Mahavir Jayanti

Indian Festival

About Mahavir Jayanti

Mahavir Jayanti is one of the most significant festivals of Jainism. Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated as the auspicious birth anniversary of Mahavir Jain. Being an auspicious occasion for the Jain community. It is observed to commemorate the birth of Lord Mahavira, the twenty fourth and last tirthankara of Jainism. This festival is also called “Mahavir Janma Kalyanak.” The celebration lacks much pomp and show and is mainly observed with reverence to Lord Mahavir, with anointment of his statues, prayers and meditation.

When it is celebrated

As per the Gregorian calendar, the holiday occurs either in March or April. According to Jain texts, Mahaveer was born on the thirteenth day of the bright half of the moon in the month of Chaitra in the year 599 BCE.

Where it is celebrated

Some of the Indian states where Mahavir Jayanti is grandly observed are Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Karnataka, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh.

About Lord Mahavir

Lord Mahavir was born on the thirteenth day of the bright half of the moon in the month of Chaitra in the year 599 BCE. Lord Mahavir’s child hood was spent in prosperity and abundance, as a prince. His parents were ardent devotees of twenty third tirthankara, Parshvanatha; this in fact had an influence on Mahaveera’s personality. He was named ‘Vardhamana’, which means “One who grows”, because of the increased prosperity in the kingdom at the time of his birth. He practised and promoted non-violence and preached love and respect of all living beings. On these values, he later found a new religion called Jainism. Jains steer clear of all non-vegetarians dishes and follow the path of non-violence or ahimsa. Mahavir Jayanti is a reminder of these virtues.

History

The earliest symbols of Lord Mahavira are found from archeological sites in the north Indian city of Mathura, dated, sometimes, between 1st century BC to 2nd century AD. In ancient days, the birth of Mahavira was observed as a strictly spiritual event without processions or display of the idols. Later the event became a little grander and also the observance of Nirvana (death) day of Mahavira, merged with the Deepawali festival of Hinduism.

Significance

The celebration also gives a fair chance to other religions as well, to know Jainism deeply. People of other faiths, from across India and the world as well, get to know the sanctity of Jainism and admire it. The intense penance, meditation for twelve years by Mahavira to attain enlightenment, is an inspiration for millions of devotees, while facing everyday challenges, keeping them from deterring from the path of truth and non violence. Also, Jain devotees donate money and other valuables to the needy, irrespective of caste or religion, implying the significance of good deeds and its rewards.

Celebrations

Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated with much enthusiasm at all the Jain temples especially in Girnar and Palitana in Gujarat; Sri Mahavirji in Rajasthan; Parasnath Temple of Kolkata and Pawapuri in Bihar. Lord Mahavira is carried on a chariot which is then taken on a procession or Rath Yatra. The devotees chant “Bhajan” in praise of Lord Mahavira’s contributions. The idol is then given a ceremonial bath or an Abhisheka. Many Jains engage themselves in the charitable activities keeping in minds that they will get liberation. Some give lectures in the temple to distribute the virtues of Jain doctrine. Traditional dishes are prepared on Mahavir Jayanti and are served to the poor. Overall, being honest and simple are the best traits on Mahavir Jayanti.

His Teachings

He said for the purpose of achieving spiritual peace and enlightenment, Mahavira, emphasized on taking five vows. They are ahimsa or non violence, Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non stealing), Brahmacharya (chastity) and Aparigraha (non attachment). He taught that all living beings should live in harmony and no harm should be done on anyone be it human, animal or even insects. He preached that any bad deed done in this life cycle will affect the next life. According to him enlightenment could only be achieved through practicing self restraint.

Other Details

Mahavir Jayanti is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, government offices, schools and most businesses. The holiday is especially popular in the eastern state of Bihar, where Mahavira was born near the modern town of Patna.

You can also get details of the other festivals….Click on the link below

Buddha Purnima Festival

Onam Festival

Janmashtami Festival

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