Jains celebrate Anniversary of Lord Mahavir

Contestants along with JSMC board members

CHICAGO: The Jain Society of Metropolitan Chicago’s (JSMC) Bartlett recently held a weeklong festival on the occasion of Birth Anniversary of Bhagwan Shri Mahavir.

The celebration started with discourses by Shri Shrenikbhai Gala, a scholar of Jainism from Mumbai. On this occasion the entire facility was magnificently decorated including the Pratimaji (Idol) of Shri Mahavir Swami, the main deity at the JSMC Temple. Maha Poojan of Vissthanak was performed by 50 devotee families and was attended by more than 500 Jain attendees.

The Birth Anniversary Celebration continued in the evening with MJK Cultural Night. During this celebration, over 150 artists from 3 years to 40 years in age gave enlightening performances that were enjoyed by over 2,000 community members
A Digambar Mahavir Janma Kalyanak Pooja was organized morning of Sunday April 13. Jain devotees from all walks of life took part in this spiritual journey. Pooja for the occasion was performed by 30 families in the presence of over 100 attendees.

The 16th annual declamation contest for various age groups was organized in the afternoon. The contest was witnessed by Chief Guests Shri Sunil Shah and Ashwin Patel along with close to 600 JSMC Members.
About 100 contestants participated in the competition that lasted for almost five hours. The contest brought out the best in all and provided the audience with diverse views and perspective of various aspects of Jainism and the activities at JSMC. In group 1, performed by contestant Age 8 to 9, the subject was “Messages from Life of 24 Tirthankars”,

Competition winners were #1. Nehal Jain, #2. Rujul Shah and #3. Harshi Shah. Among contestants in Group 2, Age 10 to 13, topic was “How Pathshala and JSMC affected my life”. Winners were #1. Sneh Shah, #2. Rishabh Shah, #3. Om Gandhi, #4. Riya Shah, #5. Riya Jain, #6. Siddhi Jain and #7. Labdhi Jain.
Group 3 contestants Age 14 to 18, the topic was: “My connections to Jainism”, Winners were #1. Satej Shah, # 2. Priyal Gosar, and #3. Priya Shah. For group contestants 4, ranged in Age from 19 and above, the topic: “Parasparopgraha Jivanam (Souls Render Service to one another)” winners were 1. Dhiren Solanki, 2. Reshma Shah and 3. Harsh Shroff.

Bhagawan Mahavir was a great teacher, His philosophies and teachings taught mankind the true path of happiness. His teachings of non-violence, importance of austerity and multitude views have shown us the path to achieve salvation and spirituality. His message has stood the test of time.
Mahavir Janma Kalyanak is regarded as one of the most important Jain festivals of the year and this year the Janma Kalyanak was on Thursday, April 2. This marks the 2,614 years since the birth of the apostle of peace who is worldwide regarded as the founder of Jainism. Bhagwan Mahavir was born in 599 BC.

This year the celebrations came at a very auspicious time of Ayambil Oli. Ayambil is a sacrament where the observer eats only one Jain Vegan meal a day. The Ayambil Oli is observed over the course of 9 consecutive days. Over 70 community members observed penance for the entire 9 days.
Founded in 1970, the Jain Society of Metropolitan Chicago has a membership of over 1,700 families, the largest membership representation of the Jain Centers in North America.

Suresh Godiwala

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