Swami Mahavir | Biography Of Swami Mahavir | History |Teachings

Swami Mahavir | Biography Of Swami Mahavir | History |Teachings

Swami Mahavir was the 24th and last Tirthankara of Jainism. He is considered the real founder of Jainism. He was born in 599 BC at Kundagram near Vaishali Bihar. Some historians place his date of birth as 540 BC.

Swami Mahavir’s father’s name was Siddhartha and he was the head of the Kshatriya clan Jana Nerva. His mother’s name was Trishala. She was also the sister of Chetak, the ruler of the Lichchavi dynasty.

birth of swami mahavir

There is a description in Jain literature that before the birth of Swami Mahavir, his mother Trishala had fourteen great dreams on one night. She told her husband about these dreams.
He asked the famous astrologers of the state about these dreams.

These astrologers predicted that soon such a child would be born in the house of the king. One who grows up will either become a Chakravarti king or a great ascetic. When Swami Mahavir was born, there was divine light all around in the sky. Because at that time his father’s kingdom was at the peak of its progress, so the newborn boy was named Vardhaman (prosperity).

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Swami Mahavir’s Childhood

Vardhman’s childhood was spent in a royal glory. Special arrangements were made to give them all kinds of education. Many details are found in Jain literature that Vardhamana was very brave since childhood. Once he controlled a huge dragon that had attacked one of his companions.

Once he subdued a mad elephant who had attacked many of his friends who were playing at that time and due to many other brave deeds, Vardhaman was named Mahavir. Swami Mahavir was very reflective since childhood. He wanted to attain complete knowledge regarding truth and salvation.

Marriage of Swami Mahavir

Seeing Mahavir engrossed in spiritual work, his father started worrying. He wanted to see him as a Chakravarti emperor. In order to concentrate Mahavira in worldly affairs, he was married to a beautiful princess named Yashoda.

We do not get any definite information regarding the age of Mahavir ji at the time of marriage. After some time a daughter was born in the house of Mahavir ji, who was named Priyadarshana or Anoja.

Swami Mahavir’s Sacrifice and Attainment of Knowledge

Even household life could not become a hindrance in the religious interests of Swami Mahavir ji. In fact he had already made up his mind about leaving home. But by doing so he did not want to cause any sorrow for his parents. When Swami Mahavir was 30 years old, his parents had died. Therefore, Swami Mahavir left the household after taking orders from his elder brother Nandivardhana.

After leaving the householder, Swami Mahavir did austerity for 12 years with the aim of attaining knowledge. After 1 year he took off his clothes and he started living naked. He caused many kinds of troubles to his body. He used to meditate in the sun in summer and shade in winter. Swami Mahavir ji did not drink water for months and used to eat some food after many days.

People used to ridicule him as a madman. Children used to make noise and throw stones at them. Despite these sufferings, Mahavira gave up his patience. Even he did not use any kind of medicine on his wound. In the end he attained Kaivalya Gyan (Supreme Knowledge) under a sala tree on the banks of river Rijupalika which was in the village of Jarimbik. Mahavir was 42 years old at the time of attaining enlightenment.

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Swami Mahavir and Jainism

Swami Mahavir and Jainism

Swami Mahavir ji is considered the real founder of Jainism. He was the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism. Before him there were 23 more Tirthankaras. The name of the first Tirthankar was Rishabh Dev and the name of the 23rd Tirthankar was Parshvanath.

Jainism was initially given the name of Nirgranth. The literal meaning of Nirgranth is freedom from worldly bondage. Jainism propagated Triratan, non-violence, strict austerity, karma principle and mutual brotherhood.

Propagation of Jainism

Propagation of Jainism

After attaining knowledge, Vardhamana who now came to be called Swami Mahavir started his campaign with the aim of removing the darkness spread among the people and showing them a new light of knowledge.

He gave his first sermon on the Vipul mountain located in Rajgriha, the capital of the Magadha Empire. After this he toured different parts of India for 30 years. Impressed by his melodious voice and thoughts, a large number of people became his followers.

The personality of Swami Mahavir was a major contributor to the spread of Jainism. His personality was a living example of sweet speech, tolerance, kindness, harsh penance, sacrifice. These characteristic qualities of him had a magical effect on the minds of the people.

Whatever he preached, he himself adopted it first. He set a new example in front of the people by renouncing his royal Aishwarya, beautiful wife and daughter etc. and by doing rigorous penance for 12 years.

So a large number of people started joining Jainism. The names of the famous propaganda centers of Swami Mahavir ji were- Rajgriha, Vaishali, Kosala, Kosambi, Avanti, Champa, Mithila, Videha and Anga.

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Nirvana of Swami Mahavir

Swami Mahavir attained Nirvana (liberation) at Pava (Patna) in 527 BCE at the age of 72. At that time Mahavir ji had 14000 followers.

Teachings of Swami Mahavir Ji

Teachings of Swami Mahavir Ji

1. Triratna:- According to Swami Mahavir ji, the ultimate aim of human life is to attain salvation. To attain salvation, it is very important for every person to follow the Triratna. These three gems are- 1. True faith 2. True knowledge 3. True conduct.
These three gems go together. If one of these is lacking then the person cannot achieve his objective.

2. Non-violence:- No other religion of the world has given as much emphasis on non-violence by Swami Mahavir. If non-violence is called the cornerstone of Jainism, then there will be no exaggeration in it. Non-violence means not to kill any living being or cause any kind of trouble to it.

Swami Mahavir thought that apart from man, the soul resides in animals, birds and plants etc. Therefore, we should not harm any living being or non-living. That’s why Jain monks walk barefoot. They tie a bandage on their mouth and drink water after filtering it so that no living being gets killed.

3. Karma Principle:- Swami Mahavir Ji gave an important place to Karma theory. According to this principle, you will reap what you do, and reap what you sow. If you do good deeds, you will get good results, if you do bad, then it will be bad. Under no circumstances is one going to get rid of karma. Thus man is the creator of his own actions.

3. Rigorous Penance:- Swami Mahavir ji has considered harsh austerity to be very important. It is only by rigorous penance that a man attains knowledge and he can attain Nirvana. Swami Mahavir attained supreme knowledge only after doing rigorous penance for 12 years. During these years he remained hungry, thirsty and naked and gave severe pain to his body. He also preached the same to his disciples.

4. Belief in Equality:– He believed in the principle of equality. According to Swami Mahavir, all human beings are equal, so man should not discriminate between rich, poor and caste. Apart from this, Swami Mahavir opened the doors of Jainism to women. In this way he preached equality of men and women.

5. Disbelief in God:– He did not believe in the existence of God at all. He did not consider God as the creator of the universe. Swami Mahavir ji says that the creator has hands and feet and he creates an object by working with his hands, because God is formless or who has no form, he cannot be the creator of the universe. Apart from this, man determines the time of his destiny. Therefore, he does not need the help of God to attain Nirvana.

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