Mahavir Janma Kalyanak (Mahavir Swami's Birthday)

The auspicious event of the Mahavir Janma Kalyanak (Jayanti) is celebrated across the world as birth anniversary of Bhagwan Mahavir, the 24th Tirthankar (enlightened one) of Jain Philosophy. He was born in 599 BC and this year marks the 2,615 years since the birth of the apostle of peace [ midnight of 6th day of the bright half of the month of ashadh in the 544th year before the Vikram Era]. His message of Ahimsha (Non-Violence), Aparigraha (Non- Possessiveness) and Anekantvad (Non- Absolutism) are universal in nature and has been the guiding force for generations of Jains and many cultures in the Indus Valley Civilization.

He was the son of King Siddhartha and Queen Trishala. On the night of conception his mother, Trishala, had a dream depicting 14 different auspicious things. The Astrologers interpreted the auspicious dreams and predicted that the child would be either an emperor or a Tirthankar.

Queen Trishla saw 14 auspicious dreams 1) an elephant, 2) a bull 3) a lion, 4) Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, 5) a garland of flowers, 6) the moon, 7) the sun, 8) a flag, 9) a jar filled with water, 10) a lotus - lake, 11) an ocean, 12) a celestial, aerial car, 13) a heap of jewels, 14) smokeless fire. The dream interpreters proclaimed that the dreams augured the birth of a Great One, a Tirthankar.

Mahavir Jayanti or Mahavir Janam Kalyanak occurs on the 13th day of the rising moon of Chaitra and is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Mahavira, the twenty fourth Tirthankara according to Jain mythology.

Chronologically, Mahavira’s birth is in 599 B.C.E. Lord Mahavira was the son of Lord Siddhartha and Queen Trishla. It is believed that when Lord Mahavira was in the womb of his mother Trishla, she had fourteen auspicious dreams symbolizing the birth of a Thirthankara her child. It is also said that when Lord Mahavira was in the womb of his mother, the whole kingdom faced happiness and the kingdom was free from any kind of diseases because Mahavira was about to be born. It is said that Lord Indra himself bathed Mahavira when he was born because it was a ritual that was to be followed when any Thirthankara is born.

Lord Mahavira is said to be the founder of Jainism and it is said that he is the one who laid down the basic principles of Jainism. The five principles of Jainism as laid down by Lord Mahavira are : Satya or truth, Ahimsa or non - violence, Achaurya of not stealing anyone else’s possessions, Bramhacharya or non - indulgence in sexual intercourse and Aparigraha meaning not assembling unnecessary goods.

Lord Mahavira was married initially but he left his kingdom to seek greater truth and attain Nirvana. Lord Mahavira was a kind - hearted person and had to face a number of hardships in his life before he could attain Nirvana. His ears were pinned, a vigorous snake bit him but he never complained because he said that all our sufferings are the result of the pain which we once gave to others.

Lord Mahavira’s saying was a lot similar to the sayings like you reap what you sow and what goes around comes around. The difference is that Mahavira insisted that we have to reap the seeds of what we did in our past life also. All the individuals who face hardships in the current life is actually he result of the wrongdoings of the past life. If today we understand the fact and promise ourselves that we will not hurt any living being in the future, we will not have to suffer in the future.

The auspicious day of Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated by Jains all over the world. Jains visit Jain temples, perform various kinds of Puja and fast on this day. Mahavir Jayanti is the greatest festival for the Jains. On this day people try to remember the teachings of Lord Mahavira and also make promises that they will not hurt anyone in the future; knowingly and unknowingly. The struggles and hardships faced by Lord Mahavira portray how great his individuality and his personality was.