestly, it didn’t exactly resonate with my idea of the festival.
Most of us would believe that Paryushana, the 8-day-festival followed in Jainism is all about food restrictions. But honestly, IT’S NOT. This festival is about celebrating and embracing forgiveness. It’s about freeing your soul and finding your true identity. It is, in all its pure forms, about freeing ourselves from the worldly attachments like food, water, chappals and such to indicate that a soul comes from dust and will back to dust.
Freeing yourself of all the material attachments will let you embrace the beauty of your soul. In these 8 days, Jains control from temptations pertaining to five senses and maintain strict fasting rules in terms of their food consumption. All of this is an indicator of freeing your soul to its original and sacred form.
Every religion, culture or caste will emphasize on the power of forgiveness. Forgiveness is about understanding that nobody is entitled to you. So also, their actions must not and need not necessarily please you. But even if someone has wronged you, you forgive the person and free him from the clutches of your vices such as ego and anger.
“Practiced in all religion and faith, forgiveness is beyond powerful. It is where ego melts and we strip off all the tangible recognition, fame and glory to know one of the universal truths – we come from dust and we go back to dust,” says Thriive-verified health, wellness, and life coach Nipa Asharam in one of her famous blogs.
In order to forgive someone or yourself, you must fully accept who you are. More importantly, you must recognize who you are NOT. Once you do that, you’ll eventually realize that things happen the way they do and those things you cannot control- are there for a reason. Practicing forgiveness can help you in multiple ways. Forgive yourself for things you didn’t do correctly, for things that you couldn’t control and ask for forgiveness to those who wronged you- Trust me, you’ll be amazed by its outcomes.
We often think of festivals in terms of food or fasting. That’s precisely where we falter. Your soul consists of knowledge and conscious. Celebrate your soul by simply feeding it the right knowledge. Jainism stringently believes that you ought to walk the path of truth and righteousness- irrespective of your circumstance- to be honest, that’s the same thing every religion teaches you. While you fast in Paryushan, you refrain from getting angry, cursing or following the path of vices.
Free your soul
We are all slaves of desires, commitments or greed. Everytime you go to order a burger, you would want to scroll down for an option to top-it-up with excess cheese. Let alone the times when you flattered your boss to get an increment or a hike. Souls need to be freed from these unnecessary layers of clothing. You come to this world as a free soul- free from fetish and fads- that’s how you ought to go!
This #ParyushanParva pledge to forgive, feed and free your soul!