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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden Extend Greetings on Mahavir Jayanti


The Significance of Mahavir Jayanti

Mahavir Jayanti holds immense significance for Jains as it marks the birth of Lord Mahavir, who is revered as the founder of Jainism. Lord Mahavir was born in 599 BCE in Kundagrama, present-day Bihar, India. He renounced his luxurious life at the age of 30 and dedicated himself to the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment.

Jainism is a religion that emphasizes non-violence, truth, and compassion towards all living beings. Lord Mahavir’s teachings revolve around the principles of ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truth), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (celibacy), and aparigraha (non-attachment).

On Mahavir Jayanti, Jains celebrate the life and teachings of Lord Mahavir through various religious rituals and ceremonies. Devotees visit Jain temples, offer prayers, and engage in charitable acts. The day is also marked by processions, where people carry out a grand procession of the idol of Lord Mahavir, accompanied by music and dance.

One of the key aspects of Mahavir Jayanti is the recitation of the teachings of Lord Mahavir. Jain monks and scholars deliver discourses on the principles of Jainism, shedding light on the importance of non-violence, truth, and compassion in leading a virtuous life. These discourses serve as a reminder to the Jain community of the core values and principles that Lord Mahavir advocated.

Another significant aspect of Mahavir Jayanti is the practice of fasting. Devotees observe a day-long fast as a way to purify their minds and bodies. Fasting is considered an act of self-discipline and a means to detach oneself from worldly desires. It is believed that by abstaining from food and material pleasures, one can attain spiritual purity and connect with the divine.

During Mahavir Jayanti, Jains also engage in acts of charity and kindness. They donate food, clothes, and money to the less fortunate, embodying the principles of compassion and selflessness taught by Lord Mahavir. These acts of charity are seen as a way to accumulate good karma and contribute to the welfare of society.

Overall, Mahavir Jayanti is a day of reverence, reflection, and renewal for Jains. It serves as a reminder of the teachings of Lord Mahavir and the values that he stood for. Through various rituals, fasting, discourses, and acts of charity, Jains strive to deepen their understanding of Jainism and embody its principles in their daily lives.

Furthermore, First Lady Jill Biden expressed her admiration for the Jain community’s commitment to non-violence and their relentless efforts in creating a positive impact on society. She acknowledged that in today’s world, empathy and compassion are often overlooked virtues, but they are essential for fostering unity and understanding among diverse communities.

Mrs. Biden emphasized that Mahavir Jayanti serves as a timely reminder of the teachings of Lord Mahavir, who exemplified the power of empathy and compassion through his actions. She urged individuals to draw inspiration from his teachings and strive to be kinder, more understanding, and more accepting of one another.

In her address, the First Lady also shed light on the Jain community’s unwavering dedication to service. She highlighted their remarkable contributions in the fields of education and social welfare, emphasizing the importance of these endeavors in promoting peace and harmony.

Mrs. Biden encouraged everyone to follow the Jain community’s example and actively engage in acts of kindness and service to create a more compassionate and inclusive society. She reiterated that by embracing empathy and compassion, individuals can bridge divides, build stronger communities, and make a positive difference in the lives of others.

As First Lady, Jill Biden has consistently advocated for empathy and compassion as fundamental values that can shape a more harmonious and equitable society. Her message on Mahavir Jayanti further reinforces her commitment to promoting these virtues and encouraging individuals to embrace them in their daily lives.

Furthermore, the pandemic has prompted Jains to reflect on the teachings of Lord Mahavir and find new ways to incorporate them into their daily lives. Many individuals have taken this opportunity to deepen their understanding of Jainism and engage in spiritual practices such as meditation, self-reflection, and introspection.

Additionally, the pandemic has led to the cancellation of large-scale processions and gatherings that are typically a part of Mahavir Jayanti celebrations. Instead, Jains are encouraged to celebrate in small, intimate settings with their immediate family members. This has allowed for a more personal and introspective celebration, where individuals can focus on their own spiritual growth and connection with Lord Mahavir.

Moreover, the virtual nature of the celebrations has opened up new possibilities for Jains living in different parts of the world to come together and participate in the festivities. Online platforms have allowed for the sharing of rituals, prayers, and cultural performances, creating a sense of unity and community despite the physical distance.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the spirit of Mahavir Jayanti remains strong within the Jain community. The teachings of Lord Mahavir continue to inspire individuals to lead a life of compassion, non-violence, and self-discipline. The pandemic has served as a reminder of the importance of these principles and has encouraged Jains to find innovative ways to uphold them in these unprecedented times.

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