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The Paryushana is the most important festival of the Jains. It is held in Bhadrapada (August-September) and ends on the fourth day of the Krishna phase of Badrapad. The Svetambara Jains celebrate it for eight days and after this the Digambara Jains for ten days.
Paryushana is a time of reflection on actions and meditations on the past year. During the period of the festival, the ten cardinal virtues are held in the highest esteem by the Jains and are expected to be practised. These doctrines are forgiveness, charity, simplicity, contentment, truthfulness, self-restraint, fast, humility and continence. While the Swetambaras observe it by reciting the religious text, the ‘Kalpa Sutra5, on the fifth day the Digambara sect recites the Tatvartha-sutra of Umaswati.
In the evenings, Jains perform a kriya called Partikraman, a form of meditation, to reflect on spiritual journey. On the day of annual partikammana, they observe a unique custom, where they ask every individual they may have offended during the year for forgiveness.