Rsabha was the first arhat. As a king, he was the pioneer in the fields of agriculture, trade and commerce, and crafts. He developed these for the good of his people. He was the first to set up a social organization and administrative machinery for it. He became an ascetic in pursuit of spiritual attainments and was canonized as an Arhat. Then he began to preach his religion. This event belongs to that period of pre-history when human civilization was in its infancy. Primitive people were being settled in villages in organized communities. Arhat Rsabha lit into every heart the fire, which burnt in himself. The tradition of the arhats was born and it flowed unfettered till the time of Parsva who was a historical figure. The earlier arhats are considered to be pre-historic....
Father's Name Nabhi Mother's Name Marudevi
Birth Place Ayodhya
Birth Tithi Chatra ku. 8 Diksha Tithi Chatra ku. 8 Kevalgyan Tithi falgun ku. 8
Naksharta Uttrashadha Diksha Sathi 4000 Shadhak Jeevan 1,00,000 purva
Age Lived 84,00,000 purva Lakshan Sign Vrushabha Neervan Place Asthapad Neervan Sathi 10000 Neervan Tithi madha ku. 13
Ajitnath Bhagwan was the second tirthankar of this Avsarpinikaal.
Ajitnath Bhagwan was born to King Jitashatru and Queen Vijaya at Ayodhya.
His place of Nirvaan is Sammetshikhar. His symbol is elephant.
The counting of Bhav (births) starts after gaining Samyak Darshan. Ajithnath took 3 bhavs to attain liberation. The bhav in which he attained Samayak Darshan is described below. There was a king named Vimalvahan of Sushimanagar.
Sambhavnath Bhagwan is the 3rd Tirthankar of the Avsarpani Kal.
He was born to father King Jitari and mother Sena Devi. He was born in Shravasti Nagri. His symbol is Horse and had 102 gandhars. Sambhavnath Bhagwan attained nirvana at Samet Shikhar. Bhagwan took 3 bhavs to attain nirvana after Samiyak Darshan
Abhinandan Bhagwan was the fourth Tirthankar of the Avsarpani Kaal.
He was born in Ayodhya Nagri to King Samvar and mother Siddhartha. His symbol was monkey. His name was kept Abhinandan becasue as soon as he was born there was happiness all over the kingdom. People got extremely happy and overjoyed. He had 116 Gandhars. He attained Nirvana at Samet Shikhar. After samyak darshan he took 3 bhavs to attain nirvana.
There was king named Mahabal in Ratnasanchaya Nagri. He was full of qualities and was not attached either with his kingdom or with wealth and money. He was calm, polite, down to earth and humble. Once a sadhu arrived at the nagri and he was so impressed that he took Diksha under him.
Sumatinath Bhagwan was the fifth tirthankar of this Avsarpinikaal.
Sumatinath Bhagwan was born to King Megh and Queen Sumangla at Ayodhya.
His place of Nirvaan is Sammetshikhar. His symbol is Goose. The counting of Bhav (births) starts after gaining Samyak Darshan. Sumatinath Bhagwan took 3 bhavs to attain liberation.
Padmaprabhu Swami is the 6th Tirthankar of this Avsarpani Kaal.
He was the son of King Shridhar and queen Shushima.
He was born in the town of Kaushambi. He was named Padmaprabhu because in the initial stages her mother always wanted to sleep on a lotus. He had 107 gandhars and took 3 bhavs after Samiyak Darshan to attain Moksh. The topic of his first sermon was Sansar Bhavna. He compared sansar with ocean and explained that the way the amount of water in an ocean is unaccountable, the same way, the number of times we take birth and death is also unaccountable.
Suparshwanath Bhagwan is the 7th Tirthankar of this Avsarpani Kal.
He was the son of King Pratisthit and Queen Prithvi.
He was born in Varanasi. He attained Nirvana in Samet Shikhar. He had 95 Gandhars and he took 3 Bhavs after Samyak Darshan to attain Moksh. The topic of his first sermon was Anyatva Bhavna which means that our soul and all the other things present in the world are different. Our soul is one different entitiy and it should not be connected to anything in the world. Our body is temporary but our soul is permanent.
