The Jain community celebrated Mahavir Jayanti, the birth of Lord Mahavir on Sunday, 28thApril at Shishukunj Bhavan in Edgware, London. Lord Mahavir was one of the key spiritual teachers of Jainism. Samani Pratibha Pragyaji and Samani Unnat Pragyaji gave sermons and conducted the meditation session.
The celebration, supported by two Jain charities, Jain Vishva Bharti and the Jain Association, was a packed-out event with more than 250 people attending.
Amongst the guests were Rajesh Agarwal (Deputy Mayor of London for Business), Navin Shah (London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow), CllrSachin Shah, CllrRekha Shah, CllrVina Mithani andCllr Nitin Parekh.
They talked about Jain philosophy and the significant contributions that the Jain community, which consists of only sixty thousand people, has made to UK life. Subjects such as caring for the environment, self-control and the impact of violence were covered during the speeches.
The afternoon consisted of cultural activities. The key principles of Jainism were reiterated in a thought-provoking play performed by the children – Ahimsa (non-violence and not harming any living beings), Satya (truth), Achaurya (not stealing), Brahmacharya (chastity) and Aparigraha (non-attachment). The audience enjoyed and appreciated the hard work and effort the children had made in preparing and performing on stage.
The ladies from the community, through a dance performance, recounted the fourteen auspicious dreams by Lord Mahavir’s mother, before he was born. The day finished off with prayers and a delicious vegetarian meal.
Everyone who attended the occasion took away the teachings, philosophy and ethos of Jainism and left with a stronger community spirit. As noted by Rajesh Agarwal, "Jainism’s principles of non-violence, many sidedness and non-attachment are so relevant today as the world is marred with violence, self-righteousness and greed."