The following text is based on an article from the blog that describes the specialty of today and explains about one of the practices in Jainism.
Michami Dukdam... The meaning of Michami Dukdam is to ask for forgiveness for any sins we have done ... Normally people wish Michami Dukdam to the near and dear ones, before going for Pratikaman where they wash away all the sins through prayers...
Paryushan Parva: Celebrated annually for self-purification and uplift by the Jains. Non-Jains also express high reverence for this Jain festival. All members of Jain community- high and low, young and old, and males and females, participate with full vigor and zeal in the various religious rituals and cultural programs. They listen with rapt attention to the holy sermons of the saints and learned Jain scholars, during the ten-day festival. In these celebrations lie dormant the seeds of the well being, peace and happiness of the common man. On the eve of this festival all activities, which add to social discord or bitterness are declared taboo from the temple pulpits. These celebrations preach the Jain motto ‘Live and Let live’.
There are different aspects of this sacred festival ... It includes, fasting, offering prayers, worshippingLord Mahavir and further, at the last day seeking forgiveness through a particular ceremony called - Pratikaman ...
Fasting ... In Jainisim, fasting is considered as a spiritual activity, that purify our souls, improve morality, spiritual power, increase knowledge and strengthen relationships. The purpose is to purify our souls by staying closer to our own souls, looking at our faults and asking for forgiveness for the mistakes and taking vows to minimize our faults. Also a time when Jains will review their action towards their animals, environment and every kind of soul. Strict fasting where one has to completely abstain from food and even water is observed for a week or more. Depending upon one's capability, complete fasting spans between 8-31 days. People also have to follow the ritual of not eating after sunset..
Jain Prayer... The Namokar Mantra... Following is the real meaning of the prayer ...
Namo Arihantânam: I bow to the Arihantâs (Prophets).
Namo Siddhânam: I bow to the Siddhâs (Liberated Souls).
Namo Âyariyânam: I bow to the Âchâryas (Preceptors or Spiritual Leaders).
Namo Uvajjhâyanam: I bow to the Upadhyâya (Teachers).
Namo Loe Savva Sahûnam: I bow to all the Sadhûs (Saints).
Eso Panch Namokkaro, Savva: This fivefold bow (mantra) destroys all sins
Pâvappanâsano: and obstacles
Mangalanam Cha Savvesim: and of all auspicious mantras,is the first
Padhamam Havai Mangalam: and foremost one.
Birth of Lord Mahavir The belief is, that Queen Trishala, mother of Lord Mahavir at midnight saw fourteen following dreams after conception:
4. Goddess Laxmi
5. Garland of Flowers
6. Full Moon
8. Large Flag
9. Silver Urn
12. Celestial Air-plane
13. Heap of Gems
14. Smokeless Fire
After having such fourteen wonderful dreams, Queen Trishala woke up. Her dreams filled her with wonder. She never had such dreams before. She narrated her dreams to King Siddharth. After nine months and fourteen days, Queen Trishala delivered a baby boy - Lord Mahavir.
These 14 dreams are termed as "Supans", and each one is worshipped before the birth of Lord Mahavir, during this day long ceremony.
Pratikaman... This is one of the process of remembering all the sins done by us throughout the year and confessing in front of Guruji and asking for forgiveness. Also during pratikaman we ask forgivessness from all our fellow mates incase we have hurt them by any means...- by thoughts, speech or action, intentionally or unintentionally.
Ideally pratikaman has to be done everyday to wash our daily sins but it is said that even if you cannot do it everyday it should be done atleast once a year - on Samvatsari, which is today. There is a 2-3 hours ritual, where we read and go through the different types of sins a person can commit, and we ask for the forgiveness of those, and also in a way offer praises to God, so that we can cultivate the great qualities of God within us...
So wishing you all - MICHAMI DUKDAM - Please forgive me if knowingly or unknowingly, I have caused any pain, hurt you or said or done anything to you, I hereby fold my hands and seek your forgiveness ...