The twelve-year period of spiritual practices of Bhagwan Mahavir Swami was the basis of his personal
achievement of omniscience and the status of Arihant/Tirthankar. After his enlightenment the remaining
thirty years of his life were devoted to the welfare of the living world. During this period he revolutionized
human thought and shattered many long established misconceptions and curses of traditional dogmas. His
deeds and achievements in the fields of human welfare and upliftment as well as his contribution to the
storehouse of human knowledge may be briefly summed up as:
1. He opposed the wanton human and animal sacrifice and the misleading rituals in the name of
religious Yajnas for benefits in the next life. As a more humane and rational alternative he showed
the path of Ahimsa.
2. He broke the established tradition of depriving women in general and men of lower castes from the formal study of scriptures and indulging in many religious activities. He was bold enough to initiate people from this section of society into his religious order. he provided equal rights an opportunities to all for study and practice of religion. He successfully rooted out the caste system in his area of influence at social and spiritual level.
3. Under his influence the established norms of social status based on caste, wealth, power and
grandeur were shattered and new norms of social status based on virtues and moral and ethical
values were established.
4. He used Ardha-Magadhi, the lingua-franca of that period for his discourses. Giving importance to
folk culture and language of the masses over Sanskrit, the language of scholarly few and the upper
class, he preached in eloquent and attractive style.
5. For the ascetics of his school pursuing the path of detachment with the help of discipline, penance,
chanting and meditation, he also prescribed regular indulgence in activities of social welfare. His
order included people from all sections of the society-Indrabhuti Gautam and many others from the
Brahmin caste; Shalibhadra, Dhanna, and many others from the Vaishya caste; Megh Kumar,
Nandishen, etc. from the Kshatriya caste; and Maitarya, Arjunmali, etc. from the Shudra caste.
Among women prominent in his order Chandanabala, Mrigavati, Kali, etc. were from ruling families
and Subhadra, Revati, etc. were from the merchant class.
6. The Shravakas (householders) in his organization included people from all walks of life. Udayi,
Shrenik, Ajatshatru, etc. were kings; Anand was a farmer, Saddalputra was a potter; and Sulas was
7. The religious organization of Mahavir was founded on virtues like detachment, equanimity, knowledge and discipline.
8. The original contributions of Mahavir were Ahimsa as the basis of code of conduct and relativity of thought (Anekant) as the basis of spiritual purity and equanimity.
9. As Mahavir had millions, of admires and followers, he also had opponents like Gaushalak and
decenters like Jamali. For 5 to 6 years Gaushalak moved with Mahavir as his disciple. But later, driven
by ambition and lust for popularity he became Mahaveer's opponent. He projected himself as
omniscient and Tirthankar. The feeling of envy burning within him made him attack Mahavir and try
to burn him. But the great pacifying powers of a true Tirthankar defeated him. Compassionate
Mahavir still forgave him and advised to work for purity of the soul.
Mahavir denounced the worship of gods and goddesses as a means of salvation. He taught the idea of supremacy of human life and stressed the importance of the positive attitude of life.
His message of nonviolence (Ahimsa), truth (Satya), non-stealing (Achaurya), celibacy (Brahma-charya), and non-possession (Aparigraha) is full of universal compassion
Lord Mahavir also preached the gospel of universal love, emphasizing that all living beings, irrespective of their size, shape, and form how spiritually developed or under-developed, are equal and we should love and respect them.
Mahavir was more of a reformer and propagator of an existing religious order than the founder of a new faith.
In the matters of spiritual advancement, as envisioned by Mahavir, both men and women are on an equal footing.
Mahavir preached that right faith (samyak darshana), right knowledge (samyak jnana), and right conduct (samyak charitra) together is the real path to attain the liberation from karmic matter of one's self.