Jains who believe in simplicity and austerity will celebrate the festival of lights in a similar way, to mark their last Thirthankar, Lord Mahavira’s attainment of nirvana or moksha at Pavapuri in Bihar.
The Jain community on this day, pays tribute to his sacrifice and valuable teachings.
Sinthal Jain, a Koparkhairane resident, who belongs to the Shwetambar sect said, “We observe fast during Diwali. Devotees sing and chant hymns and mantras in praise of the Tirthankar and get together for prayers in our temple. We also recite verses from the Uttaradhyayan Sutra that contain the last teachings of Mahavira.”
Another Koparkhairane resident, Vishal Jain’s family is an unusual mix of two faiths; they are Punjabi Jains and follow the rituals of both. Keeping with their tradition, Vishal along with his wife Shilpa wakes up early on that day to buy Diwali necessities and puja items.
“Everything has to be bought on the day of Diwali only including, diyas, lanterns, fruits and flowers for puja. We have to light 32 diyas and it is important to buy that many only. 11 of them are lit in the mata ki chowki where I have placed lord Ganesh and goddess Lakshmi. Another 21 diyas are lit in front of the gods but on the floor,” said Shilpa Jain. Vishal added that everyone in the family offers prayer to both lord Mahavira and Guru Nanak Dev on Diwali.
Vashi resident, Pooja Jain makes it a point to go to the Shree Mahavirswami Jain temple in sector 15 on Diwali. “I go with my family to listen to the chanting of our hymns and wait till it gets over and the prasad is distributed. Going to the temple is fulfilling and fills you with peace. According to me it is better than bursting crackers which adds to our problems.”
In the Harivamsha Purana written by Acharya Jinasena, Diwali was first referred to as Dipalika that literally means the ‘brilliant light of lamps’. The Tirthankar had illuminated Pavanagari by lamps in order to mark the day when Mahavira attained nirvana. Since then, Jains celebrate Diwali using lamps.