Samvatsari – The Forgiveness Day & Michami Dukkadam

samvatsari pratikraman vidhi

Samvatsari is the last day of Paryushan of Jain devotees. Paryushan starting from the Twelfth day of Shravan Vad, and ending on the Fourth day of the bright half of Bhadrapad month is considered the most important festival of Jains.

These eight days of Paryushan are considered the most auspicious days. Jains begin their day with Pratikraman early in the morning followed by various poojas and prayers. Pratikraman means turning back. It is a form of meditation called Samyika where one reflects his spiritual journey and renews his faith.

What is the significance of Samvatsari 2019 | Importance of Samvatsari

Samvatsari is an essential festival of the Jains that is the culminating day of the eight or ten-day celebration of Paryusana according to the Jain Calendar. The eighth day is Samvatsari, the Forgiveness Day: a day for forgiving others and to also seek forgiveness from all creatures of the world whom they may have harmed knowingly or unknowingly by uttering the words Michhami Dukkadam.

The actual day of the celebration of this festival may vary in case of the two sects of Jainism that are ‘Swetambaras’ and ‘Digambaras’. In other words, the Swetambaras celebrate the eighth day of Paryusana Parva as Samvatsari whereas the Digambaras celebrate it on the tenth day of Das Lakshan Parva.

Rituals

During Samvatsari, Jains must undertake six acts:

1- Maintain equanimity – Samayika

2- Honour the Tirthankaras – Chaturvimshati

3- Honour Jain sadhus and sadhvis – Vandana

4- Repent wrongdoing – Samvatsari Pratikraman

5- Meditate and Pray – Kayotsarga

6- Take vows to maintain self-control – Pratyakhyana

As a ritual, the Jains on this day go to meet relatives or make a point of catching up with them uttering Michchami Dukkadam. People who are out of town have also conveyed this message, and a vow made that whatever the grievance may be, they will not carry it forward to the next year.

Samvatsari and Kshamavaani

While Samvatsari and Kshamavaani are typically associated with Shwetambaras sect and Digambara respectively, there is no major difference between the two days and both are observed as Forgiveness Days. Rather, the two are usually used interchangeably.

Samvatsari is observed on Shukla Panchami of Bhadrapada month by the Shwetambaras; the Digambaras celebrate it on the first day of Ashvin Krishna month of the lunar-based Jain calendar.

Without further ado, let’s get cracking some commonly asked questions:

a) Why is forgiveness such an important ideal and a way of life in Jainism?

Forgiveness in Jainism displays many facets. To forgive is to move on. To forgive is to be free. To forgive is to focus on the self alone. Forgiveness brings us closer to Ahimsa.

b) Can the recitation of ‘Michami Dukkadam’ relieve or purify our sins? Why do Jains say Michchhami Dukkadam

Words have power when they are accompanied by feelings. The phrase ‘Michami Dukkadam’ cannot wipe away our sins. Sins can only be removed by the feeling of intense repentance. This is expressed by the utterance of ‘Michami Dukkadam’.

c) What is Michhami Dukkadam?

‘Michhami Dukkadam’ is chanted as a form of repentance whenever an act of violence, no matter how small, has been committed, advertently or inadvertently. This phrase is found in the Iryapathiki Sutra.

d) Why is Samvatsari celebrated?

Samvatsari is considered to be the holiest of all the Jain festivals. It can easily be summed up to be a festival of forgiveness. The day of Samvatsari also marks absolving the self from the heavy burden of sins and starting life afresh. “Michhami Dukkadam” is not just a traditional ritual, it is also the first step on the road to spiritual evolution.

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