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Mahavira, also known as Vardhamāna, was the twenty-fourth Tirthankara (ford-maker) of Jainism which was revived and re-established by him. After getting enlightened, Mahavira synthesised and revived the philosophies and promulgations of the ancient Śramaṇic traditions laid down by the first Jain tirthankara Rishabhdeva. In the Jain tradition, it is believed that Mahavira was born in the early part of the 6th century BC into a royal family in what is now Bihar, India. At the age of thirty, abandoning all worldly possessions, he left his home in pursuit of spiritual awakening and became an ascetic. For the next twelve and a half years, Mahavira practiced intense meditation and severe austerities, after which he is believed to have attained Kevala Jnana (omniscience). He preached for thirty years, and is believed by Jains to have died in the 6th century BC. Scholars such as Karl Potter consider his biographical details as uncertain, with some suggesting he lived in the 5th century BC contemporaneously with the Buddha. Mahavira died at the age of 72 in Pawapuri, and his remains were cremated. According to the Jain tradition, Mahavira had 14,000 muni, 36,000 aryika (nuns), 159,000 sravakas (laymen), and 318,000 sravikas (laywomen) as his followers. Some of the royal followers included Srenika of Magadha, Kunika of Anga (Ajatashatru), and Chetaka of Videha.
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