Mahävïra, the last Tïrthaõkara of the Jainas, is described as a supreme personality and acknowledged as ‘a great Brähmaîa’, ‘a great guardian’, ‘a great guide’, ‘a great preacher’, ‘a great pilot’, and ‘a great recluse’.1 Around his personality there gathered a large number of men and women belonging to different castes and classes. His disciples and followers sincerely believed that their master whether walking or sitting, was gifted with supreme knowledge and vision of the Summum bonum. It is this earnest belief in the greatness of the Teacher that induced them to repose their trust in him and his words. To them, he stood as a living example of the highest human virtue and perfection. His life was to them a perennial source of light and inspiration. His sufferings and forbearance kept them steady in all their trials and tribulations, and his teachings and instructions were for them not ordinary words but utterances of one who saw the light of truth and was able to lead others along the path to enlightenment.


‘Mahävïra’ was not the personal name of the religious teacher. He was better known to his contemporaries as Nigaîûha Näta-putta — Nigaîûha of the Näta or Näya clan. This name is composed of two separate epithets, Nigaîûha and Nätaputta, the first of which is religious and the second secular. He was Nigaîûha (Nirgrantha) in a literal sense—unclothed without and free from all worldly bonds and ties within. He was called Nätaputta because he was a scion of the Näya, Näta2 or Jñätô, clan of the Kshatriyas. Just as the Buddha was called Áäkyaputta because he was a scion of Áäkya clan, so was Mahävïra called Nätaputta because he was a scion of the Näta Clan.

Mahävïra, the Tirthankara passed through in his own life-time five Kalyaîakas, which are the five noble events in the life of a Tïrthaõkara. These five Kalyäîakas (pious events) are : (1) Garbha-Kalyäîaka, (Conception – event), (2) Janma Kalyäîaka (Birth-event), (3) Tapa-Kalyäîaka (Austerity-event), (4) Jñäna-Kalyäîaka (Knowldge-event) and (5) Nirväîa Kalyäîaka (Liberation-event). These Kalyäîakas are auspicious and enîobling for the worldly beings at large, (1) When Tirthankara Mahavira was conceived, the mother saw dreams which pointed to the birth of a Tirthankara, by virtue of which the parents rejoiced and damsels took care of the mother. (2) When Tirthankara Mahavira was born, Indra eulogised the mother. The beauty of the child (Mahavira) was capturing. Indra, the celestial being saw the child with one thousand eyes and even then he did not get full satisfaction. Peace prevailed throughout. (3) In Tapa-Kalyäîaka, Mahävïra became detached from worldly pleasures and adopted the life of asceticism. (4) In the Jñäna-Kalyäîak, Mahavira attained omniscience as a result of the performance of Dhyana. And consequently, he delivered sermons in Samavasaraîa (religious assembly) and propagated the religions of Ahimsa by going to different places. By the effect of Kevalajñäa (omniscience), the environment was charged with spiritual atmosphere and nature and all the beings were affected in various ways. (5) The Nirväîa-Kalyäîaka of Mahavira means the attainment of Moksa (liberation) with the result that the body is relinquished1.


The Jaina tradition places the birth of Mahävïra in the year 599 B.C. He belonged to Käáyapa gotra. He was the son of Kÿatriya Siddhärtha, also known as Áreyäãsa and Yaáäãáa, and of Kÿatriyäîi Triáalä, also known as Videhadattä and Priyakäriîi of the Vasiÿûha Gotra.3 His mother was the sister  (according to Digambaras, daughter) of Ceûaka, one of the kings of Vaiáalï. His parents, both lay followers of Päráva, were pious and chaste, virtuous and strict. They rigorously observed the principles of Jainism.

One incident regarding the birth of Mahävïra, which has been mentioned by some Ávetämbara works, can not be ignored. It is said that Mahävïra was first conceived in the womb of a Brähmin lady called Devänandä but was later transferred to the womb of Triáalä Khattiyänï. The Bhagavatï Sütra puts this episode into the mouth of Mahävïra himself. The incident as described there relates to Devänandï and Uÿabhadatta, the original parents, coming to see Mahävïra when the latter had become famous as a preacher. On seeing Mahävira milk began to flow from the breast of Devänandä due to the strong motherly love she bore towards him. Gotama asked his Master the reason for this upon which the latter admitted that he was the son of Devänandä. The text goes on to say that these original parents of Mahävïra accepted the order of their Jaina son.5

Curiously enough, the tradition about the transfer of the womb goes back to the beginning of the Christian era or even earlier, as it is found depicted in one of the Mathura Sculptures.6 This incident regarding the transfer of the womb has been discredited by the Digambaras.

Before birth, Mahävïra’s mother is said to have seen a number of dreams. According to the Ávetämbaras, they numbered fourteen. In these fourteen dreams, according to the Kalpa Sütra, were seen (1) an elephant; (2) a bull; (3) a lion; (4) the anointing of the goodess Ári; (5) a garland; (6) the moon; (7) the sun; (8) a flag; (9) a vase; (10) a lotus lake; (11) an ocean; (12) a celestial abode; (13) a heap of jewels and (14) a flame. The Digambaras, who describe sixteen dreams, insert the visions of a throne of diamonds and rubies, and also of a great king of the gods dwelling below the earth. They also assert that she saw the sun before she dreamt about the moon. In place of a flag, they affirm that she saw two fishes. They also assert that she witnessed two vases instead of one, filled with pure water. The interpreters foretold that the child would become either a universal monarch or a Tirthankara possessing all possible knowledge.


The early scriptures of both the Ávetämbaras7 and the Digambaras8 agree that Kuîâapura or Kuîâagräma was the birthplace of Mahävïra. After examining the evidence contained in the Äcäräõga Sütra9, the Sütrakôitäõga10, the Kalpa Sütra11, the Uttarädhyayana Sütra12 and the Bhagavati-Sütra-Tïka13, it becomes clear that Jainism had a great stronghold in the area of Vaiáälï-Kuîâapura of the Videha country during this period and that Mahävïra was closely associated with this area. The name Visälie i.e. Vaiáälika was given to Mahävïra in the Sütra-Kôitäõga. Vaiáalika apparently means a native of Vaiáalï, the capital of Videha country. Thus it is clear that Mahävïra was born at Kuîâapura near Vaiáalï in the Videha country.

From the seventh century onwards, the gradual decline of Vaiáälï began and the Jainas came to forget the birthplace of the last Tïrthaõkara. Some Digambara Jaina works14 place Vaiáäli under Caeûaka in Sindhu-Viáaya or Sindhu-deáa. To them Tirabhukti became Sindhu-Viáaya. Evidently, however, Vaiáäli was not situated in Sindhu-Sauvïra. K. P. JAIN15 suggests two reasons for this confusion. Firstly, it may be that the authors have equated Sindhu-deáa with Vôjideáa16, and, secondly, there might have been a confusion especially because Ujjayini in Avanti, too, was called Viáälä17, and there was the Sindhu river in the adjoining territory for which reason it was called Sindhu-deáa in the middle ages (8th to 15th centuries A.D.). Since the Digambara writers, K. P. JAIN adds, lived more in the Ujjayinï region, they appear to have confused Ujjayini (which was also called Viáälä) with the Viáälä, little knowing that another Viáälä different from their own existed in Eastern India.

Efforts have recently been made to find out the birthplace of Lord Mahävïra, the son of the Jñätôka leader of Kshatriya-Kuîâapura or Kuîâalapura and the maternal son of a Lichchhavi chief. While the Digambara Jainas found a village called Kuîâalapura near Nälandä, the Ávetämbara Jainas found a site called Kshatriyakuîâa near the village Lachhwäd or Lachhuär in South Monghyr. These came to be regarded as the birthplaces of Lord Mahävïra by the respective sects. Temples and Dharmaáäläs were constructed and the Jaina pilgrims began to pour into these places. Thus while the real birthplace was forgotten, other places came to be recognized as such.

The present site, Kshatriyakuîâa, near Lachaväda, can not be the birthplace of Lord Mahävïra because it formed part of Aõga, and not of Videha. Modern Kÿatriyakuîâa is situated on the mountain while there are no references to mountains in connection with ancient Kÿatriyakuîâa of Kuîâapura in the Jaina scriptures. Near the present Kÿatriyakuîâa, no traces of such ancient places as Vaiáälï, Väîijyagräma, Kolläga-Sanniveáa and Karmäragräma are found. The nullaha near it is not the Gaîâaki river.

In the Mahävagga of the Buddhists, it has been said that Buddha, while sojourning at Kotiggäma, was visited by the courtezan Ambapäli and the Lichchhavis of the neighbouring capital, Vaiáalï. From Kotiggäma, he went to where the Nätikas lived. There he lodged in the Nätika Brick Hall. From there he went to Vaiáäli where he converted the general-in-chief (of the Lichchhavis), a lay disciple of the Nirgranthas. H. JACOBI has identified Koûiggäma of the Buddhists with Kuîâagäma of the Jainas. Apart from the similarity of the names, the reference to the Nätikas, apparently identical with the Jñätrka Kÿatriyas to whose clan Mahävïra belonged, and to Sïha, the Jaina, points to the same direction. Kuîâagräma, therefore, was probably one of the suburbs of Vaisälï, the capital of Videha. This conjecture is borne out by the name Vesälie, i.e. Vaïsälika given to Mahävïra in the Sütrakôitäõga. Vaiáälika apparently means a native of Vaiáälï; and Mahävïra could rightly be called as such when Kuîâagrama was a suburb of Vaiáälï.  The identification of Koûiggäma with Kuîâapura seems to be doubtful, and both seem to be independent villages.

A.F.R. HOERNLE19 has clearly shown that Vaiáälï is the birthplace of Mahävïra. Väîiyagäma was another name of the well-known city of Vaiáälï, the capital of the Lichchhavi country. This city, commonly called Vaiáälï, occupied a very extended area, which included within its precinet, besides Veáälï proper, several other places such as Väîiyagäma and Kuîâagäma. They still exist as villages called Bäniyä and Basukuîâa.

The identification of Vaiáälï with the group of remains associated with the village of Basäôh in Muzaffarpur District, some forty km. to the north of Patna, is conclusively proved by the survival of the ancient name with only slight modifications; by the geographical bearings taken from Patna and other places; by the topographical details compared with the description recorded by Yuan Chwang, the Chinese pilgrim in the seventh century and by the finding on the spot of sealings of letters inscribed with the name Vaiáälï.20

The identification of ancient Vaiáälï and Kuîâagäma or Kuîâapura with Basäôh and Basukuîâa respectively has been supported by several other scholars such as T. BLOCH21, S. STEVENSON22, N. L. DEY23 and B. C. LAW24. Some of these scholars consider Kuîâapura, Väõiyagäma, Kolläga Sanniveáa and Karmägagräma to be the suburbs of Vaiáälï. This view does not seem to be correct. These were independent villages which may be identified with the modern villages of Basukuîâa, Baniyä, Koluä and Kümana Chaparägächï respectively. Brähmaîakuîâa and Kÿatriyakuîâa were the two wards of Kuîâapura, and between them was situated Bahuáäla Caitya. Vaiáälï and Kuîâapura were situated on the eastern bank of the Gaîâakï river, while Karmäragräma, Kolläga Sanniveáa,25 Vänijyagräma and Dvipaläáa Caitya on the west.


There are scriptural anecdotes, and miracles connected with the childhood of Mahävïra. It is stated in them that his birth was celebrated alike by gods and men, and it was received by his parents with the loftiest expectations. On the day of his birth, the prisoners in Kuîâapura were released. Festivals kept the whole town vibrant in mirth and joy for ten days after which many offerings were made to the gods.26 His parents named him ‘Vardhamäna’27 or the ‘Prosperous one’, because with his birth, the wealth, fame and merit of the family increased.

The two ascetics, Sanjaya and Vijaya, harboured some doubts  about the nature of some object. As their misgiving immediately disappeared at the sight of Tirthankara Mahävïra, they therefore gave him the name Sanmati in devotion.28

The scriptures of both the Ávetämbaras and the Digambaras relate the legends of Mahävïra’s supreme valour and how easily he excelled all his companions in strength and physical endurance during boyhood. One day, playing with his friends in the garden of his father, Mahävïra saw an elephant, mad with fury and secration flowing from his temples, rushing towards him. His companions, all boys, shocked and frightened at the sight of this imminent danger, deserted their comrade and ran away. Without losing a moment, Mahävïra made up his mind to face the danger squarely, went towards the elephant, caught hold of his trunk with strong hands and mounted his back at once. Because of controlling & pacifying on amuck elephant, he was called ‘Atïvïra’.

Another legend tells how, when Mahävïra was playing with the same children at Ämbali pipalï (a sort of ‘tick’ or ‘tig’) among the trees, a god disguised as a dreadful snake appeared on a tree. All his companions were alarmed and fled away. Mahävïra, mustering courage, remained calm. He caught hold of the snake and threw it away. The god again decided to frighten the child by carrying him high up into the sky on his shoulders. Mahävïra, however, was not in the least alarmed, and seizing this opportunity of showing his superiority over the petty goods whacked from and pulled his hair so hard that he was only too ready to bend down and get rid of his obstreperous burden.29 As Vardhman stood fast in the midst of dangers and fears, patiently enduring all hardships and calamities, adhering to the chosen rules of penance, and as he was wise, indifferent to pleasure and pain alike, rich in self-control and gifted with fortitude, the name Mahävïra was given to him. As he was devoid of love and hate, he was called Áramaîa.30

In person, Mahävïra seems to have been handsome and impressive. He was possessed of a very keen intellect.31 The Kalpa Sütra32 mentions that from his very birth, he possessed ‘supreme, unlimited and unimpeded knowledge and intuition.’


On the question of Mahävïra’s marriage, there is a fundamental difference of detail between the Digambara and the Ávetämbara accounts. The Digambara works33 deny the fact of Mahävïra’s marriage. On the other hand, in the Ávetämbara accounts,34 there is an allusion to his marriage. In his youth, Mahävïra’s was, however, given to contemplation and had begun to entertain plans of renunciation. His parents tried to solve the problem by marrying him off to a beautiful young woman, Yaáodä, a Kÿatriya lady of Kauîâinya Gotra, who soon presented him with a daughter named Aîojjä. Aîojjä was married to Jamälï, a Kÿatriya, who after becoming Mahävïra’s follower created a schism. Mahävïra’s grand- daughter, who belonged to the Kauáika Gotra, had two names : Seáhavatï and Yaáovatï.

