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Shrut Pancham Parv: Jain Festival of Preserving Scripture Knowledge

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Jain Shrut Pancham Parv Festival of Preserving Scripture Knowledge: A monk preaching two student deciples below a tree in serene natural place as per Acharya tradition or Guru-Shishya Parampara
Guru (monk) preaching the scripture to his deciples observing Shrut Pancham Parva of preserving the Gyan (Knowledge)
Shrut Pancham or Gyan Panchami is observed as an annual festival on every Jyeshtha Shukla Panchami by Jain community for celebrating the day when Jain scriptures were written and worshipped, which earlier used to be in oral form only, as per the Acharya tradition.

Jain Shrut Pancham Parv of Celebrating Gyaan

A Quick Glance on Scripture Preserving Fest
Also Known As
Jain Shrut Panchami, Gyan Panchami. Shrut-pancham Parv, scripture day, Gyanamrit parv
Also Spelled As
Gyaan Panchami, Gyan Amrit Parva (Festival for mortality syrup bestowing knowledge)
Significance
Materialization of Jain scripture in written form
Event Type
Indian, Religious
Observed By
Jain
Observances
Cleaning of old scriptures kept in temples and homes, Worships, devotion, scripture reading
Celebrations
Procession (shobha-yatra) of holy scripture
Holiday
No
Date and Time
Fifth of Jyeshtha Month’s Shukla Paksha in Panchang (Hindu calendar)
Event Date in Various Years
June 7, 2019 (Fourth and fifth date of Jyeshtha month falling on the same day)
Occurrence/ Frequency
Annual, Once

Jain Shrut Panchami: Celebration of Knowledgeable Scriptures and Gyan Preservance

Contents:

Shrut Panchami word is made of two Sanskrit words, ‘Shrut’ and ‘Panchami’. Here ‘Shrut’ means ‘heard’ or ‘famous’ and ‘Panchami’ means ‘fifth’. As the name suggests, it is celebrated on the fifth date of Jyeshtha month.

Earlier the Jain knowledge was preached, heard, and passed on in oral or verbal form as per the Acharya tradition. Later on the Jain knowledge was preserved and defended in the written form. The day, when it was being done, is honored and celebrated as Shrut Panchami.

The day when the Jain scripture was written and worshipped the first time, it was Jyeshtha Shukla Panchami as per the Panchang. Here, Jyeshtha is one of the twelve Hindi months; Shukla Paksha is the bright period of the month when the moon grows towards becoming the fuller, completely round. Panchami or pancham is the Sanskrit word for ‘fifth’ day.

As per panchang, Jyeshtha Shukla Panchami fallen on 7th June in 2019.

Jain community does not believe in God, the creator. They believe that God is the one who has achieved the natural state of infinite knowledge, infinite bliss, infinite power, and infinite perception. They believe that godliness is an inherit quality of a soul.

For salvation, they believe in Jinvani that is ‘Jina’ (victor) and ‘Vani’ (word), and in connoting the way of triumph in overcoming the stream of rebirth through spiritual and ethical lifestyle.

About 2000 years ago, Acharya Dharsen inspired two monks- Pushpdant Maharaj and Bhootbali Maharaj to write the scripture which was in the oral form among them. They both went in the caves of Girnar Mountain in Gujarat and completed the first scripture of Jain religion ‘Kshatkhandagam’ on Jyeshtha Panchami. This historical event is celebrated every year on the same tithi (date of hindu calendar) as Shrutpancham Parv (festival).

Shrut Parampara

Jain religion is not based on the scriptures. The Tirthankara that is religious teachers used to preach and the gandhar that is the disciples used to understand and learn that all, for enhancing their knowledge and later teaching others. Whatever they used to preach, the messages used to be in extremely simple and easy language, and for the welfare of the mass. This whole practice of transferring the scriptural information from one to another is called the tradition of Shrut.

Splendid Content of Knowledge by Tirthankar Mahavir

Shrut was preserved and kept alive by the Acharya(s) for about 500 years after the Lord Mahavir’s Moksha (Nirvana or Salvation). The content was so magnificent that whosoever used to hear, he used to find it in his own language and it used to touch his heart.

Guru-Shishya Parampara: Oral Pass On of Knowledge

Teerthankar Bhagwan Mahavir transferred the knowledge with the same Guru-Shishya Parampara (Tradition of teacher and disciples) to his eleven Ganadhar or Shrutkevali(s) (Hearers or disciples or students).

Acharya Dharsen: The Last Fully Comprehended Person of Ang Parampara

The Shrut Parampara and transfer of knowledge kept going for about 614 years from Bhagwan Mahaveer to Maghnandi’s disciple Acharya Dharsen.

Maharaj Dharsen used to live in Chandragufa (Chandra caves) of Girinar parvat (Girinar Mountain), which was situated in Kathiawar, Gujarat. He was a well-versed, proficient, and knowledgeable Acharya who was very sensitive, humble, and concerned about the Shrut.

