On April 2, 2015 Jains celebrate their main festival Mahavir Jayanti, the birth anniversary of 24th Jain Tirthankar Mahavir Bhagwan.
The holiday, also known as Mahavir Janma Kalyanak celebrates Jain Tirthankar Mahavir Bhagwan whom many consider the most important ambassador of Jainism because he developed a five-fold path for all the ‘households’ of Jainism to follow, those households including ‘Ahimsa’, ‘Asteya’, ‘Brahmacharya’, ‘Satya’ and ‘Aparigraha’.
A key component to celebrating Mahavir Jayanti is done through committing modest acts. These acts specifically include Abhisheka (a ceremonial bath), giving to local statues of Lord Mahavira, charitable donations to save wildlife, and visits to temples where lectures on the path of virtue as defined by Jainism are given. Prayers and meditations on living in peace and harmony are practiced throughout the day as well.
With an example of the generosity offered during Mahavir Jayanti, Dilip Parmar organized holiday processions in Mubai, where they set up a “three-day medical camp at Byculla where everyone is welcome. It is being specially held for traffic police, BMC workers and the police. We will also clean up the roads between Dadar to Kalbadevi.” Another representative for the holiday organization, Jitubhai, said that around 1,500 people will be on hand for the parade in the Mubai district of Matunga. He added, “We will give out food packets to beggars and the needy on our way. We have also organized for food for the whole community and will also be feeding children in institutions.”
The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi tweeted his respects on this holiday saying, “On Mahavir Jayanti I bow to the venerable Lord Mahavir, who showed the path of peace & welfare for entire humanity.”
On Mahavir Jayanti I bow to the venerable Lord Mahavir, who showed the path of peace & welfare for entire humanity. pic.twitter.com/6RpcbUOQje
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 2, 2015
On the eve of Mahavir Jayanti, the president of India President Pranab Mukherjee readied Jains across his country. “When the world is faced with multiple challenges, the philosophy and teachings of ahimsa, truth and compassion enunciated by Bhagwan Mahavira hold great significance. Let us on this auspicious day resolve to ceaselessly strive for harmony and amity in our country and across the world.”