Chandraprabhu Swami is the 8th tirthankar of the Avsarpani kal.
He was born to King Mahasen and Mata Lakshmana in Chandrapuri Nagri
. He had 93 gandhars and he attained Nirvana at Samet Shikhar. He took 3 bhavs to attain moksh after Samyak Darshan. His topic of first sermon was Ashuchi Bhavna. Asuchi means something that is not clean or something which is not pure.
9. Birth of Pushpadanta
From the Vijayant dimension of gods this soul of King Mahapadma descended into the womb of queen Rama Devi, wife of king Sugriv of Kakandi. One morning when King Sugreev was going for ‘Guruvandana’, he called upon Queen Rama Devi. When Queen came at the door, she was looking little tired. When King asked her, she said that she was a bit tired but very happy from inside. She added that she had seen some very auspicious dreams early in the morning. It was like a chain of fourteen (sixteen according to the Digambar Jain Sect) great things. Both of them went to muni Shri Shantipriya, and asked about the meaning of the dream. Hearing this muni ji said that now King and Queen both should be happy and spend more time in devotion of lord, as they will soon have a son who will become a Tirthankara. On the fifth day of the Margshirsha Krishna month of the Hindu calendar, queen Rama Devi gave birth to a son.
10. The being that was to be Bhagavan Sheetalnath, in his previous but one birth was the king Padmottar of Sushima town in the Pushkarvar island. When his son reached adulthood the religious king gave his kingdom to the son and took Diksha from Tristadha Muni. Vigorous spiritual practices and worship of the pious souls as mentioned in the scriptures resulted in his acquiring the Tirthankar-nam-and-gotra-karma. Completing his age he reincarnated as the king of the Pranat dimension of gods.
10. Birth of Lord Sheetalnath
In Bhaddilpur town in the sub-continent of Bharat, ruled king Dridhratha. In the womb of his queen, Nanda, descended the being that was Padmottar, when he completed his age in the dimension of gods. One day when early in the morning King Dridhratha was busy in his work when a dasi (maid) of queen came and asked if queen can come and meet him now. Dridhratha, agreed and asked her to come in his study. The queen went in there and quietly stood beside the king. He was lost in a book. King asked her the purpose of coming so she added that she had seen some very auspicious dreams early in the morning. It was like a chain of fourteen (sixteen according to the Digambar Jain Sect) great things. King immediately said that these dreams were like the same as Bhagvan Suvidhinath’s mother saw. This meant that she was going to give birth to a pioused soul who would become Tirthankar. On the tweflth day of the month of Magh (according to Hindu Calendar), Nanda Devi gave birth to baby boy.
11. Lord Shreyansnath was the eleveth Jain Tirthankar of the present age (Avasarpini). According to Jain beliefs, he became a siddha, a liberated soul which has destroyed all of its karma.
In his earlier incarnation, the being that was to become Lord Shreyansnath purified his soul as king Nalingulm of Kshema town in Pushkarvar island. He performed hard and deep spiritual practices and purified his soul to high extends in his life. Due to this he acquired the Tirthankar-nam-and-gotra-karma and went to the Mahashakra dimension of gods.
12. In his previous incarnation Lord Vasupujya's soul was King Padmottar. King Padmottar ruled over Mangalavati town of Ardhapushkar island. He was a person devoted to spiritual pursuits. In later part of his life he took Diksha from Acharya Vajranabh. Reducing the tarnish of Karma by penance and spiritual practices he earned the Tirthankar-nam-and-gotra-karma and incarnated as a god in the Pranat dimension.
Birth of Lord Vasupujya
Vasupujya was the king of Champa town in the Bharat sub-continent. His queen was Jaya Devi. Besides being a great warrior King Vasupujya was a compassionate and charitable person. The queen too was benevolent and she inspired the king in his charitable activities. The being that was Padmottar after completing his age in Pranant dimension descended into the womb of queen Jaya Devi.
