Birth name of Mahavir was Vardhman. The different names Ativir , Sanmati , Mahavir were the titles conferred upon him for his acts of boldness and bravery at different occasions. He was born in a princely family with all the comforts of life were available to him but child Mahavir did not evince interest in worldly pleasures. Having strong spiritual inclination and desire to do good of the people, he had a strong urge of renunciation of worldly attach- ments. Spiritualism and renunciation so much prevailed over him the ultimately on November 11, B.C 570 (Marga-sirsha Krishna - dasmi) , at the age of 30 years, he left the place and proceeded to the park, Jnatrkhanda -Vana, close to Kundapur, and relinquished his ornaments and clothes . He pulled out his hair by his hands and initiated himself as a Digamber Jain monk. He observed fast for 3 days and then plunged himself into meditation. After some- time he started touring various parts of the country. He lived in gardens park, but as required by the rules of his vows and fast, he entered a town or a village once in a day and accepted the food offered to him according to the norms laid down for Jain ascetics. In a standing or squatting posture, and with his eyes fixed on the tip of nose, he spent his time in meditation and in reflecting on the Atman ( soul ) and in cultivating the attitude of equanimity towards one and all. Strictly observing his five great vows & other principles, he got himself habituated to endure with peace & patience all physical tortures, know as ‘pariahs’, like hunger, thirst , cold, heat, mosquito bites etc.,
Mahavir spent twelve years as an ascetic, practising various austerities. One day on Baisakh - Shukla - Dasmi , April 26, B.C. 557 at the age of 42 years, while he was seated beneath a sal tree plunged in meditation close to the village Jrmbhaka by name, on the bank of river Rijukula infinite knowledge ( Ananta - Gnana ), which has no limitations of time and space, dawned on him. He got satisfactory solutions for all those problems and questions connected with life and the universe which occur to any inquisitive soul. He fully comprehended the Six Substances (dravya) and Seven Principles (tattva) whereby one gets explained the nature of all the objects and their activities. It was crystal clear to him that the very basic principle of life in Jive Atma - tattva, which is distinct from matter (body).