Mahavira biographical name
(born traditionally c. 599, Kshatriyakundagrama, Indiadied traditionally 527 BCE, Pavapuri) Indian reformer of the Jain monastic community, last of the 24 Tirthankaras, or saints, who founded Jainism. Born into the warrior caste, he renounced the world at age 30 for a life of extreme asceticism. He had no possessions, not even rags to cover his body or a bowl for alms or food, and after 12 years he attained kevala, the highest stage of perception. An advocate of nonviolence and vegetarianism, he revived and reorganized Jain doctrine and established rules for its monastic order. His followers made five vows of renunciation (see Jain vrata).
Mahavira enthroned, miniature from the Kalpa-sutra, 15th-century western Indian school; in
—Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution, Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Variants of MAHAVIRA
Mahavira orig. Vardhamana
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on Mahavira, visit Britannica.com.
Seen & Heard
What made you look up Mahavira? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.