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Jains pray for peace, brotherhood

Staff Reporter

Eight-day Paryushan Mahaparva is on

— PHOTO: CH. VIJAYA BHASKAR

TRADITIONAL: Jain women participating in a programme as part of ‘Paryushan Mahaparva’ in Vijayawada on Wednesday.

VIJAYAWADA: At the crack of dawn, 250-odd Jain families in the city head to the 55-year-old temple in One Town, the oldest Jain temple in the city, to begin their day on a pious note by offering ‘Pratikrama’, repentance for all their wrong-doings.

The ritual of ‘pratikrama’ forms an essential part of the on-going eight-day Paryushan Mahaparva, one of the main festivals of the Jain community, which commenced last Saturday. On Wednesday, special puja was conducted to mark the ‘announcement’ of the birth of Lord Mahaveera, the 24th Tirthankara, who was born on Chaitra Shukla Trayodasi.

“We have a different way of celebrating this festival. Unlike other celebrations marked with special dishes, we concentrate on leading a disciplined life,” said Ashok Kumar Jain, secretary of Shree Sambhavnath Jain Swetamber Murthi Pujak Sangh.

On all the eight days, Jains begin their day with ‘pratikraman’ at 5.45 in the morning, followed by pujas for promoting universal peace and brotherhood. Most of the Jains observe fast and soak themselves in the rituals associated with the event and try to ready themselves for a virtuous life. The span of the fast could be anything between a day and 30 days or even more.

Key components

Those observing a fast survive on boiled water, which could be consumed only between sunrise and sunset, he said. Pointing out that the main principle of Jainism was ‘live and let live’, Mr. Ashok Kumar Jain said the objective was to propagate this mantra by following the footsteps of Sri Mahavir.

Ahimsa or non-violence was one of the key components of Paryushan Mahaparva and the festival would culminate in Kshamapan Diwas (day of forgiveness) on Saturday.

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