Maryada Mahotsav holds an important place in the Terapanth sangh. It has been celebrated since more than 150 years in the Dharam Sangh.
Acharya Bhikshu formulated conventions (Strict Maryadas) for the proper observance of conduct and enacted a complete constitution for the order. The maryada mahotsav commemorates this event on the seventh day of the bright halt of the lunar month of Magh, according to Indian calendar.(late January-early February).
Jayacharya (the fourth Acharya of terapanth) started the festival of maryada mahotsave in v.s. 1920(1863 A.D.) to stress the importance of discipline in the order. There is a system in which Guru remains the supreme and where the disciples are with spirit of discipline, dedication and humbleness.
Proper management and self discipline are both necessary to make an organisation more powerful and also faithful to pure conduct. Monks and nuns of Terapanth sangh are divided in separate groups each of which consists of either 3-4 monks or 4-5 nuns.
At the end of chaturmas, most of the nuns and monks start their journey on foot usually in the direction in which Acharya is injourning. They assemble at one place as decided by Acharya. When they reach the place where Acharya is, they utter word of dedication after praying to the Acharya with folded hands "I dedicate myself to your Holiness together with those scriptures (manuscripts), books , my fellow monks or nuns that are present before your Holiness"
On the occasion of maryada mahotsav, monks and nuns apprise the Acharya of the annual report of their activities. The Acharya studies it deeply. He makes inquiry about their mutual behaviour and observance of rules, regulations and conventions. The monks and the nuns ingenenuosly confess their blemishes and ask for the expiations which the Acharya gives in the form of penance. The monks and nuns exchange their views with the Acharya on different philosophical and ethical topics. During this period, many kind of seminar are also organised.
On the auspicious day of Maryada Mahotsav, the rules, regulations and conventions laid down in the constitution of the order, enacted by Acharya Sri Bhiksu and later Achayas are read out and the present Acharya inspires the members of the whole order to observe them faithfully. It is on this occasion that the Acharya announces the place of next chaturmas for the monks and nuns. When the mahotsav is over, the monks and nuns commence on their journey to different and often distant destination as directed by Acharya. The maryada mahotsav is undoubtedly a unique celebration for the unity and discipline in the terapanth dharm sangh.