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Mahavir’s Life of Equanimity

    – Article Courtesy: The Times of India

    On the occasion of the Mahavir Jayanthi we would like to place before our visitors this special article that had appeared in the editorial of The Times of India.

    Saturday, April 3, 2004 : A number of people are born every day but Mahavir’s birth in 511 BC was marked by an uncanny element. While still growing in his mother’s womb, Mahavir was endowed with clairvoyance or avadhigyan . An ordinary man is born with indirect knowledge, paroksh , but Mahavir was born with direct knowledge, pratyaksh , as if he had experienced everything already.

    After Mahavir’s birth, his family began to grow prosperous and his parents named him Vardhman. Since he was clairvoyant, he came to be known as saman . Realising his power of tolerance during spiritual practice, he was called Mahavir. Two saints, Vijay and Sanjay, saw Mahavir and a mere glimpse of his personality dispelled all their doubts.

    That man is free to think and act the way he likes is a relative truth, for he is not entirely free; he is bound by destiny. Mahavir’s destiny was bound with moksha. His parents were followers of the 23rd Jain Tirthankara, Parshva, whose teachings left a lasting impression on his mind. Destiny, environment and separation from family prompted Mahavir to take to asceticism. But his brother Nandivardhan persuaded him to reconsider his decision. Mahavir renounced worldly relationships and went off with the sole objective of achieving complete samayika (equanimous state of mind or super-consciousness). His 33-year-old life of a householder came to an end.

    He began the vigorous practice of Samya Yoga, the yoga of equanimity, and for 12 years he went through and overcame several ordeals. Mahavir was a pioneer of ahimsa; he was also fearless, a quality he felt was indispensable to promote ahimsa. This principle became an integral part of his way of life.  So during his penance he wandered alone in the jungles. Several incidents are narrated to illustrate his fearlessness.

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