Fast Breaking Ceremonies In London Paryushan 2005 (1)

Published: 28.09.2005
Updated: 02.07.2015

In Jainism, fasting is a well established lore; Lord Mahavira has practiced long periods thereof. It is mentioned in the Agamas, that he did eat only once a year during a span of twelve years, and these meals were even accompanied by the pledge that certain conditions have to be fulfilled. In the case of their absence, he preferred to continue his fast.

Fasting is one means to come in close contact with the higher reality of the soul, for it is not only restraint from food, but symbolises the capacity of man alone, to conquer the driving powers of desire. According to Jain philosophy, neither heavenly, nor hellish beings are capable to act out selfcontrol in this way; animals and plants less than ever. Every year for Paryushan, many Jains feel to go to their own limits and chose fasting for prove. Very often they did not plan this for long, but started it spontaneously for Paryushan; sometimes they are even astonished how many days they were capable to take water from dusk to dawn only. In the Jain community, fasting of a family member is highly estimated, and the day of fast breaking is celebrated like a birthday, with gifts and rich meals for the guests. The fasting person himself can only get slowly back to normal food.

The breaking of fast starts one day after Paryushan at sunrise; editor Karuna Jain had the chance to accompany Samanijis Pratibha & Punya Pragya on their visits to bless the fasting persons, and to receive Gochari from their hands, before they took their first spoonful after fast.

The Samanijis spoke Mantras and prayers in honour of the host (second right) who had done 16 days of fast for Paryushan.

Then he is giving Gochari to the Samanijis.

After his wife, his sister is giving a spoonful of liquidity to him. In this liqidity lenses have been cooked; it is very wholesome to be taken as first item after fasting. It was very touching to witness how close and tender the relations in Jain families are.

The table is decorated with delicious food for the guests; the liquidity where lenses have been cooked in, can be seen in the carafe. Many guests had done fast their selves the day before, Samvatsari. The items on the table have been chosen due to these circumstances.

First, the Samanijis get Gochari. Samani Pratibha Pragyaji was collecting Gochari for Samani Punya Pragyaji only, for she was doing complete fast on two succeeding days. One day she did not take even water, the second day, she only took water from sunrise to sunset.

This couple had done eight days of fast together. They are receiving the Samanijis' blessings.

Editors Karuna Jain (right) felt very honoured by giving a spoonful of liquid to the lady of the house.

Then she gave it to the host as well. The Aura of all fasting persons was equally brillant; they all radiated from inside.

The two sons (left) of this family are giving Gochari to the Samanijis together with their parents. The sons had done Ekasana for eight days. All people had really enjoyed their fast and seemed more aware of their lifes. They had in commun a special way of expressing themselves while being obviously in close contact with their inner reality.

(To be continued)

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Agamas
  2. Aura
  3. Ekasana
  4. Fasting
  5. Gochari
  6. Jain Philosophy
  7. Jainism
  8. Karuna
  9. Karuna Jain
  10. Mahavira
  11. Paryushan
  12. Pragya
  13. Punya
  14. Samani
  15. Samvatsari
  16. Soul
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