Mahävïra’s paternal uncle was Supäráva. His elder brother was Nandivardhana and his elder sister Sudaráanä. His parents died when he was thirty years old. Afterwards, his elder brother, Nandïvardhana, succeeded his father. With the permission of his brother and other authorities,35 he carried out his long cherished resolve and became a monk with the usual rites. The Digambara works do not mention the names of his elder brother and elder sister. According to them, Mahävïra embarked upon his spiritual vocation during the lifetime of his parents. At first his parents were opposed to the idea of their delicately nurtured child undergoing all the hardships that fall to the lot of a houseless mendicant, but at last they acquiesced.


The Äcäräõga Sütra has preserved a sort of religious ballad giving an account of the years during which Mahävïra led a life of the hardest asceticism, thus preparing himself for the attainment of the highest spiritual knowledge (Kevala Jñana). The account given in the Kalpa Sütra substantially agrees with that of the Acäräõga Sütra. Both the Äcäräõga and the Kalpa Sütra narrate the story of his Sädhanä in such a manner as to suggest that he had to make superhuman efforts before he could aspire to obtain the coveted position of a Kevalin. It is remarkable that this account of Mahävïra Sädhanä given in the Äcäräõga and the Kalpa Sütra does not bring in Goáäla to form an episode. It is only from the Bhagavatï Sütra and the Uväsagadasäo that we know that the Äjïvika Teacher Goáäla lived in the company of Mahävïra for about six years during this ascetic period of Mahävïra’s life.

 Mahävïra renounced the world at the age of thirty. Digambaras believe that Mahävïra abandoned clothes at the time of his initiation,whereas the Ávetämbaras hold that he abandoned them after thirteen months. The Äcäräõga Sütra gives the following account of his ascetic life.

For a year and a month since he renounced the world Mahävïra did not discard his clothes. Thereafter, he gave up his garments and became naked.36 Even when he used his robe, he used it only in winter.37 For more than four months, many living beings gathered on his body, crawled about it, and caused him pain.38 Then he meditated, walking with his eye fixed on a square space before him of the length of a man. Many people assembled, shocked at the sight; they struck him and shouted. When asked, he gave no answer; when saluted he gave no response. He was struck by sinful people.39

For more than a couple of years, he led a religious life; he lived in solitude, guarded his body, had intuition, and was calm. He carefully avoided injuring the meanest form of life. He did not use what was expressly prepared for him. He consumed clean food. He did not use another’s robe, nor did he eat out of another’s vessel. Disregarding contempt, he went with indifference to places where food was prepared. He was not desirous of eating delicious food, nor had he any longing for it. He neither rubbed his eyes nor scratched his body.40

Mahävïra sometimes lodged in workshops, assembling places, shops; sometimes in factories or under a shed of straw. He sometimes took shelter in travellers’ halls, garden-houses or towns; sometimes in a cemetery, in relinquished houses, or in the shade of a tree. At these places, he spent thirteen long years meditating day and night, exerting himself, strenuously. He did not seek sleep for the sake of pleasure; he would keep awake and sleep only a little, free from cares and desires. Waking up again, he would lie down exerting himself; going outside for once in a night, he would walk about for an hour. In these resting places, he had to face manifold calamities. Crawling or flying animals attacked him. Bad people, the guard of the village, or lance-bearers assaulted him. Always a master of himself, he endured these hardships as he wandered about, speaking but little. Ill treated by the wanderers, he kept himself in meditation, free from resentment.41 Always calm and cool-headed, he patiently bore the pains caused by, cold, fire, flies and gnats.42

Mahävïra travelled in the pathless country of Rädha, in Vajrabhümi and Ávabhrabhümi, where he used most comfortless beds and seats. The rude natives of the place attacked him and unleashed their dogs to bite him, but he never kept them off. Being perfectly enlightened, he endured the abusive language of the rustics. Sometimes when he did not reach the village, the inhabitants met him on the outskirts and attacked him, saying ‘Get away from here.’ He was struck with a stick, fist, or lance; he was hit with a fruit, a clod, and a potsherd. When once he sat without moving his body, they cut his flesh, tore his hair or covered him with dust. They disturbed him in his religious meditation. Abandoning the care of his body, he endured all pains free from desire.43

Mahävïra abstained from the indulgence of the flesh, and he was never attacked by any illness. Whether wounded or not, he never had any desire for any medical treatment. Purgatives and emetics, anointing of the body and bathing, shampooing and cleaning of the teeth were abjured by him, after he learned that the body is something unclean. In the cold season, he meditated in the shade, and in summer, he exposed himself to the heat. He lived on coarse food : rice, pounded jujube, and beans. Using these three kinds of food, he sustained himself for eight months. Sometimes he ate only on the sixth day, or the eighth, the tenth and the twelfth. Sometimes he ate stale food. He committed no sin himself, nor did he induce others to do so, nor did he consent to the sins of others. He meditated persevering in some posture, without any motion whatsoever; he meditated in mental concentration on the things above, below, beside, free from desires. He meditated free from sin and desire, not attached to sounds or colours; though still an erring mortal, he never acted carelessly.44

Thus, like a hero at the head of a battle, he bore all hardships, and, remaining undisturbed, proceeded on the road to deliverance. Understanding what truth is and restraining his impulses for the purification of his soul, he finally liberated himself.45

The account of Mahävïra’s ascetic life given in the Kalpa Sütra is as follows. When the moon was in conjunction with the asterism Uttaraphälguni, he, after fasting for two and a half days without drinking water, put on a divine robe, and, quite alone, nobody else being present, palled out his hair and, abandoning his house, entered the state of houselessness.46 For more than a year he wore clothes. Afterwards, he walked about naked, and accepted the alms in the hollow of his hand. Fore more than twelve years, he neglected his body and took no care of it. With exemplary equanimity he bore, experienced and suffered all pleasant or unpleasant occurrences arising from gods, men or animals.47

Henceforth, the ascetic Mahävïra remained circumspect in speech, and movement. He guarded his thoughts, words, acts, senses and chastity. He moved about without wrath, pride, deceit and greed. He remained calm, tranquil, composed, liberated, free from temptations, without egoism, and without possessions. In short, he had cut off all earthly ties, and was not stained by any wordliness. As water does not adhere to a copper vessel, so sins found no place in him. His course was unobstructed like that of Life. Like the firmament, he needed no support, and like the wind he knew no obstacles. His heart was pure like the water in autumn. He remained unsoiled like a leaf of lotus. His senses were well protected like those of a tortoise. He lived single and alone like the horn of a rhinoceros. He was free like a bird. He was always waking like the fabulous bird, Bhäruîâa. He was valorous like an elephant, strong like a bull, unassailable like a lion, steady and firm like Mount Mandära, deep like an ocean, mild like the Moon, refulgent like the Sun and pure like the excellent gold. Like the earth, he patiently bore everything and like a well-kindled fire, he shone in his splendour.48

 Out of all the eight months of summer and winter taken together, Mahävïra spent only a single night in villages and only five nights in towns. He was indifferent alike to the smell of ordure and of sandal, to straw and jewels, dirt and gold, and pleasure and pain. He was attached neither to this world nor to the world beyond. He desired neither life nor death. He arrived at the other shore of the Saãsära, and exerted himself for the suppression of the defilement of Karma.49

With supreme knowledge, intuition, conduct, valour, uprightness, mildness, dexterity, patience, freedom from passions, control, contentment, and understanding, Mahävïra meditated on himself for twelve years. He moved on the supreme path to final liberation which is the fruit of veracity, control, penance and good conduct.50

The Kalpa Sütra gives a list of forty-two rainy seasons spent by Mahävïra since he renounced the life of a householder. He stayed the first rainy season in Asthikagräma, three rainy seasons in Campä and Pôÿûicampä, twelve in Vaiáälï and Väîijyagräma, fourteen in Räjagôha and Nälandä, six in Mithilä, two in Bhadrikä, one in Älabhikä, one in Panitabhümi, one in Árävastï and the last one in the town of Päpä in king Hastipäla’s office.51

  1. C.LAW52 thinks that the Kalpa Sütra list of places is worded according to the idea of succession and chronology. The idea of succession is suggested by two expressions : ‘the first rainy season in Asthikagräma’ and ‘the last rainy season in Päpä or Pävä’. Accordingly he suggests the names of places where Mahävïra spent the twelve rainy seasons of his ascetic life.53 He stayed the first rainy season in Asthigräma, three rainy seasons in Campä and Pôÿûicampä and eight in Vaiáälï and Väîijyagräma. This view does not appear to be correct. Except the first and the last, the other places have not been mentioned in chronological order but in groups.

According to a commentary on the Kalpa Sütra, Asthigräma was formerly called Vardhamäna. It would perhaps be more correct to say that Asthigräma was the earlier name of Vardhamäna (modern Burdwan). But none need be surprised if Asthigräma was the same place as Hatthigäma (Hastigräma) which lay on the high road from Vaiáälï to Pävä (probably modern Kasiä).54 Campä was the capital of Aõga which was conquered in Mahävïra’s time by Áreîika Bimbisära and permanently annexed to Magadha. Its actual site is probably marked by two villages of Campänagara and Campäpura near Bhagalpur. Pôÿûicampa must have been a place near Campä. Vaiáälï is identified with modern Basärah in Vaiáälï, a district of Bihar. It was the chief seat of government of the Vôjji-Lichchavïs in Mahävïra’s time. Väîiyagäma is the same as modern Bania, a village near Basärah.55 Räjagôha (modern Räjgir) was the capital of Magadha in Mahävïra’s time. Nälandä is identified with modern Bargaon, 10 km. to the north-west of Räjgïr in the district of Nälandä near Bihar (Biharsharif).56 Mithilä was the capital of the prosperous kingdom of Videha. It is identified with Janakpur, a small town within the Nepal border, north of which the districts of Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga meet.57 Badrikä, which is the same name as the Päli Bhaddiya, was an important place in the kingdom of Aõga.58 It was visited by Buddha and is identified with modern Monghyr.59

Älabhikä, which is the same as the Päli Älavi, is identified by A. CUNNINGHAM and A. F. R. HOERNLE with Newal or Nawal in Unao  District in U.P., and by N. L. DEY with Aviwa, 40 km. north-east of Eatwah.60 It lay between Sävatthi and Räjagiha.61 Paîitabhümi, which is the same as Paîiyabhümi, was a place in Vajrabhümi, a division of the pathless country of Räâha.62 Árävastï was the flourishing capital of the kingdom of Koáala in Mahävïra’s time. It is identified with Sahet-Mahet on the bank of the Räpti.63 Päpä, which is the same name as the Päli Pävä, was one of the chief seats of government of the Mallas. It was in Mahävïra’s time one of the halting stations on the highway from Vaiáälï to Kuáïnärä and Kapilavastu.64 A. CUNNINGHAM took it for the modern village, Padaraona, 18 km. to the N. N. E. of Kasiä.65 It is identified with a place located at a distance of ten km. from Biharsharif in Patna District.66

One important event of this period of Mahävïra’s life was his meeting with Goáäla Maõkhaliputta, the head of the Äjïvika sect. From the account given in the Bhagavatï Sütra, it is known that during the second year of his ascetic life, Mahävïra stayed at Nälandä during the rainy season. At this time, Goáäla, who was then wandering about in the country showing pictures to the people at large, happened to arrive and put up there. Owing to Mahävïra’s extraordinary self-restraint, his impressive habits of meditation, his capacity to prophesy things correctly and to the fact that a rich householder Vijaya, of Räjagôha had shown respect and hospitality to him, Goáäla was attracted, and wanted to be his disciple, but Mahävïra turned down his request. His prayer was not granted on two successive occasions even though the Master was entreated by the rich householders, Änanda and Sudaráana.

In the meantime, Mahävïra went to the settlement of Kolläga, at some distance from Nälandä, where he was hospitably greeted by the Brähmiî Bahula. (Kolläga is identified with the modern village Kolhuä.) Goáäla proceeded towards Räjagôha and its suburbs to find out Mahävïra but it vain. He came back to the weaver’s shed of Nanda where he gave away his clothes, vessels, shoes, and pictures to a Brähmiî of the place, shaved off his hair and beared, and in despair departed in search of the Master. On his way, he came across Kolläga where he saw people praising Bahula’s liberality towards Mahävïra.67

Goáäla continued his search of Mahävïra and at last succeeded in finding him out at Paîiyabhümi. He again requested him with greater earnestness to accept him as his disciple. This time his request was granted, and both Mahävïra and his disciple Goáäla lived together for six years in Paîiyabhümi, practising asceticism. Afterwards, they started from Paîiyabhümi to Kürmagräma, and from Kürmagräma to Siddhärthagräma. Siddhärthagräma is probably the same as Siddhärthagräma in the Bïrbhum District.68 While at Kürmagräma, they met an ascetic named Veÿayaîa who remained seated with upraised arms and upturned face in the glare of the Sun, while his body was swarmed with lice. Goáäla enquired whether he was a sage or a bed of lice. Vesayaîa became very angry and attempted to strike Goáäla with his supernormal powers. Mahävïra explained to him the severe ascetic discipline by which such powers could be obtained.

