Some of the import and significant life events of the 24th Tirthankara Bhagawan Shri Mahavira, depicted with the artist’s brush from the subject matter of this long awaited publication For me it is like joyous fulfillment of a long cherished life’s dream.

The life of Bhagawan Shri Mahavira was full of compassion, truth, Ahimsa and austerity which aided by transcendental mediation of the highest order and of the highest order and of the purest form culminated into the [i]attainment of Nirvana. In the doctrines preached by him lies the path of salvation. What is needed is its proper assimilation and translation into actions. His message of practice of Animas in the field of action, reasoning with the aid of Anekant of Syadvad, and acceptance of spirit of austerity on the planes of mind, speech and action can usher in the era of eternal bliss. Herein lies truly the answer to all the conflicts, either individual of group. Considering the universal application of his message, it will be necessary to bear in mind necessary to bear in mind that he belonged not to a particular sect of province of country. His message is for the humanity as a whole.

34 coloured paintings adorn this book. The 35th plate has Shri Gautamaswamiji, the first disciple of Bhagawan Shri Mahavira, as its subject. I had in mind to include a few more paintings in this book, but for some inexplicable reasons this idea could not materialize. Each art has its language, form and idiom. In recreating the events included in this book, the technique of the art and the vision of the artist had, therefore, to be given its due place. Being a pictorial biography, a briefer commentary on each of the plates could have served the purpose as well. However, i opted for a golden mean and made these commentaries short enough to be pithy, but long enough to be informative. The commentaries have been written in simple but direct language shorn of ornamental usage’s. The narratives have been confined strictly to the subject of the painting. The commentaries have been written in Hindi, Gujarati and English, catering to a large but mixed section of readers as the book will have wider circulation, even beyond the frontiers of this country. The last section of the book, however, has been written only in Hindi.

The curious, particularly the foreigner, has been wanting to know everything about the religious cognizance and symbol: This curiosity is not born out of idle inquisitiveness. Nor has it over diminished. Keeping this intellectual curiosity to gain deeper knowledge of Jainism in view, i have included symbolistic drawings, in this book from which both a layman and a researcher, can researcher, can liberally draw. These symbols are in accord with Jain Canonical scriptures. The rest are common to other Indian religious as well. In all twelve symbols and forty pictorial strips have been used to used to aid the reader. In addition I have a few write ups included in the last section which gives detailed information on the various symbolists and pictorial representations.

In this inspirational and creative work the lives and missions of great luminaries like Bhagawan Shri Parswanath, Bhagawan Shri Padmavati Devi, Acharyadev Srimad Vijay Mohansurishwaraji Maharaj, had been a great source of strength. Similarly, the blessings of Acharya Shri Vijay Pratapsurushwaraji Maharaj. Acharya Shri Vijay Dharmasurishwaraji Maharaj inspired me in this humble effort at every stage. I record my sincere appreciation of the invaluable co-operation and help of Muni Shri Vachaspativijayaji through all the formative as well as final stages of this publication. The publishers’ in their note have acknowledged the unflinching faith in a work of this nature and co-operation of the friend and well-wishers in giving shape and form to this stylized pictorial biography. I join the publishers in thanking everyone who is connected with this endeavor.

Let Bhagawan Shri Mahavir’s life and words inspire humanity which is grouping in dark in this age of industrial growth and material prosperity.

A.D. 1974, V.S. 2030, Bombay.
Muni Yashovijay.

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