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Lord Mahavir’s Legacy and Teachings of Jainism: Mahavir Jayanti 2024

Witness the spiritual path of Lord Mahavir this Mahavir Jayanti! Explore the history, significance, and traditions of this Jain festival. Learn about Jainism's core values of non-violence, truth, and compassion.

Mahavir Jayanti 2024

India is known for its diverse traditions, culture and festivals, and when it comes to celebrating any occasion, India undoubtedly stands in the first place.

Mahavir Jayanti is the most significant festival for the Jain community, across the world. It is commemorated as the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavira, the 24th and the last Tirthankara of Jainism. 

With this, the Jain community has made all the preparations to celebrate their auspicious festival. This year, Mahavir Jayanti will be celebrated on April 21, 2024.

Mahavir was born into the privileged family of King Siddhartha and Queen Trishala in the ancient kingdom of Vaishali (which is now Bihar) on the 13th day of the Shukla Paksha in the month of Chaitra. 

According to some beliefs, Queen Trishala saw 14 dreams, which she conveyed to an astrologer, who said that her son Mahavir would either be the prominent emperor or an ascetic. To understand Jain values, one should understand the Art of Loving, Leaving and Living.

History and Significance 

Lord Mahavir has a luxurious and rich life even though he wants to devoid himself of worldly pleasures and start living a laborious lifestyle.  Mahavir left his comfort life and became an ascetic at the age of 30, searching for spiritual enlightenment and peace. 

During his self-denial phase, he lived a life of a beggar or vagabond for the next twelve years. With a strict austerities lifestyle and intensive meditation, he practiced all the things which are needed during the Sage stage. From keeping fast to having minimal necessities in life, he embarks on a journey of spirituality and devotion. 

After reaching the age of 42, Mahavira attained enlightenment while meditating under a tree. He then spent the next thirty years teaching Jain principles to his disciples.

It is a belief that, at the age of 72, he attained Nirvana (enlightenment), a phase of an individual when all his sufferings and desires went away. According to some Jain texts, he passed away and got Moksha at the age of 72 in Bihar’s Rajgir.

Lord Mahavira holds a significant place in the hearts of the Jain community, they not only worship him but also follow all his teachings. To show great devotion to Lord Mahavir, the Jain community offers charity during the Mahavir Jayanti festival.

Lord Mahavira devoted his life to the concepts of non-violence, truth, non-stealing, chastity, and non-attachment. He taught that all living beings had souls and should thus be treated with love, compassion, and respect. He also emphasized the value of leading a modest, tranquil, and ethical life.

The significant festival of Jain culture Mahavir Jayanti is a moment to take the blessing of Lord Mahavir and adopt his teachings in life to gain peace and spiritual enlightenment.

Why is Mahavir Jayanti celebrated?

Jainism is an ancient religion in India, it is believed that if you want to attain moksha in life, you have to follow some of the principles of Jainism.

Mahavir teaches the importance of meditation, self-discipline and simple living. We all came to this world only to attain spiritual enlightenment, and this can only happen if we follow the Satya, Ahimsa, and the Right path of living.

Jainism teaches that worldly pleasures don't matter and that we all have to leave our luxurious lives one day. The celebration of Mahavir Jayanti is only a reminder to attain a good path, the path of truth, non-violence and a path which has no place for Moh-Maya.

This festival is only commemorated to show gratitude and devotion towards Lord Mahavir and accept a life which is full of love, peace, and kindness.

How do the Jain devotees celebrate Jayanti?

On the day of Mahavir Jayanti, early in the morning, the Jain devotees take a bath, visit Lord Mahavir’s pilgrimage, and perform the ritual Abhishekam, followed by prayer and worship. 

The celebration involves donating food and clothes to the poor.  In acts of charity and kindness, many devotees arrange Bhandara for the poor and needy. The Bhandara includes Satvik Bhojana or pure vegetarian food prepared without harming any organisms. The devotees also detach themself from these worldly pleasures.

Jain culture strictly follows and opposes the harming of animals and slaughtering, hence on this day, most Jain devotees donate only to stop hurting and killing animals.

What are the teachings of Jainism:

Jainism strongly emphasises establishing global peace and harmony while causing no harm to living beings. Jain culture teaches a lesson of simplicity, Satya, Ahimsa, love and treating every organism to human- being equally.

Mahavir Jayanti is a celebration of the meaning of life. It is important to remember Lord Mahavir, as his life teaches a lot. May this festival and his teaching inspire us to lead a life filled with peace and kindness. This year, promise yourself to adopt any single principle of Lord Mahavir to live a peaceful life.