Vardhamana Mahavira (Sanskrit: :), also known as Vardhamana, was the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism. He was the spiritual successor of the 23rd Tirthankara Parshvanatha. Mahavira was born in the early part of the 6th century BCE into a royal Jain family in Bihar, India. His mother's name was Trishala and his father's name was Siddhartha. They were lay devotees of Parshvanatha. Mahavira abandoned all worldly possessions at the age of about 30 and left home in pursuit of spiritual awakening, becoming an ascetic. Mahavira practiced intense meditation and severe austerities for twelve and a half years, after which he attained Kevala Gyan (omniscience). He preached for 30 years and attained Moksha (liberation) in the 6th century BCE, although the year varies by sect. Historically, Mahavira, who preached Jainism in ancient India, was an older contemporary of Gautama Buddha. Mahavira taught that observance of the vows of ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truth), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (chastity), and aparigraha (non-attachment) are necessary for spiritual liberation.
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