While at Siddhärthagräma, Goáäla uprooted sesame shrub and threw it away. Owing to a chance fall of rain, the shrub came to life again. From this, he jumped to the conclusion that all plants were capable of reanimation. He drew even further conclusion that not only plants, but in fact all living beings were capable of reanimation. His theory of reanimation and other doctrines did not find favour with Mahävïra who believed in the freedom of the will. Henceforth Goáäla severed his connection with Mahävïra and established a separate sect known as Äjïvika.69

The incidental enumeration of the places visited by Mahävïra in the Bhagavatï Sütra during his ascetic life does not tally with those given in the Kalpa Sütra. The Bhagwati Sütra associates Nälandä, Räjagôiha, Paîiyabhümi, Siddhärthagräma and Kürmagräma with his early wanderings. The Uväsagadasäo mentions Väîijyagräma, Campä, Bäräîasï, Älabhi (Päli Alavi), Kampilyapura, Poläsapura, Räjagôha, and Árävastï as the places that were visited by Mahävïra. Both the Bhagavati Sütra and the Uväsaga-dasäo would have us believe that he received extraordinary respect from certain rich householders even long before his Jinahood. Bäräîasï is no other than modern Benaras. Kampillapura is identified with Kampil in the Farrukabad District.70 Poläsapura has not been identified, but at the time of Mahävïra, it was within the kingdom of king Jiyasattu, the ruler of Koáala.

When Mahävïra was thirty years old, he renounced the world with the permission of his elder brother, Nandivardhana, and his relatives. With people pursuing him, he set out from Kuîâagräma on the tenth day of the dark of Märgasirÿa in winter by simply putting on a divine garment (Devadussa). He came to the garden of Näyasaîâavaîa situated in the north-east direction on the outskirts of Kuîâaggäma. At this place, the renunciation ceremony of Mahävïra was celebrated with great rejoicings. He is said to have given the first half of his garment to a Brähmaîa.


In the evening of the same day, Mahävïra left Näyasaîâa for Kumäragäma. There were two routes by which this journey was performed, one by water and the other by land. Mahävïra preferred the latter and reached Kumäragäma. Now this village is known by the name of Kammana-Chhaparä.71 Here, Mahävïra stood in meditation but was harassed by a cowherd who took him for a thief and wanted to hit him. Next day, Mahävïra proceeded to Kollïäga Sannivesa where he broke his fast. From there, he started for Moräga Sannivesa and reaching there, stayed in a hermitage. Next day, he left Moräga Sannivesa but again came back to this place after eight months. Then he proceeded to Atûhivagäma, where he put up in the shirne of Áülapäîï. Here Áülapäîï Jakkha is said to have caused Mahävïra many troubles but the latter bore them with his wonted equanimity and patience. Thus Mahävïra spent his first rainy season at Aûûhiyagäma.


From Aûûhiyagäma, Mahävïra again came to Moräga Sannivesa where lived an ascetic named Achchhandaka. Then he started for Väcäla, which was divided into Uttaraväcäla and Dakkhinaväcäla, and between them flowed the rivers Suvannakülä and Ruppakülä. When Mahävïra was going from Dakkhiîaväcäla to Uttaraväcäla, the remaining half of his garment got entangled in the thorns on the bank of Suvannakülä. From this time onwards, Mahävïra became a naked monk. There were two routes to Uttaraväcäla, one through the hermitage named Kanakakhala and another from outside it. Mahävïra chose the former one which was more difficult. At Uttaraväcäla, he had to face a poisonous snake named Ârÿûiviÿa. From Kanakakhala, he travelled to Seyaviyä where he was received by King Paesi. T. W. RHYS DAVIDS identifies this place with Satiabia and VOST with Basedita, twenty-five km. from Sahet-Mahet and ten km. from Balarampur.72 Mahävïra arrived at Surabhipura from Seyaviyä after crossing the Ganges, and afterwards proceeded to Thüîäka Sannivesa where he stood in meditation. The place was situated in the country of Mallas to the north-west of Patna on the right bank of the Gaîâakï.73 From here, Mahävïra proceeded to Räyagiha and sojourned in a weaver’s shed in Nälandä where he passed the second rainy season. Here Goáäla met him and the two left for Kolläga together.


From Kolläga, Mahävïra and Goáäla came to Sunnakhälaya and then to Bambhaîagäma. This Bambhaîagäma lay in a route from Räjagrha to Campä.74 From this place, they reached Campä where Mahävïra spent the third rainy season.


From Campä, Mahävïra and Goáäla arrived at Käläya Sannivesa and thence to Pattakälaya. At both these places, Goáäla was insulted by people for his misbehaviour. Then, both came to Kumäräya Sannivesa where Mahävïra practised meditation in the garden, Camparamaîijja. Then they proceeded to Coräga Sannivesa where they were taken to be spies and were taken prisoners. Coräga Sannivesa may be identified with Choreya in Lohardugga District in Bengal.75 From this place, they travelled to Piûûhicampä where Mahävïra passed the fourth rainy season.


From Piûûhicampä, Mahävïra and Goáäla proceeded to Kayaõgalä, now identified with Kañkajol in Santhal Parganä in Bihar.76 At this place, some ascetics were staying with their families. Goáäla is known to have misbehaved with them and was therefore punished. Then both came to Sävatthi and, later, to Haledduga. Here under a big turmeric tree Mahävïra stood in meditation. His feet are said to have been burnt by fire. Meditation over, both proceeded to Naõgala where Mahävïra stood in meditation again in the Väsudeva temple. Goáäla was punished once again for his misdemeanour. Then, they arrived at Avattagäma where Mahävïra spent his time in meditation in the Baladeva temple and Goáäla was taken to task for his misbehaviour. Continuing their travels in this region, they reached Coräya Sannivesa from where they journeyed to Kalambuka Sannivesa. Here both were tied by Kälahasti and were beaten; later on, they were set at liberty by Kälahasti’s brother, Megha, who recognized Mahävïra. Then they journeyed to the country of Läâha where Mahävïra had to endure various kinds of painful sufferings. Läâha or Räâha comprise the modern districts of Hooghly, Howrah, Bankura, Burdwan, and the eastern part of Midnapore.77 From this place, they moved on towards Punnahalasa where some robbers made a dastardly attempt on Mahävïra’s life. Undaunted, they travelled to the city of Bhaddiya where Mahävïra passed the fifth rainy season.


From Bhaddiya, both Mahävïra and Goáäla travelled to Kayalisamägama, and then onward to Jambusaîâa and Tambäya Sannivesa. Jambusa­­­­­­î­âa was located between Ambagäma and Bhoganagara on a route from Vaiáäli to Kuáïnärä.78 Then they arrived at Küiya Sannivesa where, suspected of being spies, they were kept as prisoners, but were later released at the intercession of two sisters, Vijayä and Pragalbhä. Küiya or Küpiya is identified with a place located at a distance of ten km. from the Khalïläbäda Mehadävala road in Khalïläbad Tehsil of Âhühabastï District.79

Now Goáäla and Mahävïra parted with each other. Mahävïra left for Vaiáälï where he stood in a blacksmith’s shed. The blacksmith, seeing Mahävïra naked, ran to hit him. Afterwards, Mahävïra proceeded to Gämäya Sannivesa where he was honoured by Vibhelaka Jakkha. From this place, he travelled to Sälisïsayagäma where the demoness Kaûapütanä caused him much trouble. After six months, Goáäla again joined Mahävïra at this place. Finally, Mahävïra visited Bhaddiya in order to spend the sixth rainy season there.


Then Mahävïra and Goáäla travelled together in the country of Magadha. In the course of the journey, Mahävïra decided to spend the seventh rainy season at Älabhiyä.


From Älabhiya, Mahävïra and Goáäla set out for Kuîâäga Sannivesa. At this place, Mahävïra stood in meditation in the temple of Väsudeva. Goáäla was again beaten for his bad manners. Then they visited Maddanagäma and stayed in the Baladeva temple. Afterwards they came to Bahusälagagäma where Mahävïra was harassed by Sälejjä Väîamäntarï. From this place, they proceeded to  the capital Lohaggalä where the royal servants suspected them to be spies and caught them. Later on they were set free at the intercession of Uppala who is said to have arrived there from Aûûhiyagäma. Lohaggalä may be identified with Lohardagä situated in the region which forms the central and north-western portion of the Chhota Nagpur Division.80 From Lohaggalä, they went to Purimatäla where Mahävïra stood in meditation in the garden of Sagaâamuha. Purimatäla may be identified with Purulia in Bihar.81 From there, they travelled to Unîäga and on to Gobhümi. At last they reached Räyagiha in order to pass the eighth rainy season.


From Räyagiha, Mahävïra and Goáäla again set out for a Läâha country which is non-Aryan. In the course of this journey, they passed through Vajjabhümi and Subbhabhümi, where Mahävïra had to endure all sorts of tortures. Sometimes people surrounded him and set their dogs upon him. Mahävïra got no shelter in this region. He passed the ninth rainy season in this country.


Mahävïra and Goáäla then travelled to Siddhatthapura and Kummagäma. Soon they returned to Siddhatthapura. It may be the same as Siddhangräma in Birbhum District.82 Severing his relations with Mahävïra again, Goáäla now went to Sävatthi while Mahävïra visited Vaiáälï where the republican chief Saõkha saved him from the trouble caused by the local children. From here, Mahävïra crossed the river Gaîâai by boat and reached Vaîiyagäma. He then proceeded to Sävatthi where he passed the tenth rainy season.


From Sävatthi, Mahävïra set out for Sänulaûûhiyagäma, which may be identified with Dalabhum in Singhbhum District in Bengal.83 He then went to Peâhälagäma and stood in meditation in the garden of Peâhäla in the shrine of Poläsa. In this region of the Mlechchhas, Mahävïra had to suffer much. He travelled later to Väluyagäma, Subhoma, Suchchhettä, Malaya and finally on to the Hatthisïsa. At all these places, apparently located in the north-west part of Orissa, Mahävïra had to undergo extreme physical torture. Afterwards he reached Tosali where he was suspected to be a robber and hit hard. The place is now identified with Dhauli and some neighbouring places in Orissa. Then he travelled to Mosali where he was caught under the suspicion of a dacoit and brought before the king, but he was soon released. Mahävïra again returned to Tosali and found himself in great troubles. He was actually to be hanged here but was luckily rescued by Tosali Kshatriya. Then he arrived at Siddhatthapura from where he proceeded to Vayaggäma. For a period of six months, he had to bear great hardship at all these places. From Vayaggäma, he proceeded to Älabhiyä and then to Seyaviyä and Sävatthi. At last, passing through Koáämbï, Vänärasi, Räyagiha and Mithilä he spent the eleventh rainy season at Vaiáälï.


From Vaiáälï, Mahävïra came to Suãsgumärapura which is identified with a hilly place near Chunar in Mirzapur District.84 He proceeded thence to Bhogapura, which lay between Pävä and Vaiáälï,85 and to Nandiggäma, from where he travelled to Meîâhiyagäma. Afterwards he proceeded to Koáämbi, where he received his alms after a period of four months. From Koáämbi, he set out for Sumangalgäma and then for Pälayagäma. Finally, he reached Campä for spending the twelfth rainy season.


From Campä Mahävïra came to Jambhiyagäma. KALYANA VIJAYA identifies it with Jambhigaon near the river Damodar in the Hazaribagh District,86 but it must be located somewhere near modern Päväpuri in Bihar.87 From this place, he reached Meîâhiyagäma. Then he visited Chhamäîigäma where a cow-herd is said to have thrust iron nails into his ears. In this condition, Mahävïra is said to have reached Majjhima Pävä where the nails were removed from his ears.


According to the Ávetämbaras, Mahävïra was born with three kinds of knowledge : Matijñäna, Árutajñäna and Avadhijñäna. He also gained the fourth kind of knowledge, Manaêparyäyajñäna, by which he knew the thoughts of all sentient beings possessing the five senses, some time after his initiation to asceticism. According to the Digambaras, Mahävïra got up for food after two days he went to Kulapura where its ruler, Kulädhipa, held him in high esterm, washed his feet with his own hands, and, having walked round him three times, offered him rice and milk. There Mahävïra took his first meal Päraîä after fasting for two days. He returned to the forest and wandered about in it performing twelve kinds of penance. At last he visited Ujjayinï and did penance in a cemetery there when Rudra and his wife tried in vain to interrupt him Mahavira Conquesed this Pariÿuha (afflition).


The period of twelve years spent in penance and meditation was not fruitless, for in the thirteenth year, Mahävïra at last attained supreme knowledge and final deliverance from the bonds of pleasure and pain. This most important moment of the Tirthankara’s life has been described this :

“During the thirteenth year, in the second month of summer, in the fourth fortnight, the light (fortnight) of Vaiáäkha, on its tenth day, called Suvrata, while the moon was in conjunction with the asterism Uttara-Phalguni, when the shadow had turned towards the east, and the first wake was over, outside of the town Jômbhikagräma on the northern bank of the river Ôjupälikä, in the field of the householder Sämäga, in a north-eastern direction from an old temple, not far from a Säl tree, in a squatting position with joined heels exposing himself to the heat of the Sun, with the knees high and the head low, in deep meditation, in the midst of abstract meditation, he reached Nirväîa, the complete and full, the unobstructed, unimpeded, infinite and supreme, best knowledge and intuition, called Kevala.”

When the venerable Mahävïra had become an Arhat and a Jina, he was a Kevalin, omniscient and comprehending all objects; he knew all the conditions of the world, of gods, men and demons; whence they come, where they go, whether they are born as men or animals, or become gods or hell-beings; their food, drink, doings, desires, open and secret deeds, their conversation and gossip and the thoughts of their minds; he saw and knew all the conditions in the whole world of all living beings.89

At this time, Mahävïra was forty-two years old; and from this age, he entered upon a new stage of life, that of a religious teacher and the head of a sect called the Nirgranthas, ‘free from fetters’. He went from place to place for the propagation of his doctrine, and for making converts. His first declaration about himself aroused confidence among his followers and he urged them to follow his example in their own life. The Buddhist texts give us an idea of his first declaration which is as follows :

I am all-knowing and all-seeing, and possessed of an infinite knowledge. Whether I am walking or standing still, whether I sleep or remain awake, the supreme knowledge and intuition are present with me – constantly and continuously. There are, O Nirgranthas, some sinful acts you have done in the past, which you must now wear out by this acute form of austerity. Now that here you will be living restrained in regard to your acts, speech, and thought, it will work as the non-doing of Karma for future. Thus, by the exhaustion of the force of past deeds through penance and the non-accumulation of new acts, (you are assured) of the stoppage of the future course, of rebirth from such stoppage, of the destruction of the effect of Karma, from that, of the destruction of pain, from that, of the destruction of mental feelings, and from that, of the complete wearing out of all kinds of pain.”90


When Mahävïra attained kevalahood, a Samavaáaraîa (religious conference) was held on the bank of the river Ujjuväliyä, but it is said that the first discourse of Mahävïra remained unsuccessful. Then after traversing twelve yojanas, he is said to have returned to Majjhima Pävä where the second Samavaáaraîa was convened in the garden of Mahäsena. Here after a long discussion on various religious and philosophic points, Mahävïra converted to Jainism the eleven learned Brähmaîas who had gone there to attend the great sacrifice being performed by a rich Brähmaîa named Somila.

