India prides itself on being a secular land. Delhi being the capital of the state reflects the secular spirit of the country and celebrates all the festivals associated with various religions in the right spirit. Mahavir Jayanti is the most important festival of the Jain community and it is celebrated with a lot of traditional fervor in Delhi. As Old Delhi has a sizeable Jain population, the celebrations in this part of the city are marked with greater zeal and ardor.
History of the Mahavir Jayanti in Delhi
Mahavir Jayanti marks the birth of Mahavira, the last Tirthankara in the galaxy of the twenty four Tirthankaras of the Jains.
Description of the Mahavir Jayanti in Delhi
The Jain Temples in Delhi are decorated with colored flags on the occasion of Mahavir Jayanti. The followers of Jainism take a bath early in the morning and then visit the temples to offer their prayers. Praying and worshipping is of foremost importance to the Jains rather than any show of opulence and magnificence.
A ceremonial bath is given to the idol of Mahavira. The idol is then kept in a cradle and taken around in a procession throughout the city. All the Jains participate in this procession. Prominent features of the processions are the skits that are put up by small children portraying the various phases of the life of Mahavira.
After returning to the temples, they offer milk, fruit, rice and water to the Tirthankara. Lamps are illuminated and incense sticks are burnt. This lends a spiritual touch to the atmosphere. Dharma Sabhas are also held on the occasion of Mahavir Jayanti in Delhi. The religious discourses serve to enlighten the people so that they follow the right path of virtue. After meditating for some time, they eat the Prasad. Many cultural programmes are also organized when this festival is celebrated.
Time for celebrating the Mahavir Jayanti in Delhi
Mahavira was born on the 13thday of the rising moon in the month of Chaitra. This day corresponds to late March or early April in the Gregorian calendar. It is on this day that Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated in Delhi.