Mahavira, also known as Vardhamana, was the twenty-fourth and last tirthankara. In Jainism, a tirthankara is an omniscient teacher who preaches the dharma and builds a ford across the ocean of rebirth and transmigration. Twenty-four tirthankara grace each half of the cosmic time cycle. Mahavira was the last tirthankara of avasarpani. Mahavira was born into a royal family in what is now Bihar, India. At the age of 30, he left his home in pursuit of spiritual awakening. He abandoned all the worldly things including his clothes and became a Jain monk. For the next twelve and a half years, he practiced intense meditation and severe penance, after which he became omniscient. He traveled all over South Asia for the next thirty years to teach Jain philosophy. Mahavira died at the age of 72 and attained nirvana or moksha. Mahavira's philosophy has eight cardinal principles, three metaphysical, and five ethical. The objective is to elevate the quality of life... (wikipedia)
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