Mahavira is considered to be the founder of Jainism, was known as Vardhamana. He played a very important role in the development of Jainism. Jainism was known as Nirgranth earlier. 'Tirthankara' is the name given to Acharya in Jainism. Rishabh(bull) is referred to as the first Tirthankara in Jainism as mentioned in Rig Veda. Mahavira is considered as the last Tirthankara and founder of Jainsim.
EARLY LIFE :
- BIRTH : There is a lot of controversy regarding the birth date of Mahavira. According to some historians the birth date is 599B.C. while others accept 540 B.C. as his birth date. His father SiddharSiddhartha was the head of Kshatriya tribe, Jantrika.
- CHILDHOOD AND MARRIAGE : He spent his early life same as Buddha but he went into spiritual matters. He got married to Yashodha.
- RENUNCIATION : At 30, parents of Mahavira died, he left his home in search of truth and passed 12 years in hard penance. During this time he suffered a lot, people used to laugh at him and throw stones at him. At the age of 42 he attained Kaivalya under a Sal tree on the bank of river Rijupalika, and came to be known as Mahavira, he was also known as Jain or Jitendriya.
- PREACHING OF HIS RELIGION : After the attainment of knowledge he went on path to preach his religion, removing darkness from the lives of people. At Mt.Vipul he gave his first sermon situated in Rajgarh. Rulers like Bimbisara and Ajatshatru, embraced Jainism.
- DEATH OF MAHAVIRA : He passed away at the age of 72 at pavapuri in 527 B.C. at the time of his death he had nearly 14000 followers.
- DIVISION IN JAINISM : During the time of Chandra Gupta Maurya a female took place, under the leadership of Bhadrabahu a section of Jain went to south came to be known as Sthulabhadra and another group in north was known as Svetambaras.
- JAIN COUNCILS :
- FIRST COUNCIL - Patliputra in 3rd century of B.C ( literature was compiled known as Anga)
- SECOND COUNCIL - Vallabhi in 5th century A.D ( 12 Angas and 12 Upangas were compiled)
TEACHINGS OF MAHAVIRA :
- TRI- RATNA -
The Tri-Ratna teachings of Mahavira, also known as the "Three Jewels," are the central principles of Jainism, a religion and philosophy that originated in ancient India. The three jewels are:
- Right Faith (Samyak-Darshana): This refers to having faith in the teachings of the Jain scriptures and the spiritual authority of the Jain Tirthankaras, who are considered to be enlightened teachers. It also includes having faith in the principle of non-violence and the possibility of achieving liberation from the cycle of rebirth.
- Right Knowledge (Samyak-Jnana): This refers to the knowledge and understanding of the true nature of reality, including the principles of karma and reincarnation. It also includes understanding the path to liberation, which is achieved through the elimination of karmic particles and the attainment of spiritual purity.
- Right Conduct (Samyak-Charitra): This refers to the practice of ethical and moral conduct, including the practice of non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, chastity, and non-possession. This also includes the practice of austerities and the development of mental and physical self-control.
By practicing these three jewels, Jains believe that one can ultimately achieve spiritual liberation and freedom from the cycle of rebirth.
- NIRVANA : Ultimate aim of Jainism was to attain salvation also known as Sidhsheel by Jains. Salvation was a path to be free from the cycle of birth and death and all sufferings and it could be attained by a three fold path.
- AHIMSA : Non violence is the greatest commandment of Jainism. Jains also consider men equal . They believed it sin if someone even kills an insect, which is a reason for walking on your forefoot and tieing a piece of cloth around the mouth so as not to inhale small insects.
- FIVE FOLD DOCTRINES :
- AHIMSA : Mahavira taught that all living beings have the right to live and should be treated with non-violence and compassion. This doctrine of non-violence is considered to be the most important principle in Jainism. It is believed that violence against any living being, whether it is human or animal, will lead to negative karma and ultimately lead to rebirth in lower realms.
- ANEKANTAVADA : This doctrine teaches that reality is multi-faceted and cannot be fully understood from one perspective. It emphasizes the importance of considering multiple viewpoints and perspectives in order to understand the truth. It also teaches that truth is relative and can change depending on the context.
- ASTEYA : The doctrine of non-stealing teaches that one should not take anything that does not belong to them, whether it is material possessions or ideas. This includes not only physical theft but also mental theft, such as taking credit for someone else's work or ideas.
- BRAHMACHARYA : This doctrine teaches that one should lead a celibate life, free from sexual desire, in order to achieve spiritual purity and liberation. It is believed that sexual desire is one of the main obstacles to spiritual progress and that celibacy is essential for attaining enlightenment.