According to the Digambara scriptures, even after obtaining Kevalajñäna (Enlightenment) at Jômbhikagräma, Mahävïra did not break his vow of silence taken from the time of Pravrajyä, and wandering continuously for sixtysix days in silence, reached Räjagôha, the capital of Magadha. Outside the city of Räjagôha, at Vipuläcala where he settled, a Samavaáaraîa was held for his first sermon. First of all he converted eleven learned Brähmaîas, including Indrabhüti Gautama, who were known as his disciples (Gaîadharas). King Áreîika with the members of the royal family, including his queen Cetanä, and the whole army came to the Samavaáaraîa to pay homage to Mahävïra as well as to listen to his first sermon. It is said that the king asked him several questions concerning the faith and all of them were satisfactorily answered. In view of the all embracing chapter  of Mahävïraá principles the gain Äcarya Samanta bhadra (2nd cent. A.D.) called the religion of Mahävïra a ‘Sarvadaya’ Tirtha, which terms is now-a-days used after Gandhiji.


First of all, Mahävïra by his preaching converted to Jainism the eleven learned Brähmaîas who became his disciples, his eleven Gaîadharas. They listened to Mahävïra’s discourses and heard the gentle, thoughtful answers he gave to all questions. Finally, being convinced of the truth of his views, they became his disciples or Gaîdharas. The eldest was Indrabhüti, then followed Agnibhüti, Väyubhüti, Vyakta, Sudharmä, Maîâikata, Mauryaputra, Akampita, Acalabhrätä, Metärya and Prabhäsa. The first three Gaîadharas were brothers and belonged to the Gautama Gotra, and were residents of Gobbaragäma. The fourth belonged to the Bhäradväja Gotra and was the resident of Kolläga Sannivesa; the fifth belonged to the Agni Veáyäyana Gotra and was the resident of Kolläga Sannivesa; the sixth belonged to the Vasisûha Gotra and was the resident of Moriya Sannivesa; the seventh belonged to the Käáyapa Gotra and was the resident of Moriya Sannivesa; the eighth belonged to the Gautama Gotra and was the resident of Mithilä; the ninth belonged to the Härïta Gotra and was resident of Koáala; the tenth belonged to the Kauâinya Gotra and was the resident of Tuõgika Sannivesa; and the eleventh belonged to the same Gotra and was the resident of Räjagôha. These Gaîadharas were all Brähmaîa teachers, and all except Indrabhütri and Sudharmä, died during the life-time of Mahävïra. They are said to have been versed in the twelve Aõgas, the fourteen Pürvas and the whole Gaîipiâaga (the basket of the Gaîis).91

The Digambaras have some different names for these Gaîadharas and give a different account of Gautama’s conversion. According to Guîabhadra92 the eleven names are as follows : Indrabhüti, Väyubhüti, Agnibhüti, Sudharmä, Maurya, Maundra, Putra, Maitreya, Akampana, Andhavela or Anvacela and Prabhäsa. Indrabhüti became a very learned Pandita and grew extremely vain of his learning. One day, however, an old man appeared and asked him to explain a certain verse to him, but had immediately afterwards become so lost in meditation that he could get no explanation of it from the saint, and yet he felt that he could not live unless he knew the meaning. The verse contained references to Käla and Dravya, Pañca Astikäya, Tattva and Leáyä, not one of which could Gautama understand, but being too true a scholar to pretend to a knowledge which he did not possess, he sought out Mahävïra to ask for an explanation. The moment he was in the presence of the great ascetic, all his pride in his fancied learning disapproved and he besought Mahävïra to teach him. He not only became a convert himself, but took over with him his five hundred pupils and his three brothers.93 In the Digambara Jain Paûûävalïs, Sudharmä comes after Indrabhüti, and Sudharmä was also known by the name of Lohärya.

One significant fact about these Gaîadharas is that all of them were Brahmins, which proves that among the Brahmins also an ideological revolution was taking place and compelling them to give up their traditional grooves of thoughts advocating ritualism. Further, it was this intelligentsia that predominantly included the Brahamins who helped him spread his faith.


Mahävïra possessed a unique power of organization. By his wonderful personality and organizational skill, he attracted a large number of people, both men and women, to be his disciples. From them therefore grew the four orders of his community : monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen.

The chief among his followers were the fourteen thousand monks placed under the charge of Indrabhüti Gautama. Mahävïra resolved to combat by regulations and organization those special temptations and dangers which beset ascetics in their wandering life. For this purpose, he divided fourteen thousand monks into nine regular schools called Gaîas, placing each school under the headship of one of his chief disciples or Gaîadharas. The leading Gaîadhara had five hundred monks under him, but some of the others had only three hundred or two hundred and fifty. These Gaîadharas were to guide and instruct separate groups of Nirgranthas.

Besides the fourteen thousand monks, a great multitude of women followed Mahävïra, and of these some thirtysix thousand actually renounced the world and became nuns. At their head was Chandanä, a first cousin of Mahävïra’s, or, as other accounts have it, his aunt.

Mahävïra’s third Order consisted of laymen numbering about one hundred and fiftynine thousand with Áaõkha Áataka at their head. These laymen were householders who could not actually renounce the world but they at least could observe the five small vows called aîuvrata. The similarity of their religious duties, differing not in kind but in degree, brought about the close union of laymen and monks. Most of these regulations meant to govern the conduct of laymen were intended apparently to make them participate, in a measure and for some time, in the merits and benefits of monastic life without obliging them to renounce the world altogether. “The genius for organization which Mahävïra possessed” as S. STEVENSON rightly observes, “is shown in nothing more clearly than in the formation of this and the order of laymen. These two organizations gave the Jaina a root in India that the Buddhists never obtained, and that root firmly planted amongst the laity enabled Jainism as we have seen, to withstand the storm that drove Buddhism out of India.”94

Their fourth and last Order consisted of devout laywomen or Árävikäs numbering about three hundred and fiftyeight thousand with Sulasä and Revatï as their heads. Their household duties prevented their becoming nuns but still they served the ascetics in many ways. Thus Mahävïra converted a large number of people to Jainism.

The Digambaras believe that Mahävïra did not travel alone but that wherever he went he was accompanied by all monks and nuns who had entered his Order. He preached in a language which they call An-aksharï, which was intelligible to all.


The Jaina Kalpasütra gives the names of the places where Mahävïra spent one or more rainy seasons since he became an ascetic after renouncing the world. He stayed the first rainy season in Aÿûhikagräma, three rainy seasons in Campä and Pôÿûichampä, twelve in Vaiáäli and Vaîijagräma, fourteen in Räjagôha and Nälandä, six in Mithilä, two in Bhadrikä, one in Älabhikä, one in Paîitabhümi, one in Árävastï and the last one in the town of Päpä in king Hästipäla’s office.96 This list is neither exhaustive nor chronological though it covers broadly the fortytwo years of his itinerary. It is rather difficult to distinguish the places he visited during and after the period of his ascetic life merely on the basis of the list supplied by the Kalpa Sütra. There is no doubt that the Kalpa Sütra’s authority on the itinerary of Mahävïra is ancient and fairly reliable. It gives us a fair idea of the area over which he wandered propagating his faith. When the places are correctly identified, we come to know that this area roughly covered the modern state of Bihar and some parts of Bengal and U.P.

The late Jaina works describe Mahävïra’s itinerary exhaustively and chronologically. After attaining Kevalajñäna, Mahävïra spent no less than thirty rainy seasons at the following places yearwise – (1) Räjagôha, (2) Vaiáäli, (3) Väîijyagräma, (4) Räjagôha, (5) Väîijyagräma, (6) Räjagôha, (7) Räjagôha, (8) Vaiáäli, (9) Vaiáäli, (10) Räjagôha, (11) Väîijyagräma, (12) Räjagôiha, (13) Räjagôiha, (14) Champä, (15) Mithilä, (16) Vänijyagräma, (17) Räjagôha, (18) Väîijyagräma, (19) Vaiáälï, (20) Vaiáälï, (21) Räjagôha, (22) Nälandä, (23) Vaiáälï, (24) Vaiáälï, (25) Räjagôha, (26) Nälandä, (27) Mithilä, (28) Mithilä, (29) Räjagôha, and (30) Äpäpäpurï.97

It may be note here that the Digambaras do not subswill to the view of Caturmësa in rainy seasons in respect of the Tïrthaõkara at differents places for the propagation of religion and upliftment of the masses. Hence Mahavira made Vihära at different places! But access, to svetambaras Mahavira followed the rule of staying at one place in rainy seasons. Hence the above are the places where Mahavira spent one or more rainy seasons !


First of all, Mahävïra seems to have tried to attract those householders who formed a large body of lay disciples by laying down certain rules of conduct. Gautama Indrabhüti was taken to task by the Master when he sought to claim a difference in degree in this respect between a recluse and a lay disciple.98 The gift of supernormal vision was no monopoly of any Order or caste or sex. In this matter, Mahävïra made no distinction between men and men, or between men and women. He did not enjoin one set of rules for male recluses and another for those of the fair sex, one set of rules for male lay disciples and another for female lay disciples. When he wandered about in the country, he was accompanied by male as well as female recluses.

Mahävïra not only taught his followers to undergo penances and live a life of restraint in all possible ways but also watched how they had been progressing. He also encouraged them in the study of the Pürvas and in developing their power of reasoning and arguing. The Buddhist records themselves attest that there were some able and powerful disputants among the Nirgrantha recluses and disciples.99

The lay disciples of Mahävïra and the lay supporters of his Order, both male and female, are all mentioned as persons of opulence and influence. At the same time, they were noted for their piety and devotion. Their contemporaries, including kings and princes, consulted them on many affairs and matters. Among them, Änanda and his wife Áivanandä from Vänijagräma, Kämadeva and his wife Bhadrä from Campä, Cülanipriya and his wife Áyäma, Süradeva and his wife Dhanyä from Bäräîasï, Cullasataka and his wife Puÿyä from Kampilyapura, Kundakolita and his wife from Kampilyapura, Sardalaputra and his wife Agnimiträ from Poläsapura and Mahasataka from Räjagôha and Nandinïpriya and his wife Aávinï, and Salatipriya and his wife Phälguni were the most well-known lay disciples of Mahävïra.

The Päli Upäli Sütra100 introudces us to the rich householder Upäli of Balakagräma, near Nälandä, who was a lay disciple of Mahävïra and a liberal supporter of the recluses of his Order, both male and female. We are indeed told that a very large number of the inhabitants of Balakagräma, headed by Upäli, became lay disciples of Mahävïra. The banker Môgära or Môgadhara of Árävastï, father-in-law of the Buddhist lady Visäkhä, is mentioned as a lay disciple of Mahävïra and a lay supporter of the Nirgrantha recluses.

The Jaina Bhagavatï Sütra speaks of two other rich householders Vijaya and Sudaráana, among the lay disciples of Mahävïra. Of these the former was a citizen of Räjagôha.


Not only the rich bankers and merchants, but even kings, queens, princes, and ministers became lay disciples of the Jaina Tïrthankara Mahävïra. His personal connections with the various rulers were through his mother, Triáalä, the Lichchhavi princess, and his maternal uncle, Ceûaka, the king of Vaiáälï. According to Jaina traditions, kings like Áreîika,101 Küîika,102 Ceûaka,103 Pradyota,104 Áatänïka, Dadhivähana,105 Udäyana,106 Vïangaya, Vïrajasa, Áañjaya, Áaõkha, Käsivaddhaîa107 and others are said to be his followers. Queens like Prabhävatï of Udäyana,108 Môgävatï and Jayantï of Koáämbï,109 queens of king Áreõika and Pradyota,110 and princesses like Candanä,111 the daughter of the king of Campä followed Jainism. Princes called Atimukta,112 Padma,113 grandsons of Áreîika, Megha, Abhaya and others114 are said to have joined the Order of Jainism. The royal patronage must have facilitated the spread of Jainism.

Both Jainism and Buddhism claim most of the contemporary rulers of this period as followers of their respective religions. It seems that it was the general policy of the rulers of this and even of later times to show reverence to the teachers of different sects. As Áreîika’s father is said to be a follower of the Pärávanätha sect115 which had also its stronghold at Räjagôiha, it is natural that Bimbisära was inclined towards Jainism. The Uttarädhyayana Sütra116 relates how Bimbisära, ‘the lion of the kings’ with the greatest devotion visited the other ‘Lion of homeless ascetics’ (Aîagära-Siham) at a chaitya with his wives, servants and relations, and became a staunch believer in the Law. R. K. MOOKERJI and other historians117 have identified this ascetic with Mahävïra because of the expression Aîagära Siham, while others118 consider him to be a different ascetic, Anäthi of the Nirgrantha sect. His Jaina leanings may have been due to his wife Cellanä, who was a daughter of Ceûaka of Vaiáälï. Hemacandra tells the story that “when the country was under a blight of frost, the king accompanied by Devi Cellanä went to worship Mahävïra”.119 The fact that Mahävïra passed fourteen rainy seasons at Räjagôha is sufficient to prove that he exercised some influence over both Áreîika and Küîika, the rulers of Magadha. According to the Jaina texts,120 Mahävïra was always treated by them and other members of the royal family with the utmost respect. On one occasion, Áreîika is said to have issued a proclamation promising financial support to the relatives of those who enter the Jaina holy order.121

Áreîika’s son Küîika is represented in the Jaina texts as a Jaina. These texts122 are partial in freeing him from the charge the Buddhist texts level against him. The Aupapätika Sütra throws special light on the cordial relations between Küîika and Mahävïra. Küîika is known to have appointed a special officer known as Pravôtti Väduka Puruÿa to inform him about the wanderings and daily routine of Mahävïra. It contains an account of Mahävïra’s Samoáaraîa in Campä and Küîika’s pilgrimage to this place. He was a frequent visitor to Mahävïra with his queens and royal retinue. He had an intimate connection with him both at Vaiáälï and Campä, and openly declared before Mahävïra and his disciples his faith in him as the true teacher who had made clear the true path of religion based on renunciation and non-violence. Küîika was succeeded by his son Udayabhadra, who in the lifetime of his father served him as the Viceroy at Campä. He was a devout Jaina, fasting on the 8th and 14th tithis.123 He is also known to have built a Jaina shrine (caityagôha) at the centre of the town, Päûaliputra.

