Birth Anniversary of Lord Mahavir


    In Context

    • The Prime Minister recalls the noble teachings of Bhagwan Mahavir on Mahavir Jayanti.
      • The occasion is considered to be the most important one for Jains and marks the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavir.

    About Mahavira 

    • Birth: In Ikshvaku dynasty of Kshatriyakund (Vaishali republic) in Bihar.
    • Kshatriya prince of Lichchhavis (Vajji Sangha).
    • At 42, he attained Kevaljnan by right knowledge, faith & conduct (3 Jewels of Jainism).
    • Became Jina (conqueror) and 24th Tirthankara.
    • Death: Mahaparinirvana at Pavapuri (Patna).

    Teachings and Contributions

    • Questioned Vedas’ authority & emphasised on individual agency.
    • Added 1 more vow to already existing 4 vows (Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Aparigraha & Brahmacharya).
    • His 11 ganadhars (chief disciples) compiled Agamas (12 scriptures based on his teachings).
    • Used easy-to-understand Prakrit language.


    • Term originates from Jina (conqueror).
    • Supported mainly by Vaishyas (traders) in opposition to Brahmin-Kshatriya.
    • Asceticism & penance required for freedom from cycle of birth & rebirth, shaped through karma, (Ghati & Aghati) responsible for distortions of soul.
    • 7 tattvas of Jain Philosophy: Jiva, Ajiva, Asrava, Bandha, Samvara, Nirjara & Moksha.
    • Spread: North India, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu & Karnataka.
    • Literature: Written in Prakrit, Sanskrit & Tamil & classified in Agam & Non-Agam.
    • Jain Sangh Composition: Sadhus, Sadhvis, Shravaks & Shravikas.
    • Philosophy
      • Anekantavada: metaphysical/reality theory & non-absolutism/many-sidedness.
      • Syadvada: epistemological/knowledge theory & conditional judgments
    • Jain Councils
      • 1st: Patliputra in 300 BC for compilation of Angas.
      • 2nd: Vallabhi in 512 AD for final compilation of 12 Angas & Upangas.
    • Sects
      • Digambar (sky clad): Led by Bhadrabahu, moved to South, more austere.
        • Major Sub-sects: Bisapantha, Terapantha & Taranapantha.
        • Minor Sub-sects: Gumanapantha & Totapantha.
      • Shwetamber (white clad): Led by Sthulabhadra & stayed in North.
        • Sub-sects: Murtipujaka, Sthanakvasi & Terapanthi.

    Source: PIB