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The last and 24th Tirthankar of the Jain religion, Mahavir was born in 599 BC in Kundupur, a small village in Bihar. He was the son of King Siddhartha and Queen Trishala Devi.

Though born as a prince, he renounced worldly pleasures at the age of 30, and spent 12 years in deep silence and meditation. During this period, he avoided annoying other living beings such as animals, birds and plants. Ultimately, he realized perfect knowledge, perception and power, which is known as 'Keval-Jnana'. The next 30 years, he traveled bare feet and preached the eternal truth he realized.

Also known as Vardhaman, he attracted people from all walks of life. His generous behavior and unique ways of mediation are examples for monks and nuns in religious life.

Mahavir passed away in 527 BC, when he was 72 years old. But he is still remembered, and worshipped by millions. Mahavir Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Mahavir, is celebrated with great pomp.

Updated on 7th June, 2005

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