|Mahavir Janma Kalyanak|
Idol of Mahavira
|Also called||Translation: Birth Anniversary of Mahavira; Mahavir Janma Kalyanak|
|Type||Religious, India (National holiday)|
|Significance||Birth Anniversary of Mahavira|
|Date||Decided by the Jain calendar (Vira Nirvana Samvat)|
|2012 date||5 April [|
|2013 date||24 April|
|Celebrations||Going to the Jain Temple|
|Observances||Prayers, Religious rituals|
In Jainism, Mahavir Jayanti, also known as Mahavir Janma Kalyanak, is the most important religious holiday.it celebrates the birth of Mahavira, the last Tirthankara. On the Gregorian calendar, the holiday occurs either in March or April.
He was born on the thirteenth day of the rising moon of Chaitra. The chronology accepted by all Jains places Mahavir’s birth in 599 BCE.
Mahavira was born into royalty as the son of King Siddhartha and Queen Trishala. During pregnancy, Trishala was believed to have had a number of auspicious dreams, all signifying the coming of a great leader. The exact number of dreams differs according to the school of Jainism; Svetambaras generally believe that the actual number is fourteen while Digambaras claim sixteen instead. Regardless, the astrologers that interpreted these dreams claimed that the child would become either an emperor or a Tirthankar. It is said that when Trishala finally gave birth to Mahavira, the god-king Indra bathed the newborn himself with celestial milk, a ritual essentially marking him as a Tirthankar.
Local statues of Mahavira are given a ceremonial bath called the abhisheka. During the day, many Jains engage in some sort of charitable act in the name of Mahavira while others travel to temples to meditate and offer prayers. Lectures are typically held in temples to preach the path of virtue as defined by Jain doctrine. Donations are collected in order to promote charitable missions like saving cows from slaughter or helping to feed poor people. Ancient Jain temples across India typically see an extremely high volume of practitioners come to pay their respects and join in the celebrations
Mahavira initiated a simple, five-fold path for householders: Ahimsa or non-violence towards others, Asteya or non-stealing habit, Brahmacharya or temperance in sex, Anekantvada or many truths exist and therefore, a one-sided viewpoint cannot prevail, and Apari-graha, be non-possessive, or overcome the craving to acquire and possess more and more.
Central to Jain belief is the doctrine of Ahimsa, meaning non-violence or non-injury to any living being, implying respect and compassion for all living beings. Non-violence being regarded as the highest religion, even unintentional stepping on an ant is believed to have serious consequences for the soul. The year 2001 was observed as the Year of Ahimsa. Thus, vegetarianism becomes part of the deal. In a nice gesture, Chandigarh MC slaughter house has announced that all meat shops in Chandigarh will remain closed on April 24, on the occasion of Mahavir Jayanti.The Jain philosophy of Ahimsa has its roots in the Jain philosophy of Karma. Jains believe in the wheel of time: if one does good, good will happen to us, if we do bad, bad will happen.
There are many philosophical thoughts in Jainism, which prove to be guidelines for daily life: He who looks inwardly at the self revels in the self; He who revels in the self, looks inwardly at the self. – Hemachandra, Anyayogavyavacchedika 29
A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated. Acarangasutra 5.5
Three things cannot be hidden for long: the sun, the moon, the truth. Tattvarthasutra 7.11