Jainism is one the ancient Indian religions and the followers of the Jainism are called ‘Jains’. Mahavir also was known as Vardhamana (meaning one who grows) is the 24th and last Tirthankara of Jains. According to the Jain texts, Mahavir was born on 13th day of the bright half of the moon in the month of Chaitra in 599 BCE at Vasukund. At the age 30, he left his house and gave up all the worldly desires in search of spiritual awakening. After practising intense meditation and severe austerities, he attained omniscience. He observed the five vows of Ahimsa (nonviolence), Satya (truth), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (chastity) and Aparigraha (non-attachment).Today the followers of Jainism preach this five principles.
The day Mahavir was born is celebrated as Mahavir Janma Kalyanak (also known as Mahavir Jayanti). The day is celebrated by carrying the idol of Mahavir on a chariot, the procession is known as ‘ratha yatra’. Religious rhymes and abhisehkha are performed, 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 who come to pay their respects and join in the celebrations.
India Post issued a stamp depicting a Jain symbol having the face value of INR 3. Similar symbol is also seen on the 5 Rupee coin.
Picture Credit: Mintage World