Two main ingredients to the 8-10 day long Paryusahan Parva are:
To reflect on one’s past deeds and to abstain oneself from sensory pleasures that restrict the true nature and purity of the soul. Both Digambara and Swetambar Jains observe the ritual of Paryushan, but for different duration of days. The Swetambar observe it for 8 days while the digambara for 10 days.
During these days one essential ingredient is “Tapa” or Fasting. In Jainism Fasting is supposed to be a spiritual journey that connects oneself to the soul and scientifically purifies the body from all sorts of toxins. In Digambaras the fast is called “Dasha-Lakshana Vrata”, and spells though the entire 10 days of Paryushan.
Types of Taap / Fast Performed by Swetambar Sect during Paryushan
“Taap” is an act of penance or devotion. People perform several types of Taap during Paryushan including reading Jain books and scriptures, listening to lectures by Jain scholars and monks, singing devotional songs, performing pujas, and meditating. The most common form of Taap during Paryushan is fasting or abstaining from eating certain meals during the day.
The following list describes the most common fasting rituals in Swetamber:
- Ekasana: Eating 1 meal a day at one sitting.
- Beasana: Eating 2 meals a day, 1 meal per sitting.
- Chut: No consumption of food for two days consecutively. (Upvas) ·
- Attham: No consumption of food for 3 days consecutively(Upvas)
- Atthai: No consumption of food for 8 days consecutively. (Upvas)
Upvas: No comsumption of food for an entire day. Can consume as many glasses of water however must also consume before sunset.
During Paryushan, Jains follow the following restrictions on diet.
- Drink boiled water.
- Eat before sunset.
- Refrain from root vegetables like Onion, Garlic, and Potatoes.
- Abstain the intake of fermented (soured) food.
- Don’t take even the green vegetables.
All the above mentioned items are supposed to contain far more amount of lives (atmas) than the simple grains. Thus, by restricting oneself from intake of these items, a Human Being commits less sin and reaches closer to salvation, the sole purpose of Paryushan.