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2024 Mahavir Jayanti

date  2024
Ashburn, Virginia, United States

Mahavir Jayanti
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About Mahavir Jayanti

Considered one of the most important religious celebrations for Jains, Mahavir Jayanti  commemorates the day of birth of Lord Mahaveer, the 24th and last Tirthankar of Jainism. Also known as Mahaveer Janma Kalyanak, the day is marked by meditation, religious processions, prayers and acts of charity.

Mahaveer Jayanti Date

Lord Mahavir was born on the thirteenth day of the waxing moon in the month of Chaitra (Hindu calendar) in 599 BC. According to the Gregorian calendar, this day usually falls in March or April.

Also See: Swami Vivekanand Jayanti - Significance and Observance

Who is Mahavir Swami?

Mahavir Swami is believed to have revived Jainism by expounding teachings of the previous tirthankaras. He preached non-violence, spiritual freedom and respect for all living beings — all considered the basic tenets of Jainism.

Also See: Why Do We Celebrate Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti?

History of Lord Mahavir

Digambar Jains believe that Lord Mahavir was born in 599 BC (Chaitra Sud 13) at Kshatriyakund, Bihar to Queen Trishala and King Siddhartha. Swetambar Jains, on the other hand, believe he was born (on the same date) in Kundagrama village, also in Bihar.

Ancient texts on Jainism state that Queen Trishala had 14 auspicious dreams before the birth of Lord Mahavir. On the basis of those dreams, it was interpreted that the queen will give birth to a child who will later become a Tirthankar and will attain spiritual enlightenment.

Mahavir spent his childhood as a prince but gradually started to lean towards spirituality and Jainism. He is believed to have left his home at the age of 30 years in search of spiritual truth and enlightenment. Renouncing his regal life and material possessions, he lived the life of an ascetic, experiencing 12 years of great penance. Lord Mahavir preached spiritual freedom and non-violence. He got the name Mahavir because of the extraordinary control over his senses. Lord Mahavir spent his life preaching the Jain philosophy of Ahimsa and spiritual freedom, before attaining nirvana (enlightenment) at the age of 72 years.

Also See: Significance of Kalki Jayanti

Significance of Mahavir Jayanti

Devotees worship and offer prayers to the deity and commemorate the teachings of one of the greatest spiritual leaders, who was also a firm believer of non-violence (ahimsa). Seeking inspiration from the hardships and penance experienced by Lord Mahavir for 12 years to achieve the path of enlightenment, devotees resolve to lead a peaceful life in accordance with the principles of non-violence and truth despite its challenges.

The day seeks to send a message of compassion and empathy towards the sufferings and pain of fellow living beings.

Also see: Gayatri Jayanti - Celebration, Puja Dates and Timings

Celebrations on Mahavir Jayanti

  • Celebrations of Mahavir Jayanti are marked by fasting, meditation and prayers. Jains visit temples to worship Lord Mahavira.
  • Devotees organise yatras (chariot processions) with tableaux depicting the story of Lord Mahavir through skits, songs, and dances on religious songs.
  • Donations form an integral part of the celebrations.
  • Sermons to preach Jainism and the philosophy of spiritual freedom are held at temples and other public places. Biographies of the Jain Tirthankaras and chapters of Lord Mahavir’s life are also read out during these.

Rituals of Mahavir Jayanti

  • Followers observe a strict fast for the entire day and maintain austerity.
  • Devotees worship and offer prayers to the idol of Lord Mahavir at homes or in temples.
  • A ceremonial anointment of the deity’s idol is done with water, honey, and milk —this is popularly known as Abhisheka. Devotees also offer rice to the deity.
  • While Jain temples are decorated with flags, grand processions are carried out with idols of the deity.
  • Devotees recall and preach the ethics and teachings of Lord Mahavir, his core values and the philosophy of spiritualism.

Also See: Importance of Narada Jayanti

Teachings of Lord Mahavir

Lord Mahavir, the 24th and the last Tirthankara of Jainism, is known for introducing the Jain community (Sangha). He considered women and men to be equals and said that both can renounce worldly affairs in order to attain salvation (Moksha).

  • He encouraged the involvement of volunteers from all sections of the society, including the untouchables, women and the underprivileged.
  • The human life being symbolic of vices, miseries, and pain, Lord Mahavir said that all living beings have to undergo the cycle of Karma and must pay for their deeds in their birth cycles.
  • His preachings say that materialistic possessions cause vices to develop, giving way to violence, anger, and greed. Thus, living beings accumulate bad karma that prevents their souls from attaining salvation.
  • As per Lord Mahavir, the only way to free oneself of this Karmic cycle is the way of Samyak Darshan, which means adopting the right faith, Samyak Jnana, which means seeking the right knowledge and Samyak Charitra, which means having the right character.
  • Followers practice Lord Mahavir's teachings in order to attain salvation and get rid of the cycle of births and rebirths.
  • The teachings of Lord Mahavir also include five vows: Truthfulness (satya), Chastity (brahmacharya), Non-violence (ahimsa), No-theft (achaurya/asteya), and Non-possession/Non-attachment (aparigraha).
  • The philosophy and spiritual teachings of Lord Mahavir laid the foundation for Digambar Jainism (a sect other than Shwetambars).
  • As per the teachings of Lord Mahavir, Moksha can be attained by practicing nudity as well as by observing a life full of penance as it symbolizes liberation from the world and its material attachments.
  • The principle of non-absolutism i.e. philosophy of Anekantavada was also introduced by Lord Mahavir; this represents pluralism of existence.

Also See: Significance of Buddha Purnima

Mahavir Jayanti greetings

  • May Lord Mahavir Bestow His Divine Blessings On You And Fill Your Life With Happiness
  • May He Bring Prosperity And Peace In Your Life
  • Wish You A Very Happy Mahavir Jayanti
  • May The Teachings Of Lord Mahavir Inspire Us All To Live A Life Full Of Peace And Serenity.
  • Happy Mahavir Jayanti!

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