When: Either in March or April in the Gregorian calendar /April 23 2013
Mahavira was a self-enlightened son of King Siddhartha and Queen Trishala who practiced austere penance and renounced worldly possessions until he achieved illumination. He became a Tirthankara who not only transcended worldly concerns but also offered spiritual guidance to those who seek their own enlightenment.
Mahavira founded Jainism and espoused the Unity of Life Forms which required non-injury to all living beings. This means a life of adhering to non-violence code of ethics and temperance to worldly and material desires.
Jainism has been largely viewed as a revolt against Hinduism, and its followers are presently considered a religious minority in India. The religion is further divided into Digambaras and Shvetambaras; the latter further group themselves into Deravasis and Sthanakvasis.
About the Event:
Mahavir Jayanti is a Jainism festival celebrating the birth of Mahavira. Next year, it will be celebrated on April 23 2013.
The Jain community commemorates the day of Mahavira’s birth by decorating Jain temples in India with flags on the week of the Tirthankar’s birth anniversary. On the morning of the occasion itself, an “abhishek” is performed where the idol of the Mahavira is given a ceremonial bath. His idol is then paraded around town so the Jain faithful could offer prayers and goods. Along the way, monks lead the procession and give lectures on the principles of Unity of Life Forms and non-injury on all living beings. The devout follower may meditate, and some even join in the grand procession. The Mahavir Jayanti 2012 is also an opportunity for pilgrims to visit ancient Jain temples in Gujarat and Rajasthan. The Parasnath and Pawapuri shrines in Calcutta and Bihar, respectively, also welcome their share of devout Jainists.
Rough estimates of Jain community number in 12 million, at most, in a country of 960 million Hindus. Hence, travel plans to India, particularly in Jain pilgrimage sites, may not exactly be adversely affected by Mahavir Jayanti, although some roads are likely to be closed to give way to the processions. If any, traveling to India during the festivities will afford visitors a glimpse of the colorful dynamics of Indian religious diversity and allow them to visit Jain temples and observe the worship practices and religious rituals of an ancient Indian religious sub-sect. Pilgrims, however, will have to be respected as they meditate on this very important occasion in their religious life.
Mahavir Jayanti is an opportunity for travelers to see India in all its colorful and religiously diverse facets. While travelers can expect that the occasion is going to be more manageable, logistics-wise, than Hindu festivals, it is no less historically intriguing to see the Jain community get together and celebrate the birth of their deity.
A very warm wishes to everyone celebrating Mahavir Jayanti in 2013.!may god shower you all with loads of happiness and blessings.!