Mahavir Jayanti: A Festival that Jains Celebrate with Enthusiasm

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Who is Lord Mahavir?

The Gods of Jains are known as Tirthankaras. Jains have 24 Tirthankaras and Lord Mahavir is the 24th and the last Tirthankara. In line with the Jain philosophy; all Tirthankaras have “Panch Kalyanakas” which are the five propitious events in their life. These events are termed as Garbh Kalyanak, Janm Kalyanak, Tap Kalyanak, Gyan Kalyanak and Nirvana or Moksha Kalyanak.

Lord Mahavir was born on the 13th day of rising moon of Chaitra month, 599 B.C. in Bihar, India. This day according to Georgian calendar falls in April. The birthday of Lord Mahavir is celebrated as Mahavir Jayanti. Lord Mahavir is said to have 5 names; Vardhman, Veer, Mahavir, Ativeer, and Sanmati.

Lord Mahavir was born as the son of a king, having numerous worldly luxuries, and amenities at his grasp. But at the age of 30, he left his family and regal domiciliary, left his worldly properties, and turn out to be a monk in search of a way out to eradicate discomfort, grief, and miseries.

Lord Mahavir’s Speech and Thoughts:

Tirthankar Mahavir taught that the right faith i.e. samyak darshana, right knowledge i.e. samyak gyan, and right conduct i.e. samyak charitra collectively is the actual path to get the deliverance from karmik stuff of one’s self.

He asked people to conquer four Kashayas or immoralities – Krodha i.e. Anger, Moha i.e. Wishes, Mada i.e. Pride and Lobha i.e. Greediness and practice the panchayama dharma or five principal intrinsic worths – Ahimsa, Satya, Achaurya, Brahmacharya and Aparigraha. He guided that releasing the Atma i.e. Soul from Kashayas is one’s supreme victory.

Lord Mahavira guided the path of harmony, ahimsa, impartiality, and Anekant. His values are intended at well-being of the individual and the society. Everybody is equal in Jainism and the extreme standing is given to purifying the individual character and performance to realize the understanding of the self.

Ahimsa is the supreme distinctive input of Jainism and Tirthankar Mahavira to the humanity. Ahimsa infers a love of life for all living creatures and a strong faith in the belief of “Live and let live”.

Lord Mahavir proposes the principle of Anekantavada, i.e. many-sidedness. He always recommended his followers to determine the truth after captivating into account all features and giving them owed weight. This widens one’s point of view and teaches the mind to accommodate the state of mind and the way of life of other beliefs and societies.

How is Mahavir Jayanti Celebrated?

Entire Jain community; the Digambers and the Shwetambers come together this day and celebrate Mahavir Jayanti with matchless zeal and enthusiasm. 15 days before the Mahavir Jayanti, the Jains organize “Prabhat Pheri” i.e. Morning Parades, early in the morning around 6:00AM to 7:00AM. In this Prabhat Pheris the young and olds sing hymns and slogans of Lord Mahavir.

The ladies of the Jain society organize get-togethers at their home 15 days before the Mahavir Jayanti and sing the psalm of Lord Mahavir.

The Jain community on the day of Mahavir Jayanti puts a Flag on their homes. Together the entire community organize a “Julus” i.e. parade which has the bands playing Jain songs, a chariot with the idol of Lord Mahavir in it and two “Indras” taking care of it, Elephants, Horses, Camels walking along the gents in white Kurta Pyjama, ladies in Orange Saree holding a “Kalash containing water and a coconut in it” singing Jain hymns. The kids and young generation also join the Julus with fervor. The Julus passes from the main roads of the city/town and reachs to the Jain Temple at the end where the “Abhishek” i.e. holy bath of Lord Mahavir takes place and pooja is done. Thereafter the community takes the “swami vatsalya” i.e. lunch together.

In the evening the “Aarti” and “Bhajan Sandhya” is organized in temples.

Mahavir Jayanti Holiday

This year Mahavir Jayanti is to be celebrated on Sunday, April 9, 2017. This is a state government declared holiday.

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