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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in India Lesson 8 - Birthday of the Founder of Jainism
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in India Series at HindiPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Hindi holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 8, Birthday of the Founder of Jainism. In Hindi, it’s called Mahavir Jayanti.
The Lord Mahavira was born on the thirteenth day of the Indian month of Chaitra over 2,600 years ago. In this lesson, we are talking about one of the main festivals of the Jain religion, the birthday of the Founder of Jainism. This festival takes place each year during either March or April.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
During this occasion, four types of donations are given. Do you know what they are?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Mahavira Tirthankara is considered one of the founders of the Jain religion, and thus his birthday is a very important occasion for followers of Jainism. Mahavira was born in Vaishali kingdom in present-day Bihar. He was born in a palace, or Mahal, and his parents were the king and queen. Lord Mahavira spread the message of truth, renunciation, non-violence, celibacy, and forgiveness during his lifetime. These traits are considered core religious symbols of Jainism, and so Mahavira Jayanti’s deeds are celebrated each year with peace, or shanti, and purity, or Pavitrrta.
Lord Mahavira gave up his royal throne at the age of thirty to immerse himself in meditation and spiritual awakening. He achieved enlightenment after twelve long years of meditation and spent the rest of his life showing the path of spirituality to human society. Today, his followers--the Jains--celebrate his birthday by offering alms to the poor, protecting hapless animals, worshipping in Jain temples, taking part in spiritual discussions, and indulging in selfless good deeds.
On this day, Lord Mahavira’s idol is bathed in milk, or Doodh, and placed inside a chariot for a ride. The chariot ride is conducted for people to relive the moment of his birth, and therefore everything is prepared according to the time of his birth. Women wear crowns like Rani Trishala had and bathe the idol of the child in milk, while everyone dons royal attire.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
During this occasion, four types of donations are given. Do you know what they are?
First is Gyaan Daan, or imparting knowledge, second is Abhay Daan, which means granting protection, third is Aushadh Daan which is distributing medicines, and fourth is Ahaar Dan which is distributing food.
How did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Are the birth anniversaries of religious leaders celebrated in your country?
Leave us a comment telling us at HindiPod101.com!
And we’ll see you in the next lesson!

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Are the birth anniversaries of religious leaders celebrated in your country?