Mahavir Jayanti is one of the most significant festivals of Jain-ism. It is observed to commemorate the birth of Mahavira, the 24th and the last Jain tirthankara. A tirthankara is an enlightened soul, who is born as a human being and attains perfection through intense meditation.
Many incidents and stories reveal the character of Mahavira. Mahavira, once said that, “Anger causes degradation of soul.” A popular story talks about Mahavira and Chandkaushik (a poisonous cobra). Once on his way to village Vachala, where lived Chandkaushik, Mahavira heard that the people of the village near the forest lived in absolute terror. Mahavira stopped in the forest where Chandkaushik lived, and started meditating. Feelings of peace, tranquillity and concern for the well-being of every living being flowed in Mahavira’s heart. On the other hand, Chandkaushik, on encountering Mahavira, hissed in anger, but saw no sign of fear in him and this made him more angry and he blew poisonous venom at Mahavira three times, but still the tirthankara was in absolute meditation posture. Now Chandkaushik was really mad and concentrated on all his power and bit Mahavira’s toe. He saw white milk flow out of his toe. This was when Mahavira opened his eyes but was so calm and compassionate. He looked at Chandkaushik and said, ‘Hey Chand, shant ho ja, shant ho ja’ and requested the cobra to overcome his anger and bitterness and instead, forgive and remain peaceful. Chandkaushik acceded and became calm, and peacefully retreated back to his hole.
Moral of the story: Peace and harmony in society come from the feeling of love and equality of all living beings. This is the concept of Mahavira’s non-violence.
By Kamlesh Tripathi
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