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The Quest for the Royal Road: Need for Harmony

Published: 06.03.2016

Series of festivals are characteristics of the culture tradition of India. Some of these festivals are cultural, some are social and some are also religious. Different religious festivals are celebrated in accordance with the sramana culture and Vedic culture. The greatest religious occasion observed according to the sramana culture is 'paryushan parva'[1] which is purely spiritual. During the paryushan days there is a sweeping wave of spiritualism in which people find a new direction in their lives. After a long interval of one year, feelings of restraint, renunciation and elevation of the spirit are aroused in everyone's heart. He who observes paryushan sincerely, finds that his own likings are becoming refined. For that reason, it appears to be a secular festival.

On the occasion of paryushan, there is a surge of spiritualism in the Jain community. If a full account of sadhanas and penances performed during this period is given, it would amaze the country. But no such collective effort has been made so far so that the dignity of the paryushan parva could be brought to notice. How could it happen so long as many controversies concerning this parva are not settled. Till such time, who would accept the greatness of the paryushan parva?

Paryushan is a non-sectarian parva. There is no difference of opinion regarding its guiding philosophy or principles. Nonetheless in the absence of strong organisation of the Jain Society, a trivial matter has degenerated into an unnecessarily rigid stand. As a result, we have not been able to bring unity even with regard to this great parva. It would not be proper to blame any particular individual for this state of affairs, because any matter can be settled only when all religious sects of society and responsible persons work towards bringing about unity.

How often I wish that there should be perfect unity with regard to the paryushan parva and the whole Jain community should observe the samvatsari[2] on the same day, observe fasts, offer prayers, do pratikraman[3] and observe other religious rites. Only when this happens, the spiritual and practical greatness of the paryushan parva can be established. So far it has remained my dream. Whether or not I would be able to see that dream of mine realised, only the future can tell. In my view, it would be a lucky day for the entire Jain community when it agrees to observe the samvatsari on the same day. Several acharyas have made combined efforts for this, but their attempts have not succeeded so far. My own efforts on two or three occasions have not been successful. But instead of feeling disheartened, we should continue our efforts. It is the highest duty of the Jain acharyas, monks, scholars and thinking prominent persons to call a meeting once again to decide at least two matters.

  1. Uniform observance of the samvatsari.
  2. Uniform code of conduct for the Jain monks.

Even if the sects continue to exist independently, much could be achieved by bringing about unity in important matters. The entire Jain community should make united effort and start a movement to widely propagate the universal tenets of Jainism. I expect other acharyas and monks also to make a similar effort. If we succeed in the samvatsari parva on the same day, it would be a great achievement of our age.

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Sources

Title: The Quest for the Royal Road
Authors:
Acharya Tulsi
Publisher: Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
Edition: 2013
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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Acharyas
  3. Jainism
  4. Parva
  5. Paryushan
  6. Paryushan Parva
  7. Samvatsari
  8. Sramana
  9. Vedic
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