|Meru Terash||Chaitri Purnima|
Of the Festivals, Paryusan is the greatest - Chaturmas -The Diwali-Gyan Panchami - Meru Terash - Mouna Ekadashi - Pous Dasami - Chaitra Purnima - Akshaya Tritiya - Ashara Sukla - Chaturdashi.
Like other communities of India, the Jains have got a numberof festivals during the year. These are specially connected with the anniversaries of the births and deaths of the Tirthankara.And the greatest festival of the Jains, is Pajjusan in the month of Bhadra. (August - September). chaturmas commences from the 15th Sukla Paksha or full moon of Asarh ending on the I5th Sukla Paksha of Kartik and this festival is celebrated during the period from Bhadra Krishna Trayodashi lasting for 8 days till Bhadra Sukla Pauchami. Among some Guchhas of the Swetambar.Pujjasan begins from Bhadra Krishna Dwadashi, ending with Bhadra Sukla chaturthi.Among the Digambaris, the festival is known as "Daslakshini" which begins on this latter date lasting for 70 days till the 14th Sukla Paksha of Kkritik. The day of Bhadra Sakla Panchami is also known among the Hindus as 'Rishi Panchami". Literally Pajjusan means Pari samstayena usana sevana, i.e., serving with a whole-hearted devotion. This is the religious session during the rains. Formerly it was restricted to the Jain sages only; but now all of the Sangha, whether a Sadhu or a Sravak, male or female, take part in it and thus it has become almost common with the Jains. Among the Swetambaris, during this festival covering the periods of 8 days, the only festival in the rainy season, Kalpa Sutra is read and explained before the assembly- a group of lay devotes by yatis and ascetics. Lectures on its commentaries are delivered for the first seven days and on the last day, fasting is observed and the text of the Sutra is read out to the whole assembly of men and women who hear the same with great attention, respect and veneration. It will not be out of place here to speak a few words about the work. This Sutra principally deals with three subjects viz. lives of the Tirthankara, list of sages, and rules and regulations to be followed by the Jain monks. Life of the last Tirthankar Mahaveer is elaborately dwelt with, while the lives of the 23rd, 22nd and first are summarily given with few touches of embellishment here and there from historical point of view and the list of the Jaina Church from the last Tirthankar. During this festival, the annual or the great Pratikraman or confession called Sambatsari Pratikraman is performed, in order to remove all ill-feelings over all living beings and to ask pardon from all living beings for any act done knowingly or unknowingly in the course of their mutual exchange during the whole year. This is considered to be an act of great merit and as imperative on all the Jains. Another meritorious and important religious ceremony known as Siddha Chakra worship is celebrated twice a year in the months of Aswin and Chitra, each lasting for 9 days and called Oliji from the 7th to the I5th of the full moon. On a chauki or small table of wood or stone or on a plate of silver, generally a circle is described which is divided by eight radius into 8 chambers. In these chambers are written names or less frequently images of siddha, Acharya, Upadhya and Sadhu and the words Darashana, Jnan, charitra and Tapa in their consecutive order, and in the center is written the word Arihanta.During this festive occasion Puja is daily performed to all these names collectively and each name is also worshipped in turn with special ceremonies and offerings for nine days. The worshipper keeps special fast known as Amil for the whole period taking on the third part of the day water and one food simply boiled, without mixing any thing with it to make palatable. The victual has also to be decided according to the color symbolized for each name. They are as follows (1) White (2) red (3) yellow (4) blue (5) black (6) to (9) white. This Oli Tapa is performed nine times, i.e., for 4.5 years or 9 years by those who celebrate it only once a year. Its completion, udyapana (ujaona) is celebrated with great pomp and expense to acquire the full merit of the Tapa. Rice is generally used for white, gram for red, wheat for yellow, pulse for blue and black pulse for black. On the last day "Navapada" Puja is performed with great eclat before the Siddha Chakra Mandal with singing and offerings and pouring pots of Pakhal consisting of water, milk, saffron and clarified butter.The Diwali or Kartick Budi 15 is celebrated amongst all the Hindu communities of India as a day of rejoicing and invoking the Goddess of Wealth. The Jains hold it as specially sacred as the day of Nirvan of Mahavira Swami. They present offerings of sweets particularly the ball-shaped sweets called "Laddu" in the temple.A large number of them visit Pawapuri in Bihar to attend the anniversary and Mahotsab at the place where this Nirvan took place more than five centuries before Christ. Kartik Sukla 5 is known as Jnan Panchami when the Jains celebrate Puja in their temples and worship Jnyan or Knowledge with offerings and prayers. Kartik Sukla 15 is also another day of religious observances and rejoicing like Chaitra Purnima. The chaturmas ends with this day and the Jains generally visit Shatrunjaya Hills in Kathiawad to worship the deity on that day. Another religious day of the Jains is meru Terash on Margasira (Agrahayan) Badi 13 or 13th day of the dark moon of the month of Agrahayan. This is the day of Nirvan of Rishavdev, the first of the Tirthankars of the present age Avasarpini. The Mouna Ekadasi is celebrated on the Margasirha Sukla 11th. This day is generally spent in fasting with a vow of silence for the whole day. They also observe posadh or sitting in one place for 12 or 24 hours. The day is connected with one 18th,19th and 21st Tirthankara.Pous Badi IO is another day of celebration in connection with Parswanath, the 23rd Tirthankar as his birthday anniversary. People generally visit Pareshnath Hills on that day. Chaitra Purnima is also celebrated with great eclat on the mount Shatrunjaya as a very auspicious day when a large number of the Jains flock to the place worship Adinath, the presiding God. Akshaya Tritiya or Baisakh Sudi 3 is also observed in connection with the 1st Tirthankar Adinath. Asharh Sukla Chaturdasi is considered as a day of religious merit. chaturmas commences from this day and it is generally observed with fasting by the Jains. chaturmas ends on the Kartick Sukla Chaturdashi after four months, as already noted.