Mahavir Jayanti 2019: Few Facts About The 24th Tirthankara of Jains
Mahavir Jayanti, the occasion of birth anniversary of the twenty-fourth tirthankara of Jains, is celebrated every year by Jains across the globe.
This year, Mahavir Jayanti is being celebrated on April 17, 2019.
Lord Mahavir or Mahaveer, also known as Vardhamana, is largely believed to have revived Jainism.
Information and facts about Lord Mahavir makes one understand his contribution to the field of spirituality and his contribution to Indian philosophy.
Depicted in a sitting or meditative posture, Lord Mahavir is said to have attained Kevala Jnana- gaining supreme wisdom or complete understanding of the world and beyond.
It is said that Mahavir achieved it after 12 years of intense meditation and ascetic lifestyle.
Below Are Some Important Facts About Lord Mahavir
1. Lord Mahavir is believed to have been born in ancient India, in 540 BC (historical) or 599 (BCE) traditional.
2. Mahavir was born in Kundagrama, Vaishali, which is in present day Bihar, India.
3. Jain texts say that Lord Mahavir’s childhood name was Vardhaman, meaning “the one who grows.”
4. The Jain scriptures claim that 24 Tirthankaras have graced the earth. A tirthankar is a spiritual teacher. Jains believe that there have been 23 tirthankaras before Mahavir swami and that he is the last tirthankara of the present day time cycle.
5. Lord Mahavir’s birthday is celebrated on the thirteenth day of the rising moon in the month of Chaitra- which falls in March or April of the Gregorian calendar.
6. Mahavir was born in a royal family. Historians say that he was born to King Siddhartha and his wife Trishala. The royal family belonged to the Ikshvaku dynasty- the same dynasty that Lord Rama was part of, according to Hindu scriptures.
7. Though Mahavir was born as a prince, at the age of 30 he abandoned the royal life and went ahead on his journey as an ascetic to attain the ultimate truth or spiritual awakening.
8. According to the Kalpa Sutra, the Jain text containing biographies of the Tirthankaras, Mahavir undertook strict observations as severe fasts and mediated under an Ashoka tree with his clothes abandoned.
9. The recognised fact is that Mahavir achieved or attained the Kevala Jnana (infinite knowledge or ultimate truth), under a Sala tree on the bank of River Rijupalika at the age of 43, after 12 years of long penance.
10. Mahavir then spent the last 30 years of his life preaching and travelling across India. He left his body or attained Nirvana at the age of 72.
On the day of Mahavir Jayanti, Lord Mahavir’s statue is taken out for a procession on a chariot.
On the Rath Yatra- chariot ride, the devotees chant religious rhymes and his contributions during the procession. The idol is then given a ceremonial bath, known as Abhisheka- coronation ceremony.
Followers of Jainism or Jains also undertake charitable work on Mahavir Jayanti as it is considered a pious act.
Prayer meets and religious events are conducted to sing in praise of Lord Mahavir or pray in silence.
Jains are encouraged to follow satvik (clean or ordained) diet and refrain from eating certain types of food.