Mahavir Jayanti

  • IASbaba
  • April 14, 2022
  • 0
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Mahavir Jayanti

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-II – Policies and Interventions

Context: The festival is considered to be the most important one for Jains and marks the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavir.

  • Lord Mahavir was one of the most charismatic and influential spiritual leaders to have walked the earth. 
  • His messages of nonviolence, truth, honesty, selflessness and sacrifice are timeless and full of universal compassion. He preached the gospel of universal love and emphasized that all living beings, including plants and animals, are equal and deserved to be treated with love and respect.

We must draw inspiration from Lord Mahavir’s life, his practice of austerity, his stress on the need to adopt a positive attitude towards life and his messages of love, tolerance and peace, especially now, when humanity is facing a formidable health crisis of the spread of COVID-19 as well as the infamous war.

  • Lord Mahavira was born at Kundagrama, Vaishali in present day Bihar. King Siddartha and Trishala are parents of Mahavira
  • Mahavira was associated with Makari Gosala Putta for 6 years, but later departed due to serious philosophical differences. 
  • Then Mahavira joined Nigrantha sect, while Makari Gosala Putta started Ajivika religion.
  • After Mahavira, Jainism came under the control of 11 disciples of Mahavira, namely Ganadharas
  • Associated symbol: Lion

The three principles of Jainism, also known as Triratnas (three gems), are:

  • Right faith
  • Right knowledge
  • Right conduct

Value Additions:

  • According to Mahavira, a person is born in a high or in a lower varna in consequence of the sins or the virtues acquired by him in the previous birth.
  • The Hathigumpha Inscription proves that Jainism entered Orissa and probably became the state religion within 100 years of death of Mahavira.
  • The teachings of the Parshvanatha are collectively known as Chaturyama. It is the the “four-fold teaching” of the Parshvanath.
  • The Mahamastakabhisheka, refers to the abhiṣheka of the Jain images when held on a large scale. The most famous of such consecrations is the anointment of the Bahubali Gommateshwara Statue located at Shravanabelagola in Karnataka, India. It is an important Jain festival held once in every 12 years.
  • Jainism predates Buddhism, while Buddha was older than Mahavira.
  • Mahavir is considered to be 24th and the last Tirthankar.
  • Through Sangha, Mahavira spread his teaching that consists of women & Men in the organized sangha. 
  • There are two sect of Jainism- Svetambar (White Clad) and Digambar (Sky clad or Naked).
  • First Jain Council was convened at Patliputra presided by Sthaulabhadra who was the leader of Shwetambar during 3rd century BC. It resulted in the compilation of 12 Angas replacing the lost 14 Purvas.
  • Second Council – Second Jain Council was held at Vallabhi under the chairmainship of Devardhi in 521 A.D.
  • What is Tirtha?
    • A Tirtha is a religious pilgrim place. 
    • Most tirths in India of any religion are based upon the banks of Rivers.
    • The idea of a Tirtha is to cross the river of human miseries.
    • A Tirthankara is a founder of a Tirtha. He achieves the enlightenment and then shows the path to others. 
    • A Tirthankara achieves Moksha or liberation at the end of his human life.

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