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Mahavir Jayanti 2019: History, Teachings, Significance and Facts

Lord Mahavir is the third child of king Siddhartha and queen Trishala. He was born during 599 B.C in Kundalagrama in Vaishali district in Bihar. He was 24th and last Tirthankar of Jain religion.
Apr 17, 2019 10:11 IST
Mahavir Jayanti 2019: History, Significance and Facts

Do you know the meaning of Tirthankar?

It means saviour and a spiritual teacher in Jainism. Mahavir Jayanti marks the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavir and this year in 2019 it will be observed on 17 April. Let us tell you that the date of Mahavir Jayanti changes every year according to the Hindu calendar as it is celebrated on the thirteenth day of the month Chaitra. According to English calendar, it varies between the months of March or April.

Lord Mahavir: Life
Originally Mahavir name was Vardhamana and according to Digambar school of Jainism he was born in 615 BC but according to Swetambaras he was born in 599 BC. Lord Mahavir i.e. Vardhamana left his home to find the truth in the world. He lived ascetic life, wandering about, begging for food and wearing little. After mingling with several people from different cultures and backgrounds, he learned about sufferings, pain etc. in the world. Then, he focussed his efforts in fasting and meditation. Through this process he found enlightenment. He always emphasise that humans should eliminate greed and their connection to worldly possessions to end their limitless pursuit of desires. He travelled throughout South Asia to teach Jain philosophy.

Lord Mahavir: Teachings

He taught that the observance of the vow ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (chastity) and aparigraha (non-attachment) is necessary to elevate the quality of life. Do you know that the teachings of Lord Mahavir was compiled by Gautama Swami (Chief disciple) and were known as Jain Agamas.

How Jainism Spread?

Eight cardinal principles were encompasses spiritual philosophy of Lord Mahavir and of them three are metaphysical and five are ethical. He believed in the external existence of the Universe that is it is neither created nor it can be destroyed. According to him, Universe is made up of six eternal substances that is souls, space, time, material atoms, medium of motion and medium of rest. These components independently undergo changes to create the multifaceted reality that mortals exist in. He also introduced the philosophy of Anekantvada (principle of non-absolutism) that refers to pluralism of existence. In fact the multifaceted reality is better explained with syadavad or the principle of Seven Fold predictions. 

How is Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated?

On this day followers of Jainism do prayers, fasting etc. On this day basically Holidays is popular in the eastern state of Bihar. Jains participate in several activities and allow them to bond with their family members and also show respect to Lord Mahavir like procession, statue washing, visit temples, donations etc.  

Facts about Lord Mahavir

- Some believes that Lord Mahavir was also known by tirkhantar before birth.

- It is said that he is called by five different names.

- When he was 30 years old, he left his kingdom and family.

- It is said that Lord Mahvir meditated around 12 years.

- He has given five theories to live a stress free life.

- He organised his followers into a four fold order namely, monk (Sadhu), nun (Sadhvi), layman (Shravak) and laywoman (Shravika).

- The main objective of his teaching is how a person can attain total freedom from the cycles of birth, life, pain, misery and death. Also, achieve the permanent blissful state of one's self. This is known as liberation, nirvana, absolute freedom or Moksha.

So, we can say that Lord Mahavir was the founder of Jainism religion. He was the last Tirthankar and his birth marks the anniversary or Mahavir Jayanti. But it changes according to the hindu calendar and varies between the months of March and April.

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