The great renunciation

Now comes the third auspicious event of Lord Mahavira's life — his renunciation, or vairagya. When Vardhamana was thirty years old, he had certain profound inner experiences by which he knew that the choice Hour had arrived for him to renounce the world.

When the villagers came to know of his decision, a huge procession formed. Vardhamana was carried in a magnificent palanquin to a park beyond the city. There he came down from the palanquin and began to renounce all his possessions one by one.

He took off his flower garlands and discarded his robes. Then he put on a single piece of cloth which was very simple. (Some years later, this cloth became caught on a thornbush and he never wore clothing again.) Finally, Vardhamana plucked out his own hair in five handfuls and silently walked away, in the opposite direction from his home.

"Happy are we, happy live we, who call nothing our own" was his motto.