Mahavira Nirvan Divas, also known as Mahavir’s Nirvan Kalyanak Divas. On this day Lord Mahavira, the 24th Jain Tirthankara had attained the bliss of Nirvana on the dawn of Amavasya of the Ashwin month (Hindu calendar), 527 B.C. at Pavapuri. It was a very dark night without the light of the gods or the moon. So, the sixteen Gana kings, nine Malla and nine Lichchhavi of Kasi and Kosal decided, that the light of their master’s knowledge should be kept alive symbolically by lighting the lamps.
Since that time Jains celebrate the festival of Deepawali to commemorate the attainment of Moksha by Lord Mahavira. The Jain community illuminate their houses and temples with clay lamps to celebrate this event. This act also guides the mortals to light up their inner vision by implementing the path preached by Lord Mahavira.
On this day many devotees visit Jain temples for the occasion. This is the last day of the Hindu and Jain calendar year. Some observe fast for three days in remembrance of the sacrifice of Lord Mahavira. They also recite Shri Mahavir Swami Sarvajnaya Namah on every bead of the mala or rosary (108 beads), followed by nineteen malas of the mantra, Shri Mahavir Swami Paragataya Namah on each bead.
The Jains begin the New Year with a glorification of Lord Gautam Swami (chief disciple of Lord Mahavira) and listen to the Nine Stotras. Lord Mahavira is worshiped and sacred scriptures are recited. Devotees from all over the country assemble at Pavapuri (Bihar) to offer their prayers. The festival is also celebrated with great gusto in Girnar (Gujarat).
From a social aspect it is celebrated in a traditional manner by greeting and offering sweets to the loved ones. The Jain business community start their accounting year from Diwali. The Jain year starts with pratipada (a day after Diwali).