At the time of Mahävïra, Udäyana was a very powerful monarch of Sindhu Sauvïra. He is said to have been related to Mahävïra through his wife Prabhävatï, a daughter of king Ceûaka. It is said that once Udäyana thought of paying a visit to Mahävïra, who was in Campä at that time, and that the latter knew his thoughts and came down to his capital Vitabhaya in order to ordain him. Udäyana anointed Keáïkumära, his sister’s son, on the throne and joined the order under Mahävïra.125 He is known to have attained perfection.126 The Buddhist scriptures127 describe Udräyaîa or Rudräyaîa of Sindhu Sauvïra, with Roruka as his capital, as a Buddhist. It is said that an image of the Buddha was sent by king Bimbisära to king Udäyana to acquaint him with the Buddhist religion. In course of time, he gave his throne to his son Áikhaîâi and joined the Buddhist order under the influence of his queen Candraprabhä.

According to Jaina traditions, Pradyota, a follower of Mahävïra, tried all he could for the propagation of Jainism. Mahävïra was related to Pradyota, because Áivä, the daughter of his maternal uncle Ceûaka was married to him. Pradyota is said to have installed the Jivanta (life-time) Svämï images of Mahävïra at Ujjain, Daáapura and Vidiáä.128 According to the Buddhists, Pradyota was converted to Buddhism by Mahäkacchäyana.129

Ceûaka, the ruler of Vaiáälï, was a follower of Mahävïra. It was only due to his influence that Vaiáälï became a stronghold of Jainism and that Mahävïra visited this place from time to time. Ceûaka had seven daughters, the eldest of whom was married to king Udayana of Vatsa and the youngest to King Áreîika Bimbisära of Magadha. One joined the religious Order of Mahävïra and the other four were married to the members of the royal family. There may be some truth in the suggestion made by C. J. SHAH that these princesses were instrumental in the propagation of Jainism in Northern India.130

It is significant that Buddhist books do not mention Ceûaka at all, though they tell us about the constitutional government of Vaiáälï. Buddhists took no notice of him as his influence was used in the interest of their rivals. Siãha, a Lichchhavi general, was among the lay disciples of the Jaina Tïrthaõkara.131

Looking at the great importance of Campä in the Jaina annals, there is nothing strange if one assumes that its ruler, Dadhivähana, followed Jainism and held Mahävïra in high esteem. His daughter Candanä or Candanabälä was the first woman who embraced Jainism shortly after Mahävïra had attained the Kevala.132 As Campä became a great centre of Jainism, Mahävïra spent three of the rainy seasons at this place.

The ruler of Kauáämbï was king Áatänïka to whom was married Môgävatï, the third daughter of Ceûaka.133 Both the king and the queen were devotees of Mahävïra and followers of the Jaina Order. The Jaina tradition also affirms that the king’s Minister (Amätya) and his wife were Jainas by faith. Áatänïka’s son and successor was Udayana. The Jaina literature claims him to be a follower of the Jaina Order. On the other hand, the Buddhist scriptures tell us that Udayana was at first not favourably inclined towards Buddhism, but later, however, he became a devotee of the Buddha.

Sävatthi, Bäräîasï, Kampillapura, Mithilä, Poläsapura and Älabhia were all important towns visited by Mahävïra within the kingdom of king Jiyasattu.134 Jiyasattu (Jita-áatru, conqueror of enemies) seems to be a title of the king like the epithet Devänampiya of Aáoka. Jiyasattu seems to be no other than Pasenadi or Prasenajit of Koáala. The Räyapaseîiya Sutta135 records a dialogue between Keáï and Paesi, when the latter, being influenced by the teachings of the former, became a Samaîoväsaga. Keáï, a follower of Päráva, was a Jaina recluse who is represented in the Uttarädhyayana Sütra as the contemporary of Mahävïra and Gautama Indrabhüti. Paesi or Pradeáï may be identified with Pasenadi or Prasenajit of Koáala.136

After giving up his flourishing kingdom of Daáärîa, Daáamabhadra, who was the contemporary of Mahävïra, became a monk.137 Daáamabhadra is not known from any other source. Daáärîa is identified with Vidiáä or Bhilsa region in Madhya Pradesh.138 The early association of Jainism with this area is clear even from the Jaina traditions which over that Vajrasvämï and other Jain pontiffs obtained liberation in the hills, Kuñjarävarta and Rathävarta, in the neighbourhood of Vidiáä.139

Karakaîâu, king of Kaliõga, is known to have adopted the faith of the Jinas, and, after placing his son on the throne, exerted himself as ‘Áramaîa’.140 This proves the existence of Jainism in this Province from very early times, but it is very difficult to say when Karakaîâu lived in Kaliõga. It was a Jaina stronghold, at least from the time of Trïthankara Mahävïra. The Jaina Harivaãáa Puräîa informs us that Lord Mahävïra had preached his faith in Kaliõga. The Haribhadrïya Vôtti on Ävaáyaka confirms Mahävïra’a visit to the country of Kaliõga and adds that the king of that country was a friend (or relation) of his father’s.141 The reference to Nandar ja as having taken away the image of Jina from Kaliõga in the inscription of Khäravela is very interesting as it proves the existence of image-worship among the Jainas even in the fifth century B.C.

There are traditions even of Mahävïra’s visit to South India. From the Jivandhara Charita of Bhäskara, it is known that Jïvandhara, who was the ruling chief of this region at this time, was a Jaina. He cordially received Mahävïra and became an ascetic after obtaining Dikshä from him.142 Jïvandhara seems to be an imaginary name. Actually speaking, there was no such ruler whose kingdom extended to and comprised of Southern India during this period.

Mahävïra is known to have converted to Jainism a prince named Ärdraka who became a monk.143 He was so much influenced by the teachings of Mahävïra that he always supported Jainism in his disputations with the teachers of different religions. This Ärdraka is identified with the prince of the Persian emperor Kuruáa (558-530 B.C.). Both the emperor and the prince are believed to have sent presents to the king Áreîika and his son Abhayakumära of Magadha who also in return despatched their presents to them. It is said that first of all Abhayakumära enlightened Ärdraka with the teachings of Mahävïra. In course of time, Ärdraka joined the Order of Mahävïra.144

On the basis of an evidence furnished by a very late period, Mahävïra is known to have propagated his message even in the region now known as Rajasthan. There is an inscription of 1276 A.D. which begins with a verse telling us that Mahävïra in person came to Árïmäla.145 This is supported by the Árimälamähätmya, a work of the thirteen century A.D., which gives an account of the dissemination of Jainism in Árïmäla. An inscription of 1369 A.D., found on the door of the chief shrine in Jïvantasvämï Árï Mahävïra Jaina temple at Mungusthala Mahätïrtha, 7 km. west of Äbu Road, shows that Lord Mahävïra visited Arbudabhümi, and an image was consecrated by Árï Kesï Gaîadhara during the 37th year of the life of Mahävïra.147 These statements are of a very late date and, therefore, cannot be easily relied on. But from them it can be legitimately deduced that in the 13th century A.D., Jainism was considered to be a very old religion in Rajasthan.148

Not only the rulers but also several contemporary clans149 were the followers of the religion of Mahävïra. There are many stray references in the Jaina Sütras which prove that the Licchavis followed the Jaina faith. Their capital, Vaiáälï, formed one of the headquarters of the Jaina community during the days of Mahävïra. Out of the fortytwo rainy seasons of his ascetic life, Mahävïra spent twelve at Vaiáälï. Like the Licchavis, the Vajjis, who in fact can not be strictly differentiated from the Licchavis, came under the influence of Tïrthaõkara Mahävïra, for Vaiáälï seems to have been regarded also as the metropolis of the entire Vajji confederacy. The Jñätôkas of Kuîâagrama, who formed one of the most important clans included in the Vajjian confederacy, were also his followers. The other clans of the Vajjian confederacy must have been naturally influerced by the doctrines of Nätaputta. It is among these confederate Kÿatriyas that Mahävïra was born and found strong supporters of his religion. The Mallas also seem to have cherished a feeling of respect and sympathy for the Tïrthaõkara and his doctrines. The Ugras and the Bhogas are repeatedly mentioned in several of the oldest sacred books as being among the most prominent of the earliest converts.

It is clear from the above discussion that though only a few of these kings can definitely be identified, the late tradition without much historical support brings nearly all the kings of North India in those days under the spiritual sway of Mahävïra in one way or the other. While some of the names of these rulers seem to be imaginary, others might have flourished long after Mahävïra. From this evidence only one significant conclusion can be drawn, namely, that in course of time, Jainism spread in different parts of India and received royal patronage. During the period of Mahävïra, its influence seems to have been confined only to the modern states of Bihar and some parts of Bengal and U.P. and it is probable that most of the ruling chiefs of this area patronized Jainism.


The evidence of Buddhist literature is adequate enough to prove that Mahävïra was a senior contemporary of the Buddha. Although they had not personally met each other, there were occasions when they felt interested in knowing and discussing each other’s views through some intermediaries. Dïrghatapasvï and Satyaka (Päli Sacchaka) among the Nirgrantha recluses, and Abhaya, the prince, Upäli, the banker, and Siãha, the Licchavi General among the Jaina laity, loom large among those intermediaries. While they are said to have halted at Nälandä, Vaiáälï and Räjagôha at one and the same time, they are not known to have seen each other.150 Mahävïra was elder in age to Buddha, the former predeceasing the latter by a few years.

That Mahävïra and the Buddha were contemporaneous is proved by the synchronization of certain historical facts. When they had started their career as religious teachers and reformers, Áreîika Bimbisära and Ajätaáatru were powerful kings of Magadha; Aõga was annexed to the kingdom of Magadha, and the Vôjji-Lichchhavis of Vaiáälï and the Mallas of Kuámära and Pävä formed two powerful confederacies. Prasenjit was the monarch of Koáala, and Käáï was annexed to the kingdom of Koáala.

It is not without reason that Mahävïra has been represented in the Abhayaräjakumära Sutta as personally interested in the welfare of Devadatta who fomented a schism within the Buddhist Order of the time.151 B. M. BARUA suggests that Devadatta was a man with Jaina leaning.152 It is probably under the influence of Mahävïra’s teaching that Devadatta insisted on having the five special rules introduced in the Buddhist Order.


Even in the life-time of Mahävïra, there arose schimatic tendencies in the Jaina Saãgha. In the fourteenth year of Mahävïra’s becoming a omniuënts, his nephew and son-in-law, Jamäli, headed an opposition against him. Similarly, two years later, a holy man in the Jaina community, Tisagutta, made an attack on certain points in Mahävïra’s doctrine. Both of these schisms were, however, concerned with mere trifles, and seem to have caused no great trouble, as they were speedily stopped by the authority of the himself. Jamäli, however, persisted in his heretical opinions until his Nirväîa.


Mahävïra attained Nirväîa at the age of 72 at Pävä. It is said in the Kalpasütra153 that when Mahävïra died, the eighteen confederate kings of Käáï and Koáala, the nine Mallakïs and the nine Lichchhavis instituted an illumination, saying “since the light of intelligence is gone, let us make an illumination of material matter.” The Nirväîa day is being celebrated as the Dïpävatï festival (festival of lamps) throughout India. Besides,  Mahaviaá Nirvana day makes the beginning of Vïra Nirväîa Saãvat. This Saãvat is the oldest Saãvat rampant is India.

There is a persistent Jaina tradition that Mahävïra attained Nirväîa in 527 B.C. but this seems to have become controversial by an incorrect statement of Hemacandra’s (1078-1172 A.D.) to the effect that 155 years after the Nirväîa of Mahävïra, Candragupta became king.154 The whole problem was made more complicated and controversial by connecting it with Buddha’s Nirväîa, the date of which has not yet been fully and authoritatively ascertained.155 Scholars are therefore not unanimous about the date of the Nirväîa of Mahävïra as they still hold different views.

In order to solve this problem of the date of Mahävïra’s Nirväîa, one should take a comprehensive view. It is well known from the different sources that Mahävïra flourished in the age of Áreîika (Bimbisära) and Küîika (Ajätaáatru) of Magadha, Prasenajit of Koáala, Udayana of Vatsa, Pradyota of Avanti and Puÿkarasärin of Taxila. It is also certain that he lived in the days of Maõkhali Goáäla and Buddha. Maõkhali Goáäla was his senior contemporary and died sixteen and a half years earlier, while Buddha was his junior contemporary and died afterwards. A Jaina tradition states that Mahävïra attained Nirväîa in the 16th year of the reign of Küîika and the Buddhist tradition places the Buddha’s Nirväîa in that king’s 8th regnal year. The date of Mahävïra’s Nirväîa is said to have coincided with the date of the coronation at Ujjayinï of Pälaka, the son of Caîâa Pradyota, the king of Avanti. We can be successful in determining the date of Mahävïra’s Nirväîa if we depend not only on the Buddhist but also on the Jaina and Brahmanical sources to fix up the dates of Mahävïra’s contemporary rulers and religious teachers.