It was morning time and sun was shining brightly over Ganga River. On the third floor of a beautiful palace near the shore of Ganga, was King Vasupujya sitting in his deep thoughts when Queen Jaya Devi came to him and expressed her anxiousness to know the meaning of fourteen (sixteen according to Digambar Jain Sect) auspicious dreams she saw early in the morning. King was very happy and explained that these dreams are seen by a women who is about to give birth to a pious soul, a Tirthankara. On the fourteenth day of the Falgun Krishna month of the Hindu calendar, queen Jaya Devi gave birth to a son.
13. Lord Vimalnath
King Kritavarman and queen Shyama Devi of Kampilpur were both spiritualists and devotees of the Jina. The queen one day saw fourteen (sixteen according to Digambar Jain Sect) auspicious dreams and the augurs announced that she will give birth to a Tirthankar. The being that was Padmasen descended into the queen's womb from the Mahardhik dimension of gods. On the third day of the Magh Sukla month of the Hindu calendar, queen Shyama Devi gave birth to a son.
In his previous incarnation Lord Vimalnath's soul was King Padmasen. King Padmasen ruled over Mahapuri town in Datakikhand. He was always engaged in spiritual practices. Later he took diksha from Acharya Yarsvargupt. As a result of his deep meditational practices he purified his soul to an extent that he acquired the Tirthankar-nam-and-gotra-karma. Because of this he reincarnated in the Mahardhik dimension of gods.
14. Lord Anantnath
In his previous incarnation Lord Anantnath's soul was King of Arishtha town in Dhatkikhand was well known for his beauty, personality and bravery. All beautiful ladies were his fan. But he had a bend for spiritual practices and took diksha from Acharya Chitraaksh. He had purified his soul to a high extends in his life. Because of this he reincarnated in the Pushpottar dimension of gods.
From Pushpotar dimensions of god, the soul of Lord Anantnath descended in the womb of Queen Suyasha Devi, wife of king Simhasen of Ayodhya. It was early in the morning and the entire Ayodhya kingdom was under the heavy showers of the rain. King Simhasena was sitting in his deep thoughts and thinking about endless questions which were coming in his mind. Queen Suyasha came behind and greeted the King. Her face also revealed as if she is also carrying lots of questions in her mind. On asking, queen told the king that early that morning she dreamt of fourteen (sixteen according to digambar jain beliefs) things and since then an endless series of questions are arising in her mind. King Simhasena told that it was a sure sort sign that she was going to give birth to a son who will be the light in dark, a savior,
a ruler of hearts, a spiritual leader, a person having endless knowledge and endless qualities. On the thirteenth day of the dark half of the month of Vaishakh (according to Hindu Calendar), queen Suyasha gave birth to this great divine power.
15. Lord Dharmanath
In his previous incarnation Lord Dharmanath's soul was King Dridhrath of Bhaddilpur town in Mahavideh area. Although he had lot of wealth and large kingdom but lead the life of detachment from worldly things. He had a bend for spiritual practices and in the process earned Tirthankar-nam-and-gotra. He reincarnated as God in the Vijyanta dimension.
From Vijyant dimensions of god, the soul of Lord Dharmanath descended in the womb of Queen Suvrata Devi, wife of king Bhanuraja of Ratnapuri. Ratnpuri was a very famous kingdom of Bharat. It was famous for business of Ratna (gems). It was a beautiful city. Stars were still shining in the sky when queen got up. She was feeling very happy as she saw some very auspicious fourteen (sixteen according to digambar jain beliefs) dreams and wanted to rest for a longer time, but then decided to get ready and do some religious praying and activities. As soon as the sun shined on the top, Suvrata Devi went to the king and asked for the result of her dream. She asked his king, “Maharaj, you mentioned about the chain of auspicious dreams that Tirthankar Rishabhdev’s mother saw. Exactly like those dreams, I dreamt a chain of fourteen (sixteen according to digamabar jain beliefs) great things.” The king felt very happy and told his queen that the result is true for her also. She was about to give birth to divine soul. On the third day of the bright half of the month of Magh (according to Hindu Calendar), queen Suvrata gave birth to this great divine power.
