Historical Who is Who
599 - 527 BCE (549 - 477 BCE)
Historical transmitter of Jain religion, notionally preceded by a sucession of 24 Jinas or ‘ford makers’/spiritual conquerors who relaunch eras of blissful contentment which each deteriorate. This ‘re-booting’ of knowledge, faith and conduct is a mythological process of continual rebirth. Mahavira by practising austerity and ascetiscism gains omniscience and attracts thousands of followers. They share the belief that all living, breathing beings – human, animal and plants life – must be treated compassionately, with the effect that any bad karma is burnt away. Much detail of Mahavira’s life became elaborated over the following seven centuries. It seems likely that he was a contemporary of Gautama Buddha but that they did not meet. Jains are remarkable for their ultimate valuing of non-violence.