Jains in America celebrate Paryushan with fervor and fanfare

As the Jain community across America observed the Paryushan Mahaparva, the 8-day festival of inner purity this week, JAINA (Federation of Jain Associations in North America) was blessed with live Paryushan sessions from a renowned Jain ascetic in India, Param Gurudev Shree Namramuni Maharaj. His simple, effective and heart-touching sessions touched upon the true essence of religion that lies in developing one’s own good qualities and nature.

In Jain philosophy propounded by Lord Mahavir, the foundation of the Paryushan festival is the spirit of forgiveness. Jain ascetics and speakers deliver thought-provoking sessions during this period to encourage self-introspection, emotional cleaning and nurture inner happiness in the entire community.

 Param Gurudev Shree Namramuni Maharaj is a Jain ascetic, a notable thinker and a humanitarian. He is the founder of Parasdham, a socio-religious organization based in Maharashtra, that is involved in extensive work in the fields of humanity and spiritual elevation.

Here are a few highlights from Gurudev Shree Namramuni Maharaj’ sessions on Paryushan as highlighted by Mahesh Wadher, President of JAINA:

  • Paryushan is a wellness process that detoxifies the soul from toxins like ego, anger, and jealousy.
  • Don’t make someone’s trash of negative words, negative behaviour or negative thoughts the treasure of your mind. This is a time to empty that trash.
  • This Paryushan, make your heart soft. A soft heart is filled with universal love and friendship towards every living being. Your softness becomes compassion at the end. A person who has a soft heart can easily forget and forgive someone’s mistakes.

In an enlightening message on two of the most misinterpreted words of our times – Ritual and Spiritual – Param Gurudev said:

  • The inspiration and guidance which you receive from the outer world are called rituals. And the path which we create after listening to our own inner voice is called being spiritual.
  • When you combine these two, when you discover the reason and vision behind whatever you do, you can achieve success on the path of inner purification.
  • For example, whenever you do Vandana (when you bow down in a prayer), have the sentiment that I am not just bowing down my head, but I am surrendering my ego and my strong grip about my own belief system.
  • The ultimate goal of every ritual is attaining inner purity. Our paths can be different, but our destiny cannot be different. When we give more importance to Parmatma than the individual paths, we succeed in our spiritual journey.

    The Jain Center of America in Elmhurst, NY is observing Paryushan.

The 5th day of Paryushan celebrates the birth of Lord Mahavir. Param Gurudev’s message on this day: The most unique aspect about Jain philosophy is that every soul is considered equal. There is no difference between Parmatma Mahavir’s soul and our soul. If we purify ourselves and shed our karma, we too can become just like him.

The entire series of these Paryushan sessions is available on Youtube – www.youtube.com/JainaChannel and www.youtube.com/ParasdhamTV.

Images courtesy of (Photos: JAINA) and (Photo shared by Raj Mohan Kothari)

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