Mahavir Janma Kalyanak or Mahavir Jayanti is the most auspicious day for Jains. The day is celebrated across the world by the Jain community in memory of the last spiritual teacher of Jainism.
The fact that it is celebrated with the utmost humility and simplicity is what makes this festival unique. Jain communities throughout the country honour and celebrate the birth of Saint Mahavir with great devotion. The idol of Lord Mahavir is carried out on a chariot, in a procession called Rath Yatra. On the way religious rhymes are recited. Statues of Lord Mahavir are given a ceremonial anointment called the Abhishek. On this auspicious day, most members of the Jain community engage in some sort of charitable act, prayers, pujas, and observe fasts. Lectures by monks and nuns are held in temples to preach the path of virtue as defined by Lord Mahavir. Ancient Jain temples across India typically see an extremely high volume of practitioners come to pay their respects and join in the celebrations.
But have you ever wondered what is the story behind this festival of peace and nonviolence?
Mahavir was born in Kundalagrama, Bihar, on the 13th day of the Chaitra month or the 13th day of the waxing moon in the Chaitra month of the Hindu calendar. King Siddhartha and Queen Trishala gave birth to him. His birth date, however, is occasionally disputed among Swetambar Jains, who believe he was born in 599 BC, and Digambar Jains, who believe he was born in 615 BC. If legends are to be believed, Lord Mahavir was conceived by Devananda, the wife of Brahmin Rishabhdeva, and by a miracle, the embryo transferred to the womb of Trisala. Trisala, the expectant mother saw 16 dreams before Mahavir was born, which was interpreted by astrologers as signifying the coming of a great soul. Indeed, the child became a great man. Lord Mahavir was married initially but he left his kingdom to seek greater truth and attain Nirvana and abandoned all worldly pleasures and walked the path of an ascetic at the age of 30.
Mahavir Jayanti is the day of Lord Mahavir's birth and is considered as one of the most auspicious days in the country. The spiritual power and moral greatness of Lord Mahavir's teachings impressed many individuals during his time. He made Jainism, a religion so simple and free from various ritual complexities and inspired many to follow his path. His message and teachings regarding universal love will continue to live forever.
Lord Mahavir is considered as one of the finest and greatest prophets of social reformation and peace. He was a propagator of Jainism and he followed the footsteps of his predecessor Teerthankara Parshvanatha. Lord Mahavir spread the message of salvation and non-violence and his thoughts influenced many followers. He developed a five-fold path for all householders to follow and these are 'Ahimsa', 'Asteya', 'Brahmacharya', 'Satya' and 'Aparigraha'. Jains follow these vows to live in peace and harmony. Lord Mahavir expressed his teachings based on scientific explanations of nature and the true meaning of life. His teachings are still followed today not only Jain communities alone but others as well.
On this day people try to remember the teachings of Lord Mahavir and also make promises that they will not hurt anyone in the future; knowingly and unknowingly. The struggles and hardships faced by Lord Mahavir portray how great his individuality and his personality was.
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