16. Lord Shantinath
From the dimension of gods, the being that was Meghrath descended into the womb of queen Achira, wife of king Vishwasen of Ikshvaku clan and ruler of Hastinapur. It had been raining from continuous seven days in Hastinapur area. The sky was covered with dense dark clouds and it was thundering along with heavy rain. Everybody was upset in the town. But this morning, clouds seemed to calm down a little and rain turned to drizzle. Queen could not control her self this morning and went to meet the king inspite of the rain outside. She wanted to tell the king about the fourteen (sixteen according to the digambar jain beliefs) auspicious dreams she saw at the dawn of the day. King understood that her queen was carrying a pious soul in her womb.
King was sitting in his court when his general, secretary, health minister, religious leaders all came to him and mentioned about the epidemic spread all over and that about hundreds of people started dying every day. King was in great tension because he felt helpless in solving the problem. He took a vow that he will not eat or drink as long as peace and normalcy does not return to his to his kingdom.
Moved by his this harsh vow, the king of gods himself appeared before the king and said, “O king! You are unnecessarily disturbed. What can happen wrong in the place where the wish fulfilling trio of chintamani, kalpavriksha, and Kamdhenu exists? Remember about the fourteen (sixteen according to the digambar jain beliefs) dreams that the queen saw. Her glance at the vast expanses of your kingdom all around is enough to remove all the miseries from wherever it reaches.”
Next day in a beautiful chariot king and queen both started their journey for the entire kingdom. And wherever they went there was a message of calmness and relief.
On the thirteenth day of the dark half of the month of Jyeshtha the queen gave birth to the great and illustrious son.
17. Lord Kunthunath
In his previous incarnation Lord Kunthunath's soul was King Simhavaha of Khadgi town in Mahavideh area. He was a powerful and illustrious king. He had a bend for spiritual practices and after handling over the responsibilities of the kingdom to his son, he took diksha from Samvaracharya and did deep spiritual practices. As a result of his vigorous penance and devotion for the Arhant, he earned Tirthankar-nam-and-gotra. Completing his age he reincarnated in the Sarvarthasiddha dimension of gods.
From the dimension of gods he descended into the womb of queen Shri Devi, wife of king Shursen of Hastinapur. At the dawn of the ninth day of Shravan Krishna, queen saw the auspicious fourteen (sixteen according to the digamabar jain beliefs) dreams. This indicated that the coming soul would be a conqueror – a chakravarti king. And these dreams also indicated that he would be a Tirthankar. On the 14th day of the Vaishakh Krishna month of the Hindu calendar, queen Shridevi gave birth to a son.
18. Lord Arahnath
In his previous incarnation Lord Arahnath's soul was King Dhanpati of Sushima city in Mahavideh area. He took diksha from Samvar Muni and did deep spiritual practices. As a result of his vigorous penance and devotion for the Arhant, he earned Tirthankar-nam-and-gotra. Completing his age he reincarnated in the Graiveyak dimension of gods.
From the dimension of gods he descended into the womb of queen Mitradevi, wife of king Sudarshana of Hastinapur. Queen saw the auspicious fourteen (sixteen according to the digamabar jain beliefs) dreams. This indicated that the coming soul would be a conqueror – a chakravarti king. And these dreams also indicated that he would be a Tirthankar. On the 10th day of the Margshirsh Krishna month of the Hindu calendar, queen Mritradevi gave birth to a son.
20. Lord Munisuvrata
Lord Munisuvrat purified its soul during his birth as Surshreshta, the king of Champa city in Mahavideh. area. He had a bend for spiritual practices and in the process of his vigorous devotion for the Arhant, he earned Tirthankar-nam-and-gotra. Completing his age he reincarnated in the Pranat dimension of gods.
