We at Meta physics try to bring to the notice of our readers all the important festivals of India. The richness and diversity of India can be best experienced only from its festivals. Mahaveer Jayanti is a prominent festival in India. It is celebrated to worship the birthday of Lord Mahaveera.
Jainism: A Way of Life
India is a secular country and we proudly follow a lot of religion here. One such religion is Jainism. For the Jains, Mahaveer Jayanti is the most prominent festival. We will discuss significance of Mahavir Jayanti in more details in this article now.
As per the Hindu calendar the Mahaveer Jayanti is celebrated on the thirteenth day of the rising moon in the month of Chaitra. The Hindus follow the Hindu calendar to celebrate the festivals. This is why there is no fixed date for Mahaveer Jayanti. This year in 2017 the day falls on 9 April. Mahaveer was the last Tirthankara of the Jains. He was the last preacher of the religion. Jainism is one of the oldest religions in India.
Born a King
Mahaveer was born to a king. His father was Siddhartha and mother was Trishala. His mother was pregnant with Mahaveer when she would often see dreams that she was about to give birth to a great leader. The dreams seemed very real.
The astrologers interpreted the dreams as either the baby born will be a great king or a Tirthankara. After he was born Indra the king of Gods bathed the child with holy milk. This was a significant indicator to the fact that the baby born was a Tirthankara. It is said that he was mostly born in 599 B.C.
Mahaveer grew up to be a very spiritual and religious person. He spent years on search of the eternal truth. He left his family and all the comforts of life to serve people. He was only thirty that time. He meditated very hard for twelve long years. After this long meditation he finally got enlightened. It was after this that he was called Mahaveer.
He preached his learning to one and all. He had many followers not only in India but in many parts of Asia. His religious beliefs were simple and interesting. This is exactly why many followers were attracted towards his teachings. His teachings were on nonviolence and peace. He taught that even a small insect has a life and we cannot take it away.
The Jains have two divisions
The svetambars believe in wearing clothes to cover their bodies but the digambars prefer not to wear clothes. Both the schools have their own set of beliefs but they both worship lord Mahaveer on Mahaveer Jayanti. The Jains belive that they should not knowingly or unknowingly hurt any living beings this is why they cover their mouth with a cloth. This is to ensure that no insect can enter their mouth.
The Jains are pure vegetarians. They don’t even eat those vegetables that grow underground. They say that the vegetables that grown underground are roots. Roots being the life of the plant should not be eaten. The religion is a strict one and they follow all their customs religiously.
On the day of Mahaveer Jayanti the Jains offer worship to the Lord. The statues of Mahaveer are given a bath early in the morning. Exactly how Indra gave bath to baby Mahaveer. This ceremony is called Abhishek. During the day the Jains involve in charity. Mahaveer preached that we should do charity and ensure that our wealth is distributed among the poor and the needy. Many Jains on this day also visit temples and they offer prayers to the lord.
Many temples arrange for special lecture on the life and teachings of Lord Mahaveer so that the Jains get to know their lord better. The temples collect donations and distribute them among the needy and the poor. Many Jains on this day try to save a cow from being slaughtered. They say doing so can make then blessed. Jainism is a simple religion. Lord Mahaveer does not expect any donation from the followers. He just wants them to live a good life and be honest.
The day of Mahaveer Jayanti is mostly a holiday in India. The schools and colleges are closed. The government offices are on holiday for sure. However, some multinationals remain open. It is not that only Jains visit temple on this day. Many Hindus also ensure that they visit temple of lord Mahaveera and offer prayers. Many temples arrange for food to be distributed among the poor and the needy.
There are many Jain temples in India. These temples have the idol of lord Mahaveer. The Mahaveer Jayanti is celebrated in all those parts of the world where there is a significant number of Jain community. In some parts of India processions are done but mostly in a peaceful manner. Jainism is a religion that stands for peace and universal brotherhood.
Sometime drummers and elephants are also used in these processions. The idol of Mahaveer is placed in a chariot and it taken out in this procession. Most Jains exchange greetings on this day. The temples are decorated with flags and flowers. Due to technology Sms has become a popular way of greeting friends and family.
Greeting cards of Mahaveer Jayanti are also available in the markets. In India the Jain community is mostly found in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Delhi. This is the reason that this festival is very common in these parts of the country. The Mahaveer Jayanti is celebrated in other parts of the country too. The elders in the family give gifts to the children. Delicacies are made and people visit their families and friends.
At the end of the day people meditate and they offer prayer to the lord. The day is considered very auspicious. We hope that on this day of Mahaveer Jayanti people appreciate the teachings of Mahaveer and they get happiness in their lives. Today we hear stories of violence almost every day. We feel that it is necessary that we appreciate the meaning of the teachings that lord Mahaveer taught his disciples. That would make the day more significant. We hope we were able to explain in this article about the significance of Mahaveer Jayanti.