Mahavira's supreme silence

Sometimes for months and even years, Mahavira observed a vow of silence, specially at the beginning of his spiritual life. It was his practice to get up at three o'clock in the morning and roam from place to place meditating, completely naked. He believed that if you have any possessions, it prevents you from realising God.

Mahavira was a strong man physically and people misunderstood him when they saw him in the streets at night. They used to insult him and even pelt him with stones or set dogs after him but, since he had taken a vow of silence, he never complained. He maintained his perfect equanimity towards all living beings.

One night he wandered into a particular village. It happened that there had been a considerable number of thefts in this village, and so people were in the streets looking for the thief. When they saw Mahavira, they were convinced that he was the culprit. Why else would he be roaming around the streets in the middle of the night?

So a group of men grabbed Mahavira and began asking him all kinds of questions.

"Tell us how much money you have stolen!"

Mahavira remained silent.

"Why did you take all those things?"


The men became frustrated because Mahavira was not responding and they began beating him up. Still he would not speak. Finally, they decided to take him to their superior, the village chief. The chief was completely drunk. He said, "Let us strangle this villain!"

They brought a very thick rope and tied it around Mahavira's neck. Seven times they tried to strangle Mahavira, but nothing happened. The villagers realised that Mahavira had tremendous spiritual power, so they begged his forgiveness and released him.