Messages of Mahavira
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.
Teachings of Mahavira
Mahavira has conducted six important teachings which are followed widely by the people following Jainism. The teachings promote no causing harm to anyone and how a person can connect to themselves in order to attain their self enlightenment. The six important teachings of Mahavira are discussed below:
Belief in Soul and Karma: As per Mahavira each and every element in the Universe is an amalgamation of the spiritual and material factors. The material factors are though perishable, the spiritual factor remains eternal and it keeps on evolving consistently. The soul is held in a bondage state because of karma. The soul will get released from every bondage when a person gets rid of passions. The soul attains final stage of liberation only by the disintegration of Karmic force. He preached that decay of the karma can highlight the intrinsic value of soul. When the soul matures enough, it becomes a pure soul or the Paramatma with infinite power and wisdom.
Nirvana: The main purpose of life is to attain Salvation. Mahavira had insisted on avoiding evil karmas, destroy the existing ones and prevent all sorts of fresh karmas. This can be achieved by Ahimsa (non- injury), Satya (speaking truth), Asteya (non- stealing), Aparigraha (non- possession) and Brahmacharya (non-adultery) In addition to these vows, he also insists on the principles of right faith, right knowledge and right conduct.
Non-Belief in God: Mahavira had no belief in God. He did not even believed that he created or exercised the world with personal control. As per his preaching, the world never comes to an end. It simply changes its form. The Universe is also composed of maters which changes its forms. He further believed emancipation of a person do not depend on any sort of outside authority. A person is a maker of their own destiny. People can get rid of their sorrows and miseries by leading a life of self-mortification and austerity.
Rejection of Vedas: The theory of Vedas is rejected by Jainism. They attach no importance towards sacrificial rituals of the Brahmans.
Ahimsa: Mahavira has laid too much of importance on the concept of Ahimsa. As per him, every creature, plants, animals, rock, stones etc possess life. A person should cause no harm to any of them in speech, action or deed.
Freedom to women: Mahavira favors the freedom of women and preach that they also have right to attain Nirvana. Women are allowed to be Sravikas and Sarmini in Jainism.
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.
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