Lord Mahavir is the last 'Teerthankara' or Jain Prophet last of the 24 Teerthankaras to have ever born on Earth. Born to parents Siddhartha and Trishala, Lord Mahavir was raised as a prince and he was known for his bravery and wisdom. As the age of 30, Lord Mahavir renounced all worldly pleasures and pursued a life of an ascetic and undertook strict penance for 12 years. He was self-illuminated over the course of his penance and learnt everything there is to know about life and nature. As he was not satisfied with his own personal salvation, he chose to become a reformer and propagator of Jainism. Lord Mahavir realized that society was overshadowed by superstitions and complex rituals, which were performed to attain religious merit. Lord Mahavir spread the message of the five-fold path and the idea of supremacy of human life. His teachings impressed the masses, which inspired them to follow his footsteps. Read on to understand the essence of Lord Mahavir's teachings.
Teachings of Lord Mahavira underline the basic principles of living.
Teachings of Lord Mahavir
- Lord Mahavir taught the masses the idea of supremacy of human life and he focused on the significance of positive attitude in life. Lord Mahavir explained that every soul is independent from one another and that all souls are the same. No one’s soul is inferior or superior to another, and the soul is always blissful.
- He elucidated that human beings are unhappy and dissatisfied because of their own issues and faults. If they correct and solve the issues themselves, they will attain happiness.
- One of the main teachings of Lord Mahavir states that there is no distinct existence of God. He rejected the idea of God as a creator, protector and the destroyer of the universe. He criticized that the worshipping of Gods or Goddesses in order to attain material benefit or personal benefit. He taught that anyone can achieve Godhood, simply by following the right path and making great efforts to walk in the right direction.
- Lord Mahavir enlightened the masses with his wisdom on universal love and highlighted that all living beings, regardless of appearance, intelligence and development, are equal and they all deserve love and respect.
- He also preached regarding ‘samyak-darshana’, ‘samyak-jnana’ and ‘samyak-charitra’, which are the three jewels of Jainism. The first jewel is right faith or samyak-darshana, which states that one must believe in truth to have right faith. Understanding and studying about life’s true purpose will bestow right knowledge or samyak-jnana. Following the right path with the right attitude in life will lead to right conduct or samyak-chaitra.
- In order to achieve right conduct, one must follow the five principles taught by Lord Mhavir. His five rules deals with the most important aspects that promote peace and harmony and these are as follows:
- ‘Ahimsa’ or non-violence – not to harm any living being.
- ‘Satya’ or truthfulness – to only speak the truth.
- ‘Asteya’ or non-stealing – not to take anything that is not given properly.
- ‘Bramhacharya’ or chastity – to abstain from sensual pleasure.
- ‘Aparigraha’ or non-attachment – to have no attachment with people, places and material things in the world.
- Lord Mahavir described the ways of achieving liberation and freedom from the miseries of ‘karma’. He clarified that every individual on Earth has a pure soul and that it is our actions and thoughts that cloud this soul.
Lord Mahavir's teachings are aimed to improve the quality of life. His wisdoms explain the means to attain salvation. His teachings are relevant even today and are followed by Jains and other individuals.