Tirthankar Mahavir’s soul was an angel in heaven before being the born as Prince Vardhaman.
At midnight on the sixth day of the bright half of Ashadh, his Ayushya Karma ended, and so did his life as an angel.
The following account of Mahavir’s life occurs in the Svetambara tradition.
The Soul of Mahavira came to earth and was conceived in the womb of Brahmin lady named Devananda. After 82 days, the thirteenth day of month of Aaso, Saudharma Indra, King of Angels, was in his court. His throne started shaking, so he used his Avadhignan knowledge, a special mental power through which one can see things far distance, to see what was going on. He learned that Lord Mahavir’s soul was conceived in Devananda’s womb. For a moment, he was puzzled but then he realized that this was the result of Lord Mahavir’s karmas from his previous life. He said to himself, “No, Tirthankar Bhagwan is ever born in low status family. This will not happen. I will exchange his soul to high status family.”
Indra Saudharma summoned Angel Harinaigamesin to his court. Indra commanded Angel Harinaigamesin to transplant the fetus from the womb of Devananda to the womb of Queen Trishala, the wife of King Sidharth, and to put Queen Trishala’s fetus in Devananda’s womb.
The night of the thirteenth day of month of Chaitra, Queen Trishala had many dreams. These dreams filled her with wonder. She woke up her husband, King Sidharth and told him what she saw in the the dreams. He told her that these dreams seemed very auspicious.
The number of dreams is 14 according to the Svetambara tradition and 16 according to the Digambara tradition.
The next day, King Siddharth summoned the scholars to his court and asked them about the meaning of these dreams.
The first dream Queen Trishala had was of an Elephant. It was a big, tall and impetuous elephant, with four tusks. It was an auspicious elephant, and was endowed with all the desirable marks of excellence.
This dream indicated that Queen Trishala would give birth to a child with exceptionally good character. The four tusk signified that he would guide the spiritual chariot with its four components: monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen.
The second dream Queen Trishala had was of a Bull. The bull was noble, grand, and had a majestic hump. It had fine, bright, and soft hairs on its body. Its horns were superb and sharplypointed.
This dream indicated that her son would be highly religious and spiritual teacher. He would help cultivate religion.
The third dream Queen Trishala had was of a Magnificent Lion. His claws were beautiful and well poised. The lion had a large wellrounded head and extremely sharp teeth. His lips were perfect and his eyes were sharp and glowing. His tail was impressively long and well shaped. Queen Trishala saw this lion descending towards her and entering her mouth.
This dream indicated that her son would be as powerful and strong as the lion. He would be fearless, almighty, and capable of ruling over the world.
The fourth dream Queen Trishala had was of the Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, prosperity and power. She was seated on lotus and wore rows of pearls interlaced with emeralds and a garland of gold. A pair of earrings hung over her shoulders with dazzling beauty.
This dream indicated that her son would enjoy great wealth and splendor. He would be a Tirthankar, the supreme benefactor of all.
The fifth dream Queen Trishala had was of a Beautiful Garland descending from the sky. It smelled of mixed fragrances of different flowers. These flowers bloomed during all different seasons. The whole universe was filled with their fragrance.
This dream indicated that the fragrance of her son’s teaching will spread throughout the entire universe and he would be respected by all.
The sixth dream Queen Trishala had was of a Full Moon. It was a very auspicious sight. The moon was at its full glory. It awoke the lilies to full bloom. It was as bright as a star.
This dream indicated that the child would lessen the suffering of all living beings. He would bring peace to the world. He would help the spiritual progress of humanity at large.
The seventh dream Queen Trishala had was of the Bright Sun. The sun was shining and destroying darkness. It was as bright as the flames of a forest fire. The sun rose and ended the evil activities of the creatures who thrive at night.
This dream indicated that her son would have supreme knowledge and would dispel the darkness of delusions from the masses.
The eighth dream Queen Trishala had was of a Large Flag flying on a golden stick. The flag fluttered softly and auspiciously in the gentle breeze. It attracted the eyes of all. A radiant lion was pictured on it.
This dream indicated that her son would carry the banner of religion. He would reinstate the religious order throughout the Universe.
The ninth dream Queen Trishala had was of a Golden Vase filled with pure water. It was a magnificent, beautiful, and bright vessel. It was decorated with garland.
This dream indicated that her son would be perfect in all virtues and would be full of compassion for all living beings. He would be a supreme religious personality.
The tenth dream Queen Trishala had was of a Lotus Lake. Thousands of lotuses were floating on the lake, and they all opened at the touch of the sun’s rays. The lotuses had a very sweet fragrance.
This dream indicated that her son would be beyond worldly attachment. He would help liberate human beings who were tangled in the cycle of birth, death, and misery.
The eleventh dream Queen Trishala had was of an Ocean. Its water rose in all directions to great heights. The wind blew gently and created waves.
This dream indicated that her son would have a serene and pleasant personality. He will escape from life on the ocean of birth, death and misery and will achieve infinite perception and knowledge. This will lead his soul to Moksha (liberation).
The twelfth dream Queen Trishala had was of a Celestial chariot. The chariot resounded with celestial music. It was saturated with the intoxicating aroma of incense.
This dream indicated that all of the Angels in heaven would respect, honor, and salute her son’s spiritual teachings and they would obey him.
The thirteenth dream Queen Trishala had was of a Big Heap of Jewels. It was a mixture of all types of gems and precious stones.
This dream indicated that her son would have infinite virtues and wisdom and he would attain supreme spiritualism.
The fourteenth dream Queen Trishala had was of a Smokeless Fire. The fired burned with great intensity, but there was no smoke.
This dream indicated that her son would reform and restore religious order. He would remove blind faith and orthodox rituals. Further he would burn or destroy his karmas and attain salvation.
Some scriptures say that Queen Trishala had sixteen dreams. The fifteenth dream was of a Pair of Fish which indicated that her son would be extremely handsome.
The sixteenth dream was of a Lofty Throne, which indicated that he would have a very high spiritual status.
To summarize all these dreams, the child to be born would be very strong, courageous, and filled with virtues. He would be very religious and would become a great king or a spiritual leader. He would reform and restore religious order and guide all the creatures of universe to salvation. He would also be liberated.
Lord Mahavira was born on the thirteenth day of the bright half of the month Chaitra, five hundred and forty-three years before Vikram Era or in 599 B.C.