Letter from Mahavira

By enduring all sorts of calamities, I was given this name Mahavira, which means great hero or brave and courageous.
You have to learn how to conquer your desires and feelings, not be conquered by them. The only way to liberate yourself from all the pain is learning about the right faith (samyak-darshana), right knowledge (samyak-jnana), and right conduct (samyak-charitra). This last is based on the five vows. Do you remember the five great vows Nonviolence (Ahimsa)-do not harm any living being. Truthfulness (Satya)-to speak only the truth. Non-stealing (Asteya)- do not take anything that was not given to you. Chastity (Brahmacharya)-do not indulge in sexual pleasure. Non-possession/Non-attachment (Aparigraha)- to detach from any material possession.
These five principles will help you achieve the blissful state. But you need to detach completely from people, places, and material things. That is why I spent twelve years of my life in silence and deep meditation. Sometimes, I spent days without eating, I had no place to live or clothes to wear, but I achieved Kevalnyan, enlightenment. When I learned this ultimate truth I decided to travel around India and share this knowledge.
Be careful with all the living beings, if you harm them, you will be harming yourself. If you take something that was not given to you, it would be like stealing to yourself. Indulging in sensual or materialistic passion will only lead to vices like greed, lust, hatred and anger. These feelings are all violent and destructive. they can lead you to kill. Your karma will accumulate.
If you wish to become a monk, you will have to follow your vows strictly. Monks and nuns will have to be very strict about following the Jain philosophy. Everyone can achieve the ultimate happiness. I do not make distinction between men, women, rich or poor. I divide my followers in what is called a four-fold order: monk (Sadhu), nun (Sadhvi), layman (Shravak), and laywoman (Shravika).
I believe that the theories of Anekantvada and Syadvada, explain the relativity in the world. The world has an infinity of view points depending on the time, place, nature and state of the one who is the viewer and that which is viewed. The truth has many aspects, it depends from the points of view. What is true from one point of view may vary from another. Absolute truth cannot be obtained from any particular perspective alone. Absolute truth is the sum total of all the different-view points.
Imagine for example that you have your eyes covered and that you come across a river while you walk. You step inside and the water covers up to your knees, not too deep it seemed. When you go out and uncover your eyes, you discover that you were standing up on a rock inside the river, but that the river was in fact so deep that it would cover you up to your head. The perspective changed the way in which you described the river.
In order to obtain Moksha, you can follow the self-discipline methods I have preached and practiced. Some of them are: disregard of worldly objects, moral purity, meditating without moving the body, self-denial, penance, austerity, renouncing to pleasure, and freedom from karma.
Meditation is very important in the life of a Jain. It helps to discipline the mind and the body. Sometimes you will remain in deep meditation in a same position for a long time, while your mind