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Michchhāmi Dukkaḍaṃ is an ancient Prakrit phrase literally meaning — may all the evil that has been done be fruitless. It is especially used on the Kshamavani Diwas or Forgiveness Day, celebrated on Samvatsari, the concluding day of the eight or ten day Paryushana festival (or the first day of Dashlakshan), one of the main festivals of the Jain community. On this day, Jains request forgiveness from each other for all offences committed. The phrase is also used when a person makes a mistake, or recollects making one in everyday life, or when asking for forgiveness in advance for inadvertent ones.
As a matter of ritual, Jains greet their friends and relatives with Michchhāmi Dukkaḍaṃ, seeking their forgiveness. Forgiveness is requested by saying "Michchhami Dukkadam" to each other. It means "If I have caused you offence in any way, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word or deed, then I seek your forgiveness". No private quarrel or dispute may be carried beyond Samvatsari, and traditionally, letters have been sent and telephone calls made to friends and relatives asking their forgiveness.
Michchhami Dukkadam Prayer
|Khamemi Savve Jiva||I forgive all living beings.|
|Savve Jiva Khamantu me||May all souls forgive me,|
|Mitti me Savva Bhooesu||I am on friendly terms with all,|
|Veram Majjham Na Kenai||I have no animosity toward any soul.|
|Michchhami Dukkadam||May all my faults be dissolved.|
The phrase Michchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ is also found in the Airyapathiki Sutra. It literally means — may all the evil that has been done be fruitless, and comes from the Prakrit language, a vernacular Indo-Aryan language, closely linked with Pali and used abundantly in the Prakrit canon of Jainism.
The Sanskrit version of the phrase is mithya mé dushkritaam meaning "may the evil of it be in vain". or simply put "May my misdeeds be undone."
"Mithya" refers to 'being fruitless' or 'getting absolved of'. "Mé" refers to 'my'. "Dushkritaam" refers to 'bad deeds'.
After the pratikramana (Jain prayer, literally "introspection"), Jains seek forgiveness from all the creatures of the world whom they may have harmed knowingly or unknowingly by uttering the phrase—michchhāmi dukkaḍaṃ. As a matter of ritual, during Samvatsari—the last day of the Jain festival paryusana—Jains utter the phrase— Michchhāmi Dukkaḍaṃ after pratikraman. Paryusana falls during chaturmas, four months in the rainy season, reserved for yearly pratikarmana, introspection, penance and fasting, when even the wandering monks temporarily abandon their wandering life and settle down amidst the householders, giving discourses and organizing scriptural recitations.
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