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Home > Religious Festivals > Jain Festivals > Dev Diwali
Dev Diwali
Nirvana of Mahavir - Pawanag The full moon day in Kartik, the first month of the Indian calendar, brings in the festival of Dev Diwali. Jains celebrate Deva Diwali in honour of the final liberation or death of Mahavira at the age of seventy-two, Mahavira passed into the `Supreme State` (nirvana) in the city of Pavapuri (Patna) in Bihar. He was staying as a guest of the king. Several kings were there to witness his passing away. For six days, the Tirthankara preached continuously on the Jain way of life and righteous living and when on the sixth night the audience fell asleep, Mahavira passed into the `Supreme State`. When the people woke up the following morning, they saw his mortal remains. The leader of the congregation then announced that since the light of the world had gone out, they should light the city and the people illuminated the city of Pavapuri with lamps. Deva Diwali is still celebrated in memory of that day. Since Mahavira died at night, he is worshipped by the Jains at midnight and in the early morning hours, when the sacred scriptures are recited.

For the Jains, it is the day of `Nirvana` of Lord Mahavira, the twenty-fourth Tirthankara. They worship Mahavira on this day. Agams (Jain holy books) are read and homes and temples are illuminated. Lamps are lit under the moonlight sky and a family celebrates this day by feasting.

Thousands of Jain pilgrims from all over India visit the sacred Mount Girnar in Gujarat. Special celebrations are held on this day.

According to Jain legends, the first disciple of Mahavira, Ganadhar Gautam Swami, also attained complete knowledge on this very day. Thus, Diwali is a really special occasion for the Jains.

This day is also known as Tripurari Purnima, this occurs on Kartik shudh 15 - Purnima. It indicates eradication of inner base instincts, which signifies Diwali. Meeting the Lord is Dev Diwali.

This day signifies the return of God after spending Chaturmas (The "Chaturmas" begins on the Ekadashi in the month of Ashadha and ends with the Ekadashi in the month of Kartik ) with King Bali.. The devas celebrated His arrival with great joy and thus Dev Diwali came into being.

The Jains celebrate this day in a different way. There is a note of asceticism in what ever the Jains do and the celebration of Diwali is not an exception. The Jains celebrate Diwali during the month of Kartik for three days. During this period, devoted Jains observe fasting and chant the Uttaradhyayan Sutra which contain the final pravachans of Lord Mahavira and meditate upon him. The sentiments are the same as Devprabodhini Ekadashi. The devas celebrated the Lord`s return.
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