Mahāvīra is the name most commonly used to refer to the Indian sage Vardhamāna who established what are today considered to be the central tenet
A tenet is one of the principles on which a belief or theory is based. Tenet may also refer to:* Tenet , a Canadian heavy metal band* Tenet Healthcare, a hospital holding company* Tenet people, an ethnic group in Sudan...

s of Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

. According to Jain tradition, he was the 24th and the last Tirthankara. In Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

, he is referred to as Arukaṉ or Arukadevan. He is also known in texts as Vira or Viraprabhu, Sanmati, Ativira,and Gnatputra. In the Buddhist Pali Canon
Pāli Canon
The Pāli Canon is the standard collection of scriptures in the Theravada Buddhist tradition, as preserved in the Pāli language. It is the only completely surviving early Buddhist canon, and one of the first to be written down...

, he is referred to as Nigantha Nātaputta.
In a place called Kundalagrama (Vaishali district
Vaishali District
Vaishali District is a district in Bihar state, India. It is named after the Vaishali . The history of Vaishali district is thus very ancient, and finds mention in the Indian classic Mahabharata, as well as in Buddhist and Jain tradition....

) situated close to Besadha Patti, 27 miles from Patna in modern day Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

, India, Mahavira was born to King Siddartha and Queen Trishala on the 13th day under the rising moon of Chaitra (12 April according to the Gregorian calendar
Gregorian calendar
The Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western calendar, or Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582, a papal bull known by its opening words Inter...


All breathing, existing, living, sentient creatures should not be slain, nor treated with violence, nor abused, nor tormented, nor driven away.

Acaranga Sutra|Ācharanga Sutra, Book 1, lecture 4, lesson 1, as translated by H. Jacobi, quoted in The Boundless Circle : Caring for Creatures and Creation (1996) by Michael W. Fox, p. 262

Desistance from sin makes one entirely happy.

As quoted in Religion and culture of the Jains (1975) by Jyotiprasāda Jaina, p. 187

Non-violence and kindness to living beings is kindness to oneself. For thereby one's own self is saved from various kinds of sins and resultant sufferings and is able to secure his own welfare.

As quoted in Religion and culture of the Jains (1975) by Jyotiprasāda Jaina, p. 187

A living body is not merely an integration of limbs and flesh but it is the abode of the soul which potentially has perfect perception (Anant-darshana), perfect knowledge (Anant-jnana), perfect power (Anant-virya), and perfect bliss (Anant-sukha).

As quoted in Jainism and Indian Civilization (2004) by Raj Pruthi, p. 24