Mahavira's enlightenmentThroughout many long years, Mahavira never swerved from his austerities. When he was 42 years old, in his thirteenth year as a wandering mendicant, the fourth most auspicious event of his life took place. On that particular day, he sat on the bank of a river, under the blazing sun, and entered into a deep state of meditation, as was his wont. It was there that he achieved his enlightenment, which the Jainas called kevalajnana.
Mahavira's first words were: "I am all-knowing and all-seeing, and possessed of an infinite knowledge. Whether I am walking or standing still, whether I sleep or remain awake, the supreme Knowledge and Intuition are present with me — constantly and continuously."
Afterwards, Mahavira continued to walk from place to place for thirty more years. Everywhere he went, he preached compassion, tolerance and austerity.