Mahavira (599-527 BC) was the last Jainist Tirthankara. People call Lord Mahavira by different names such as Vira or Viraprabhu, Sanmati, Vardhamana, Ativira and Gnatputra. When it comes to the values of Jainism, Lord Mahavira deserves a special mention, as he was the one to establish the ethics that are ruling the whole Jain community today.
Lord Mahavira was born at Kundalagrama (Vaishali district) situated close to Besadha Patti, 27 miles from Patna in modern day Bihar, India. His birthday is celebrated as Mahavira Jayanthi every year. He was more popularly known as “Vardhaman”. It is due to the fact that, after Mahavira was born, his family prospered and got loads of wealth. People are of the belief that, when Mahavir Swami was born, he was bathed by Lord Indra with celestial milk. Being the son of King Siddartha, he lived his life like a prince. However, when he turned 30, he left his family and turned into an ascetic. He had around 400,000 followers. At the age of 72, this great personality departed for heaven.
Awakening and enlightenment
After having left behind the pleasures of worldly life, he went into the state of deep silence for a period of about twelve and half years. During this period, he learnt to control his feelings and desires. For quite a long time, he went without food. His search for truth and the real virtues of life made people call him Mahavira. Mahavira is a Sanskrit word, which is used to refer to a great hero.
The philosophies of Lord Mahavira are based on the sole purpose of improving the quality of life. The basic idea is to attain spiritual excellence by maintaining ethical behavior and following proper code of conduct. Mahavira philosophy primarily consists of metaphysics and ethics. The metaphysics comprise of three main principles, namely, Anekantavada, Syadvada and Karma. The five ethical principles underlying the philosophy of Lord Mahavira are Satya, Ahimsa, Brahmacharya, Asteya, and Aparigraha.
Lord Mahavira had a strong faith in the theory of Karma and he always said that, it is the karma that decides your destiny. Karma means the deeds that you do, which includes both, good as well as bad. The philosophies and teachings of Lord Mahavira are universal truths that are applicable even in the modern world that is plagued by corruption and violence.
He was of the opinion that, in retaliation to anti social elements, if you start behaving aggressive; you will never be able to find any solution. So, it is always better to come to an amicable solution by following the path of non violence. Ultimately, it is Ahimsa that paves way for maintaining harmony. So, if you wish to live your life in a peaceful manner and if tranquility is what you are searching for, then adopt the philosophy of the great personality Lord Mahavira.
Mahavir Swami’s teachings
- Always speak the truth.
- Control over oneself is very important.
- There is no point accumulating loads of wealth that you can’t even spend.
- Be honest to all.
- Follow the path of non violence.
- Be compassionate towards living beings.