JAINISM, a sister religion of Hinduism, was founded by Bhagwaan Mahaaveera in around 800 B.C. Although Jainism is an Aaryan Religion, it did not accept the authority of the Vedas.
Around the 8th century B.C. a group of Aaryans opposed some of the teachings given in the Vedas and also some of the Practices in the Hindu religion. They were not ready to accept the idea of sacrificing animals to please God for acquiring material benefits or for gaining entry into heaven for themselves. They held the notion that all life is sacred and it is a sin to kill innocent animals in the name of Yajna. They revolted against the religious traditions that were then prevailing.
They laid stress on leading a strict, disciplined and simple life and felt that man must suppress his animal instincts. In course of time people who held this view came together under the discipleship of Vardhamaana Mahaaveera into another religious sect called
JAINISM. The roots of this great religion can be traced back to the ancient times and its origin is associated with Rishabhadeva who was a great King and who later on became a great, supreme ascetic.
In the Jain religion, the word Teerthankara means the one who provides a raft to cross the world of samsaara. This raft is Dharma. It is believed that Rishabhadeva was the first Teerthankara, the 23rd one being Paarshvanaatha. Vardhamaana Mahaaveera is said to be twenty fourth and the last among the Jain Teerthankaras.
Mahaaveera is also called Jina, the conqueror, the conqueror of not earthly kingdoms, but of spiritual kingdoms, conqueror of his own self, the senses and the passions of the world.