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Mahavir Bhagwan

Bhagwan Mahavira is the last and the greatest tirthankar of the Jain religion. He was born in 615 B.C as Vardhamana on Chaitra Shukla 13th in the Nata clan at Khattiya-kundapura, near Vaishali. On this day we celebrate his birth anniversary as Mahavir Jayanti. He was the son of King Siddharth and Trisala. Just before he was born, his mother had seen sixteen dreams. They are:-

  • A white elephant
  • A lion
  • Goddess Lakshmi with two elephants at her side showering flowers
  • The moon lighting the universe with silvery beams
  • A pair of jumping fish
  • The radiant sun, a golden pitcher
  • A lake full of lotus flowers
  • A calm ocean of milk
  • A celestial palace
  • A throne of rubies and diamonds
  • A celestial king ruling the earth
  • A garland
  • A white bull
  • A fragrant Mandara flowers
  • and a vase as tall as Mount Meru, filled with gems.

It is believed that at moment of his birth, the life forms in the world were cheerful and content. Several gods and goddesses from the heaven came to pay honor him. They bathed him ceremonially and named him "Varthaman" which means one who brings prospertity. He was known by 5 different names :-

Vardhamana, Vir, Mahavir, Ativir and Samvati. Each name has a story behind it.

After his parents passed away, he left his family and the royal house at the age of 30. He gave up his possessions and clothing. He became a monk.He spent the next twelve years in deep silence and meditation to conquer his desires and feelings. He carefully avoided harming or annoying other living beings including animals, birds, and plants. His spiritual pursuit lasted for twelve years. At the end he realized perfect perception, knowledge, power, and bliss. This realization is known as keval-jnana.

He spent the next thirty years travelling on bare feet around India preaching to the people the eternal truth he realized. He attracted people from all walks of life, rich and poor, kings and commoners, men and women, princes and priests, touchables and untouchables.The objective of his teaching is how one can attain the total freedom from the cycle of birth, life, pain, misery, and death, and achieve the permanent blissful state of one's self. This is also known as liberation, nirvana, absolute freedom, or Moksha.

At the age of 72 Bhagwan Mahavira experienced Nirvana- a condition of total happiness. He rejected the body and the burden of all Karmas on that night, at Pavapuri and achieved Mukti or liberation. On the night of his salvation, people celebrated the Festival of Lights (Dipavali) in his honor.