From the dimension of gods he descended into the womb of queen Padmavati, wife of king Sumitra raja of Rajgriha. On the third day of Shravna Krishna (according to Hindu Calendar) queen saw the auspicious fourteen (sixteen according to Digambara Jain Sect) dreams. It had been raining. Queen got up, took bath and did her religious activities and went to see the King to understand the meaning of these dreams. King told her excitedly that she was going to give birth to a very pious soul who would become a Tirthankara. On the 10th day of the Vaishakha Krishna month of the Hindu calendar, queen Padmavati gave birth to a son.
After this incident the king decided to name his forth coming son as ‘Naminath’.
On the eight day of the dark half of the month of Shravan, Naminath was born.
22. Nemi tiruthankar He is a legendary figure, who lived for 1,000 years, and was the youngest son of King Samudravijaya and Queen Shivadevi. He is believed in Jainism to be the cousin of the Hindu god Krishna, and his iconography includes the same conch as found with the Hindu god Vishnu. He was born at Sauripura (Dvaraka) in the Yadu lineage, like Krishna. His birth date is the 5th day of Shravana Shukla in the Hindu calendar. He herded cattle and became fond of animals. According to Jain mythology, on his wedding day Neminatha heard the cries of animals being killed for the marriage feast, and moved by the sorrow he renounced the world – a scene found in many Jain artwork. He attained moksha on Girnar Hills near Junagadh, a pilgrimage center for Jains.
According to Long, the Jain legends state that Neminatha taught Krishna the knowledge that he shared with Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, a historic reason that has led Jains to accept, read and cite the Bhagavad Gita as a spiritually important text, celebrate Krishna related festivals and intermingle with Hindus as spiritual cousins.
23. Parwanath tiruthankar
23. Parwanath tiruthankar
About 3000 years ago, King Ashwasen was ruling over the Kingdom of Varanasi, which is also known as Banaras, situated on the bank of Holy River Ganga. They had a son named Parshva Kumar. Parshva Kumar later became the 23rd Tirthankara Parshvanath of present age (Avasarpini).
At that time there was a mendicant named Kamath. He had lost his parents in childhood and was raised as an orphan. Being disgusted of his miserable life, he had become a monk and was undergoing severe penance. He came to Varanasi to perform a Panchaagni (five fires) penance. Many people were impressed by his penance and therefore worshipped Kamath. When young prince Parshva kumar came to know this, he realized the violence of living beings involved in a fire. He came there and tried to dissuade Kamath from the sacrificial fire.
Kamath did not agree that life of any being was at stake because of his ritual. By his extra sensory perception, Parshva kumar could see that there was a snake in the wood that was put in the sacrificial fire. He asked his men to take out that wood and to shear it carefully. To the surprise of the onlookers, a half burnt snake came out of the burning piece of wood. The snake was burnt so badly that he died. Parsvha kumar recited the Navakar Mantra for the benefit of the dying snake, who was reborn as Dharanendra, the lord of Asurkumars. Kamath became very annoyed by this interference but was unable to do anything at that time. He started observing a more severe penance and at the end of his life, he was reborn as Meghmali, the lord of rain.
Observing the miseries that living beings had to experience, Parshvakumar developed a high degree of detachment. At the age of 30, he renounced all his possessions and family and became a monk. Later on, he was known as Parshvanath. He spent most of his time meditating in search of ultimate bliss for all.
Once, while he was in meditation, Meghmali saw him. He recalled how Parshvanath had interfered in his penance in an earlier life. He decided to take revenge. By his supernatural power, he brought forth all kinds of fierce and harmful animals like elephants, lions, leopards, snakes etc. As Lord Parshvanath stayed in meditation unperturbed, Meghmali brought forth heavy rains. The rainwater touched the feet of Parshvanath and started accumulating. It came up to his knees and then to his waist and in no time, it came up to his neck.
