Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions

Jainism  -  Respect For All Life

The birth of Jainism
Mahavira the Path-Maker
The Enlightenment
The Rise of Jainism
  The Two Sects
  The Scriptures
  Rise and Fall
  Jain Beliefs-The Universe
  The Soul
  Karma and Rebirth
  The way of Salvation
  The Everyday Life of a Jain
  The Life of an Ascetic
  Ways of Worship
  Temples and Domestic Shrines
  Ninian Smart

The Enlightenment



In the thirteenth year, when aged about forty two, and at the end of a long fast, he achieved self realization and full enlightenment.  In the language of his followers he had become a conqueror (Jina).  He had attained a state of full, clear and unimpeded knowledge and intuition known as KEVALA, becoming a perfected soul.  And by attaining this omniscience, Mahavira had released himself from the forces (KARMA) which had bound him to the wheel of rebirth.

Mahavira was then acclaimed a leader of an Order (a Tirthankara).  For the remaining thirty years of his life, he propagated his beliefs and organized his community of followers.  He called himself the successor of a series of legendary Tirthankaras who had proclaimed Jain beliefs through countless ages.  And although his claims may not be wholly true, there is little doubt that the tradition from which Jainism derives goes back beyond Mahavira.  Parsva and even Nemi (alleged cousin of Krishna of the Mahabharata war) to the farthest recesses of Indian prehistory.  He died, of voluntary self-starvation, at Pava, a village not far from his birthplace, and a great center of Jain pilgrimage to this day.  Thus he entered nirvana, his �final rest�.