Effort is the way for Mahavira. Even to mention the word `let-go’ is to support laziness. `Mahavira’ is not his name; his name was Vardhamana. He is called Mahavira because his attitude and approach is that truth has to be conquered. It is not a love affair, it is a war. And Mahavira has won the war; that is why he is called the great warrior. `Mahavira’ means the great warrior.
– Beyond Enlightenment, Chapter #14
Jainas have given a name to Mahavira which is very lovely. The name is: nirgrantha, the knotless one. Whenever Buddha refers to Mahavira he always calls him nirgrantha natputta, that son of the Natha family, that boy born in the Natha community, who became knotless; whose knots were cut, opened.
This word nirgrantha is very valuable. Brahma, the absolute one, is knotless, and we are full of knots — that is the only difference.
– Finger Pointing to the Moon, Chapter #7
This word, ICCHANTIKAS. It means people who are one-dimensional, who know only one aspect of truth.
And opposite to icchantikas are people like Mahavira and the Jaina tirthankaras; they are called ANICCHANTIKAS, people who look from every aspect of the truth. Mahavira was so deeply rooted in the attitude of being multidimensional that he was the first man in the whole history of mankind to bring in the theory of relativity.
It took twenty-five centuries for the West.
Only Albert Einstein, through a very different path as a scientist, brought the same message, the same philosophy of the theory of relativity. Mahavira says that whatever you say is only relative. He was so much in his theory of relativity that he never made a single statement about anything — because any single statement will only show one aspect. What about other aspects?
He found that every truth has seven aspects. So you ask him one question and he will answer with seven answers, and those seven answers will be contradicting each other. You will come back from meeting Mahavira more confused than you have ever been — and he was the most clear person who has ever walked on the earth. But his approach was multidimensional.
– Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master, Chapter #8
The East became aware that more people have become enlightened on a fullmoon night; in fact, almost all except one, Mahavira.
He became enlightened on the no-moon night, amawas. The fullmoon night is called purnima — the moon has become perfect, purna. And the no-moon night is when there is no moon at all, absolute darkness. Except Mahavira, nobody has become enlightened on amawas, no-moon night. Mahavira’s name was not Mahavira — Mahavira means a great warrior. His name was Vardhaman. But because he became enlightened on amawas, no-moon night, he proved that he could go against the current. It was natural for everybody to become enlightened on the fullmoon night, but this fellow Mahavira tried to go against the normal order of things, and still managed to become enlightened.
He certainly did something unique which never happened before and never happened afterwards. So it is perfectly right to call him Mahavira, a great warrior. A very strong man … otherwise it is almost impossible for anyone to become enlightened on the no-moon night.
– I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here, Chapter #6
Mahavira, as far as I understand, was such a beautiful man — perhaps in the whole history of men there has never been such a proportionate body with such an exquisite beauty. I don’t accept the Jainas’ idea that he is an ascetic, that’s why he is naked. No. My own understanding is that he loves beauty, and he is so beautiful that any clothing on him will simply destroy his beauty. Naked, he is just pure beauty.
I don’t think Mahavira is an extremist. I simply conceive that the man is so beautiful he does not need clothes; and he is so healthy that the changing seasons make no difference to him. It is because of his health and his beauty.
– Light on the Path, Chapter #11
JIN SUTRAS — The Sutras of the Conqueror. Jin is a beautiful word, it means conqueror: one who has conquered himself.
I have spoken of these sutras in many volumes, but they are as yet untranslated into English. One thing I would like to say: that I include the JIN SUTRAS in the postscript.
Nobody has been so silent as Mahavira, nor as naked. Only silence can be so naked. Remember, I am not saying nude, I am saying naked. Both words are totally different. ‘Nude’ is pornographic; ‘naked’ is just utterly open, vulnerable, uncovered. A child is not nude, but only naked. Mahavira in his nakedness is so beautiful.
It is said that he never spoke his sutras to anyone; only the intimate ones sitting by his side heard these sutras within themselves. They simply heard. It is one of the most miraculous things…. There was an inner circle of eleven intimate disciples around Mahavira, and when they all simultaneously heard the same word, then they thought that the word was worthy to be recorded, although Mahavira had not said anything openly, but in some subtle way, through a vibe.
The JIN SUTRAS were written in a totally different way from any other book in the whole world. The master remained silent, and eleven disciples simultaneously hear — emphasize the word simultaneously — the same word, then they record it. That’s how the JIN SUTRAS were born. What a birth for a book! One cannot conceive of a more beautiful beginning, and they certainly contain the highest light man is capable of, and the whole science of conquering oneself.
– Books I Have Loved, Chapter #6