Vardhamana (Mahavira) 600 – 200 BC Personalities

Vardhamana (Mahavira): The 24th and the last reformer of Jainism, Vardhamana was founded in 599 BC, In Ksatiryakundagrama, India, born to a royal Kastirya family (warrior caste) by Hindus. It is speculated that he was a junior-contemporary of Buddha.  Mahavira

His parents, Siddhartha and Trisala, brought their son into a luxurious environment as heirs to their throne. Although he grew up in a royal family, he renounced wealth and became ascetic at the age of thirty. In the midst of his spiritual search, he accepted five self-denials: the rejection of I) the killing of ahimsa, ii) the lying of Satya, iii) the lust of Asteya, iv) the sexual pleasure of Brahmacharya and v) the attachment to the world of Aparigraha. His homily of Ahimsa or “respect for life” finally led to the end of the ritual sacrifices in India. Ahimsa accepts reincarnation – the belief that all animal and human life passes through cycles of birth, death and rebirth.

Vardhamana spent most of his life as a wanderer, had no clothes, and only ate vegetables and fasting. After 12 years of practicing such a severe life, he is said to have gained the highest spiritual knowledge. He is therefore known as Mahavira (the fully enlightened teacher). He spent the next thirty years traveling. He reorganized the religion of Jainism, systematized earlier teachings and es

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

tablished guidelines for monks and other supporters. His reforms have influenced Indian society to this day. According to tradition Mahavira died at the age of 72 in Pava in the Bihar state in 527 BC. At a time he should have 400,000 followers.

His death anniversary is remembered in India as an event of Dipavali,

Vardhamana Mahavira

which is the last day of the Hindu and Jain calendar. Mahavira’s sermons were orally compiled by his immediate disciples in the Agam-Sutras. These Agam sutras were orally passed on to future generations. Over time, many of the Agam sutras have been lost, destroyed or modified. After about a thousand years, the Agam sutras were recorded on Tadpatris (sheet of paper used at that time to keep records for future references). Swetambar Jains recognize these sutras as an authentic version of their teachings, while Digambar Jains use them as a reference.

Mahavira – 600 – 200 BC Personalities