Lord Mahavira is often credited with the advent of Jainism in India. However, Jainism existed even before Lord Mahavira was born. He is supposed to be the twenty-fourth (last) Tirthankara according to the Jain philosophy. A Tirthankara is an enlightened soul who is born as a human being and attains perfection through intense meditation. For a Jain, Lord Mahavira is no less than God and his philosophy is like the Bible. Born as Vardhamana Mahavir, he later came to be known as Bhagvan Mahaveer. Read the short biography of Lord Mahavira to know the intriguing life history of Bhagvan Mahaveer.
Lord Mahavira was born in the royal family of Bihar in 599 B.C. His father’s name was King Siddhartha and mother’s name was Queen Trishala. Known by the name of Vardhamana, the young boy was a very bright and courageous lad who showed extraordinary skills at a very young age. He once saved his friends from a poisonous snake and had the courage to defy an angel in the disguise of a monster. Though he had all the luxuries of life at his command, he led a very simple life. He left all his worldly possessions after his parents expired and became a monk. He gave up all pleasures and left his family for the purpose of attaining enlightenment.
For twelve years, he deeply meditated in order to overcome his desires and cravings. He succeeded in going without food for days together, avoided clothes and never harmed another living creature even if it was an insect. Once while meditating, he was bitten by a deadly snake. Still he did not develop any kind of hatred for the snake and kept meditating. After twelve years, he attained divine knowledge and self-realization. His perception about everything was crystal clear and he paved the way for spiritual pursuit for future monks. The attainment of this spiritual knowledge was known as keval-jnana.
Once he realized this knowledge, he traveled to the remotest places in India preaching whatever he had learnt. All through his wandering, he was barefoot and refrained from eating too often. His simple living and high morals attracted believers from all walks of life, which included kings, paupers, priests and untouchables. His teachings were based on the concept of self-realization for ultimate attainment of Moksha. He taught people how to gain freedom from misery, pain and the cycle of birth and death. Lord Mahavira was known to be omniscient, which means he knew everything about past and future.