Teachings of Jainism

Mahavira did not believe in the existence of God. He considered that God is the highest, the noblest and the fullest manifestation of all the powers which lie latent in the soul of man. The teachings of Mahavira were simple. He based his teachings on three thoughts Right Faith, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct or Action. These three teachings are called Triratna or Three jewels.
Mahavira put great stress on Mahavira Ahimsa. According to him, men, animals, plants, stones, wind and fire had souls. Therefore no injury should be done to animals, birds etc. Mahavira preached his disciples to follow the five principles.

They are

1. Ahimsa - not to injure any living beings
2. Satya - to speak truth
3. Asteya - not to steal
4. Tyag - - not to own property
5. Brahmacharia - to lead a virtuous life.

Mahavira believed in the theory of Karma. According to him the highest goal to be achieved was Supreme Knowledge.

Spread of Jainism

Mahavira organized Sanghas. There were both men and women in them. They spread Jainism. His followers were called Digambaras (nudes) and Swedambaras (those who wear white clothes). He preached his religion in Prakrit language which was the language of the masses. So people understood his teachings easily. They started showing interest in Jainism. Rulers like Bimbisara, Ajatasatru in North India extended support.

In South India, Kun Pandian, Mahendravarma I and Kharave of Kafinga showed interest in Jainism.

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