Mahavir, also known as Vardhamana Mahavira, was an Indian sage and the founder of Jainism. Born in the 6th century BCE in the kingdom of Vaishali, Mahavir renounced his royal privileges at the age of 30 and spent the next 12 years meditating and seeking enlightenment. He attained enlightenment at the age of 42 and spent the rest of his life preaching his philosophy to the people of India.
The teachings of Mahavir are relevant in the world today because they emphasize the importance of non-violence, compassion, and tolerance towards all living beings. Mahavir believed that all living beings, whether humans or animals, had a soul and that the purpose of life was to achieve liberation from the cycle of birth and death. He preached that the path to liberation lay in living a life of non-violence, truthfulness, celibacy, and detachment from material possessions.
The principle of non-violence, or ahimsa, is perhaps the most important of Mahavir’s teachings. He believed that all life was sacred and that one should not harm any living being, including animals and insects. This principle has inspired countless individuals and movements throughout history, including Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent resistance movement in India and Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights movement in the United States.
Mahavir’s teachings on non-violence and compassion towards all living beings also have relevance in today’s world, where violence and cruelty towards animals is often rampant. The Jain philosophy of ahimsa extends not just to humans but to all living beings, and it advocates for a vegan lifestyle that avoids harm to animals in any form. This is an important message in a world where animal agriculture and exploitation are major contributors to climate change and other environmental problems.
Another important teaching of Mahavir is his emphasis on the importance of self-discipline and detachment from material possessions. In a world where consumerism and materialism are often prioritized over spiritual and moral values, Mahavir’s teachings remind us of the importance of living a simple and humble life, free from the distractions and temptations of material wealth.
Mahavir’s teachings also emphasize the importance of self-reflection and introspection, and the idea that true liberation comes from within. His philosophy encourages individuals to look inward and cultivate self-awareness, rather than relying on external sources of happiness and fulfillment.
In conclusion, the teachings of Mahavir are still relevant in today’s world, where violence, consumerism, and materialism are all too common. His emphasis on non-violence, compassion, self-discipline, and self-reflection can provide a much-needed guidepost for individuals seeking to live a more meaningful and purposeful life. As we continue to grapple with the challenges of our time, we can draw inspiration and guidance from Mahavir’s timeless teachings.