an order founded by Parsvanatha, but left it
attaining kaivalya (Perfect Knowledge) under a sal tree at Jrimbhikagrama in
eastern India at the age of 42, he preached for 30 years and died at the age of
72 in 468 BC at Pavapuri near Rajagriha. He became the head of a sect, called
nirgranthas (Free from Fetters), who later came to be known as ‘Jinas’.
Five Cardinal Principles
The five cardinal principles of Jainism are — non-violence (ahimsa), truth or
no lies (satya), non-stealing (asteya or achaurya), non-attachment or non-
possession (aparigraha) and observing continence (brahmacharya). Only the
last principle was added by Mahavira, the other four being the teachings of
his predecessors. The five principles or vows when observed by a monk
strictly are called mahavratas, and when observed by a lay follower in a less
rigorous manner are called anuvratas.
Ratnatraya (Three Gems)
     •   Full knowledge
     •   Action
     •   Liberation
Main Teachings of Mahavira
Mahavira believed in dualistic philosophy (Syadvada) and held that matter
and soul are the only two existing elements. The former is perishable, while
the latter eternal and evolutionary. According to him, on account of karma
(the accumulated effect of the actions done in the past lives), the soul is in a
state of bondage created by passions and desires collected through several
previous births. It is by means of continued efforts through several lives that
the Karmik forces binding the soul can be counteracted and the soul itself is
rendered passionless. The disintegration of the Karrnik forces constitutes the
final liberation of the soul (jiva). Side by side with this decay of the karmas
the intrinsic qualities of the soul get expressed more and more and the soul
shines in full luminosity which represents final liberation and then the soul
becomes paramatman.
     A certain ethical code is