Mahavir Jayanti- How do Jains celebrate Mahavir Jayanti?
Jainism is one of the non-theistic religions in India. The Jain community is known for following religious principles such as non-violence and non-attachment. The Jains believe that from time to time, spiritual teachers or saviors will be born who will guide them in their spiritual path. They call these teachers “Tirthankaras”.
It is said that Lord Mahavira was the 24th and the last Tirthankara in Jainism. Also called “Mahaveer Janma Kalyanak”, Mahavir Jayanti, marks the birth of Lord Mahavira. Jains across the world commemorate the birth, life, and teachings of Lord Mahavira on this day.
History of Lord Mahavir
Lord Mahavir was born in 599 BC to King Siddhartha and Queen Trisala in the palace of Vaishali, Bihar. He was named as “Vardhaman” when he was born. Though he was born in a royal family, Lord Mahavir gave up his luxuries life when he turned 30 years and started seeking spiritual truth. He spent over 12 years meditating and is often addressed as the “Founder of Jainism” though the religion existed even before his birth.
How do Jains celebrate Mahavir Jayanti?
Jains across the world visit Jain temples on this auspicious day and pay their respect to Lord Mahavir. The temples are decorated on this day and many religious activities take place. Followers sing religious songs called “Bhajans”. The idol of Mahavir is anointed. This process is called “Abhisheka”.
In some places, Mahavir’s idol is carried on a chariot by believers. During the procession, many devotees stand and pay their respect by singing Bhajans.
Jains eat vegetarian food generally without garlic and onion. They also abstain from eating root vegetables, edible fungi such as mushroom, and edible yeasts. The belief behind this is that, eating these foods will kill the parasites on them and this in turn will bring bad Karma. Food, however, plays an important role on this auspicious day as Jains sponsor food for the needy or carry out some form of charity work.
Many people who are not from the Jain community as well praise the teachings of Mahavir as it enriches life. This year, Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated on 17 April 2019. Happy Mahavir Jayanti to you all!