Mahavir Jayanti

महावीर जयंती की बधाई एवं शुभकामनाएं

Mahavir Jayanti celebrates the birth of Mahavira, the twenty-fourth and last Tirthankara (enlightened teacher of the Jain dharma) and is the most important religious holiday in Jainism.

The holiday is celebrated on the 13th day of the waxing (rising) half of the month of Caitra in Hindu calendar, which as per the Gregorian calendar occurs either late March or early April.

Mahavira, known originally as Vardhamana, was born in either 599 BC or 615 BC. The Digambara school of Jainism claims that he was born in the year 615 BC, while the Swetambara school believes that he was born in 599 BC. However, both sects hold that Mahavira was the son of King Siddhartha and Queen Trisala of the Ikshvaku Dynasty. Most historians agree that he was born in Kshatriyakund in the Kingdom of Vaishali which is in modern day Bihar.

Vardhamana left his home in pursuit of spiritual awakening at the age o 30, and for the next twelve-and-a-half years, he practiced severe meditation and penance, after which he attained omniscience (Kevala Jnana) and became a Tirthankara. As a Tirthankara he came to be known as Bhagvan Mahavira (great conqueror of the inner passions) and traveled throughout the Indian subcontinent teaching for 30 years Jain philosophy until his death.

Mahavira taught that the path to attain the spiritual liberation (kaivalya) of one’s soul passes through the observance of the three jewels (ratnatraya) – samyak-darshana (“right faith”), samyak-jnana (“right knowledge”), and samyak-charitra (“right conduct”).  At the heart of right conduct lie the five great vows – Nonviolence (ahimsa), Truth (satya), Non-stealing (asteya), Celibacy or chastity (brahmacharya), and Non-possessiveness (aparigraha).

The present-day religion of Jainism is practiced by about 5 million people, with most Jains residing in India, They are strict vegetarians following the path of non-violence towards all living beings.

Mahavir Jayanti festival is marked with prayers and fasting. It is a gazetted holiday in India and government offices and most businesses are closed.

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