Rishabhanatha was the first Teaching God (Tirthankara) of Jainism during its current half cycle. According to India’s first Vice President, records indicate that Rishabhanatha was being worshipped as long ago as the 1st century BC. He played a significant role in the development of society during that time, encouraging the shift from a tribal lifestyle to a more organized one. His kingdom was known to be friendly and peaceful.
Despite having the physical stature of a warrior, Rishabhanatha is remembered for promoting nonviolence and peace. He is believed to have lived an austere lifestyle and Jainist legend suggests that he did this for a thousand years. During this time, he both reached omniscience and spread the message of Jainism, which is one of nonviolence, non-possessiveness, and non-absolutism. Followers of Jainism continue to follow this lifestyle, practicing vegetarianism, prayer, meditation, and peaceful interaction with other humans.