The theory that Mahävïra’s Nirväîa occurred in 467 B.C. was suggested long ago by H. JACOBI156 and was strongly supported by J. CHARPENTIER.157 K. A. SASTRI,158 who subscribes to the same opinion, supports this theory with almost the same arguments which are as follows :

  1. This date is based on a tradition recorded by the great Jaina author, Hemacandra, namely, that there was a gap of 155 years between the death of Mahävïra and the accession of Candragupta Maurya. According to the Jaina tradition, the accession of Candragupta Maurya at Ujjain took place in 312 B.C. Hence, the year of the Nirväîa is 467 B.C. Here the year 312 B.C. probably indicates the date of extension of the Mauryan rule over Ujjayini in the reign of Candragupta Maurya.
  2. J. CHARPENTIER believed the year of Mahävïra’s Nirväîa to be 467 B.C. on the presumption that the Buddha’s death definitely occurred in 477 B.C. According to the Buddhist texts, Mahävïra and the Buddha were both contemporaries, and they flourished in the reign of Ajätaáatru.
  3. He believed that no person of the name of Vikrama ever existed about 57 B.C. and further that there was discrepancy of 60 years between the account of other Jaina sources and that of Hemacandra who stated that Candragupta Maurya came to the throne 155 years after Mahävïra’s death. Hence by deducting 60 years from the traditional period of 527 years before Christ, he arrived at the year 467 B.C.
  4. According to the Jaina tradition, the Jaina Pontiff Sambhütivijaya died exactly in the year following Chandragupta’s accession, or 156 after Mahävïra. Bhadrabähu, the successor of Sambhutivijaya, died fifteen years later. All Jaina traditions from Hemacandra downwards give 170 after Mahävïra as the year of Bhadrabähu’s death. This would be 297 B.C. if the date 467 B.C. is accepted as the year of Mahävïra’s death. The Jaina tradition also brings Bhadrabähu into the closest connection with Chandragupta in whose reign the date 297 B.C. falls.
  5. The Kalpasütra in its present form is a compilation made 980 years after the passing away of Mahävïra during the reign of Dhruvasena, king of Gujarat, but in another recension the number is 993. King Dhruvasena is known to have ruled from 526 to 540 A.D. From this, the date 467 B.C. is fixed as the year of Mahävïra’s Nirväîa.

While discussing the date of Goáäla’s death, A. L. BASHAM159 fixes the date of Mahävïra’s death in 468-467 B.C., which agrees with the date suggested by H. JACOBI on the basis of Hemcandra’s Pariáiÿûaparvan and supported by J. CHARPENTIER. PROF. BASHAM accepts 483 B.C. as the date of the Buddha’s Nirväîa. On the basis of the Mahävaãáa synchronism, the accession of Ajätaáatru must have occurred in the year 491 B.C. and the second campaign against the Vajjis in 481-480 B.C. There are two synchronisms for the date of Goáäla’s death, the first being the tradition of its occurrence sixteen and a half years before that of Mahävïra, and the second that of its taking place during the war between Magadha and Vaiáälï in the reign of Ajätaáatru-Küîiya. Of the two, the latter seems the more reliable. There were two campaigns of the war called Mahäáiläkaîûae and Rahamusale respectively. A. L. BASHAM suggests that the first campaign, soon after which Goáäla died, must have taken place at some time between the date of Ajätaáatru’s accession and the year preceding the Buddha’s death. He held the view that the first campaign occurred in 485 B.C. and the death of Goáäla in 484 B.C., if a year is allowed for the news of the ‘Battle of Great Stones’ to spread to Sävatthi and to become fixed in the popular consciousness. With regard to the death of Mahävïra as taking place at Pävä during the Buddha’s lifetime and as mentioned in the Pali scriptures, he considers it to be that of Goáäla at Sävatthi, which the Bhagavatï Sütra also mentions as having been accompanied by quarrel and confusion. The Mahäparinibbäna Sutta records that the preparations for the campaign against the Vajjis were made in the last year of the Buddha’s life while Mahävïra was still alive during the course of war.

477 B.C.

JAMES HASTING160 tries to fix the date of Mahävïra’s Nirväîa in c. 477 or 476 B.C. He comes to this conclusion by combining the Jaina date of Candragupta’s accession to the throne 155 years after the Nirväîa with the historical date of the same event in 322 B.C.

484 B.C.

In his attempt to discuss the date of Goáäla’s death, A.F.R. HOERNLE161 also fixed the date of Mahävïra’s Nirväîa. He accepts 482 B.C. as the ‘practically certain’ date of the Buddha’s Nirväîa. King Bimbisära, the father and predecessor of Ajätaáatru, was murdered by his son eight years before the Nirväîa or in 490 B.C. A.F.R. HORENLE believes that for some years before this, Ajätaáatru was the de facto ruler, and that the war took place, not in the year of his legal, but of his de facto accession, which cannot have been long before the murder of Bimbisära. H. JACOBI’S theory of the later date of Mahävïra’s death is rejected by him, in order to devise a chronological scheme according to which Mahävïra may predecease the Buddha; but the Bhagavatï tradition of the sixteen years interval between the deaths of Mahävïra and Goáäla is accepted by him without question. He therefore suggests 484 B.C. for the death of Mahävïra and 500 B.C. for that of Goáäla and for the war and the de facto accession of Ajätaáatru.

486 B.C.

H.C. RAYCHAUDHURI162 suggests 478 B.C. or 486 B.C. and 536 B.C. as the probable dates of Mahävïra’s Nirväîa, according to the Cantonese reckoning which places the death of the Buddha in 486 B.C., or according to the Ceylonese one which places it in 544 B.C., whichever is accepted as the basis. Between 478 B.C. and 486 B.C., the first date is said to be in conformity with Hemacandra’s who is said to have placed Candragupta’s accession in M.E. 155, i.e. 323 B.C. in this case, which cannot be far from the truth, but that would be at variance with the clear evidence of the Buddhist canonical texts which make the Buddha survive his Jñätôka rival. Hence he considers 486 B.C. to be a more likely date as it is also in keeping with the year of Ajätaáatru’s accession. The Jaina statement that their Tïrthaõkara dies some sixteen years after the accession of Küîika (Ajätaáatru) can be reconciled with the Buddhist tradition about the death of the same teacher before the eighth year of Ajätaáatru, if we assume that the Jainas, who refer to Küîika as the ruler of Campä, begin their reckoning from the accession of the prince to the viceregal throne of Campä while the Buddhists make the accession of Ajätaáatru to the royal throne of Räjagôha the basis for their calculation.

C.D. CHATTERJEE163 also favours 486 B.C., because for him 483 B.C. is definitely the correct year of the Buddha’s death and because he believes, on the basis of ‘clear evidence of the Buddhist tradition on this question’ that Mahävïra predeceased the Buddha.

488 B.C.

H.C. SETH164 suggests 488 B.C. as the date of Mahävïra’s death on the basis of the Buddhist tradition, assuming 487 B.C. as the date of the Buddha’s death. The great difficulty in accepting 468 B.C. according to him is that it will place Mahävïra’s death several years after that of the Buddha. On the other hand, the tradition preserved in the Buddhist Päli canon clearly says that Nigaîûha Nätaputta, i.e. Mahävïra, died at Pävä a little before the Buddha.

The traditional chronology given in Merutunga’s Vicaraáreîï puts Mahävïra’s Nirväîa 470 years before the Vikrama era. All the Jaina traditions assign 40 years of reign to Nahaväîa between the period of Mahävïra’s Nirväîa and Vikrama. This Nahaväîa is generally identified with Nahapäîa, the Mahäkshatrapa of Kshaharäta family, who lived after the commencement of the Vikrama era. If we take out 40 years of Nahaväîa from 470 years, the interval given in these traditions between Mahävïra Nirväîa and the commencement of the Vikrama era, the difference between these two important events will be 430 years. This will give 488 B.C. as the date of Mahävïra Nirväîa. This will place Mahävïra’s death about a year before that of the Buddha who died in 487 B.C. These two dates will reconcile most of the Buddhist as well as the Jaina traditions about these two great religious teachers.

490 B.C.

  1. MISHRA165presupposes 487 B.C. as the date of Buddha’s death, and then, by comparing the details of the lives of the Buddha and Mahävïra, especially the places where they spent their rainy seasons, he comes to the conclusion that Mahävïra died in 490 B.C. In order to find out the date of that specific rainy season when Mahävïra died, he consulted the lives of the Buddha and Mahävïra, viz. Buddhacaryä (in Hindi) by RAHULA SANKRITYAYANA and Áramaîa Bhagvän Mahävïra by RATNAPRABHA VIJAYA. In the Buddhacaryä, it is stated that Lord Buddha spent the 17th rainy season at Räjagôha, further in the Mahäsakuludäyi Sutta,166 it is said that on that particular occasion, both Buddha and Nigaîûha Nätaputta were present. Taking 567 B.C. as the date of the birth of the Buddha, this comes to 516 B.C. By taking 561 B.C. as the date of the birth of Mahävïra, it becomes clear that he spent his 16th rainy season in 516 B.C. at Räjagôha. In the rainy season of 513 B.C. also, both the Buddha and Mahävïra were at Räjagôha.

The Sämaññaphala Sutta tells us how king Ajätaáatru of Magadha paid visits to one after another of the six heretical teachers to hear their doctrines, and at last discontented with them all, he took refuge with the Buddha. This visit of Ajätaáatru to the Buddha took place in 491 B.C. The rainy season of 491 B.C., which was his forty-second rainy season, was passed by the Buddha at Árävastï. This Buddhist reference therefore means that sometime in the last month of the Cäturmäsya, the Buddha came to Räjagôha. Coming to Mahävïra, it is known that he lived at Räjagôha in 491 B.C. during the rainy season of the forty-first year of his ascetic life. Thus it was possible for Ajätaáatru to meet the Buddha at Räjagôha after having met Mahävïra. Mahävïra passed his forty-second rainy season in 490 B.C. at Madhyamä Pävä where he died.

Both from the Buddhist and the Jaina traditions, it is clear that both the Buddha and Mahävïra were at Vaiáälï in 519 B.C. and that the conversion of Sïha to Buddhism also took place at the same time. The Upälisutta is also important, because the event took place at Nälandä when both the teachers were there in 491 B.C.

So the year 490 B.C. as the year of Mahävïra’s death is able not only to show that Buddha survived Mahävïra but also to make both the teachers spend the same rainy season at Räjagôha, Vaiáälï and Nälandä.

498 B.C.

B.C. LAW167 advocated another theory when he postulated 498 B.C. as the date of Mahävïra’s Nirväîa. According to him, 527 B.C. and 544 B.C. as the dates of the demise of Mahävïra and the Buddha respectively cannot be harmonized with the historical facts connected with the lives of the two great teachers of India. Two things, he says, may be taken as certain: (1) that Mahävïra predeceased the Buddha by 5 or 6, 7 or 8 or even 14 or 15 years; and (2) that Mahävïra passed as a Jina before the Buddha. The authenticity of B.C. 544 or 543 as the date of Buddha’s demise has been questioned by modern scholars who propose either 486 B.C. or 484 B.C. as the correct date. The figure 544 or 543 is accounted for as the date of the accession of Áreîika Bimbisära. Similarly, the figure 527 is accounted for as the date of the attainment of Jinahood by Mahävïra. Accepting this date of Mahävïra’s Kevalïship, one has to compute the date of his birth as B.C. 570, and that of his demise as B.C. 498.

545 B.C.

  1. P.JAYASWAL fixed the date of Mahävïra’s Nirväîa in 545 B.C. His main argument was that since according to some Jaina Paûûävalïs, it was the interval between Mahävïra’s Nirväîa and Vikrama’s birth, and not his accession, which is said to have been 470 years, and since Vikrama ascended the throne and started his era at the age of 18 in 57 B.C., Mahävïra’s date should be pushed further back by 18 years. He tried to corroborate his theory by a statement of some of the other Paûûävalïs which give 219 years as the interval between Mahävïra and the accession of Candragupta Maurya, which according to him is otherwise fixed in 325 B.C. He also tried to reconcile his chronology based upon the Jaina sources with the Puräîic traditions, identified Vikrama with King Pulumävi, the son of Gautmïputra Sätakarîi, and fixed the Buddha’s Nirväîa in 544 B.C.168

437 B.C.

  1. V.VENKATESVARA puts forth 437 B.C. as the date of Mahävïra’s Nirväîa. Believing that the Buddha died sometime between 485 and 453 B.C., and that he could not have died after Mahävïra, this scholar surmises that 470 years’ tradition relates to the Änanda Vikrama era of 33 A.D.169


Although some of the theories set forth above are well reasoned and convincing, they present some serious difficulties.

The greatest defect of some of the above theories is that their advocates, H. JACOBI, J. CHARPENTIER, J. HASTING and A.L. BASHAM, based them on the statement of Hemacandra (12th Century A.D.). Candragupta Maurya ascended the throne in M.E. (Mahävïra era) 155. His statement is the solitary instance of this view and is at variance with all other Jaina sources, Digambara or Ávetämbara, earlier or later than himself, that give this date as M.E. 210 or 215. This caused confusion which misled these scholars. The Tiloyapaîîati of Yativôÿabha (5th century A.D.), the Harivaãáa of Jinasena (783 A.D.), Trilokasära of Nemicandra (973 A.D.), Vicäraáreîi of Merutuõga (1306 A.D.) and others mention 215 years.

The Pälaka mentioned in the lists was the son of King Caîâa Pradyota of Ujjayinï and that during the period of 60 years allowed to Küîika and Udäyï he was ruling at Päûaliputra, are facts corroborated by some other sources. In connection with these dynastic chronologies, it may, however, be noted that it is not correct to treat them as referring to the kings of Magadha. All kings and dynasties mentioned in them are definitely known to be connected with Ujjayinï in Malwa or Western India. Of course, some of them ruled over a big empire covering other parts of India, including Magadha as well.

Curiously enough, even Hemacandra170 in another context of the same work has admitted that the Nanda dynasty began in M.E. 60 and in another work of his171 he gives the traditional date of 527 B.C. when he mentions that Kumärapäla became a ruler 1669 years after Mahävïra’s Nirväîa. The year of Kumärapäla’s accession to the throne is known to be 1143 A.D.

