On Wednesday, a 25-year-old woman died after fasting for eight days as per Jain rituals, called Paryushan.
According to DNA, the 25-year-old was identified as Ekta Ashubhai Gala, a resident of Matunga. Ekta had gone to her parents’ place at Kotdi Mahadevpuri at Kutch in Gujarat last month, to observe fasting. Ekta’s death report revealed that she died of a heart attack.
A relative of Ekta told the DNA, “Ekta started her eight days’ continuous fast on August 27. After five days, she started throwing up and was admitted to a local hospital at Kutch. There, the doctor and Jain Maharaj advised her to discontinue her fast and eat one time a day, which is called Ekasana fast, but she declined.” On September 3, Ekta’s condition worsened and she was administered glucose. But she refused to break the fasting. Ekta was firm on drinking boiled water only as per Jain beliefs. On the same day, she suffered a heart attack and passed away.
Paryushan is the most important annual holy event for Jains and is usually celebrated in August or September in Hindi calendar Bhadrapad Month's Shukla Paksha. Jains increase their level of spiritual intensity often using fasting with prayer/meditation. The five main vows are emphasised during this time. There are no set rules, and followers are encouraged to practice according to their ability and desires.