Mahavir Jayanti Procession
Devotees carry out a procession on the occasion of Mahavir Jayanti, in Satna, Madhya Pradesh, India. Mahavir Jayanti, is a religious festival celebrated by Jains to commemorate the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavira. Lord Mahavira was born in either 599 BC or 615 BC (depending on religious tradition) has been acclaimed as one of the greatest prophet of peace and social reformation.
Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture or kill any creature or living being.
Jainism and Ecology
Nonviolence and simple living is central to Jainism, which has all the ingredients to contribute to sustainable ways of living, so important to deal with the ecological crisis. (Editor's note)
At the core of Jaina faith lies five vows that dictate the daily life of Jaina laypersons, monks, and nuns. These five vows, which inspired and influenced Mahatma Gandhi, are nonviolence (ahimsa), truthfulness (satya), not stealing (asteya), sexual restraint (brahmacarya), and non-possession (aparigraha). One adheres to these vows in order to minimize harm to all possible life-forms.
The worldview of the Jainas might be characterized as a biocosmology. Due to their perception of the “livingness” of the world, Jainas hold an affinity for the ideals of the environmental movement. The Jaina vows can easily be reinterpreted in an ecological fashion. The practice of nonviolence in the Jaina context fosters an attitude of respect for all life-forms. The observance of truthfulness prompts an investigation of the interrelatedness of things; a truthful person cannot easily dismiss the suffering caused by uncontrolled waste. The vow of not stealing can be used to reflect on the world’s limited resources and prompt one to think of the needs of future generations. Sexual restraint might help minimize population growth. The discipline of nonpossession gives one pause to think twice before indulging in the acquisition of material goods, one of the root causes of current ecological concerns. The monks and nuns, due to the heightened nature of their daily spiritual practice, leave little or no imprint on the broader ecological system. Jaina laypeople, due to their care and attention to what in other philosophical traditions is none other than inert materiality, can use their experiences of applying nonviolent principles with a new, ecological intention in mind.