Mahavir Jayanti is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Jain community across the world. It marks the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavir, the 24th Tirthankara (enlightened being) of the Jain religion. Mahavir Jayanti falls on the 13th day of the Chaitra month (March-April) in the Hindu calendar. In 2023, Mahavir Jayanti will be celebrated on 4th April.
History of Mahavir Jayanti
Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated in honour of Lord Mahavir, who was born on the 13th day of the Chaitra month in 599 BCE in present-day Bihar, India. He was born into a royal family and was named Vardhaman by his parents. However, at the age of 30, he renounced his worldly possessions and went on a spiritual quest to seek enlightenment. After 12 years of penance, he attained enlightenment and became a Tirthankara. Lord Mahavir is regarded as the founder of Jainism and his teachings are based on non-violence, truthfulness, and non-possession.
Significance of this festival
Mahavir Jayanti holds immense significance for the Jain community as it marks the birth anniversary of their most revered spiritual leader. The festival is celebrated with great fervour and enthusiasm by Jains across the world. Also, it is a time for introspection, prayer, and reflection on the teachings of Lord Mahavir. The festival is also an opportunity for Jains to reaffirm their commitment to the principles of Jainism and lead a life of simplicity, non-violence, and compassion.
Celebration of Mahavir Jayanti
Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated with great pomp and show by Jains across the world. On this day, Jains visit temples to offer their prayers and seek the blessings of Lord Mahavir. Moreover, the celebrations begin with a morning procession known as prabhat pheri, where devotees walk through the streets singing bhajans and offering prayers. Many Jains also observe a day-long fast and offer donations to the poor and needy.
One of the main rituals of this festival is the Abhishek ceremony, where the idol of Lord Mahavir is bathed in milk, honey, and saffron water. Moreover, this is followed by the offering of flowers, sweets, and fruits to the idol. Jains also engage in charitable activities on this day, by donating food, clothes, and money to the needy.
In addition to the above rituals, Jains also organise cultural programmes, lectures, and discussions on the life and teachings of Lord Mahavir. Many Jains also read and recite the Jain scriptures, such as the Bhagavati Sutra and the Kalpa Sutra, on this day.
Mahavir Jayanti is a festival that celebrates the life and teachings of Lord Mahavir, the founder of Jainism. Moreover, it is a time for Jains to reflect on the principles of non-violence, truthfulness, and non-possession that Lord Mahavir taught. Also, the festival is celebrated with great fervour and enthusiasm by Jains across the world. Moreover, it is celebrated through prayers, rituals, and charitable activities. It is a time to reaffirm their commitment to the principles of Jainism and lead a life of simplicity, compassion, and harmony.