Mahavir Jayanti namaskar to all sentient beings. According to Jain tradition, Vardhamana Mahavira (599-527 BCE) was the 24th (and the last) tirthankara. “In Jainism, a Tīrthaṅkara is a human being who helps in achieving liberation and enlightenment as an “Arihant” by destroying their soul-constraining karmas, became a role-model and leader for those seeking spiritual guidance.” (Wiki.)
Let’s recall the Namaskar Mantra, which is “a gesture of deep respect towards beings Jains believe are more spiritually advanced and to remind followers of the Jain religion of their ultimate goal of nirvana or moksa.”
I bow to the arihants
I bow to the siddhas
I bow to the acharyas
I bow to the teachers
I bow to all sadhus
This five-fold bow destroys all sins and obstacles
And of all auspicious mantras, is the first and foremost one.
Among the Indic religions — Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism — Jainism is the most life-affirming. It categorically teaches that one should not harm any living being. Killing is definitely out. If everyone were to follow that principle, there would be no terrorism, leave alone organized wars.
Not that there is much to be gained by comparing religions, but if you must, Jainism is one end of the spectrum that extends from the benign to the malignant. Sam Harris compared Christianity’s Ten Commandments with Mahavira’s teachings in his book Letter to a Christian Nation thus:
If you think that it would be impossible to improve upon the Ten Commandments as a statement of morality, you really owe it to yourself to read some other scriptures. Once again, we need look no further than the Jains: Mahavira, the Jain patriarch, surpassed the morality of the Bible with a single sentence: “Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture, or kill any creature or living being.” Imagine how different our world might be if the Bible contained this as its central precept. Christians have abused, oppressed, enslaved, insulted, tormented, tortured, and killed people in the name of God for centuries, on the basis of a theologically defensible reading of the Bible.
I admit that I take enormous pride that I was born in the same land that gave birth to Jainism.
I bow in deep reverence to Bhagawan Mahavir and all other Tirthankaras.
Categories: Indian Festivals