Saturday, 12 April 2014

Mahavir Jayanti

Honouring the Last Tirthankar

Mahavir Jayanti is one of the most important religious festivals of the Jain community in India. This festival is celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm in India and across the world to honor the birth and philosophy of Lord Mahavira. Mahavira was the last Tirthanka of Jainism in India. He was born on the thirteenth day of the rising moon of Chaitra to King Siddartha and Queen Trisala in Bihar. He was named Vardhaman by his parents. 

Mahavira lived as a prince. However, he started meditating and had developed a deep interest in the core beliefs of Jainism at a very early age. He renounced the throne and his family to seek spiritual truth and spent twelve years as an ascetic when he was 30. He spent most of his time meditating and preaching non-violence to people and also showed utmost reverence to all living beings.

While enduring the penance, he controlled his senses and chose an extremely ascetic life. His courage and exemplary action in controlling the senses earned him the name Mahavira. He devoted the rest of his life preaching the truth of spiritual freedom. Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated every year to commemorate his preaching and Jain philosophy. Mahavira is the last Tirthankara, who preached the essence of life, virtue and non-violence towards all living beings.

Jains across the globe celebrate Mahavir Jayanti in a grand way by visiting temples and offer ceremonial bath, known as 'abhishek', to Mahavira's idol. The temples are lavishly decorated with flags to mark the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavira. Mahavir Jayanti is also observed with festivities on the 8 day holy period of “Paryushana”. 

Majestic chariot processions that include horses, elephants, drummers and chanters are also carried out with the images followed by millions of devotees while chanting prayers. Silent prayers are offered and his preaching is recapitulated in the form of sermons to the followers on this day. Traditional dishes are prepared on this particular day and alms are offered to the poor. 

On the auspicious occasion of Mahavir Jayanti, sermons are also held in shrines or temples to preach the philosophy of spiritual freedom and virtue. Important chapters from the life of Mahavira are read out to the devotees that also contain biographies of Jain Tirthankars. Devotees and followers of Jainism send Mahavir Jayanti messages to relive the great teachings and life of Lord Mahavira. You could find some lovely gifts and worship items online to share with your loved ones to celebrate the holy occasion. The day ends at the shrine, temple or communal area where people meditate and pray.

Get into the spirit of spirituality and refresh the teachings and messages of Lord Mahavir on this auspicious day of Mahavir Jayanti.

No comments:

Post a Comment