Mahavir Jayanti 2021: History, significance of occasion celebrating birth of Lord Mahavir

Mahavir Jayanti is the most important and auspicious festival of the Jains as it is marked to celebrate the birth of Lord Mahavir. Devotees commemorate this religious festival in loving memory of the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism, who was the last spiritual leader.

As per the Gregorian Calendar, Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated in March or April and this year, it will be observed on 25 April. On the special day, members of the Jain community engage in charitable acts, prayers, pujas, and vratas. Many devotees visit temples dedicated to Mahavir to offer prayers but this year due to the coronavirus pandemic it would not happen.

Lord Mahavir was named Vardhaman, which means "one who grows," because of the increased prosperity in the kingdom at the time of his birth. He was born in the 6th century in Bihar, to queen Trishala and king Siddhartha.

According to Jain scriptures, Lord Mahavir was born on the 13th day of the bright half of the moon, in Chaitra month. While growing up, he showed interest in meditation. When he attained the age of 30, he took the spiritual path and left his throne to practice Jainism.

Read a few of Lord Mahavir’s observances:

- Ahimsa (Non-Violence) -- He wanted people to follow the path of non-violence

- Satya (Truth)-- He always believed in saying the truth and also practised to be truthful

- Asteya (Non-Stealing) -- He wanted people to be honest and not steal things

- Brahmacharya (chastity)-- He wanted followers to believe and not indulge in sensual pleasures

- Aparigraha (non-attachment) -- He wanted people to not get attached to non-material things