Life of Mahavira
By Manak Chand Jaini – 1908
Mahavira (Mahāvīra), also known as Vardhamāna, was the twenty-fourth and last Jain Tirthankara (Teaching God). Mahavira was born into a royal family in what is now Bihar, India, in 599 BC. At the age of 30, he left his home in pursuit of spiritual awakening, and abandoned worldly things, including his clothes, and became a monk. For the next twelve-and-a-half years, Mahavira practiced intense meditation and severe penance, after which he became kevalī (omniscient).
For the next 30 years, he travelled throughout South Asia to teach Jain philosophy. Mahavira taught that the observance of the vows ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truth), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (chastity) and aparigraha (non-attachment) is necessary to elevate the quality of life.
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