Mahavir Jayanti UPSC | Facts | Quiz | History | Significance | Teachings

Mahavir Jayanti UPSC | Facts | Quiz | History | Significance | Teachings – Mahavir was named ‘Vardhaman’ meaning “One who grows” because of the increased prosperity in the kingdom at the time of his birth. According to Jain texts, Mahavir was born on the thirteenth day of the bright half of the moon in the month of Chaitra in the year 599 BCE.


Mahavir Jayanti UPSC | Facts | Quiz | History | Significance | Teachings

Mahavir Jayanti UPSC | Facts | Quiz | History | Significance | Teachings

Lord Name  Lord Mahavir
Born  599 BCE
Mahavir Real Name  Vardhman
Mahavir Jayanti  25 April
Religion  Jainism
Parents  Siddartha Raja ( father )

Trishala ( Mother )

Died  527 BCE

About Lord Mahavira | Mahavir Jayanti UPSC

  • Lord Mahavir was the twenty-fourth and last Tirthankara of the Jain religion of this era.
  • According to Jain philosophy, all Tirthankaras were human beings but they have attained a state of perfection or enlightenment through meditation and self-realization.
  • They are the Gods of Jains.
  • The concept of God as a creator, protector, and destroyer of the universe does not exist in Jainism.
  • Also the idea of God’s reincarnation as a human being to destroy the demons is not accepted in Jainism.
  • Lord Mahavir was born on the thirteenth day of rising moon of Chaitra month, 599 B.C. in Bihar, India.
  • This day falls in the month of April as per English calendar.
  • His birthday is celebrated as Mahavir Jayanti day.

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Mahavir Birth And Family 

  • Mahavir was a prince and was given the name Vardhaman by his parents.
  • Being son of a king, he had many worldly pleasures, comforts, and services at his command.
  • But at the age of thirty, he left his family and royal household, gave up his worldly possessions, and become a monk in search of a solution to eliminate pain, sorrow, and sufferings.
  • Mahavir spent the next twelve and half years in deep silence and meditation to conquer his desires, feelings, and attachments.
  • He carefully avoided harming or annoying other living beings including animals, birds, and plants.
  • He also went without food for long periods. He was calm and peaceful against all unbearable hardships that he was given the name Mahavir, meaning very brave and courageous.
  • During this period, his spiritual powers fully developed and at the end he realized perfect perception, knowledge, power, and bliss.
  • This realization is known as keval-jnana or the perfect enlightenment.
  • Mahavir spent the next thirty years travelling on bare foot around India preaching to the people the eternal truth he realized.
  • The ultimate objective of his teaching is how one can attain 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.

Mahavir explained that from eternity, every living being (soul) is in bondage of karmic atoms, which are accumulated by good or bad deeds. Under the influence of karma, the soul is habituated to seek pleasures in materialistic belongings and possessions. This is the deep-rooted cause of self-centered violent thoughts, deeds, anger, hatred, greed, and such other vices. These result in further accumulation of karmas.

Mahavir preached that right faith (samyak-darshana), right knowledge (samyak-jnana), and right conduct (samyak-charitra) together is the real path to attain the liberation of one’s self.

At the heart of right conduct for Jains lie the five great vows:

  1. Nonviolence (Ahimsa) – not to cause harm to any living beings
  2. Truthfulness (Satya) – to speak the harmless truth only
  3. Non-stealing (Asteya) – not to take anything not properly given
  4. Chastity (Brahmacharya) – not to indulge in sensual pleasure
  5. Non-possession/ Non-attachment (Aparigraha) – complete detachment from people, places, and material things

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Significant points of Teachings of Lord Mahavir:

  • Mahavir made religion simple and natural, free from elaborate ritual complexities. His teachings reflected the internal beauty and harmony of the soul.
  • Mahavir taught the idea of supremacy of human life and stressed the importance of the positive attitude of life.
  • Mahavir’s message of nonviolence (Ahimsa), truth (Satya), non-stealing (Achaurya), celibacy (Brahma-charya), and non-possession (Aparigraha) is full of universal compassion.
  • Mahavir said that, “A living body is not merely an integration of limbs and flesh but it is the abode of the soul which potentially has perfect perception (Anant-darshana), perfect knowledge (Anant-jnana), perfect power (Anant-virya), and perfect bliss (Anant-sukha). Mahavir’s message reflects freedom and spiritual joy of the living being.
  • Mahavir emphasized that all living beings, irrespective of their size, shape, and form how spiritually developed or undeveloped, are equal and we should love and respect them. This way he preached the gospel of universal love.
  • Mahavir rejected the concept of God as a creator, a protector, and a destroyer of the universe. He also denounced the worshiping of gods and goddesses as a means of material gains and personal benefits.

The Teachings of Mahavira

The cardinal principles of Jainism are:

  1. Ahimsa (non-violence)
  2. Anekantvada (multiplicity of views)
  3. Aparigraha (non-possessiveness)
  4. Non-stealing
  5. Brahmacharya

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