Bhagavan Mahavira Life and Philosophy : [06.01] Transvaluation

Published: 29.08.2005
Updated: 02.07.2015

Chapter 6


hagavan Mahavira lived the life of a householder for thirty years. He remained absorbed in sadhana for twelve and a half years. During the forty-third year of his age he attained the state of kevali. After attaining the omniscience he began to propound the eternal Dharma. He uplifted the common people to a higher moral and spiritual standard and satisfied their desire for knowledge.

Once he left Vaisali for Kausambi where Jayanti, the sister of King Satanika, asked him a few questions:

"Lord! What is better for the living beings - to sleep or to keep waking?"

Bhagavan Mahavira:

"Both sleeping and waking are good."



Bhagavan Mahavira:

"It is better for irreligious people to sleep,
because in that state they will not inflict pain on anybody.

But it is better for religious people to keep waking,
because in the waking state they practise religion and do not injure anybody."


"What is better for the living beings - to be weak or strong?"

Bhagavan Mahavira:

"Both - being weak and strong - are good,"



Bhagavan Mahavira:

"Irreligious people earn their living by immoral means.
It is better if such people are weak.

On the other band, religious people sustain themselves by moral means.
It is better if such people are strong."

Bhagavan Mahavira viewed the truth in the light of anekantavada, and propounded it in terms of Relativism, which could be easily grasped by a person desiring to know it.

On another occasion Bhagavan Mahavira was staying in the sanctuary known as Chatrapalasaka on the outskirts of the township of Krtanjala. Sravasti was situated just near this town.
A wandering recluse named Skandaka lived in Sra­ vasti.
A Jaina ascetic named Pingala came to Skandaka and asked him the following questions:

  • "Is the universe finite or infinite?"
  • "Is the soul finite or infinite?"
  • "Is the emancipation finite or infinite?"
  • "Is the emancipated soul finite or infinite?"

Skandaka failed to answer these questions satisfactorily. He was himself confused. He came to know of the stay of Bhagavan Mahavira in the Chatrapalasaka sanctuary and went to see him there.
Bhagavan Mahavira, by his intuitive power, revealed the questions confusing Skandaka in such a way that the latter was wonder-struck. The following were the replies by the Bhagavan:

"Skandaka, the universe is finite as well as infinite.

  • It is finite from the points of view of substance and space,
  • and infinite from the points of view of time and the modifications of substance.

In the same way the soul, the emancipation and the emancipated souls are

  • finite from the points of view of substance and space,
  • and infinite from the points of view of time and the modifications of substance"

Skandaka was thus initiated in the philosophy of anekanta.
He could now expound the Truth to others.

Bhagavan Mahavira revealed to thousands of people the philosophy of anekanta and endowed them with the right Vision.

Title: Bhagavan Mahavira Life and Philosophy
Translated & Edited: Muni Mahendra Kumar


Edition 1995
Publisher: Jain Vishva Bharati, Ladnun, India

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anekanta
  2. Anekantavada
  3. Dharma
  4. JAINA
  5. Jaina
  6. Jayanti
  7. Kevali
  8. Mahavira
  9. Pingala
  10. Sadhana
  11. Soul
  12. Space
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