Teachings of Lord Mahavira
elevate the quality of life. The living and the non-living coming into contact with each other, forge certain energies which bring about birth, death and various experiences of life that could be stopped and by a course of discipline lead to salvation. Action should be destroyed. One living in a household can do so gradually if he first avoids evil Karmas and gradually ceases from Karma. The person should observe the five rules or vows of morality, namely, ahimsa, satya, asteya, brahmacharya and aparigraha to be equipped for such a task. The whole course of conduct is finally divided into stages to achieve ultimate salvation.
The monk should walk only by clay taking care that he kills no living being. He must not condemn others neither should he self-praise nor talk about women. He must train himself in such a way that he should not be affected or moved by the objects of the senses. Salvation depends on right belief, right knowledge and right action which are known as Ratnatraya or three jewels.
Mahavira carried on with this ascetic life style which included fasting and deep meditation. Mahavira strengthened his knowledge and spread his message among the people. He spoke in the Audramagadhi language. Some people were inspired by his teachings to give up all possessions and become monks and nuns. Others followed Mahavira`s teachings without giving up their homes and families and work.
Mahavira`s message contains the basis of right knowledge that teaches us that each one of us is what we have made ourselves by our actions in this life and in previous lives. Every individual is a pure spirit or soul which is capable of complete knowledge and freedom. Mahavira teaches us how to start freeing ourselves from the restrictions and miseries of karma. These vows cannot be implemented completely without accepting the philosophy of non-absolutism and the theory of relativity. Monks and nuns strictly follow these while the laypeople observe them as much as possible.
The most important principle which runs through the whole of Mahavira`s attitude of life is Ahimsa
. Non violence is the greatest possible kindness to all living things. To get rid of violence in all our actions and even in our thoughts this principle should be followed. Mahavira`s teachings produce a better society for every creature to live in and enable an individual to improve his or her own inner feelings and character. True peace and harmony in society and in the individual are possible only if one can restrain their passions and desires. Mahavira taught his message for thirty years until he passed on to that state of complete freedom and bliss and peace called Moksha
. He taught how to approach Moksha ourselves by rules which lead to inner peace and harmony. He also taught tolerance and appreciation and how things can be seen from many view points.
Mahavira taught that men and women are spiritual equals and both may give up the world in search of Moksha. Mahavira attracted people from all walks of life, rich and poor, men and women, touchable and untouchable. He organized his followers into a fourfold order; Sadhu, Sadhvi, Shravak, and Shravika. This sequence is called Chaturvidh Jain Sangh.
Mahavira was a reformer and propagator of an existing religion as his teachings were based on that of his predecessors. He followed the creed of his predecessor Tirthankara Parshvanatha
. He did reorganize the philosophical tenets of Jainism
to suit his age.