Dharanendra noticed that Parshvanath, his benefactor, was going to drown in rising flood water. He immediately came there and placed a quick growing lotus below the feet of the Lord so that he could stay above water. Then he spread his fangs all across the head and the sides of the Lord in order to protect him from pouring rain. Dharanendra then severely reproached Meghmali for his wretched act and asked him to stop the rain. All efforts of Meghmali to harass the Lord were thus in vain. He was disappointed and realized that he was unnecessarily creating trouble for the graceful, merciful Lord. He withdrew all his supernatural power and fell at the feet of the Lord with a sense of deep remorse. He sincerely begged the Lord to forgive him for his evil acts.
entered his mother's womb on the sixth day of the second half of Ashad month.
Boy Vardhman was healthy, handsome and possessed of an attractive personality, since birth. He justified the name Vardhman given to him, growing like the digit of the moon on the second day of the bright fortnight. His gold like physique attracted all and sundry. The lord of gods himself assumed a thousand eyes to drink deep the beauty of the frame of the Lord.
He was a sentient, thoughtful, discriminate and fearless boy. He did not know any fear. He was an embodiment of courage. He was, therefore, known as Veer and Ativeer since his childhood. Five of his names are famous -Veer, Ativeer, Sanmati, Vardhman and Mahaveer.
He was prompt and ready-witted and never lost his balance in difficulties. One day, boy Vardhman delighting his parents and citizens by his childlike playfulness, was playing in the garden with other princes. He climbed a tree in his playful spirit. Meanwhile a terrible black snake encircled the trunk of the tree and began to emit fumes out of a fit of anger that would shake even the very strong. Finding themselves in adverse circumstances, the children began to shiver with fear, but that terrible snake could not disturb patient and strong child Mahaveer. Seeimg Mahaveer fearlessly and without hesitation coming near it, the furious snake left the fury and went his way.
In the same way, once, an elephant became made and began to spread havoc in the city, breaking away from the pillar of the building in which elephants are kept. The whole city was agog and people began to run from one place to the other in panic. Prince Vardhman, however, did not lose his presence of mind and controlled the elephant with his power and cleverness. The bravery and patience of the Prince became a talk of the common men in the city.
He was a genius and could solve great problems easily. He was quiet by nature; the seriousness grew with his entry into youth. He loved loneliness. He was always busy pondering over the fundamentals of life and death and indulged in deep discussions. Those eager to get to truth, placed their misgivings before him and he solved them in no time. Most of the doubts and misgivings were resolved by the sight of his calm posture. The big doubts about the fundamentals of religion of the big monks were removed by just having a look at his physical frame. He was himself a solution of these misgivings.
One day he was sitting in the fourth storey of his palace deeply engrossed in contemplation. His comrades came and asked mother Trishla where Vardhman was. Busy in her household, the mother just pointed to the upper storey. The boys ran to the seventh storey, but did not find Vardhman there. When they asked King Siddhartha, who was studying religious texts, where Vardhman was, he just pointed to the lower storeys. Hearing the contradictory statements of the father and the mother, the boys were confused. They searched every storey and found Vardhman in the fourth one, studying. The boys complained that they had searched all the storeys of the palace and Mahaveer was hiding there as a philosopher. Vardhman asked them why they did not ask the mother to tell them where he was. The boys said that the whole trouble arose out of the asking. The mother told them that he was up, while the father told them that he was downstairs. The problem was where to find and where the truth lay. Vardhman told them that both were correct; that he was on the fourth storey, up from the point of view of the mother and down from the point of view of the father. The mother was on the first storey, while the father on the seventh. The positions downwards and upwards are relative. Without relativity there is no question of downwards or upwards. Though the nature of the substance is without any relation with any other substance, the description is relative. Thus boy Vardhman used to explain lofty principles to the boys easily.
The world tried to persuade him to follow their path but Mahaveer was engrossed deep in the depths of his soul and so the world could not entangle him to follow their path. Youth threw its die on him, but in vain. The parental affections tried to block his way, but he did not float on the flood of his mother's tears.
