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Mahavira
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Royalty
    ( -527 BC)
    24th Jainist Tirthankara
    He was a prince.
    He walked around barefoot.
    Some believe he founded Jainism, but he did not. He was the last of their spiritual leaders.
    Scholars and believers argue over the date of his birth and death.
    He was into fasting and chastity.
    He was a vegetarian.
    He believed that the right way of living was to reject one's own desires.
    He believed he had perfect knowledge (enlightenment) after he meditated and ignored everyone for twelve and a half years.
    In the years after his death the complex rituals adopted by the Jains made him comparable to a Hindu god, even though Jainism specifically denies the existence of one.
    He was not nearly as influential as his contemporary Siddhartha Gautama.
    In fact, he was sort of a Siddhartha Gautama knock-off.
    Jainism is moribund, with only an estimated 4 million still practicing worldwide.
    He had more than 400,000 followers after he gave up his wealth.
    He urged his followers not to steal, speak the truth and not to harm any living beings.
    He believed men and women were essentially the same spiritually.
    He was able to convince those of all classes of his beliefs.
    One of his greatest pursuits in his twelve and a half year silence was specifically not to annoy others.
    Throngs of people would beat on him, cut him and pull his hair while he meditated to see if he could feel it. According to legend, he did not.
    He encouraged others to believe in right faith, right knowledge and right conduct.
    He gave up his significant wealth in order to pursue religious truth.
    Though he did not create Jainism, he reformed, organized and defined the Jainist community.

Credit: Captain Howdy


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