- APARIGRAHA : The doctrine of non-attachment teaches that one should not become attached to material possessions or external things. It is believed that attachment to worldly things leads to negative karma and hinders spiritual progress. This doctrine encourages living a simple and minimalistic life, free from materialistic desires.
- HIGH MORAL LIFE : Mahavira like Buddha advised his followers to lead a high moral life and stay away from greed, jealousy, anger etc.
- EQUALITY : Jainism supports Equality and advises that every man is equal and men should not make distinctions on any grounds like caste, colour, sex, creeds.
- NO BELIEF IN GOD : Jainism do not believe in the existence of God, and believe that every animate and inanimate things have souls and consider soul as Supreme power.
- DENIED CASTE SYSTEM : Same like Buddhism Jainism denied the concept of caste system . They advised that shudra could attain salvation by the path of TRI Ratana .
- EIGHTEEN SINS :
Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara ( spiritual teacher) of Jainism, is said to have listed 18 sins or "austerities" (Anutana) that one should avoid in order to achieve spiritual purity and liberation from the cycle of rebirth. There are traditionally considered to be five "great sins" (mahāpātaka) and thirteen "lesser sins" (anuttara).
- VIOLENCE (HIMSA) : causing harm to any living being, whether intentionally or unintentionally, is considered a sin in Jainism. This includes physical violence, but also extends to mental and emotional violence.
- LYING (ANRUTA) : telling a falsehood or deceiving others is considered a sin in Jainism. This includes lying to oneself as well as others.
- STEALING (ADATTADANA) : taking something that does not belong to you is considered a sin in Jainism. This includes not just stealing physical objects, but also taking advantage of others or using them for one's own gain.
- SEXUAL MISCONDUCT (KAMIA KARMAS) : engaging in any form of sexual behavior that is not approved by Jainism is considered a sin. This includes extramarital affairs, premarital sex, and any form of sexual activity that is not in line with Jain principles of non-violence and respect for all living beings.
- POSSESSION (PARIGRAHA) : attachment to material possessions is considered a sin in Jainism, as it can lead to greed and covetousness. This includes not just physical possessions, but also mental attachments to ideas, beliefs, and relationships.
- ANGER (KRODHA) : expressing anger or hatred towards others is considered a sin in Jainism, as it can lead to violence and harm. This includes not just physical acts of anger, but also internal feelings of anger and resentment.
- GREED (LOBHA) : the desire for more wealth, power, or possessions than one needs is considered a sin in Jainism. This includes not just material greed, but also a desire for power, fame, and control over others.
- ENVY (IRSHYA) : feeling jealous or envious of others is considered a sin in Jainism. This includes not just feelings of envy towards others' possessions or accomplishments, but also feelings of envy towards others' spiritual progress and enlightenment.
- DELUSION (MOHA) : having a mistaken belief or understanding is considered a sin in Jainism. This includes not just delusions about the nature of reality, but also delusions about one's own spiritual progress and enlightenment.
- ARROGANCE (MADA) : feeling superior or arrogant towards others is considered a sin in Jainism. This includes not just physical acts of arrogance, but also internal feelings of superiority and self-importance.
- CONCEALMENT (GUPTI) : hiding or concealing one's true thoughts, feelings, or actions is considered a sin in Jainism. This includes not just physical acts of concealment, but also internal feelings of shame or guilt.
- DECEPTION (MAYA) : deceiving or misleading others is considered a sin in Jainism. This includes not just physical acts of deception, but also internal feelings of deception and manipulation.
- CHEATING (CHALA) : cheating or tricking others is considered a sin in Jainism. This includes not just physical acts of cheating, but also internal feelings of deceit and betrayal.
- DISRESPECT (APARADHA) : showing disrespect or disrespecting others is considered a sin in Jainism. This includes not just physical acts of disrespect, but also internal feelings of disrespect and disregard.
- MISUSE OF AUTHORITY (ANABHIGRAHA) : misusing one's power or authority is considered a sin in Jainism. This includes not just physical acts of misuse, but also internal feelings of abuse and control.
- INTENTIONAL HARM (ABHAVA) : intentionally causing harm or injury to others is considered.
- THEORY OF FIVE KNOWLEDGE :
- MATI : knowledge through senses
- SHRUTI : knowledge through listening
- AVADHI : knowledge through divine
- MANAH : knowledge by knowing the manah (mind) of people.
- KAIVALYA : Knowledge through conquering senses.
- EMANCIPATION OF WOMEN : Jainism provided a respectable position for womens and were in favour of providing equal status and education to women. Many women joined Sangha and delivered sermons.