Mahavira, also known as Vardhamana, is often considered the founder of Jainism, although Jains regard him as the twenty-fourth in a lineage of tirthankaras through whom Jains trace their traditions. He was the spiritual successor of 23rd tirthankara Parshvanatha. Jain tradition holds that Mahavira was born in the early part of the 6th century BCE into a royal Kshatriya Jain family in present-day Bihar, India. He abandoned all worldly possessions at the age of about 30 and left home in pursuit of spiritual awakening, becoming an ascetic. Mahavira practiced intense meditation and severe austerities for 12 years, after which he is believed to have attained Kevala Jnana (omniscience). He preached for 30 years and is believed by Jains to have attained moksha (salvation) in the 6th century BC, a

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  • Mahavira, also known as Vardhamana, is often considered the founder of Jainism, although Jains regard him as the twenty-fourth in a lineage of tirthankaras through whom Jains trace their traditions. He was the spiritual successor of 23rd tirthankara Parshvanatha. Jain tradition holds that Mahavira was born in the early part of the 6th century BCE into a royal Kshatriya Jain family in present-day Bihar, India. He abandoned all worldly possessions at the age of about 30 and left home in pursuit of spiritual awakening, becoming an ascetic. Mahavira practiced intense meditation and severe austerities for 12 years, after which he is believed to have attained Kevala Jnana (omniscience). He preached for 30 years and is believed by Jains to have attained moksha (salvation) in the 6th century BC, although the year varies by sect. Historically, Mahavira, who preached Jainism in ancient India, was a contemporary of Gautama Buddha. Scholars variously date him from 6th-4th century BCE and his place of birth is also a point of dispute among them. Mahavira taught that observance of the vows of ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truth), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (chastity), and aparigraha (non-attachment) are necessary for spiritual liberation. He taught the principles of Anekantavada (many-sided reality): syadvada and nayavada. Mahavira's teachings were compiled by Indrabhuti Gautama (his chief disciple) as the Jain Agamas. The texts, transmitted orally by Jain monks, are believed to have been largely lost by about the 1st century CE (when the remaining were first written down in the Svetambara tradition). The surviving versions of the Agamas taught by Mahavira are some of Svetambara Jainism's foundation texts, but their authenticity is disputed in Digambara Jainism. Mahavira is usually depicted in a sitting or standing meditative posture, with the symbol of a lion beneath him. His earliest iconography is from archaeological sites in the North Indian city of Mathura, and is dated from the 1st century BCE to the 2nd century CE. His birth is celebrated as Mahavir Janma Kalyanak and his nirvana (salvation) is observed by Jains as Diwali. (en)
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  • Mahavira, also known as Vardhamana, is often considered the founder of Jainism, although Jains regard him as the twenty-fourth in a lineage of tirthankaras through whom Jains trace their traditions. He was the spiritual successor of 23rd tirthankara Parshvanatha. Jain tradition holds that Mahavira was born in the early part of the 6th century BCE into a royal Kshatriya Jain family in present-day Bihar, India. He abandoned all worldly possessions at the age of about 30 and left home in pursuit of spiritual awakening, becoming an ascetic. Mahavira practiced intense meditation and severe austerities for 12 years, after which he is believed to have attained Kevala Jnana (omniscience). He preached for 30 years and is believed by Jains to have attained moksha (salvation) in the 6th century BC, a (en)
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  • Mahavira (en)
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