Mahavir Jayanti is the most important Jain festival, which is celebrated in the most religious manner. This unique day is to venerate the birth of Lord Mahavir, who practiced Jainism and he is one of the most honorable saints to have ever existed on this planet. Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated with humility and simplicity, just like the religion itself. Lord Vardhamana Mahavira, was born a prince in a small town called Vaishali. Although he was destined to be an Emperor, he renounced the worldly life at the age of 30 and instead he led a life of penance to achieve realization. He was known for his fearlessness, intellectual wisdom, honesty and his teachings inspired many devout followers. Jain communities throughout the country honor and celebrate the birth of Saint Mahavir with great devotion. Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated on the thirteenth day of the month of 'Chaitra', according to the Hindu calendar. Read on to understand the significance of Mahavir Jayanti.
Significance of Mahavir Jayanti Celebrations
To understand the significance of Mahavir Jayanthi, one must learn about the greatness of Lord Mahavir. Lord Vardhamana Mahavira was the son of King Siddhartha and Queen Trisala. According to legend, Lord Mahavira was conceived by Devananda, the wife of Brahmin Rishabhdeva and by God's miracle, the embryo transferred to the womb of Trisala. Trisala, the expectant mother saw 16 dreams before he was born, which was interpreted by astrologers who claimed that the child would either be an emperor or a 'Teerthankara'. Indeed, the child became a great man, who abandoned all worldly pleasures and walked the path of an ascetic at the age of 30.
Lord Mahavir is considered as one of the finest and greatest prophets of social reformation and peace. He was 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.
Mahavir Jayanthi is only celebrated for one day and the masses organize peaceful processions where chariots, horses, elephants, chanters and drummers also form part of this procession. The many stories related to Saint Mahavir are narrated to children in honor of the great saint. Silent prayers and teachings of the great saint are reiterated through sermons, which are performed as part of the Mahavir Jayanthi celebrations. Money, food and clothing is donated to the poor, which is an important custom performed on this special occasion. In certain organizations, free food and drinks are provided to the public. The Girnar and Palitana in Gujarat, Sri Mahavirji in Rajasthan, Pawapuri in Bihar and Parasnath Temple in Kolkata are some of the important Jain shrines where main celebrations of Mahavir Jayanti are held.
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.
Mahavir Jayanti celebrates the birth of Lord Mahavir.