Another serious defect of these theories is that their advocates attempted to determine the date of Mahävïra’s Nirväîa on the basis of that of the Buddha’s which itself is full of controversy. That has resulted in divergent conclusions. H. JACOBI and J. CHARPENTIER believed the date of Mahävïra’s Nirväîa to be 467 B.C. on the assumption that the Buddha’s death occurred definitely in 477 B.C. A.L. BASHAM and A.F.R. HOERNLE accepted 483 B.C. as the date of the Buddha’s Nirväîa, and then attempted to fix the dates of Goáäla and Mahävïra. H.C. RAYCHAUDHURI, B.C. LAW, H.C. SETH, and Y. MISHRA first presupposed 486-487 B.C. as the date of Buddha’s death, and then attempted to fix Mahävïra’s death. K.P. JAYASWAL, by accepting the Buddha’s death in 544 B.C., fixed Mahävïra’s Nirväîa in 545 B.C. The proper approach to the problem is that one should settle the date of the Buddha’s Nirväîa by accepting that of Mahävïra in 527 B.C. as it is not controversial.

  1. JACOBI, J. CHARPENTIER, A.L. BASHAM, H.C. SETHand K.P.JAYASWAL wrongly think that the Buddha predeceased Mahävïra. From the study of the early Buddhist texts, it is clear that Mahävïra was the senior contemporary of the Buddha; that he attained Kevalajñäna earlier and that he predeceased the Buddha by 5, or 6, 7 or 8, even 14 or 15 years. These Buddhist texts record the death of Mahävïra or Nigaîûha Nätaputta as taking place at Pävä during the Buddha’s lifetime and as being accompanied by serious confusion and quarrelling among his supporters.

The view held by some scholars that there are irregularities in the list of kings and dynasties ruling from the period of the Nirväîa of Mahävïra to 57 B.C. or 78 A.D. is not wholly correct. On the other hand, many scholars also believe that the Jaina traditions have definite historical background. In spite of minor discrepancies in dates, the general account given in them is fully in keeping with the known facts of history.172 Here the question does not relate to the verification of individual dynasty and king but to the determination of the general correctness of the date of Mahävïra’s Nirväîa given in the Jaina traditions.

All the Jaina traditions assign forty years of reign to Nahaväîa before Vikrama. H.C. SETH thinks that this Nahaväîa or Nahapäîa, the Mahäkshatrapa of Kshaharäta family, lived after Vikrama, and by taking 40 years out of 470, he considers 430 years to be the difference between the date of Mahävïra’s Nirväîa and the commencement of the Vikrama era. Against this, it may be suggested that Nahaväîa here means the Áake rule in Ujjayini before Vikrama in the second or first century B.C. This Jaina tradition is supported even by numismatic evidence.173 Copper coins of five rulers, viz., Hamugama, Valäka, Mahu, Däsa and Sauma, have been scooped out from Ujjain and from the neighbouring region. With the help of palaeography, the historian can place these rulers in the second and first century B.C. K.D. BAJPAI tried to prove that the rulers who issued the coins were Áakas, the predecessors of the two well known dynasties of Bhümaka and Cashûana. The names on the coins resemble those of the Áaka chiefs already known from inscriptions and other coins. On the reverse, there are figures such as those of frog, moon on hill, tree within railing; or a double-orbed Ujjain symbol.

  1. K.MUKHTAR174 attempts a refutation of the theory propounded by J. CHARPENTIER as also by K. P. JAYASWAL by trying to prove that Vikrama era started neither with the birth nor with the coronation of Vikrama but with his death, and that therefore no addition or reduction in the traditional interval of 470 years was needed.
  2. MISHRAcame to the conclusion that the death of Mahävïra occurred in 490 B.C. when he compared the details of the lives of the Buddha and Mahävïra, especially the places where they spent their rainy seasons. For this, he consulted Buddhacaryä (in Hindi) by R. SANKRITYAYANA and Áramaîa Bhagvän Mahävïra by RATNA PRABHA VIJAYA. In the very early Jaina and Buddhist scriptures, no chronological description of the rainy seasons spent by Lord Mahävïra and the Buddha have been given. Both R. SANKRITYAYANA and RATNAPRABHA VIJAYA have based the account of rainy seasons on very late works which cannot be relied upon.

As regards S. V. VENKATESWARA’S theory to the effect that Mahävïra died in 437 B.C., there is absolutely no tradition which can support it. Moreover, as the late G. H. OJHA175 showed in his article ‘On the conception of an Ananda Vikrama Era’, no such era was ever started or gained currency, nor does it find any mention in the Pôthvïräja-räso of poet Canda as is alleged.


There are scholars176 who maintain that Mahävïra’s Nirväîa took place in 527 B.C. The following arguments may be advanced in support of this theory.

  1. There is a continuous Jaina tradition from the fifth century A.D. onwards about the date of Mahävïra’s Nirväîa in 527 B.C. Yativôÿhabha (5th century A.D.) seems to have been the first to record this tradition in the Tiloyapaîîati, and it is corroborated by Jinasena (783 A.D.) in the Harivaãáa, by Nemicandra (973 A.D.) in the Trilokasära, by Merutuõga (1306 A.D.) in the Vicäraáreîi, and by others. The Jaina writers, whenever they expressed the date of Mahävïra, did it either straight away in the Mahävïra era, or in terms of either the Vikrama or the Áaka era. The Vikrama era and the Áaka era are known to have started in 57 B.C. and 78 A.D. respectively with the well-known interval of 135 years between them. The Jainas have never had any difference of opinion regarding the date of Tïrthaõkara Mahävïra, as, for instance, the Buddhists had regarding the date of the Buddha. The reason is that there was no cultural break. Jainism continued to live in India while Buddhism disappeared. In spite of schismatic tendencies and the predominance of particular sects in particular regions, it remained in constant touch with its coreligionists wherever they were or to whichever sub-sect they belonged. Thus the Jainas were able to preserve their cultural traditions.
  2. In the Vicäraáreîï of Merutuõga, there are some old gäthäs containing references to historical and chronological events taking place between the Mahävïra era and the Vikrama and Áaka eras. The substance of this information may be submitted in the following chronological able.

            Mahävïra died                                                                                                         527 B.C.

            Pälaka, acc.                                                                                                                527 B.C.

            Nandas established supremacy                                                             467 B.C.

            Mauryas established supremacy                                                          312 B.C.

            Puÿpamitra, acc.                                                                                                    204 B.C.

            Balamitra, acc.                                                                                                       174 B.C.

            Nabhovähana, acc.                                                                                              114 B.C.

            Gardabhilla, acc.                                                                                                      74 B.C.

            Gardabhilla expelled by the Áakas                                                       61 B.C.

            Vikramäditya recovers Ujjayinï                                                              57 B.C.

            Four successors of Vikramäditya                                                    3-78 A.D.

            Áaka era commences                                                                                          78 A.D.

There is nothing in this general chronological scheme which, on the face of it, appears to be absurd or even unworthy of belief. In point of details also, this account is in fair accordance with known historical facts. This chronological scheme must be regarded, on the whole, as transmitting an old historical tradition, which, though not acceptable in all its details without further corroborative evidence, cannot be thrown out as worthless or contradicted by positive testimony of reliable character. Hence, the date of Mahävïra’s Nirväîa, which is the foundation of this chronological scheme, cannot be wrong.

  1. The Jainas have tried to preserve the traditions relating to the Árutävatära (i.e. the redaction of the canon). In this connection, some Jaina works177 give the genealogy of 28 immediate successors of Mahävïra, divided into five groups with the periods taken by each group. These works tell us at the end that by deducting 77 years and 7 months from this period of 683 years, we get 605 years and 5 months, which is the exact interval between Mahävïra’s death and the commencement of the Áaka era. All these sources are in perfect agreement as to the fact that this succession lasted till 683 years after Mahävïra’s Nirväîa, that up to this time, the direct canonical knowledge, though gradually declining in volume, continued to be preserved in the memory of these Gurus, and that it was about this time that the redaction of the surviving canonical knowledge was undertaken and the Jaina canons for the first time appeared in book form.

The slight differences one notices in these various sources, relate only to certain names. Some sources also differ in the extent of knowledge preserved by groups V and VI. The Paûûävalïs of the Nandi Saãgha, particularly its Prakôit Paûûävalï, which is quite an old document, gives the total period for the 5 Gurus of group IV as 123 years, whereas the other sources give it as 220 or 222 years; and while this Paûûävalï allots 99 years to group V, they allot 118 years to it. According to the Jaina traditions, Bhadrabähu was the contemporary of Candragupta Maurya (324-300 B.C.), but in the genealogy of the Pontiffs, he is allotted 365 B.C. K. C. SASTRI178 has tried to rectify his mistake of sixty years in the genealogical table of the Pontiffs.

  1. There are also traditions which relate to Kalki who is believed to have flourished at about the close of the first millennium after Mahävïra’s death.179In this connection, chronological lists of the ruling dynasties, particularly of Ujjayinï, have been preserved for these one thousand years ending with Kalki’s tyrannical rule. Kalki is identified with either Yaáodharman of the Aulikara dynasty of Mandsor or with Mihirakula of the Hüîa dynasty.180It is more likely that he was Mihirakula.
  2. Another tradition, which further confirms this date relates to the great schism in the Jaina Saãgha. According to the Ávetämbara sources, the schism took place in M.E. 609, and according to the Digambara ones, in V.E. 136, thus giving the date as A.D. 82 or 79.181
  3. The date of the redaction of the Ávetämbara canon is another instance. Tradition places this event in M.E. 980 or 993 (i.e. A.D. 453 or 466) which seems to be quite correct since Bhadrabähu III, who wrote the Niryuktis on the redacted Ägamasütras, was an elder brother of Varähamihira, the astronomer (427 S.E. or 505 A.D.).
  4. Puÿkarasärin, who was a contemporary of Pradyota of Avanti and Bimbisära of Magadha, was the ruler of Gandhära with its capital at Taxila. Pradyota was engaged in hostilities with Puÿkarasärin the cause of which is not known. Puÿkarasärin is said to have sent an ambassador and a letter to king Bimbisära of Magadha. But Bimbisära was in no mood to alienate Pradyota. Pradyota was unsuccessful in his war, but was saved from disaster by the outbreak of hostilities between Puÿkarasärin and the Päîâavas. The Päîâavas appear to have settled in the Punjab.

This area of Gandhära seems to have become a part of the Persian empire from about 550 B.C. It is generally held that the eastern conquest of Cyrus (558-530 B.C.) included the Districts of Drangiana, Sattagydia and Gandaritis (Gandhära). The two later inscriptions of Persepolis (518-515 B.C.) and of Naksh-i-Rustam (515 B.C.) mention Hi(n)du or the northern Punjab as a part of the domain of Darius, the successor of Cyrus. These references indicate that probably it was Cyrus who conquered Gandhära which was inherited by Darius as a part of his empire, while for himself he pushed his Indian conquest farther into the region called Sindhu.

As Gandhära became a part of the Persian empire from 550 B.C., its ruler Puÿkarasärin must be placed earlier. Bimbisära and Pradyota, who were the contemporaries of Puÿkarasärin, were ruling in about 550 B.C. As Mahävïra is known to be a contemporary of Bimbisära and Pradyota, the date of his Nirväîa in 527 B.C., as recorded in the Jaina scriptures, is not improbable.

  1. If we assume this date of Mahävïra’s death to be correct, it does not conflict with the known facts of history. Caîâa Pradyota, king of Avanti, died on the same night of 527 B.C. as Tïrthaõkara Mahävïra, and he was succeeded by his son Pälaka. Caîâa Pradyota is known to have ruled for 23 years, which implies that he became a ruler in about 550 B.C. Pradyota is known to be one of the contemporaries of both Bimbisära and his son Ajätaáatru. According to the Jaina tradition, Mahävïra died sixteen years after the coronation of Ajätaáatru, and this period might have included some years of his Viceroyalty over Campä. It seems that he started his rule from about 535 B.C. His father Bimbisära, is known to have ruled 28 (or 38) years according to the Puräîas, and 52 years according to the Sinhalese chronicles. Hence his accession to the throne may be placed either in 587 B.C. or in 563 B.C. Since Goáala is known to have died sixteen and a half years before Mahävïra, his date of death may be presumed to be 543 B.C. As the Buddha was a junior contemporary of Mahävïra, he might have attained Nirväîa a few years after Mahävïra.


Mahävïra was one of the great religious teachers of mankind. He recognized the need for the perfection of self and prescribed certain practical rules of conduct for the attainment of this aim. He did not preach to others what he did not practise himself. For the realization of such an aim, he believed in the blissfulness of the entire being. This happy state, he said, cannot be bought by the wealth, pomp, and power of the world but can certainly be realized through patience, forbearance, self-denial, forgiveness, humality and, compassion. For this purpose, he inculcated the doctrine of Ahiãsä or non-violence in thought, word and action. Those who came under the influence of his personality, gave up the eating of meat and fish and took to vegetarian diet. This principle was at the back of many philanthropic and humanitarian deeds and institutions which he encouraged.

For Mahävïra distinctions of caste, creed or sex did not matter. According to him, salvation is the birthright of everyone, and it is assured if one follows the prescribed rules of conduct. His doctrine of Karma made the individual conscious of his responsibility for all actions. It also awakened the consciousness that salvation was not a gift or favour but an attainment within the reach of human beings.

Mahävïra was tolerant in religious matters. As there were different conflicting religious and philosophical views current in his time, he formulated the principal of Syädväda in which there is room for the consideration of them all. This attitude in religious matters produced an atmosphere of mutual harmony among the followers of different sects, who began to appreciate the views of their opponents as well.

Mahävïra was a great Mähaîa182 who possessed fully formed knowledge and insight, who was adored and worshipped by the three worlds, and who was furnished with a wealth of meritorious works. He was known to be a great Guardian183 because he protected and guarded, with his staff of the Law, all those numerous living beings who in the wilderness of the world were straying or perishing, being devoured or cut asunder or pierced through or mutilated or castrated,  He was a great preacher184 because by means of many discourses and explanations he delivered people from evil and saved all those numerous living beings that were straying or perishing. He was a great pilot185 because by means of the boat of the doctrine, he brought them straight to the shore of the Nirväîa and delivered all those numerous living beings that, on the great sea of the world, were straying or perishing by sinking or drowning or floating.

