Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated 13 days after the waxing (rising) half of the Hindu month of Caitra, which normally occurs in late March or early April in the Gregorian calendar, and it is the most important religious holiday in Jainism. This year, it falls on April 21. Join us as we celebrate right here at National Today!
History of Mahavir Jayanti
Mahavir Jayanti honors the birth of Mahavira, the Buddha’s contemporary, and the 24th and final Tirthankara (great sages). Jainism is said to have been founded by Lord Mahavir. He was born in the month of Chaitra, in the year 599 B.C. in Kshatriyakund, Bihar. He was the Tirthankar’s 24th and final incarnation (teaching god who preaches dharma).
Mahavir was born to King Siddartha and Queen Trisala, and his parents named him Vardhaman. He was born into a royal family, but he despised royalty and the high life. He was always looking for inner serenity and spirituality.
Vardhaman took a profound interest in the essential beliefs of Jainism in his early years and began meditating. He left the throne and his family at the age of 30 to discover spiritual truth. Before reaching ‘Kevala Jnana,’ or omniscience, he lived as an ascetic for more than 12 years, practicing rigorous penance and great discipline.
Lord Mahavir’s idol is placed on a chariot and displayed in a procession known as ‘Rath Yatra.’ Religious rhymes (stavans) are sung along the way. Mahavir’s statues are anointed during a ceremony known as the ‘abhisheka.’ The Jain community engages in prayers and charitable acts to celebrate this holiday.
Nuns and monks host lectures to promote the virtuous path defined by Jainism. Charitable missions receive donations as part of the celebration. Age-old temples in India usually record a high number of visitors coming to pay respect and enjoy the day’s ceremonies.
Mahavir Jayanti timeline
The Jain Meguti temple is built at Aihole.
Mahavir is born in the month of Chaitra.
Mahavira becomes one of the most influential Jain instructors, an Indian religion that preaches nonviolence toward all living things.
Mahavira passes away aged 72.
Mahavir Jayanti FAQs
Where did Mahavira attain enlightenment?
At River Rijubalika, Mahavira spent 12 years undergoing rigorous penance under a ‘Sāla’ tree before finally reaching Kevala Jnana.
Did Buddha meet Mahavira?
They did not meet. Mahavira was born after Buddha’s time.
What connects Buddha and Mahavira?
They both followed India’s Vedic tradition and were born into the Kshatriya (warrior caste) in the east.
How to Observe Mahavir Jayanti
Learn more about Mahavira
Learn more about Mahavira and his teachings to mark Mahavir Jayanti. Remember to practice nonviolence towards all life forms.
Fast and pray
Jains throughout the world observe the day by giving alms, praying, and fasting. Practice a selfless act to mark the observance.
Visit the Jain’s temple
The day is also celebrated by the Jain community by decorating temples. You could also visit the Jain temples to offer mass prayers and practice meditation.
5 Facts About Mahavir Jayanti That Will Blow Your Mind
When Queen Trishala and King Siddharth were expecting their first child, she had a dream one night that the unborn prince would be a ‘Tirthankara' in Jainism.
Indra celebrated Mahavira's birth
Mahavira was born in ‘Ahalya Bhumi,’ and according to Jain sources, the monarch himself celebrated his birth.
He once fled his family and kingdom
Mahavira's parents died when he was 28, and he went for an austere life in pursuit of spiritual awakening, already disillusioned by his regal life.
The Mahavira meditation lasted for two years
Mahavira began his spiritual rumination and acquired infinite knowledge (Kevala Jnana) after a 12-year meditation period.
Mahavira died on Krishna’s birthday
He died on Krishna's birthday in Pawapuri, Magadha (Bihar).
Why Mahavir Jayanti is Important
It’s a celebration of Lord Mahavira
Mahavir Jayanti is the most important and auspicious festival for the Jains. The holiday is a time to celebrate his life and reflect on his teachings.
Mahavira was a great prophet
Lord Mahavir is regarded as one of the world's greatest prophets of social transformation and peace. He followed in the footsteps of Tirthankar Parshvanatha, his predecessor.
Jainism's moral brilliance and development
Lord Mahavir's spiritual and moral brilliance wowed a large number of people not just in India but throughout the world. He developed Jainism, a basic religion free of different ritual complexity, and he encouraged many others to follow in his footsteps.
Mahavir Jayanti dates