Mahavira (599 BCE–527 BCE), also known as Vardhamana, was the twenty-fourth and last tirthankara of Jainism. Therefore, although Mahavira is widely regarded as the founder of Jainism, he is more properly regarded as a reformer of Jainism.
Mahavira was born into a royal family in what is now Bihar, India. At the age of 30 he left his home in pursuit of spiritual awakening (Diksha). For the next twelve and a half years he practiced intense meditation and severe penance, after which he achieved Kevala Jnana or enlightenment. He travelled all over Bharata (which was larger than today's India) for the next thirty years to teach his philosophy which is based on ahimsa, satya, asteya, brahmacharya and aparigraha. Mahavira attained nirvana at the age of 72.
Mahavira was born into a royal family of Kshatriyas. Historians have identified three places in Bihar as his possible birthplace: Kundigram in Vaishali district, Lachhuar in Jamui and Kundalpur in Nalanda. Most modern historians agree that Basokund was his birthplace. Traditionally, Kundalapura in the ancient city of Vaishali is regarded as his birthplace; however, its location remains unidentified...
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