Mahaveer Janma Kalyanak, is one of the most important religious festivals for Jains. It celebrates the birth of Mahaveer, the twenty-fourth and last Tirthankara of Avasarpiṇī.[a] As per the Gregorian calendar, the holiday occurs either in March or April.
|Mahaveer Janma Kalyanak|
Vardhaman Mahaveer image at Keezhakuyilkudi, Madurai, Tamilnadu, India.
|Also called||Translation: Birth Anniversary of Lord Mahaveer; Mahaveer Janma Kalyanak|
|Type||Religious, India (National holiday)|
|Significance||Birth Anniversary of Mahaveer|
|Celebrations||Going to the Jain Temple|
|Observances||Prayers, religious rituals|
|Date||Chaitra Sud Triyodashi (Vira Nirvana Samvat)|
|2017 date||9 April|
|2018 date||29 March 2018|
Most modern historians consider Vasokund as Mahaveer's birthplace. According to Jain texts, Mahaveer was born on the thirteenth day of the bright half of the moon in the month of Chaitra in the year 599 BCE (Chaitra Sud 13). Mahaveer was born in a democratic kingdom (Ganarajya), Vajji, where the king was chosen by votes. Vaishali was its capital.
Mahaveer was named 'Vardhamana', which means "One who grows", because of the increased prosperity in the kingdom at the time of his birth. In Vasokund, Mahaveer is much revered by the villagers. A place called Ahalya bhumi has not been ploughed for hundreds of years by the family that owns it, as it is considered to be the birthplace of Mahaveer.
Mahaveer was born into Ikshvaku dynasty as the son of King Siddhartha of Kundagrama and Queen Trishala. During her pregnancy, Trishala was believed to have had a number of auspicious dreams, all signifying the coming of a great soul. Digambara sect of Jainism holds that the mother saw fourteen dreams which were interpreted by the King Siddhartha. According to the Svetambara sect, the total number of auspicious dreams is fourteen. It is said that when Queen Trishala gave birth to Mahaveer, Indra, the head of heavenly beings (devas) performed a ritual called abhisheka, this being the second of five auspicious events (Panch Kalyanakas), said to occur in the life of all Tirthankaras.
The idol of Mahaveer is carried out on a chariot, in a procession called rath yatra. On the way stavans (religious rhymes) are recited. Statues of Mahaveer are given a ceremonial anointment called the abhisheka. During the day, most members of the Jain community engage in some sort of charitable act. Many devotees visit temples dedicated to Mahaveer to meditate and offer prayers. Lectures by monks and nuns are held in temples to preach the path of virtue as defined by Jainism. Donations are collected in order to promote charitable missions like saving cows from slaughter or helping to feed poor people. Ancient Jain temples across India typically see an extremely high volume of practitioners come to pay their respects and join in the celebrations.
- descending half of the worldly time cycle as per Jain cosmology which is actually current now
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- Jain, Kailash Chand (1991), Lord Mahāvīra and His Times, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-81-208-0805-8
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