Mahavira | 24th Tirthankara of Jainism his teachings and essence
Mahavira: 24th Tirthankara of Jainism vardhamana Mahavira
Vardhamana Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism was the
last of the series of 24th Tirthankars in Jainism Dharma.
Jainism as we understand today is primarily focused on the
teachings and essence of Bhagwan Mahavira. Why?
Right from the Times of the first Tirthankara Rishabdeva (aka
Adinatha) nothing and up till the 23rd Tirthankara... the tenets
and the teachings of Jainism did not exist in the society as in
the Times of Mahavira. It was only in the Times of Mahavira that
Jainism took its roots.
The precipitation of all the teachings right from the first
Tirthankara Rishabdeva (aka Adinatha) and up till the 23rd
Tirthankara Parshvanath occurred only when Mahavira, the 24th
Tirthankara arrived on the scene.
If we are to mix hydrogen and oxygen gas to make drinking water
then most of us would be least concerned with the process
itself. It is only when the two gases meet and the water is
formed... we recognize the process. It was not the process but
the end result we are after!
In life it is the goal and not the journey which matters most.
Once we have a goal in sight... to be able to traverse the
journey would not be difficult! What use is of the journey where
there is no goal?
Mahavira came about 1000 years after the advent of Lord Krishna
who gave to the humanity the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita. If
Bhagavad Gita comprises of 18 fundamentals of life then...
Jainism as propounded by Mahavira may contain only 15
In the Times of Mahavira even these 15 fundamentals were
difficult to assimilate. The society had started degenerating
from the Times of Lord Krishna.
In the present times one can often find people quoting that it
is difficult to reach the level of Swami Vivekananda... what to
talk of becoming Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa or reaching the
stage of Bhagwan Mahavira himself.
As the society loses its value... people tend to become more and
more materialistic. Mahavira gave to the society the
fundamentals of Ahimsa and the doctrine of Anekantavada. These
two realities of life imbibed in the general masses a feeling of
compassion and also Vairagya (Asceticism).
It is Mahavira and Mahavira alone who taught us the real meaning
of unity in diversity. It was Mahavira who taught us that even
Lions and the buffaloes can live together in harmony. Whether we
believe in the teachings of Mahavira or not... it is a confirmed
fact of life that without the practice of Ahimsa in real life...
the life itself loses its meaning!
Mahavira also taught us that the total humanity including the
various other forms of life can always live-in harmony. It was
the fundamentals of Anekantavada which made it possible for
mankind to live a harmonious life. Now, what is Anekantavada?
If I were standing on the first floor of the house and someone
in the house on the ground floor called for me then, what would
one say "call him down from above". Now a person standing on the
second floor of the house would call for me as "call him above".
How is it possible that both the narrations are correct? As per
Mahavira it is the fundamental of Anekantavada which confirms
that both the statements are correct. The perspectives may be
different but the doctrine of Anekantavada by Mahavira relies
upon the principle of logistical conclusions.
In the present society where Religions are numerous... as per
the doctrine of Anekantavada preached by Mahavira... all can
live-in harmony for it is only the viewpoint that may be
different but the goals of all the Religions is always the same.
All man Gods like Mahavira, Gautama Buddha, Jesus Christ and
Prophet Mohammed preached the same.
Mahavira was instrumental in precipitating what we know as
Jainism. Mahavira was the one who bared it all in the end.
Mahavira was able to prove to the society that every human being
can reach the ultimate goal of life... become an enlightened
soul (self realized atman).
Mahavira contrary to Jesus Christ never stated that normal human
beings can not reach the level of Jesus Christ himself. Mahavira
always stated that it is within the means of every human being
to become Mahavira in one's lifetime.
According to Mahavira, the essence of Jainism is one who has won
himself... one who transcends all the barriers of the physical
mundane life and crosses over to the spiritual end of life! The
word Jainism is derived from the root word "Jina"... meaning one
who has realized his real self and merges his identity with the
bigger whole, God the Almighty himself.
Jainism is not a religion and the followers of Mahavira and
Jainism beliefs are never referred to as following Mahavirism.
Jainism has always been preached and considered as "a way of
life". It is a Dharma following which one can become enlightened
like Mahavira in one's lifetime.
It is only Jainism which believes in the fact that the body of a
human being is a garb for the soul (atman) within. The
Tirthankars in Jainism wore no clothes as they had realized that
before reaching the state of enlightenment it was necessary for
won to discard the physical manifestations in life.
Jainism as preached by Mahavira is a Dharma which believes and
practices true renunciation... getting free of all the
attachments and the karma in the physical mode of life. Mahavira
made it absolutely clear that before one can hope to reach the
highest pedestal of spiritual life... we need to free ourselves
of all the attachments and bondages of physical life.
In the present times... compared to Buddhism the teachings of
Mahavira do not find many takers. While talking to a publisher
friend of mine... the gory fact was put together... it was in
the ratio of 1:10 that the Jainism literature was being
published. The reason... it was very difficult to follow the
doctrine of Mahavira in the present times.
As it was easier to follow Buddhism... we have massive
literature on Buddhism available today. No denying the fact that
following the dictates of Mahavira in the present times is a
really difficult task but not unachievable for the ultimate goal
of life of every human being is becoming a Mahavira in the end.
Becoming a Mahavira is the cosmic goal of every Jiva (living
being)! Whether we follow the teachings of Mahavira and become a
Mahavira in the present life or in the next manifestation is
totally dependent upon our karma in the present life.