Accordingly he left his home in the thirtieth year of his youth, on the tenth day of the first half of Magsir. He became naked and engaged himself in the pursuit of his self in that solitary forest. The Laukantik gods came from the heavens and praised him for his resolve with great reverence. Monk Vardhman used to remain silent and did not talk to anybody. He was always engrossed in the contemplation of his soul. He did not even remember that he needed a bath or the cleaning of his teeth. He used to rest in the caves of the mountains, holding friends and foes alike, and was not disturbed by the fury of the inclemencies of weather.
The cruel animals of the forest saw is calm posture, natural ease and non-violent life and forgot their natural enmity and became friends. Snakes and mongooses, tigers and cows used to drink water from the same wharf. Wherever he stayed, the whole atmosphere was full of peace and quiet.
If sometimes he happened to have a liking for food, he would go to the nearest town with strange mental reservations. If some householder gave him pure food according to the scriptures' command and with nine types of rituals, he would take his meals and soon return to the forests. He also accepted food once at the hands of grief-ridden Sati Chandanbala.
Thus engaged in external and internal penances, he spent twelve years. At the age of forty-two in this state of deep self-absorption he annihilated subtle attachment and attained the completely detached state of his being. With this state of spiritual development he attained omniscience also. He became real Mahaveer having conquered the enemies of delusion, attachment and aversion completely. He became a Bhagwan being an omniscient and a completely detached being. In theite fruition of Tirthankar Namkaram, he got that status and was known as Bhagwan Mahaveer. His divine message was delivered first on the first day of the. month of Shravan, on account of which this day has been celebrated in the whole of India as Veer Shasan Jayanti.
Kuber was ordered by the Lord of the gods to construct a huge meeting-hall called the Samavsharan for the worldly creatures to meet and hear the divine message of Lord Mahaveer. Every being was entitled to go there and hear the message. There was no distinction of big or small. One whose conduct is non-violent, who has touched the intrinsic nature of substances, who has dived deep in his own self, is greater than not only human beings but also gods, though he may be born in a low family.
In his religious congregation kings and the commons, rich and poor, black and white, all sat together and listened to his message. Animals along with gods and humans also sat there and listened to the divine teachings of the Lord. Such equality amongst the creatures of this world is difficult elsewhere. In the fourfold federation of the Lord, there were monks, she-monks, male and female householders.
Many learned scholars opposed to him, became his disciples shunning their own wrong conceptions, after being influenced by his message of universal love and goodwill. The chief amongst them was his chief disciple Indrabhuti Gautam. He was accepted as the first preceptor of the Lord and became famous as Gautam Swami. The story of how he was initiated into Digamber Jain monkhood is quite interesting.
Indrabhuti Gautam was well versed in the Vedas and Vedangas. He had five hundred disciples. When the Indra realised that Indrabhuti Gautam alone could become the chief preceptor of the Lord, he went to his abode in disguise of an old Brahmin, Indra introduced himself as a disciple of Mahaveer and asked Gautam the meaning of a Sanskrit verse.
Indrabhuti became thoughtful. "What are these six substances, nine matters, five Astikayas etc. ?" He concealed his ignorance in his pride and told Indra that he would like to discuss these with his master i. e., Lord Mahaveer. He expressed his desire to accompany lndra to the place where the Lord was delivering his sermons. The time was ripe for the reception of real spiritualism in the case of Gautam and for the Lord to start delivering his long awaited message of religion. As Indrabhuti Gautam came near the Samavsharan his rigidity suddenly turned into softness. His pride disappeared at the sight of the Manstambha, (a pillar just in front of the Samavsharan) and he approached the Lord with a request for his own initiation into monkhood. By his own ability and the magnanimity of Mahaveer, he became the first Gandhar of the Lord. There were ten other Gandharas whose names were; (1) Agnibhuti, (2)Vayubhuti, (3) Aryavyakta, (4) Sudharma, (5) Mandit, (6)Mauryaputra, (7) Akampit, (8) Achaibhrata, (9) Metarya and (10) Prabhas.
Amongst his householder disciples Maharaj Shrenik (Bimbsar), the king of Magadh, was the chief.
