Jainism is the oldest religion in India. The religion preached by Lord Mahaveera is not a new religion; it is the religion of the jinas who had gone before him and popularized the basic principles of the greatness of self. Mahaveera was the twenty fourth, i.e., the last Tirthankar. According to the tradition he attained Nirvan 605 years before the beginning of the Saka Era.By either mode of calculation the date comes to 527 B.C. Since the lord attained emancipation at the age of 72, his birth must have been around 599B.C.This makes Mahaveer a slightly elder contemporary of Buddha who probably lived about 567-487 B.C.
He was born on the 13th day of the bright half of the month of Chaitra in the year 599 B.C. His father Siddharth , King of the Jňātŗ clan in Vaisali. His Mother was Trishla, the daughter of Chetaka, a king of the Chetaka, a king of a Licchavi clan. She had another name Priyakarini.The Mahaveera was first named Vira but since his birth, as the kingdom began to attain greater Prosperity, he was called VARDHAMANA.In some texts he is called Jňātŗaputra. In the Buddhistic literature he is called Nātaputta.He was thus born with all the intellectual and spiritual gifts which marked him out as a great religious teacher. He was educated as a prince. He possessed a gifted personality and a brilliant intellect.
He perceived that every living being had a soul with the same potentialities of greatness as his own; his conduct towards every living creature was full of compassion and love. The material comforts had no attraction for him. Self restraint was a way of life for him. He was sweet tempered and bore no ill-will for him.
Mahaveera took the vow of monk (Muni) when he was thirty years old .He moved to forest where he cast off his cloths and pulled out his hair with his own hands .He spends most of his time in penance in caves and forests, on hills and mountain peaks .He attempt KEVALYA JNANA after 12 years. He was the head of an excellent community of 14,000 monks , 36,000 Nuns(Aaryikas),10,0000 male lay votaries(Shravakas) and 30,0000 female lay votaries(Shravikas).The four groups designated as Muni(Sadhu),Aaryika(Sadhvi),Shravak and Shravika constitute the four fold order(Tirth) of Jainism.
The spiritual power and moral grandeur of mahaveer’s teaching impressed the masses. He made religion simple and natural , free from elaborates ritual complexities .His message of Non-violence ,truth , non-stealing, celibacy, non-possession and Anekant-syadvad is full of universal compassion . His teachings reflected the popular impulse towards internal beauty and harmony of the soul.
Dr Anekant Kumar Jain
A 93 / 7A , Jain Mandir Colony
,Chattarpur Ext. Nanda