Vardhamaana Mahaaveera


Vardhamana Mahaveera was the twenty fourth Thirthankara among the Jains, who attained Keval Jnana (enlightenment). Though he was brought up as a prince, married and had a daughter, his real interest lay in the quest of salvation. He left home when he was thirty years old and took to asceticism. He wandered as a naked monk and underwent lot of suffering because he was mistaken for a thief and mad man but he became insensitive to pain and pleasure. At the end of twelve years he attained Keval Jnana (Enlightenment). Then he began delivering sermons. He believed that man's destiny is ruled by Karma. If a man wishes to attain Nirvana, he should practise the Triple Diamond Sutra: Right belief, Right knowledge and Right conduct. To practice this he must take to five vows: not to hurt, not to steal, not to lie, not to own property and practice celibacy. The vow of Ahimsa (not to hurt) was very important for the Jain Monks. Nothing that had life in it was to be hurt. So the aspirants had to lead a very rigorous and disciplined life. The teachings of Mahaveera is nothing new. The Panchashil as well as the Triple Diamond Sutras are to be found in Hinduism also. Hence, it can be said that Jainism is an off shoot of Hinduism.