He traversed the length and breadth of India continuously for thirty years. Different beings understood his teachings in their own languages. His sermons were called Divya Dhwani. He has upheld the independence of the soul and all other substances. He declared that every soul is independent; none depends upon the other; self-reliance is the way to achieve complete independence. Self-reliance is nothing but centralisation of one's vision on one's soul only, different from colour, attachment and division. Independence can only be achieved on one's own strength; you can't get infinite bliss and independence in charity or achieve them on others' strength.
All souls are separate and independent, not one, but like one, similar, none big or small. He, therefore, ordained :-
1. Regard other souls as your own.
2. All souls are equal, but not one.
3. If our efforts are directed towards right direction, every soul can attain godhood.
4. Every creature is unhappy on account of his own mistakes, and can become happy by removing the mistakes.
Mahaveer did not propagate any new truth; there is nothing like old or new in truth. Whatever he said is true and eternal. He did not establish truth; he only inaugurated it. He did not found any new religion. Religion is the nature of substances. The nature of substances cannot be built. How can that which can be built be called nature ? It can only be known. Remaining away from the pride of doing and detaching himself from non-self entities one who knows the self and the non-self, without in any way being influenced by others, and in all their perspectives, is God. Tirthankar Bhagwan knows and exposes the nature of things, does not create them.
He was a Tirthankar. He propounded the Tirtha i.e., the way to the liberation of the soul. Acharya Samant Bhadra has called his teachings Sarvodaya Tirtha (religion that preaches the welfare of all living beings).
Oh Lord Mahaveer - Your religion is for the welfare of one and all. There is no contradiction in your teachings, only whatever you say is relative i.e. described from different perspectives, one predominating the other according to contexts; the assertions of other preachers, not being relative, are not able to propound the nature of things, as they are. Your exposition of the truth of life is capable of destroying all the miseries and misfortunes of this world and of leading worldly beings to their supreme happiness and as such it is Sarvodaya Tirtha i.e., religion for the welfare of all living beings."
That which leads to the welfare of all is Sarvodya. The religion for the welfare of all as propounded by Lord Mahaveer and his exposition of truths of life and immortality, have no narrowness or limits. The religion of the soul is for all creatures. It is a kind of narrowness to associate religion with human beings only. It is a religion of all the living beings. The term "religion of man" is also not liberal enough. It limits the scope of religion to the community of human beings only, while religion extends to all the sentient world, for all the creatures want to live in peace and happiness.
Tirthankar Bhagwan Mahaveer has expounded the complete independent existence of every substance and that every substance changes its modifications itself. No other substance can interfere in this natural procedure. Even God, the almighty, is not the creator or the destroyer of, this existence of the things. The preachings of Mahaveer upheld the independence not only of the living beings, but of all the atoms, which are the smallest (indivisible) particles or units of matter substance and which cannot be further divided. The desire to interfere in the activity of others is false, of no avail and causing unhappiness, for it is sheer ignorance to regard others as the creator or destroyer of happiness and misery, life and death, of other beings.
It has been well said that our own merits and demerits will be meaningless if one being is regarded as the creator of others' happiness and misery, life and death. The question is - can anybody, however strong, make us happy, even, if we indulge in demerits ? Likewise can anybody, be it God himself, harm us, if we keep ourselves busy in meritorious engagements ? If yes, it would be worthless to do good and be afraid of the bad, because it is not necessary to reap the consequences of one's actions. If it is true that we have to reap the consequences of our own actions, good and bad, the concept of any interference is meaningless. The same truth has been expressed by Acharya Amitgati in Slokas 30-31 of Bhawna Dwatrinshatika.
In the end, at the age of seventy-two, on the Dipawali day, the last Tirthankar of this epoch Bhagwan Mahaveer, abandoned this physical frame and attained Nirwan (complete liberation). The same day, his chief disciple Indrabhuti Gautam achieved omniscience. According to Jain tradition, the great festival of Deepawali is celebrated in honour of the liberation of Bhagwan Mahaveer and attainment of complete sentience by his chief disciple Gautam.