Essay on Mahavir Jayanti, Short Bio, History and Importance in Jainism

In this article, we have published an Essay on Mahavir Jayanti, with Short Biography, History, Story and Importance in Jainism.

Mahavira (Vardhamana)

Mahavir Janma Kalyanak is one of the foremost critical religious festivals for Jains. It commemorates the birth of Mahavira, the 24th and last Tirthankara of the present Avasarpari. According to the Gregorian calendar, the holiday is said to occur in the month of March or April. It is also known as ‘Veer Teras’, highlighting the 13th ‘Sud’ day of Chaitra month of the Jain calendar.

Birth

According to Jain texts, Mahavira was born on the bright half of the moon in the month of Chaitra on 599 BC (Chaitra Sud 13). Most modern historians consider Kundagram (now Kundalpur in Champaran district of Bihar) as its birthplace. Mahavira was born in Vajaji, a democratic state (Ganrajya). Here the voters used to elect the kings. Vaishali was its capital.

Mahavira was named ‘Vardhamana’, which means “one who grows”, as the kingdom flourished at the time of his birth. In Vasokund, Mahavira is highly revered by the villagers. The place, called AhalyaBhoomi, has not been owned by the family for hundreds of years, as it is considered the birthplace of Mahavira.

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Birth story

Mahavir Swami was born in the Ikshvaku dynasty as the son of King Siddhartha of Kundagrama and Queen Trishala. During pregnancy, Trishala was believed to have had many auspicious dreams, all indicating the arrival of a great soul. The Digambara sect of Jainism believes that the mother had sixteen dreams, which were interpreted by King Siddhartha. 

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According to the Svetambara sect, the entire number of auspicious dreams is fourteen. As per the old sayings, when the queen Trishala gave birth to Mahavira, Indra, the beings (devas) of heaven performed a ritual called Abhishek on the Sumeru mountain, one of the five auspicious events (PanchKalyanak) is said to take place in life, of all the Tirthankaras.

Mahavir life

Mahavir was very bright and courageous since childhood. After completing his education, his parents married him to Princess Yashoda. After their marriage, they had a daughter named Priyadarshana. Mahavir Swami was born in a simple family and made his life unique by his hard penance and hard work.

King Siddhartha said that since Mahavir Swami was born, his kingdom had increased in strength and wealth in many ways and the whole kingdom had grown a lot, so he named his son Vardhaman with everyone’s consent. It is said that Mahavir Swami was an introvert type from the beginning; he had no interest in life’s fascination with Maya. He was also married as per the wishes of his parents.

The recluse of Mahavir Swami

After the death of Mahavir Swami’s parents, there was a feeling of disinterest in his mind, but when he asked his brother for disinterest, his brother asked him to stop. According to the orders of his brother, after two years, he attained renunciation at the age of 30, at such a young age, he attained renunciation. 

And after completing the hair elasticity process, he started living in the forest. He lived a life of asceticism in the woods for 12 years, after which he attained the right knowledge under a tree on the banks of the Rijupalika River in Champak. He meditated hard to achieve this real knowledge. After this, he came to be known as Kevin. Mahavir Swami started spreading his awareness by preaching his teachings spread far and wide.

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Many kings started taking sermons from Maharaja Swami Mahavir, and they also became followers of Mahavir Swami. Bimbisara also had one of those kings who became a follower of Mahavir Swami. Mahavir Swami gave the message of love, peace, and non-violence through his teachings. After this, he became the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism.

At the age of 30, he took initiation and got different types of knowledge after this Mahavir Swami did severe penance and accepted various confusing prefixes with equanimity. In the 12th year of sadhana, Mahavir Swami came to Kaushambi from Medhiya village and here he practiced very hard.

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Mahavir Swami and Jainism

Mahavir Swami is also known as Veer, Avira, and Sanmati, because of Mahavir Swami, the principles propounded during the tenure of Parshvanath, the 23rd Tirthankara of Jainism, took the form of a vast Jain religion. 

There are many opinions about Mahavira’s place of birth, but in India, there is a consensus about his incarnation. Mahavira’s education influenced great kings like King Maharaja of that time and made Jainism his dominant religion.

History

The holiday is celebrated on the 13th day of the half-Chaitra of the Hindu month of vating (waking up), which usually occurs in late March or early April.

Mahavir Jayanti commemorates the birth of Mahavira, a contemporary of Buddha, and the 24th and last Tirthankara (great sage).

Mahavira, known initially as Vardhamana, was born in 599 BCE or 615 BCE. The Digambara school of Jainism states that Lord Mahavira was born in the year 615 BC, but Svetambaras believe that he was born in 599 BC. However, both sects believe that Mahavira was the son of Siddharth and Trishala.

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According to legend, Devananda, the wife of a Brahmin named Rishabhdev conceived him, but the gods transferred the embryo to Trishala’s womb.

The expectant mother had 14 auspicious dreams according to the Svetambara sect. (According to the Digambara sect it was 16 dreams). Astrologers interpreted these dreams and predicted that the child would be either an emperor or a Tirthankara.

For more than a decade he was an ascetic, wandering, begging for food, and wearing little. He then attained enlightenment, became a Tirthankara and taught for 30 years before his death.

The current ascetic religion of Jainism overturned Mahavira as their chief prophet. Over 3 lakh people of Jainism practice it. They take the path of non-violence towards all living beings. Some people may wear a mask to stop the likelihood of killing an insect while inadvertently breathing.

Celebrations

In the procession of RathYatra, a statue of Lord Mahavira is placed on the chariot. On the way, steven (religious rhyme) is recited. The figures of Mahavir are given to Abhishek. During the day, many members of the Jain community participate in some volunteer work, prayer, worship and fasting. 

Many devotees visit temples dedicated to Lord Mahavira for meditation and prayer. Discourses are conducted by monks and nuns in temples to propagate the path of virtue defined by Jainism. People raise donations to support charity work, such as saving the cows from slaughter or helping to feed the poor. 

The oldest Jain temples across India usually visit large numbers of practitioners, pay homage and attend festivals. Non-violence continues, and holding different rallies till today, proclaiming the message of Mahavira.

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