Mahavir Jayanti (21 Apr 2024) | Future Point

Mahavir Jayanti (21 Apr 2024)

By: Future Point | 31-Jul-2023
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Mahavir Jayanti (21 Apr 2024)

Mahavir Jayanti is one of the most significant festivals for the global Jain community as it marks the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavira, the 24th and last Tirthankara of Jainism. Lord Mahavira occupies an exalted position in the Jain faith as a guiding spiritual light who revealed the path to enlightenment through his teachings and philosophy.

Born in 599 B.C. as Prince Vardhamana to King Siddhartha and Queen Trishala of the Ikshvaku dynasty, Lord Mahavira embraced asceticism at the age of 30 in search of spiritual awakening. After 12 long years of intense meditation and penance, he attained Kevala Jnana or omniscience under a sala tree. He came to be known as Mahavira, one with great courage, for his quest for truth and renunciation in the face of difficult trials.

As the last Tirthankara, Lord Mahavira revived Jainism and preached the core principles of non-violence, non-attachment, non-absolutism and compassion. His profound teachings appealed to the masses and brought about a major positive transformation in society. Even today, Jainism guides millions to lead virtuous lives filled with tolerance, forgiveness and benevolence.

During Mahavir Jayanti, Jains venerate Lord Mahavira by visiting temples, offering prayers, reciting spiritual texts, performing charitable acts, observing ritual fasts and holding processions where his image is carried in chariots and taken around cities. This community-oriented festival strengthens the values exemplified by the Lord's message of empathy for all living beings and interfaith harmony. For Jains, it is an occasion to reflect upon and uphold his invaluable legacy.

Mahavir Jayanti reaffirms Lord Mahavira's universal teachings that remain eternally relevant. By imbibing his wisdom, we can make the world a gentler, more peaceful place.

Mahavir Jayanti 2024 Date and Time

Mahavir Jayanti is a significant festival celebrated by followers of Jainism, typically observed in the month of March or early April, according to the Gregorian calendar. However, the exact date varies between the two sects of Jainism. The Swetambar sect marks the birth of Lord Mahavir on the 13th day of the waxing moon in the Chaitra month of the Hindu calendar, which is believed to have occurred in 599 BC in Kundalagrama, Bihar. On the other hand, the Digambar Jains celebrate his birth in 615 BC.

Despite the differing beliefs, Mahavir Jayanti serves as a unifying occasion for Jains to come together and reflect upon the profound teachings of Lord Mahavira. It reinforces their commitment to leading lives guided by principles of peace, harmony, and non-violence.

In 2024, Mahavir Jayanti will fall on April 21, marking the 2623rd birth anniversary of Mahavir Swami. This day holds immense importance for Jains, who pay tribute to Lord Mahavira's teachings of non-violence, virtue, and compassion towards all living beings. Celebrations involve prayer sessions, temple visits, and engaging in charitable activities as devotees seek to follow the noble path set forth by their revered Tirthankara.

Kundalagrama in the Vaishali district of Bihar holds special significance as the birthplace of Lord Mahavira, adding to the sanctity of the occasion. Mahavir Jayanti is considered the most prominent festival in Jainism, celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm as followers seek to imbibe the timeless wisdom of their spiritual leader.

All About the Festival of Mahavir Jayanti

Mahavir Jayanti honors the birth of Lord Mahavira who founded the Jain philosophy. He was born in 599 B.C. as Prince Vardhamana to King Siddhartha and Queen Trishala of the Ikshvaku dynasty. At the age of 30, he renounced worldly life and attained 'Kevala Jnana', the highest spiritual knowledge. He became a Jain monk and preached non-violence, truth and celibacy till his nirvana at 72.

How is Mahavir Jayanti Date Celebrated?

  • Jain temples are decorated and special prayers offered to Lord Mahavira. The idol is given an auspicious bath called abhishekam.
  • Processions are carried out with his image placed in chariots. Bhajans and religious discourses are also organized.
  • People observe fasts, meditate, perform charity and visit temples on this day.
  • Mahavir Jayanti is a public holiday in India with festivities spanning over several days.

Significance of Happy Mahavir Jayanti

This festival reinforces Lord Mahavira's teachings of non-violence, compassion and self-control. His message of spiritual liberation and treating all living beings equally holds eternal relevance. Mahavir Jayanti inspires people to strive towards righteous living by renouncing material comforts and ego.

Rituals Associated with Mahavir Jayanti

  • Fasting and donating food/supplies to the needy.
  • Reciting sacred Jain texts like the Kalpasutra.
  • Seeking blessings from elders and exchanging good wishes.
  • Decorating homes and temples with flags and posters of Lord Mahavira.
  • Preparing special Satvik meals without onion/garlic.
  • Avoiding leather articles and wearing new traditional clothes.

Teachings of Lord Mahavir

Lord Mahavira advocated:

  • Non-violence and compassion towards all living beings
  • Practice of complete detachment and renunciation
  • Leading a life of honesty, celibacy and minimalism
  • Attaining spiritual liberation by one's own efforts
  • Equality among all human beings regardless of caste or gender

Donations on Mahavir Jayanti

People donate books, food supplies, medicines, shelter, education fees of poor students etc. Some notable donations are:

  • Sponsoring treatment of disabled/old animals in shelters
  • Planting trees to protect the environment
  • Helping widows, orphans, elderly and the differently abled
  • Supporting charity hospitals and community kitchens

Legends associated with Mahavir Jayanti

It is believed that Gautam Gandhar, the first disciple of Lord Mahavira, achieved omniscience on this day. Gods are said to have performed a special abhishekam to mark Tirthankara Mahavira's birth. Even the mother of Lord Mahavira is said to have dreamt auspicious dreams foretelling his coming as a Teerthankara.

FAQ

How is the date of Mahavir Jayanti decided?

It is calculated based on the lunar calendar so dates vary each year. In 2024, it falls on April 21.

Who celebrates Mahavir Jayanti?

Jains across the world celebrate this festival with great enthusiasm.

What are the rituals of Mahavir Jayanti?

Fasting, pujas, processions, meditation, charitable donations and visiting Jain temples.

What do Jains avoid on Mahavir Jayanti?

Consuming green vegetables, grains, onion, garlic etc. Some avoid eating after sunset.

How can I wish someone Happy Mahavir Jayanti?

You can wish them saying "Mahavir Janma Kalyanak" which means "blessed birth anniversary of Lord Mahavira".

This covers the key details regarding Mahavir Jayanti 2024 and the celebrations on this highly auspicious occasion. The festival upholds Lord Mahavira's eternal message of peace and righteous living.


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