Daslakshan Parva (Festival of the Ten Virtues) is the Paryushan festival as celebrated by the Digambara Jains.
Normally, Eating, drinking and being merry are associated with festivals but Paryushan is the opposite. During Paryushan Jains practise penances, vows, fast and study. If not fasting, they refrain from eating root vegetables. There are two categories of festivals: eternal and non-eternal.
The non-eternal festivals are further divided as those that relate to people and those that relate to historical events.
Dipawali, Mahavir Jayanti, which celebrate the liberation and birth of Lord Mahavir respectively, are people related festivals.
Paryushan, on the other hand, is an eternal festival relating neither to people nor to any historical event. It is the time to celebrate the natural qualities of the soul. Just as the soul does not have a beginning or an end, Paryushan does not have a beginning or an end. It falls three times a year but is only celebrated once around August/ September because at this time, business being quiet, businessman can take time off for spiritual pursuit. Also it is the time of the monsoon retreat when insects flourish, causing the monks to stay in one place.
In the Digamber, The ten cardinal virtues, Dashlakshan Dharma, are celebrated during Paryushan to remind jains of the characteristics of the soul. The ten dharmas or the virtues of the soul are forgiveness, humility, straightforwardness, contentment, truth, sensual restraint, austerities, charity, non-possessiveness, and celibacy.
The real purpose of Paryushan is to purify our soul by staying closer to our own soul, to look at our own faults, to ask for forgiveness for the mistakes we have committed knowingly or unknowingly, and apply vows to destroy karmas. The main cause of all sorrows and sufferings is impurity of soul. In this period each and every individual tries to purify his soul through different spiritual practices. We try to forget about the needs of our body and our business so that we can concentrate on our-self.
Some main objectives to celebrating this festival are:
To observe tolerance whole-heartedly,shunning anger.
To observe the virtue of humility subduing vanity and passions.
To practice a deceit-free conduct in life by vanquishing the passion of deception.
To keep the body, mind and speech pure by discarding greed.
To speak affectionate and just words with a holy intention causing no injury to any living being.
To abstain from all the pleasures provided by the five
To practice austerities putting a check on all worldly allurements.
To give four fold charities
To enhance faith in the real self as against non-self i.e., material objects
To observe the great vow of celibacy; to have devotion for the inner soul and the omniscient Lord
Ravindra S Dholakia