Mahävïra, who was the wisest sage the world has known possessed infinite knowledge and faith. This wise man had knowledge of all beings, mobile or immobile, high or low, eternal or transient. Like a lamp, he saw the doctrine in a true light.186 He knew this world and the world beyond.187 His knowledge was inexhaustible like the water of the sea. As he had mastered all philosophical systems, he understood the doctrines of the Kriyävädins, of the Akriyävädins, of the Vainayikas, and of the Ajñänavädins.188 His perception was infinite.189

He endured severe tortures and penances in his life in order to annihilate his karmas. He bore everything like the earth. Having conquered the passions : wrath, pride, deceit, greed, which defile the soul the great sage did not commit any wrong, nor did he cause any wrong to be committed by others. He practised the highest contemplation, which is the purest of the pure. He granted protection to all and was the most vigorous. He wandered about without a home and crossed the flood of the Saãsära. He renounced everything because he had broken away from all ties.190

Mahävïra was a great reformer. Since many abuses had crept into Society, he did his utmost to remove them.

He possessed a great organizing capacity, and made the laity participate in the Saãgha along with the monks. He encouraged a close union between laymen and monks by advocating similar religious duties for both, duties that differed not in kind but in degree.

  1.    Uvä, VII.
  2.    SBE XXII, pp. 80, 248.
  3.    Ächä, II, 15, 15; Kalpa, 109, 110.
  4.    SBE XXII, p. 226; Sama, p. 89a; Sthänä, p. 523b; Ächä, II, 15. 4-5 (pp. 190-191).
  5.    Bhag, 9.33 (pp. 457-58).
  6.    V. A. SMITH : The Jain Stüpa and other Antiquities of Mathura, ……………
  7.    Ävaáyaka Niryukti, Kalpa Sütra, Ävaáyaka Sütra, (Häribhadriya-Tikä), Mahävïra Chariyaã of Nemichandra, Mahävïra Chariyam of Guîachadra Gaîi, Paumachariyam of Vimala Süri, Varäõga-Charitam of Jaûäsiãha Nandi and Ävaáyaka-Chürîi.
  8.    Püjyapäda’s Daáabhakti, (p. 116); Jinasena’s Harivaãáapuräîa (1-2); Guîabhadra’s Uttarapuräîa (74); Dämanandi’s Puräîa Saãgraha; Asaga’s Vardhamäma-Charitra (XVII. 61); Sakalakïrti’s Vardhamäna Charitra (VII).
  9.    Ächä, II, 15. 15, 17.
  10.    Sütra, 1, 2, 3, 22.
  11.    Kalpa, (Sütras 110, 112, 128).
  12.    Uttarä, VI, 17.
  13.    Bhagavatï Ûi, II, 1, 12, 2.
  14.    Uttara-Puräîa (75); Vimala Puräîa; Áreîika-Caritra (9); and Ärädhanä-Kathä-Kosha (4).
  15.    Jaina Siddhänta Bhäskara, 3 (Sept. 1936), p. 50, f.n.).
  16.    Sindhu-deáa literally means ‘the country of Rivers’ and Tirabhukti, too, has a similar meaning, i.e. ‘the Province situated on the Banks (of Rivers). From the Gupta period onwards, Videha came to be known as Tirabhukti.
  17.    Meghadüta, 1, 30.
  18.    English translation of Uväsagadasäv (Bibliotheca Indica Series, Calcutta, 1888).
  19.    V.A. SMITH : Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol. XII (New York, 1921), pp. 567-68.
  20.    ASI, 1903-4, p. 82.
  21.    SSHJ, pp. 21-22.
  22.    NDGDAMI, p. 107.
  23.    LMLT, p. 19.
  24.    A.F.R. HOERNLE and H. JACOBI interpreted Sanniveáa in the sense of ward and suburb respectively but it was also used in the sense of gräma. See VTM, I,  p. 98.
  25.    Kalpa, 97-105.
  26.    Ibid., 91, 106-107; Ächä, II, 15, 15.
  27.    Mahäpuräîa, 74.
  28.    Tri. pu. Cha, 10, 2, 217; Äva. Chu. I. p. 246.
  29.    Kalpa, 120; Ächä, II, 15. 15.
  30.    Ibid., 110.
  31.    Ibid., 112.
  32.    Padmapuräna, 20, 67; Harivaãáapuräîa. 60, 214; Tilovapaîîati, 4, 670 etc.
  33.    Ächä, II, 15. 15; Kalpa, 109.
  34.    Kalpa. 110.
  35.    Ächä. I, 8, 1, 3.
  36.    Ibid., I, 8, 1, 1.
  37.    Ächä, I, 8, 1, 2.
  38.    Ibid., I, 8, 1, – 4, 5, 6, 7.
  39.  Ibid., I, 8, 1, – 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19.
  40.    Ächä, I, 8, 2-2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11.
  41.    Ibid., I, 8, 3, 1.
  42.    ……………………………………
  43.    Ächä, I, 8, 4, – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 14, 15.
  44.    Ibid., I, 8, 4, 16.
  45.    Kalpa, 116.
  46.    Ibid., 117.
  47.    Kalpa, 117.
  48.    Ibid., 119.
  49.    Ibid., 120.
  50.    Ibid., 122.
  51.    LMLT, p. 32.
  52.    LMLT, 29.
  53.    Ibid., p. 33.
  54.    GEB, p. 6.
  55.    AGI, p. 537.
  56.    Ibid., p. 718.
  57.    Dhammapada Commentary, I, p. 384.
  58.    R. SANKRITYAYANA : Vinaya Pitaka, p. 248n.
  59.    GEB, p. 24.
  60.    PRAI, p. 160.
  61.    SBE, XXII, p. 264, f.n. 4; also p. 84.
  62.    AGI, p. 469.
  63.    GEB, p. 15.
  64.    Ibid., p. 498.
  65.    HSBJY, p. 24.
  66.    HSBJY, p. 23.
  67.    History of Bengal, Vol. I, p. 22.
  68.    Uvä, Tr. by A. F. R. HOERNLE, App. I.
  69.    GEB, p. 18.
  70.    HBSJY, p. 23.
  71.    NDGDAMI, p. 184.
  72.    ………… Vol. XV, P. II
  73.    VTM I, p. 194
  74.    GEB, p. 40.
  75.    R. SANKRITYAYANA : Vinaya Piûaka, p. 248 n.
  76.    AGI, p. 732.
  77.    VTM, I, p. 203, f.n. 1.
  78.    Ibid., p. 204, f.n.1.
  79.    Imperial Gazetteers, Vol. VIII, p. 475.
  80.    JLAIDJC. p. 324.
  81.    History of Bengal, Vol. I. p. 22.
  82.    JLAIDJC, p. 278.
  83.    R. SANKRITYAYANA : Majjhima, p. 61 n.
  84.    Suttanipäta, V. 1.38
  85.    KVSBM, pp. 357, 370.
  86.    JLAIDJC, p. 289.
  87.    SSHJ, p. 33
  88.    Ächä, II, 15, 25-26; Kalpa, 120, 121.
  89.    Majjh, I, pp. 92-93.
  90.    ……………………………   659-660.
  91.    ………………………………………
  92.    SSHJ, pp. 61-62.
  93.    SSHJ, p. 67.
  94.    SSHJ, p. 41.
  95.    Kalpa, 122.
  96.    NATA, pp. 396-400.
  97.    ………………………………………
  98.    Majjh, I. p. 227.
  99.    Majjh, I. 371-387.
  100. Nöyä, p. 146; Sthänä, p. 458; Uttarä, XX.
  101. Aup, 44-46.
  102. Äva, Chü, II, p. 164.
  103. Bhag, 442.
  104. Äva, Chü, II, p. 207.
  105. Bhag, pp. 556 ff.
  106. Sthänä, p. 430 b.
  107. Äva, p. 299.
  108. Bhag, 12. 2.
  109. Äva, Chü, p. 91, Anta, 7, p. 43.
  110. Bhag, 458b.
  111. Anta, III.
  112. Näyä, p. 32.
  113. Ibid., p. 33; Näyä. Chapt. 1; Äva. Chü, p. 115.
  114. Trï, Pu. Cha, x, 6, 8.
  115. Uttarä, xx, 58.
  116. Hindu Civilization, The Age of Imperial Unity, p. 21.
  117. …………………………………………
  118. Tri. Pu. Cha, X, 6, 10, 11.
  119. Daáäárutaskandha, Anuttaropapätika Daáäãga and Jñätädharmakathä.
  120. Bihar through the Ages, p. 127.
  121. Aup, 12, 27, 30; Hemachandra’s Pariáishûaparvan, canto IV; Äva. Sü, pp. 684, 687.
  122. Äva, Sü, p. 690.
  123. Bhag, 13. 6.
  124. Uttarä, XVIII, 48.
  125. Avadänakalpalatä, 40; Divyädäna, 37.
  126. KMA, p. 119.
  127. Ibid, p. 115.
  128. Jainism in Northern India, pp. 88 f.
  129. Vin, vi, 4, 8.
  130. Äva. Nir, 520 ff; Äva. Ûï. p. 294 f.
  131. Bhag. 12, 2.
  132. Uvä, pp. 84-5, 90, 95, 105, 160 and 163.
  133. B. C.  LAW : Some Jaina canonical Sütras, p. 74; 162-204. The Pali counterpart of this Jaina Sütra is undoubtedly the dialogue known as the Päyäsï Suttanta in the Dïgha Nikäya. In the Pali Suttanta, the dialogue is put into the mouth of the Buddhist recluse, Kumärakassapa, the Flower-Talker (Chitra kathi) and the Chieftain Päyäsi of Setavyä, a town within the kingdom of Pasenadi of Koáala.
  134. NATA, p. 369. According to the Dïghanikäya, Pradeái was a vassal of Presenajit while on the evidence of the Räyapaáeîiya Áutta, Jitaáatru was the ruler under Pradeáï. It seems more reasonable to say that Pradeáï and Jitaáatru are one and the same ruler who may be identified with Prasenajit of Koáala.
  135. Uttarä, XVIII, 44.
  136. GEB, p. 26.
  137. KMA, p. 121.
  138. Uttarä, XVIII, 45, 47.
  139. A.C. MITTAL : Early History of Orissa, p. 136.
  140. Karnatak through the Ages.
  141. Sütra, II, 6.
  142. J.P. JAIN : Bhäratiya Itihäsa – eka Dôishûi, pp. 67-68.
  143. PRAS. WC., 1907, p. 35.
  144. APJLS, No. 48.
  145. Jainism in Rajasthan, p. 8.
  146. SBE, XLV, p. 339.
  147. NATA. p. 402.
  148. Majjh, I, pp. 392-393.
  149. LMLT p. 17.
  150. Kalpa, 128.
  151. Pari. VIII, 339.
  152. The different Buddhist traditions place the date of the Buddha differently; the Ceylonese in 544 B.C., the Burmese in 501 B.C.; the Tibetan in 488 B.C. and the Cantonese in 486 B.C. (Some scholars have suggested even 477 B.C. or 453 B.C.). The recently advocated view is 483 B.C. See D.R. Bhandarkar Vol. I. pp. 329-330.
  153. Introductions to SBE, XXII and XLV, on Mahävïra and his Predecessors, I, A, IX, pp. 156 ff.
  154. IA, XLIII, pp. 118 ff; also see CAH, Vol. I, p. 156.
  155. History of India. Pt. I, pp. 39-40.
  156. A. L. BASHAM : History and Doctrines of the Äjivikas. pp. 66-78.
  157. ERE, Vol. VII, p. 467.
  158. Ibid., Vol. I, pp. 260-61.
  159. An Advanced History of India, p. 73.
  160. B.C. Law Volume, Pt. I, pp. 606-607, f.n. 30.
  161. Bhärata-Kaumudi, Part II, pp. 817-838.
  162. Y. MISHRA : An Early History of Vaiáälï, pp. 202-212.
  163. Majjih, II. 3, 7.
  164. LMLT, p. 53.
  165. JBORS, 1, Pt. I, pp. 99-104.
  166. JRAS, 1917, pp. 122-130.
  167. Pari, VI, 243.
  168. Tri. Pu. Ch, X, 12, 45-46.
  169. R.C. MAJUMDAR, The Age of Imperial Unity, pp. 155-156.
  170. KMA, p. 156.
  171. Jaina Sähitya Aura Itihäsa Para Viáada Prakäáa, pp. 26 f.
  172. NPPI, pp. 377-454, pp. 377-454.
  173. G.C. OJHA : Bhäratiya Prächina Lipimäla; V.S. AGRAWALA : Tïrthaõkara Bhagavän Mahävïra, II Bhümikä. p. 19; H.L. JAIN : Tattva Samuchchaya, p. 6, KALYANA VIJAYA : Vïra Nirväîa Saãvat Aura Jaina Käla Gaõanä VMT; NATA, p. 87.
  174. Tiloyapaîîati (5th century); Jambudvipa-prajñapti Saãgraha (700 A.D.); Dhavalä (780 A.D.), Harivaãáa (783 A.D.) Jayadhavalä (837 A.D.), Kalpasütra Therävali, Pariáishûaparvan and Prabhävakacarita, Paûûävalis of Nandi, Sena and Käshûhä Saãghas.
  175. Jaina Sähitya Kä Itihäsa, pp. 356-369.
  176. Tiloyapaîîati, Harivaãáa, Trilokasära, etc.
  177. N. R. PREMI : Jaina Sähitya Aura Itihäsa, p. 20.
  178. Ävaáyaka Mülabhäshya (609 A.D.), Daráanasära (933 A.D.).
  179. Upäsakadaáä-Sutram, ed. by A.F.R. HOERNLE, p. 141.
  180. Ibid
  181. Ibid., 144.
  182. Ibid., 145.
  183. Sütra, I, 6, 4.
  184. Ibid., I, 6, 28.
  185. Ibid., I. 6, 27.
  186. Ibid., I, 6, 25.
  187. Ibid., I, 6, 6