Shri Mahavira is Indian king, prince of ascetics, upon whose teachings Jainism was founded.
Mahavira is the incarnation of Bhairavanath or you call Him as Saint Michael.... He was an angel, but came as a human being and He had to nd out the thing of the left side and how the left side acts.... Mahavira went quite deep onto the left side.... This left side was to be found out properly. It was done by Mahavira. Of course, He knew all about it. So He has mentioned practically, in details, lots of things that can happen to a person who goes to the left side. He gave the idea of Hell. He also described seven types of Hell. It is so horrible that I do not want to tell you what hell is. It is horrifyingly cruel, horrifyingly joyless and horrifyingly so repulsive that you hate yourself when you understand you have committed this mistake, you have committed this sin. And then what is the result? What you get is the punishment part. Mahavira worked it out, everything. He has given in all details what sort of punishment is due to a human being who tries to be left-sided. (SHRI MAHAVIRA PUJA 1991.03.28)
Mahavira’s life was an ascetic’s life, just like Buddha.... He was a king, so He gave up all His material wealth, everything. He became a complete sanyasi and He left His family, left His house, everything behind and went alone with a little bowl for begging alms. The people who joined Him were very few and He asked them to also become ascetics, munis. He was a reincarnation of Saint Michael. He resides on the left side on the Ida Nadi. He looks after the whole of it, right from the Mooladhara onwards up to the Sahasrara. So Saint Michael was born as Mahavira, meaning the greatest warrior. But when He was born the whole place got a lot of prosperity, that's why He was called as wargaman to begin with. But His asceticism was there because of the Brahminism that was so prevalent in those days.... Understand what you have to do about yourself, about your ascent. You have to be genuine people. (SHRI MAHAVIRA PUJA 1990.06.17)
Mahavira was born into a royal family in what is now Bihar, India, in either 599 BC or 480 BC. At the age of 30, he left his home in pursuit of spiritual awakening, and abandoned worldly things, including his clothes, and became a Jain monk. For the next twelve-and-a-half years, Mahavira practiced intense meditation and severe penance, after which he became kevalī (omniscient).
For the next 30 years, he traveled throughout South Asia to teach Jain philosophy. Mahavira taught that the observance of the vows ahimsa (non-injury), satya (truth), asteya (non-thieving), brahmacharya (chastity) and aparigraha (non-attachment) is necessary to elevate the quality of life.
Mahavira was born into an Indian royal family as prince Vardhamana. This Indian sage established the central philosophy of the Jain tradition, being the twenty-fourth and last Tirthankara (saviour or perfect being). Mahavira (Great Hero) was a contemporary of the Buddha. He is referred to in Buddhist sources as Nigantha Nataputta.
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi has commented:
The ascetic life of Mahavira was of a very, very extreme nature. … He was a king, so he gave up all his material wealth, everything, and he became a complete sanyassi and he left his family, left his house, everything behind and went alone with a little bowl for begging alms. And the people who joined him were very few and he asked them that you have to also become ascetics, munis. He was a reincarnation of St. Michael and he resides on the left side on the Ida Nadi. And he looks after the whole of it, from Mooladhara onwards up to the Sahasrara. So Saint Michael was born as Mahavira meaning the greatest warrior. After Shri Krishna these two persons, Buddha and Mahavira, both of them incarnated in India. … They were the children of Rama and they were two twins called as Luv and Kush. (1990-0617)
Mahavira is the incarnation of Bhairavanath, or you call him as Saint Michael. Now these two saints as you know one as the Gabriel, Hanumana, and another is Saint Michael. One is placed on the Pingala Nadi and another one, Saint Michael, on the Ida Nadi. So, Mahavira had to go through lots of search. (1991-0328)
The dates of Mahavira's life remain controversial. The traditional dates in the Jain tradition are 599-527BCE. Western scholars use a range of dates including 480-408BCE.
Bibliography: Hiralal Jain, Mahavira, his times and his philosophy of life (New Delhi: Bharatiya Jnanpith Publication, 1974); Kastur Chand Lalwani, Sramana Bhagavan Mahavira: life and doctrine (Calcutta: Minerva, 1975)