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MAHAVIR JAYANTI: BIRTH ANNIVERSARY OF LORD MAHAVIR SWAMI

Event:                       Mahavir Jayanti
Location:                 All over India
Category:                 Religious festival
Date:                          Apr 20, 2016
Main Attraction:  Prayers and religious rituals at Jain temples.

Introduction
Mahavir Jayanti, also known as Mahavir Janma Kalyanak, is the most important religious holiday for Jains. It celebrates the birth of Mahavira, twenty fourth and the last Tirthankara (Teaching God) of the present time cycle. On the Gregorian calendar, the holiday occurs either in March or April.

Mahavir Jayanti is a festival marked with prayers and fasting. The holiday is especially popular in the eastern state of Bihar, where Mahavira was born near the modern town of Patna. A large celebration is held at the Parasnatha temple, Calcutta.

Sixteen auspicious dreams seen by the mother of all Tirthankara

Sixteen auspicious dreams seen by the mother of all Tirthankara

Birth Legend
Most modern historians consider Vasokund as Mahavira’s birthplace. According to Jain texts, Mahavira was born on the thirteenth day of the bright half of the moon in the month of Chaitra in the year 599 BCE. Mahavira was born in a democratic kingdom (Ganarajya), Vajji, where the king was chosen by votes. Vaishali was its capital.

As a child, Mahavira was called with the name ‘Vardhamana’, which means “One who grows”, because of the increased prosperity in the kingdom at the time of his birth. Today, though Jain families are not present at Vasokund, Mahavira is still much revered by the villagers. A place called Ahalya bhumi has not been ploughed for hundreds of years by the family that owns it, as it is considered to be the birthplace of Mahavira.

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Celebrations
The idol of Mahavira is carried out on a chariot, in a procession called rath yatra. On the way bhajans (religious rhymes) are recited. Local statues of Mahavira are given a ceremonial bath called the abhisheka. During the day, most members of the Jain community engage in some sort of charitable act. Many devotees visit temples dedicated to Mahavira to meditate and offer prayers. Lectures by monks and nuns are held in temples to preach the path of virtue as defined by Jainism. 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.

Mahavir Jayanti is also celebrated in Jainism by the name Mahavir Janma Kalyanak to celebrate the birth of their last Tirthankara. According to the Gregorian calendar it falls annually in the month of March or April. It is celebrated with much fervor at all the Jain temples all over the country. All the holy places and temples associated with the Mahavir are decorated with the flowers, flags and etc to celebrate this special occasion. At this day, the Mahavir idol is given a ritual bath before celebration and puja following a big and grand procession.

”सत्य” ”अहिंसा” धर्म हमारा,
”नवकार” हमारी शान है,
”महावीर” जैसा नायक पाया….
”जैन हमारी पहचान है.”
जय महावीर जयंती!

मैं अरिहंतों को नमन करता हूँ ।
मैं सिद्धों को नमन करता हूँ ।
मैं आचार्यो को नमन करता हूँ ।
मैं उपाध्याओ को नमन करता हूँ ।
मैं लोक (जगत्) के सर्व साधुओ को नमन करता हूँ ।
ये पाँच नमन के उच्चार, सभी पापो का पूरा नाश करते हैं ।
और, सभी मंगलों में, यह बिलकुल प्रथम मंगल हैं ।!

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