Mahavir Jayanti or Mahaveer Janma Kalyanak marks the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavir, the founder of Jainism. He was the 24th and the last Tirthankara – a savior and a spiritual teacher in Jainism. A significant day for the Jain community. The date of Mahavir Jayanti changes every year per the Hindu calendar as it is celebrated on the thirteenth day of the month Chaitra. According to the English calendar, it varies between March or April.
Lord Mahavir practiced and promoted non-violence and preached love and respect for all living beings. On these values, he later found a new religion – 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.
Every year Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion among Jain communities. People gather in temples to offer prayers to Lord Mahavir for his contributions towards society.
Significance of Mahavir Jayanti
Lord Mahavir is considered as one of the finest and greatest prophets of social reformation and peace. He was the 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.
The main objective of his teaching is how a person can attain total freedom from the cycles of birth, life, pain, misery, and death. Also, achieve the permanent blissful state of one's self. This is known as liberation, nirvana, absolute freedom or Moksha.
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.
History of Mahavir Jayanti
Mahavir Jayanti marks the birthday celebrations of Lord Mahavir. According to Digambar school of Jainism, Mahavir was born in 615 BC but according to Swetambaras, he was born in 599 BC. Originally his name was Vardhamana and was born in a palace of Vaishali to king Siddhartha and queen Trisala. After the ruling palace for a few years, Mahavir left the palace and all other comforts to find the truth of life. He lived an ascetic life, wandering about, begging for food and wearing little. After connecting with many people from different cultures and backgrounds, he learned a lot about life, suffering, and pain to live a normal life. For twelve long years, the saint had been under penance.
At this time he was enlightened. He was known to be the 24th and the last Tirthankara to have received enlightenment. He gave up all the redundancies of life. He would eat on his palms refusing to use a plate. He preached the importance of truth and non-violence along with the message of not owning anything and not stealing. He later formulated all his teachings into a religion that he names Jainism. He always emphasizes that humans should eliminate greed and their connection to worldly possessions to end their limitless pursuit of desires. He traveled throughout South Asia to teach Jain philosophy.
Eight cardinal principles were encompassed the spiritual philosophy of Lord Mahavir and of them three are metaphysical and five are ethical. He believed in the external existence of the Universe that is it is neither created nor it can be destroyed. According to him, Universe is made up of six eternal substances that are souls, space, time, material atoms, the medium of motion and medium of rest. These components independently change to create the multifaceted reality that mortals exist in. He also introduced the philosophy of Anekantavada (principle of non-absolutism) that refers to the pluralism of existence. The multifaceted reality is better explained with the syadavad or the principle of Seven Fold predictions.