The Pain of Acharya Dharsen and Efforts to Defend Jain Knowledge

He started concerning knowledge of Jain philosophy and principles as they were limited to his tongue. He thought that when he will be in Samadhi (An ultimate state in the meditation of oneness with the universe), the complete knowledge might remain limited to him only. He didn’t want the others or upcoming generations to live deprived of the knowledge which was preserved with Shrut from years ago after Bhagwan Mahavir.

He wrote a letter to Muni Sammelan (Monk Sammelan) of Mahima Nagari (city) towards south way. His letter in order to preserve and defend the complete knowledge, which he had earned, overwhelmed the heart of ahardbaliva-tasalya. He ordered his community’s two sharp men to go to Girinar Mountains near Dharsen and write the scripture. So both of them, very learned and intelligent monks, Muni Shri Pushpdandt and Muni Shri Bhootbali proceeded to reach Dharsen.

The Dream of Dharsenacharya

Dharsen Acharya saw a divine dream that two bright bullock-shaped beings came and humbly greeted him. Acharya Pragyashra Mantheve understood the indication of the dream that two bright monks are coming towards him from the South side.

The Blissful Acharya’s Words became the Golden Slogan

Knowing and believing that the scripture writing work would be possible after that, Acharya got so overwhelmed that he said-

“Jayadu Suya Devda”

The above means- regards to Jinavni or Shrut. Such blessings became the traditionally followed words later on.

Test of Scripture Writing Monks by the Learned Acharya(s)

The next day, both of the monks reached there and greeted the Acharya(s) in honor of them. After two days, Shri Dharsenacharya took their test.

He gave both of them two mantras respectively, which were, “Adhikakshari” and “Heenakshari”, and told them for Mantra siddhi (Mantra Saadhana or practicing the verses or hymns).

When they did as expected, there appeared two goddesses in front of each of them. One was with deergha-dandta (long tooth) and another was with ekakshichera.

As soon as they saw them, they understood that the test-taking Acharya(s) had erred in writing the verses (Mantra) intentionally and that is why the goddesses were not in their proper forms.

So they practiced those Mantra(s) again and the goddesses manifested them in their proper forms.

Journey from Shrut Practice to Presenting the Complete Scriptures in Written Form

When both of the monks passed their tests, the Acharya(s) got confident that they are competent enough to write the scriptures. So they made them their shishya(s) (disciples) and made them learn the basic concepts and foundation. The Shrut practice got finished on Ashadha Shukla Ekadashi (Eleventh tithi or date of Ashadha month’s bright side).

Acharya Bhootbali and Pushpdant presented the complete written scripture to Acharya Dharsena in the form of a great Jain Parmagam, called, “Shatkhandagam” on Jyeshtha Shukla Panchami. On this great event, many devi(s) and devata(s) worshipped the teerthankars’ (teachers’) Jain Parmagam Shatkhandagam that had the great verse ‘Namokar’.

The Shrut parampara (tradition) turned to a well-written scriptural tradition since that day. So from the view of scriptural enhancement, this day is remembered, revered, and celebrated as Shrutpanchami. The day is also known as scripture day.

Today, in Jain community and religion, the significance and importance of Maa Jinvani is the most high, which is considered as the way to overcome the worldly sea.

Acharya Pushpdant Called Acharya Bhootbali

It is believed that Digambar Jain Acharya Bhootbali and Acharya Pushpdant belonged to the first century.

Acharya Pushpdant created the Veesadi Sutra and when he realized that he had a short time left in this world, he sent his disciple Palit to Acharya Bhootbali to finish the scripture writing work. Then Acharya Bhootbali came and completed the creation of principle scripture ‘Kshatkhandagam’ which is observed as the holy Jain Granth (scripture).

  • This is the day when all the temples and storehouses of Jain scriptures are dusted and cleaned.
  • People from Jain community also clean the scriptures kept in their homes.
  • All the scriptures are embellished with the new covers.
  • All the scriptures of temples, storehouses, and homes are worshipped with great devotions, realizing their importance and value.
  • People practice for getting siddha (a spiritual level of meditation) and read scriptures for this.
  • The followers of Jain religion put on the yellow dress and participate in the procession (shobha-yatra) of the Holy Scriptures in mass. At many places, silver paalki (palanquin, also spelled as palki) is used for the procession. People shower the flowers on the scriptures.
  • Jain people also worship Maa Jinvani.
  • Jyeshtha Shukla Panchami was the day when the Jain religion’s scripture was completed in written form and was read the first time ever.
  • The written scripture ‘Kshatkhandagam’ incorporates many important facts, aspects, truths, and knowledgeable information related to the Jain religion. It includes Jain literature, history, principles, and rules to follow, which make the base or foundation of any religion.
  • As per the Jain monks, Shrut Panchami is a great parv (fest, AKA Parva) of appreciating and rejoicing the knowledge with immense reverence and devotion.
  • The annual celebration and observances inspire the Jain community’s people for hearing the preaching of monks and spreading them around.


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Verse of the Day "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceed out of the mouth of God."
Quote of the Day "The sea is always deeper below the surface, very akin to the verses of a holy book! The deeper you dive, the closer you go to the treasures. Just like the sea, the holy book is also a source of precious Words of God (more valuable than any jewel, stone or gem) which enrich your soul making you richer intellectually and in every other way."
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