Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated in the Gregorian months of March-April. It is a major Jainism festival and marks the birth anniversary of Mahavira, who was the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism. Mahavir Jayanti is fervently celebrated by the people of Jain faith.
Short and Long Essay on Mahavir Jayanti
Essay 1 (250 Words)
Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated by the people of Jain faith in the month of March-April. It is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of Mahavira who was the last and the twenty-fourth Tirthankara of Jainism.
Legend of Mahavira
Mahavira was born to King Siddhartha and Queen Trishala, in the Ikshvaku dynasty. The legend states that during the pregnancy period the mother of Mahavira had a number of auspicious dreams. In Jainism, such dreams during the pregnancy indicate the arrival of a great soul. King Siddhartha interpreted the total of sixteen dreams that the queen had seen.
It is also believed that upon the birth of Mahavira, Devraj Indra performed Abhisheka, which is the ritualistic anointment on Sumeru Parvat.
Mahavir Jayanti is a spiritual occasion for the people of Jainism and religious ascetics. They spend their time in meditation and reciting the verses of Mahavira. Usually, a temple is the place of worship and meditation. Devotees also travel to significant Jain shrines and temples located across the country. Many Jain gurus are invited to the temples and even houses to preach about the teachings of Mahavira and the principles of Ahimsa and humanity that he professed. Practicing a strict fast is also one of the important methods to observe Mahavir Jayanti. Devotees give more significance to humanity, ahimsa, and harmony as preached by Mahavira.
Mahavir Jayanti is a major festival of Jains, not only in India but throughout the globe. The very basic principle of Jainism is Ahimsa or non-violence. It is also the first and most important principle of life professed by Mahavira himself.
Essay 2 (400 Words)
Mahavira Jayanti is the birthday celebration of Mahavira, the twenty-fourth and last Tirthankara of Jainism. He is the most revered spiritual teacher of the Jain religion. The teachings and sermons of Mahavira are recited by his devotees on Mahavir Jayanti that usually falls in the month of March-April.
Mahavir Jayanti Celebration – Ancient Customs
Mahavira was born in 599 BCE at Kundagram, near the Vaishali district in the state of Bihar. He was the twenty-fourth Tirthankara of Jainism and history reveals that the birth anniversaries of Tirthankara before him had been celebrated for centuries.
Sometimes along with the passage of time the texts of Jainism were lost but fortunately the oral transmission of teachings of Mahavira remained. An archeological site located in the city of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh provides concrete evidence of the celebration of Mahavir Jayanti and the teachings of Mahavira. The site was found to be belonging to the 1st century BCE.
Earlier celebrations of Mahavir Jayanti were more spiritual and lacked the grandness of modern-day celebrations.
Mahavir Jayanti Celebrations – Modern Customs
Modern-day celebrations of Mahavir Jayanti are nonetheless spiritual like those in ancient times; though, they have become more audacious and grand with the passage of time.
Today, many processions are carried out on the streets by the followers of Jainism. Usually, the procession is headed by a major Jain Guru, followed by his disciples and other people from the community. The procession is not completely ascetic and the people of Jainism faith from all walks of life, including women and children, also take part in it. They sing the sermons of Mahavira and offer flowers on his portrait.
Temples of Mahavira see a large influx of devotees from the early morning. Devotees usually meditate for long hours and recite the sermons of Mahavira. Many temples and communities organize free lunch for the poor and also distribute clothes. A strict fast is also observed by the devotees on the occasion of Mahavir Jayanti to gain spiritual strength over materialistic possessions. They eat fruits and abstain from grains and consumption of onion, garlic or other similar foods.
Mahavir Jayanti is a beautiful festival as it teaches us the very basic character of humanity. All that Mahavira ever preached, had love, truth, and non-violence at its core. Though he was a Jain Tirthankara, his primary religion was humanity and his teachings must be followed by the people of all the religions.
Essay 3 (600 Words)
Mahavir Jayanti also called ‘Mahavir Janma Kalyanak’ is a significant Jainism festival. It commemorates the birth anniversary of the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism – Lord Mahavira. He was also the last of the Tirthankaras of Jainism. Jainism describes Tirthankara as a spiritual teacher of religion.
When is Mahavir Jayanti Celebrated?
Lord Mahavira was born in 599 BCE in the month of Chaitra, which is the first month of the traditional Hindu Lunisolar calendar. He was born on the thirteenth day of the bright half of the moon in Chaitra month. According to the Gregorian calendar, the Mahavir Jayanti falls either in the months of March or April.
Mahavir Jayanti Celebrations
Mahavir Jayanti is fervently celebrated with reverence to the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism, Lord Mahavira. Processions are carried out with the idol or portrait of Lord Mahavira. These processions are called ‘Rath Yatra’ and devotees sing bhajans devoted to Mahavira.
Also, a ritualistic anointment of the statues of Mahavira is carried out on his Jayanti, in the Mahavira temples located throughout the country. This anointment is called ‘Abhishekam’. Devotees spend their time doing meditation and listening to the sermons of Mahavira.
Devotees also remember and vow to follow five ethical vows of Jainism – Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacharya, and Aparigraha. They also follow a strict diet of fruits and vegetables abstaining from garlic onion etc.
Mahavira is also remembered in India for his teachings on ahimsa. Mahatma Gandhi had also said that Mahavira is the greatest author of Ahimsa. An ahimsa walk is also carried out by the devotees to commemorate the birth of Mahavira.
Another important activity of the day includes charity. Devotees, temples and ascetics related to Jainism do some charity for the poor and needy, in whatever way possible. Free lunch is distributed, Prasad and also monetary help is provided at some places.
Devotees from all across the country visit significant Jain temples to spend the day meditating and worshipping Mahavira. Some of the significant Jain temples are – Hanumantal in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh; Dilwara temples near Mount Abu; Palitana Temples in Gujarat among others.
Significance of Mahavir Jayanti
Lord Mahavira is revered as the greatest spiritual teachers of all times. Even the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, the champion of non-violence and ahimsa had once stated that there never had been any greatest teacher of ahimsa than Mahavira. Celebrating the birth anniversary of Mahavira sends a message that Ahimsa is the greatest religious principle of all times and we must live in solidarity with other living creatures.
It is also an occasion when the people of other religions came to know about Jainism and admire its principles. Teachings of Mahavira teach us to wade through the difficulties of life, maintaining positivity and not losing hope. His whole life is an example of enlightenment obtained through hard penance, only if one has complete faith in the principles he believes in.
Mahavir Jayanti also promotes communal harmony and consideration towards the sufferings of other living creatures. It encourages us to help animals, humans and other creatures; those are suffering from any kind of ailment, poverty or others. It places the ascetic deeds of any human over the demographic divisions of caste, creed or religion.
Mahavir Jayanti is a significant festival not only for Jains but also for the people of other faith and religion. It goes beyond the precedent set by religion and teaches inter-caste, inter-religion, and inter-species, compassion and solidarity. Basically it is an event to celebrate humanity and remember the teachings of Mahavira. It must be celebrated by the people of all faiths and religions.
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
Ans. Mahavir Jayanti is the birthday of Lord Mahavir, the 24 Tirthankara of Jainism.
Ans. Mahavir Jayanti is observed every year around the month of March or April.
Ans. Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated by the Jainism religion.
Ans. Lord Mahavir gave his first preaching at Rajgriha in Bihar.
Ans. The slogan of Lord Mahavir was 'Live and let others live'.
Ans. Lord Mahavir attained enlightenment at the age of 42 on the banks of the river Rijupalika.